The Four Seasons is a timeless old-style Hawaiian resort — tiki torches, orchid leis and all — which is fine with me. "We absolutely celebrate that fact," Whitfield said. Although it would be silly to paint a picture of this exclusive enclave as authentically Hawaiian, neither is it just about suntans and mai tais.
Its full name is Four Seasons Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu. Hualalai is one of the island's five volcanoes; the rest was explained by Earl Regidor, the island-born manager of the on-site Kaupulehu Cultural Center. Regidor said this property once was the ancient land division of Kaupulehu, a fishing village where a chief ruled over an extended family.
On a given day at the center, kupuna, or elders, may be giving complimentary lessons in lauhala weaving, feather art or quilting. Do visitors need to learn more about Hawaii? Well, a guest once asked Regidor, "Do you folks still live in grass shacks?"
By growing some herbs and vegetables, as well as contracting with local farmers, the resort can supply its restaurants with 75% locally grown food. (The tomatoes really taste like tomatoes.) And I'd fly five hours just for the goat cheese ice cream. There's also an on-site aquaculture farm maintained by the resort's natural resources department. One night at the more formal Pahuia seafood restaurant I ate moi, a mild island fish from that farm, by the light of a tiki torch.