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Big Island of Hawaii Vacation Pictures at the Ritz Carlton, Now The Fairmont Orchid

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Big Island of Hawaii: View from Ritz-Carlton Mauna Lani Resort

Big Island of Hawaii: View from Ritz-Carlton Mauna Lani Resort

A Bit of Paradise

In May of 1993, my husband and I had the reward of a fantastic vacation trip to the big island of Hawaii. Airfare, the Ritz Carlton Hotel stay, and a few organized events were paid for by a major paper supplier in appreciation for the hard work people like my husband had done for them the previous year. My husband used to be vice-president and general manager of a paper distribution company in Houston, Texas. We knew some of the other people included on this trip, so we were prepared to relax and enjoy ourselves.

I am happy to share some photos to give you an idea of the beauty we got to see while there. By the way, the resort is under new management since we were there. It is now called The Fairmont Orchid.

Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace.

— Paul Theroux

First Impressions

Day one was all about getting there. Hawaii is quite a distance from Houston, Texas, and by the time we arrived and transported from the Keahole-Kona Airport to our hotel, most of the day passed in the traveling.

Neither of us had previously been to Hawaii, and in my imagination, I thought that the entire island would be lush and tropical. Lo and behold, when we arrived at the airport and rode to our resort through barren black volcanic fields which bore no vegetation, I was most surprised.

We were on the west side of the island, which is along the sun-drenched Kohala Coast. All of the palm trees and other plantings were additions to each resort as they sprung up along the coastline. Thus each holiday center is an oasis of sorts, which we would soon discover.

One note of interest on the ride to our hotel was getting to see graffiti alongside the road. How is this possible, you might think? After all, I have just described a pretty barren palate of dark lava. Here is the answer: White coral washed up on the beaches is placed in patterns to spelling out words and is highlighted as such against the dark background. Where there's a will, there is a way!

The Ritz-Carlton Mauna Lani

As we left the black volcanic fields and got onto the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton Mauna Lani Resort, the lushness of what can grow and flourish in Hawaii unfolded before our eyes. A luxurious tropical paradise now surrounded us even if it was designed and implemented by human minds and hands.

The hotel opened in December of 1990, so it was only 2 1/2 years old when we arrived. Everything was elegant, as one might expect from the reputation of a Ritz Hotel.

Our room was one of 541 at this resort. Each guest room has a private lanai with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and mountain views. Amenities included twice-daily maid service, evening turndown service, marble bathrooms, plush terry cloth bathrobes, a stocked and refrigerated bar that was on the honor system, radios, televisions, and more.

After divesting ourselves of our luggage, we decided to walk around and explore our surroundings. With camera in hand, we strolled through some of the 32 acres of verdantly landscaped grounds. Set alongside the Pacific Ocean, we proceeded to follow pathways dotted with waterfalls, palm trees, fish ponds, and we enjoyed views of green and colorfully blooming tropical foliage of every description along the way.

Having lived in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for most of my teenage years, I was familiar with many of the plants, but some of the vegetation was new to me.

More pictures will follow in subsequent days of our stay here at the Ritz-Carlton with some interior camera shots. This day before sunset, these photos shown here are simply some of what we were enjoying on our late afternoon stroll.

Lei Greeting, Poolside Buffet, and Sunset

At 7:30 PM that first evening we were invited to begin our evening on the Big Island with a traditional fresh flower lei greeting. It happened poolside, and we sipped on some refreshing drinks while visiting with friends and talking to new acquaintances.

We enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner while background music by a Hawaiian trio playing traditional island sounds added to the enjoyment. The tropical breezes were rustling the branches of palm trees, and we watched a most beautiful sunset as night fell over the Pacific Ocean. Flickering light from torches and other illumination made the surrounding scenery beautiful at night as it had been during daylight hours.

As we retired to our room, we were ready to sleep and get ready for the exciting days ahead. One of those days, we would take a helicopter ride over the island and see it from that perspective. Another day we took an all-day land tour of the Big Island.

Fine Art Collection

One could take a self-guided art tour at the Ritz-Carlton, Mauna Lani Resort. They had a massive collection of paintings, including seascapes, landscapes, portraits, and 19th-century scenes.

Also on display were fine porcelains, lithographs, hand-woven carpets, local artisan quilts, and precious Hawaiian koa wood paneling. Antique pieces also grace the elegance of the resort. We took advantage of this art tour on our last morning before we headed back to the airport for our return flight home. The photos below give you some idea of what we got to view.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 19, 2015:

Hello ohio,

Yes the Mauna Lani Ritz Carlton hotel is now known as the Fairmont Orchid. It changed hands and from what I have read extensive renovations have taken place although at the time we were there it certainly was luxurious and beautiful. Have you visited there?

ohio on April 19, 2015:

Is the Fairmont Orchid what used to be the Ritz Carlton?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 05, 2011:

Hi Happyboomernurse,

It looks like you are wading your way through my other hubs regarding our Hawaii Island Vacation. So glad that you are enjoying it. Every time someone leaves a comment it brings back happy memories for me. So thank you! :))

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on October 05, 2011:

What a trip. The photo of your first sunset was absolutely stunning and this whole hub looked like a piece written for a travel magazine.

Thanks so much for sharing this on Hub Pages. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 13, 2011:

Hi Billy,

Hawaii is a long flight from Houston, Texas...but worth it! To see more of the Big Island, check out the other hubs especially the all day tour. We had a wonderful time on the Big Island. :))

billyaustindillon on September 13, 2011:

Make me want to pack p and enjoy the tropics! Great tribute to the Big Island

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 08, 2011:

Hello mauihawaii,

Thanks for commenting on this hub about the Big Island of our Hawaii Island Vacation. We enjoyed our stay at what at the time was the Ritz Carlton.

mauihawaii from Maui, Hawaii on April 08, 2011:

Hello, Peggy,

Thank you for imparting more of your own thoughts. Good job!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 16, 2011:

Hello Bali Beach,

Glad that you enjoyed this hub about the Big Island and pictures of our Hawaii Island vacation. Thanks for the comment. It is indeed a wonderful place. :)

Bali Beach on February 16, 2011:

nice hub! wonderful place :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 22, 2011:

Hello choky,

The Big Island of Hawaii is truly beautiful and we were to see much more of it in the following days of our vacation. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

choky on January 21, 2011:

wow it is beautiful

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 09, 2010:

Hello katrinsui,

So glad that you liked these pictures of our Hawaii Island Vacation on day one arriving at the Ritz Carlton on the Big Island. Much more adventure to see on our subsequent days if you would like to see more. Thanks!

katrinasui on December 07, 2010:

Wow! What a beautiful place to spend vacations. I would love to visit. I really enjoyed reading your hub. The best thing about your hubs is that you always use beautiful pictures.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 10, 2009:

Hi katyzzz, As does yours! Always easy to spot your cheery avatar among the rest. Thanks.

katyzzz from Sydney, Australia on July 10, 2009:

You really have been busy Peggy, thanks for the tour, and may I say that your little logo is striking, it stands out like a beacon of light. Well done

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 06, 2009:

Hi James, Yes, the Ritz was "ritzy" alright. Nice that someone else paid that bill. (Of course we had to pay taxes on it...so not entirely free to us.) But it certainly was a great and memorable vacation! Thanks for your comment.

James A Watkins from Chicago on July 06, 2009:

Staying at the Ritz, huh?  You were in the big time, kid.  Your photographs are lovely and it sounds as if it was the vacation of a lifetime.  Thanks for sharing.  I enjoyed it.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 03, 2009:

Hi Candie,

You must write about some of your experiences there. Thanks again for your comment.

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on July 03, 2009:

Yep Yep!! It is an amazing island. Part dry, part lush! Every island is different and special in its own way. I loved the smell of the flowers when it rained and the sunsets are magical!! I'm thrilled you got to go!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 02, 2009:

Hello Priority_030, Hope you get there someday. It is a pretty part of the planet. Thanks for commenting.

Priority_030 on July 02, 2009:

I really would love to go there now.I really enjoyed your pictures, someday i will go.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 02, 2009:

Hi Ethel, I could say the same about the places you have visited! LOL Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 02, 2009:

Hi Pete, You are fortunate to have been to Hawaii a few times. We chose to stay on the Big Island the entire time. If we go back, it would be to see some of the other islands. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 02, 2009:

Hello Melody, Hard not to take good photos with a setting like that! Stay tuned for the photos over the volcano, etc. which will be coming in the next hub. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 02, 2009:

Hello kiran, A most gracious comment. I also enjoy your hubs!

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on July 02, 2009:

Lucky you. It is a place I would love to visit

Pete Maida on July 02, 2009:

I've been there a few times; it is indeed one of the special places in the world.

Melody Lagrimas from Philippines on July 02, 2009:

What a lovely place...and the photos are simply beautiful, thanks.

kiran8 from Mangalore, India on July 01, 2009:

WOW those beautiful pics, who wouldnt want to go there for a vaccation, I am waiting for the day ...thank you so much for all the wonderful and interesting hubs you write, I am always looking forward to them :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 01, 2009:

Hi G-Ma, We were fortunate indeed! And yes, the U.S.A. is filled with gorgeous places many of which I have yet to see. One can hope.....! Thanks for leaving a comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 01, 2009:

Hello happiness3, It really was a beautiful trip. Will show more that we experienced each day in subsequent hubs. Hope you get to go someday! Thanks for your comment.

Merle Ann Johnson from NW in the land of the Free on July 01, 2009:

Very fortunate I would say to have such a wonderful vacation and beautiful place to go to. The USA has some of the most wonderful places and is why I have no desire to leave...I would love just be able to visit each of our states. Born and raised here I still have many to see yet...Thanks for this delightful venture...:O) Hugs

happyness3 on July 01, 2009:

It looks so beautiful!! I want to go!!!

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