Friday, April 30, 2010

The dreaded mattress inspection.

Even though everything looked perfect when I walked into my room at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai I still had to conduct my inspection. I always start with the bed and I always have butterflies when I pull pillows out of their cases, look over bed linens and remove the mattress protector. That is because I have exacting standards. The FSRH was a 10/10. I licked the mattress in celebration. Then I gargled with ocean water. Hit.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


A battle took place in my room at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai between Private Steam Shower with ceiling-mounted rainfall shower head and Private Outdoor Lava Rock Garden Shower with blue sky and sunshine. In the left-me-cleaner-than-a-glass-in-a-Cascade-commercial category, it was a tie.

PSS had the upper hand in detoxification. POLRGS fought back with an infusion of Vitamin D. Both had soap. Tie. No. Wait. After a few minutes I could no longer find the soap in PSS because of the steam created. Or the door. I made my acquaintance with PSS's floor. I feared not. The housekeeping team is so thorough here, I knew I would be found during turn-down service. PSS really was private. POLRGS, perhaps not so private. Is that you, Green Camouflage Bird I see in that tree? I saw you watching me at breakfast.

The winner? POLRGS! The Hygiene Hunter loves a dirty little bird once in a while. Private Outdoor Lava Rock Shower also takes number one spot on my list of Top Showers. Hit.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This is a brave man.

Chefs who create their menus based on fresh, local ingredients impress me as much as chefs who will allow me, the Hygiene Hunter, to take a tour of their kitchen without advanced notice. All hail Chef de Cuisine Nick Mastrascusa at the Beach Tree Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. I love your diverse menu. I love your clean kitchen. Note to Nick. Even your uncooked pasta was delicious. I ate some when you were not looking. Hit.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Or this?

Yes, the view of the Pacific Ocean from the Beach Tree Bar is spectacular and unobstructed. But the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai has overlooked an equally impressive selling feature of this beachfront bar. The Beach Tree Bar Glass Washer. I had a perfect view of both from my regular seat at the bar. This is how my time was spent. Pacific Ocean. Glass Washer. Pacific Ocean. Glass Washer. Pacific Ocean. Glass Washer. Wine. Glass Washer. Glass Washer. Glass Washer. Pacific Ocean. Wine. Glass Washer. Hit.


Monday, April 26, 2010

A Four Seasons original.

The Broom Tree is native to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. You will undoubtedly encounter one along their beautifully landscaped and maintained walkways. Hit.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Save me.

Being away from the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai for five minutes is stressful enough. After an entire day away, I required a holistic intervention. I checked myself into their spa. I could easily spend my entire vacation inside this gorgeous 28,000 square foot indoor/outdoor space devoted to beauty, healing and me -- this is, after all, the Four Seasons way. My first foray into bliss? The Wawali. A signature apothecary treatment with the magic word in its description -- cleansing.

Island elders helped to create the spa's apothecary by sharing their healing traditions and knowledge of native plants and minerals. You start by choosing from more than 20 indigenous ingredients to customize your treatment. You do this with your therapist. With ingredients like sea salt and nuts, Rachael Ray would not be out of place. I select Volcanic Mud (purifying and detoxifing). Spirulina (antioxidant). Green Tea (antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, plus vitamins B, C and E). Rose Petals (nourishing, healing and hydrating). Ginger Powder (warming). Crushed Macadamia Nuts (being delicious is benefit enough, non?). Kyle, my therapist, expertly mixes the ingredients.

While waiting in my outdoor treatment room for Kyle I cannot resist the temptation to sample my Wawali creation. I learn from Kyle this mixture is meant to go on my body, not in it. The treatment begins. When I emerge from a cocoon of warm linens I wash the body mask off in an outdoor shower. I relax in the spa's tropical gardens as I wait for my next treatment to begin. I am so relaxed I do not think I can type another word until Monday. Hit.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The sushi run.

I have said it before. I adore a menu you do not have to touch. (Read my "A menu you don't have to touch." Paris post.) I adore this concept even more when it is accompanied by a complimentary eye exam. Thank you Sushi Hime.

You will find this teeny-tiny restaurant on a downtown side street in Hilo on the Big Island (Hawaii). I could not decide what I enjoyed more. The menu? The sushi? The music? Hime means princess in Japanese and no, black cat is not on the menu. The paper cat cutouts on the menu wall are a homage to the owner's (Yuji & Takako) three cats at home.

The drive to Sushi Hime took approximately four hours from home base at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. This included a stop in Waipio Valley (according to my Big Island Traveler map this was a favorite spot of Hawaiian royalty) and the Akaka Falls State Park (according to me, too crowded for my liking). After needing to use a public restroom at both of these attractions and finding no soap or paper towels at either, I was desperate for sake only to find Sushi Hime as dry as a lava field. I used my imagination while drinking the healthy alternative green tea and prayed all of those visitors to the Waipio and Akaka restrooms brought their own hand wipes with them like good little Hygiene Hunters should.

I also adored the fact there were no crowds at Sushi Hime when I arrived at 1:30 p.m. Maybe that is because the restaurant was closed. Reservations were the only way in. Hit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh those volcanoes.

While the Icelandic volcano continued to cause airspace havoc, one of the world's most active volcanoes on the Big Island (Hawaii) was emitting high amounts of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas (looks like smog). If you ate burritos for lunch, this would be the perfect place to visit because no one would notice your contribution to the overall air quality. Which I surmise to be poor at the best of times. A number of residents did tell me that asthma is a serious health concern on the island.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Service takes protection of visitors seriously. When high levels of gas are present, portions or all of the park may be closed. On the day of my visit, the Chain of Craters Road was closed for this reason. Or perhaps they heard I was coming and did not want me to inspect matters too closely.

Warnings cannot be missed. Unless of course you do not read English. In which case you may think these signs are a clever way to add color to an otherwise earthy palette. I say this with all due respect to molten lava, which I did not have an opportunity to see. Since clean air is one of my hygiene obsessions, my volcano visit was very short.

On a positive note, the contribution of volcanoes should not be overlooked. Namely, the creation of the Hawaiian Islands.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On to something.

Do yourself a favor. Next time you are in paradise, drink fresh coconut water. It is the next big thing in well-being with health food stores stocking their shelves with the tetra pack version -- at times, fresh ones can also be found in stores. Fresh is naturally better.

The ancient Hawaiians were ahead of us. That is because they are ancient Hawaiians. They took coconuts along with them on their voyages for the excellent hydration properties, electrolyte content and buoyancy. Oh, and the meat. Coconut water is also said to boost your immune system. Now that is important to the Hygiene Hunter in all of us.

I thought about climbing a tree for my coconut, but in addition to being a tad fearful of germs, I am a tad fearful of heights. The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai was more than happy to arrange for freshly picked and delivered coconut water. Daily. It arrives wrapped in plastic with a fully-clothed straw. Hit.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Look what I found.

Most people would be excited to find a fruit bowl, a flat screen TV or a mirrored ceiling in their hotel room. As we have ascertained, I am not most people. I was delighted to find a VACUUM with its own cosy (sans pattern) in the foyer closet of my room at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Admittedly, at first I thought it was a Ku Klux Klan hat left behind by a previous guest. Wink. I adore the idea of having a personal vacuum for two reasons. One. I can vacuum! On vacation! Two. The housekeeping team does not have to maneuver vacuums up and down stairs to the 243 rooms on this sprawling property -- making their day just a little easier. Hit.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Food Fight!

When food falls on a restaurant floor at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, the only thing faster than the staff are the sparrows. Hit. On behalf of the sparrows.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Beach Tree has a hold on me.

I was very much enjoying the wine list at the Beach Tree at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai when Brian, Assistant Restaurant Manager and former heartthrob at Four Seasons Palo Alto asked me if I would enjoy a margarita with a twist. He told me he could incorporate the chardonnay I was drinking into a margarita recipe that only he knew how to make. Perfect. I was looking for the hygiene lesson in the Making of the Margarita and there was none. It is the weekend after all. Shoots. This is Pidgin (Hawaiian slang for, "I concur." "I acknowledge.") Thank you Kawika. Thank you Tom. Hit.

Friday, April 16, 2010

You may not believe this.

Warning. Do not read the following while standing next to a glass coffee table. I, the Hygiene Hunter, used a communal snorkel.

You would think this goes against all Hygiene Hunter policies. And you would be right. However, I checked with the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai regarding their disinfection practices. I was told they are Three Step. Step One. The snorkels are dipped into clean water. Step Two. The masks are soaked in a sanitizing solution for 10 minutes. The solution used is made by Ecolabs and was chosen because it promises to even kill the bird flu virus. Hopefully, it doesn't kill the Hygiene Hunter. If I stop posting 72 hours from now you may not want to follow in my flippers. Step Three. The snorkels are air dried.

Thankfully, snorkels are cleaned after each use. The temptation to snorkel in King's Pond -- the on-property fresh mountain and ocean water pond stocked with more than 3,500 fish including Eagle Rays -- was too great. So I slipped into my wet suit, stepped into the flippers and popped the snorkel into my mouth. This being my first snorkeling experience, I swallowed some water first off. In the process I also swallowed some Manini. Sorry. It was the freshest sushi I have ever tasted. Swimming above the Eagle Ray was phenomenal. I covet its spotted coat. Hit.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Karma. Part IV.

Karma has an answer for everything. And so does the Four Seasons. They just happen to have a sunglass cleaning station a few feet from the bar. My Chrome Heart sunglasses are relieved. Lynn thoroughly cleans my glasses. I ask for the secret. Dawn dishwashing detergent diluted with water. A microfibre cloth. "Better than a shirt," says Lynn. Followed by an optical cloth. I adore new cleaning tips. I wonder if this works on seatbelts? Perhaps car rental companies should give it a try.

Karma you are clever. Hit.

Karma. Part III.

Karma wanted me to sample many wines on the list. Three glasses of wine later and in walks a girl with one of the coolest hats just made for the trade winds. She is from Taiwan. I acknowledge her coolness. She mine. New best friends. She and her family were leaving for Honolulu. I stay on Fantasy Island. To be exact I stay in the Beach Tree at the FSRH.

The island right now is looking a little blurry. I think it is a result of the wine, but no it's the sea salt coating my lenses. I left my cleaning cloth in my room. What to do?

Help me Karma.

Karma. Part II.

Karma wanted me to drink wine. It obviously is familiar with the excellent wine list at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai newly remodeled Beach Tree restaurant. Every wine on the list is available by the glass. The accompanying food menu relies on local ingredients. I love that almost as much as wine. Chef de Cuisine Nick Mastrascusa comes to the Big Island via the Four Seasons New York and clearly loves what he does. (I had a tour of his kitchen. More Hygiene Hunter observations later.)

The trade winds were wicked, which made for super sexy hair. Think Gisele on a fashion shoot. The sea salt mist, courtesy of the winds, does wonders for your skin. La Prairie bottled the benefits of the sea in their Advanced Marine Biology Cream. With the Beach Tree almost on the water, you can drink wine and receive a complimentary facial at the same time. Clearly better than being inside a rental car.

Oh Karma. Hit.

Karma. Part I.

I attempted to leave Fantasy Island today for an excursion. AKA the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Karma had other plans for me.

The first attempt from the rental car company had a stain on the passenger's side seatbelt. My side. Attempt number two featured poorly contoured, outrageously uncomfortable seats. The FSRH Concierge went above and beyond to help. Including sending out a mayday to Kona's exotic car rental company, but they recently went out of business. Goodbye Lamborghini. Damn the recession. But "A" for effort on behalf of the FS.

Oh Karma.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Two endangered species.

Breaking News. Two endangered species were spotted in the Pacific Ocean on the Big Island in Hawaii at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at sunrise. A sea turtle. And, the Hygiene Hunter. Both the sea turtle and Hygiene Hunter remained 20 feet apart as per the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the recently passed Endangered Species Act of 2010. Except for the time the sea turtle opted to get a closer look at the Hygiene Hunter unbeknownst to the Hygiene Hunter. It is unlikely the long arm of the law will press charges against the sea turtle.

Two Endangered Species Acts may just cancel each other out. The sea turtle and Hygiene Hunter can live in harmony. It is really quite perfect. Neither of them wants anyone within 20 feet of them. Nor does either one want to be touched. Ironically, both the sea turtle and the Hygiene Hunter swim in an identical fashion. Add 'Swim with sea turtles and Hygiene Hunter' to your list of things to do before you die. The Four Seasons makes it possible to swim in the rocky ocean by creating a calm lagoon with a lava rock breakwater. They really do think of everything.

Endangered Species Act of 1973: Do Not Disturb Turtles. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 prohibits the following: to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect, or attempt to engage in any such contact with sea turtles within the United States or the territorial seas of the United States. Penalties up to $50,000 fine, not more than one year in jail or both.

And, the just passed Endangered Species Act of 2010: Do Not Disturb The Hygiene Hunter. The Endangered Species Act of 2010 prohibits the following: to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect, touch directly or indirectly by handling her keyboard or mouse, sneeze or cough nearby, shake hands with, or attempt to engage in any such contact with the Hygiene Hunter within Planet Earth. Penalties up to $50,000 fine, not more than one year in jail or both. Hit.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A fish with an appetite.

Tell me, why can't I pick up one of these at my local pet store? Goldfish are so pedestrian. This is a Big Scale Solider Fish. Found in Hawaiian waters and in a massive aquarium at the Pahu i`a restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. He has big eyes because he is a night feeder. One of his best friends is a Flame Hawkfish. Who is TOTALLY COOL. Get this. He eats shrimp, snails and FEATHER DUSTER WORMS.

In my world, those would be nasty things picked up on the end of my feather duster. In his world they are sedentary marine polychaete tube worms (thank you Wikipedia). In either world they clearly need to be eliminated. Frank, as he is affectionately known by Brandon, a waiter at Pahu i`a , was elusive and did not want his picture taken until he talked to his agent. Until then, be a Frank and feed on Feather Duster Worms. Hit.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lather me on the Big Island.

I am on the island that is home to the world's most active volcanoes and thanks to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai all I want to do is shower. That is not such a bad thing. Considering MY OUTDOOR LAVA ROCK GARDEN SHOWER. In my mind it is like being inside a volcano. Why take time to visit the volcano when the volcano will visit you? I have decided to spend my visit to the Big Island inside my outdoor shower. Praise the Four Seasons for thinking of everything. I have saved myself money on a car rental and will be squeaky clean. What else could the Hygiene Hunter ask for? I will let you know when a geko decides to join me. Just don't tell my husband;) Hit.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My new loves.

Meet my new people-and-planet-friendly cleaners. Up first is see-thru cleaner. Distilled water, vinegar, special blends of essential oils and love leave my mirrors and stainless steel appliances streak free -- just as promised on the bottle. This natural cleaner also smells delicious. I was about to make a salad dressing with see-thru cleaner when I read this: "Although it smells lovely, please do not eat this product or put it in your eyes." I appreciate the creativity of the product label. And I am quite certain my family appreciates not eating see-thru cleaner. Hit.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Try this with Nuts & Bolts.

This will not surprise you. I am not a fan of candy dishes or say communal popcorn. Perhaps I do not care for sharing because I am an only child. Lightbulb! Perhaps I am the Hygiene Hunter because I do not care for sharing. Moving on. Apple bowls at hotels. Nice idea. In principle. This will not surprise you. I am not a fan of fruit bowls. I know it is not much different than a grocery store. Except in hotels most people take an apple and then bite into it right away. That's why I liked this wrapped in plastic approach at one hotel. No sneezy, coughy germs to worry about. Unless of course they are on the plastic. I am always thinking.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This is love.

I am not sure who I love more. My new Miele dishwasher or Carlos the installer who clearly has a fondness for taking off his shoes before entering your home. He lays down mats EVERYWHERE to protect your flooring. Wears properly fitted pants. Asks to use your bathroom. AND does not leave oil stains on your driveway.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Yikes and Amen.

At Easter Mass on Sunday I was thankful for having the foresight to bring hand wipes with me that do not smell like they will take the varnish off the pews. I say this with all due respect to Purell. The smell of traditional hand sani is far too obvious at church. The brand pictured above makes it smell more like I just decided to eat an orange. Admittedly, 'eating an orange' in church would not be considered cool. At all. During the height of H1N1 paranoia, hand shaking was banned at church. Which was a relief for me. Now the "Peace be with you moment" is back. Which presents a conflict for me. Whose hand can I shake? My own. Yeah! Whose do I avoid? Everyone's.

I have to believe some people are totally oblivious to hygiene because why in God's name would they think anyone would want to shake hands with them after they have been coughing into their hands, sneezing into them or wiping their nose with them. Here's a for instance. On Sunday, an adorable little boy two rows ahead of us had a cough and a runny nose. For a while he was coughing directly into his mother's face. She eventually covered his mouth with her hand. She was totally off my Peace List. Then mommy wiped her son's nose with a tissue. Nicely done. She then gave the tissue to the boy who proceeded to wipe the pew in front of him with the well-used tissue. Over and over again.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Two dozen colored eggs-deviled eggs-scrambled eggs-sunny side up eggs-hard boiled eggs-eggs-eggs-eggs-eggs-eggs-expect chocolate eggs-later and I was seriously nauseous. An excellent sense of smell is a blessing for the Hygiene Hunter. During Easter, however, the smell of eggs gets the better of me. Why prepare eggs then? Tradition will not allow me to use tofu as a substitute.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Snow in the City.

This was New York about one month ago. I enjoyed it immensely. Central Park looked amazing. The air smelled super fresh. That's because No ONE was smoking while walking. At least no one on my insane-but-fun-in-it's-snowing-no-it's-raining-no-wait-it's-snraining-way-walk from the Meatpacking district to the Mercer Hotel in SoHo. That's because people were either holding onto their  umbrellas with both hands or they were creating makeshift protection from shopping bags. The one time plastic is still more popular than paper. Taxis were not impossible to catch, but definitely more difficult. I did not miss riding in a more-often-than-not dirty NYC taxi. Hit.