Hawaii - The Big Island
Experiences and Comments
Just got back from a visit to the Big Island -- the first time in seven years! We returned to the Mauna Kea, and it's still as lovely and relaxing as ever. The best "bones" of any hotel on the big island (and in many other places that we've been) give you a wonderful feeling whenever you walk into the hotel!
The hotel is staffed with "old timers" from Hawaii (in contrast to many of the newer hotels who didn't seem to have a single Hawaiian on staff) and the staff prides themselves on remembering their guests, who come back again, and again, and again.
The beach is absolutely to die for, even if I got into a mild snit that nobody would actually bring me foo foo drinks while I sat on a beach chair. (Apparently, this practive was outlawed at least ten years ago? Sheesh!) At any rate, being brought foo foo drinks is one of life's great pleasures, in my humble opinion.
Well, except for the fact that I have zero alcohol tolerance any more and my lively twenties are far behind me, but I have discovered that iced tea is a fine alternative.
OK, where was I? Ah yes, reminiscing about my youth...At any rate, it was great. We'll go back again and again.
And the next time that we go, I'll try to not carp every morning at having to either buy a large breakfast, like eggs benedict, or having to pay $19 for the continental breakfast. Yup, you heard me right. Like, an egg and toast? Hmmph. And the "full breakfast" of fairly mediocre fare is something like $25, I think.
Through the years, we have stayed in luxury hotels near and far, and I think that the food situation in this one frustrated me the most. We had more utterly mediocre $100-plus meals for the week that we were in Hawaii than I've had in years! Congratulations, Hawaii!
Places to stay
Twenty years ago, I went to Hawaii for the first time. I stayed in the Hana Maui hotel, Kona Village, and a hotel which was known for its dolphin show (and great foo foo drinks on the beach), but has now changed hands a few times. I'll try to remember what it was. At any rate, I guess you could call it the defining trip of my adult years. I discovered that I really like top-level hotels. Sigh. Many dollars later, I'm mildly sorry that I didn't develop a taste for, say, camping or something, but it sure has been fun!
This past year, we dropped by the Kona Village hotel just to get a tour, and ... well, I wouldn't recommend it. It was described to me as "dirty," which makes me laugh, but I could see the point. The beach is pretty much nonexistent, and a lot of the rooms are located on black, sharp lava flow. I think actually that it's best for young lovers, who will like the isolated bure-feeling, and will find it romantic. On the other hand, I have heard that some families love it, so hey. For what it's worth, I would definitely recommend the southwestern part of the resort. The Sand Hawaiian and Sand Samoan huts are still my favorite.
here is a great site that lists vacation rentals by owner - I was just investigating several nice ones on the big island.
Just accidentally found this site. Check it out. Tree Houses of Hana. In the jungle. Can't you just see taking a family of four there? eek! More stuff for the intrepid youngsters, I'm afraid.
You know, ever since my friend Jamie quit being a travel agent in about, ohhhhh, 1986, I've had a hard time. I am the kind of person who needs a travel agent. Someone who can divert angst, among other things, and who can administer a calming palliative of "been there, know it, you'll be ok."
Well, I found one! These guys are grand! I know that they deal with ticket wholesalers, etc. which might not be your cup of tea (although it doesn't bother me), but the fact is: they are hawaiian. They are mellow. They are pleasant and chat and laugh. They are extremely functional and have been to all of the places. Hey, what's not to like?