First visit to Hawaii- Need suggestions

Old Jul 4th, 2007, 08:58 AM
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First visit to Hawaii- Need suggestions

We are planning a possible trip to Hawaii in August - our first to the islands. We are looking for some place not too touristy or crowded - more interested in good beaches and nice, tropical settings to enjoy the views. A friend has suggested Kona and the Kona Village resort seems very nice, though a bit pricey. Any suggestions?
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Old Jul 4th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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If you decide to go to the Big Island there are several resorts and other accommodations that are cheaper than Kona Village.
Check out the reviews here or on Tripadvisor.
We've stayed at the Marriott which has been completely renovated since our last stay and a small B&B near Hilo called Art & Orchids. We liked both.
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Old Jul 4th, 2007, 09:13 AM
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We returned two days ago from our first visit to Hawaii. We spent our time on Maui, and it was awesome. Yes, it can a bit pricey, but our entire trip was unbelievable. We stayed in a villa at Kapalua, and they offer packages with their villa stays. Anywhere West Maui seemed great. We loved our meals at Roy's at Kahana and The Plantation House (breakfast especially). We used Maui Downhill to ride a bike down Haleakala after watching the sunrise. This trip was worth every penny. We enjoyed shopping in Lahaina and dodged the tourist traps pretty well. Lahaina is the art capital of the Islands. Great swimming and snorkeling, too. Can't say enough good things! Aloha!
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Old Jul 4th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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We have stayed a few times at Sea Village, just below Kona on the Big Island. It is a very nice small oceanfront property with fantastic ocean views, a little pool, free tennis courts, barbeque pits to use. The units are privately owned, so vary in design. We've always had a top floor unit, looking directly at the water, for a very good price. Google it, call Sunterra Resorts or Donita's Vacations Unlimited. I highly recommend it. We've always had a two bedroom, two bath condo for a very good price.
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Old Jul 4th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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Seems like Kauai might fit what you are looking for?
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Old Jul 4th, 2007, 02:44 PM
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We just returned from our first trip to Hawaii doing a cruise. Not enough time to see everything but at least get a feel for the islands. I would have to choose Kauai for not to touristy and lack of intense crowds. It is gorgeous in every sense of the word, and was my vision of how Hawaii once was. It has stayed pretty much the same for many years so I understand, Do a helicopter ride. It was truly my best experience in Hawaii. Next I might choose Kona. It seems very nice. Although everyone loves Maui, it was way to much like Souther California to me. It lacked the Hawaiian culture and feel to me. But that is just me and my thoughts.
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Old Jul 4th, 2007, 05:36 PM
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Aloha,
Kona Village Resort is very nice but you are right it is very $$$$$ and keep in mind no AC, July and Aug is the only time I like having AC. Hapuna Prince is very nice and you can sometimes get a good price, it is on one of the nicest beaches on the BI. If you are looking for condos you can find some in Kona, they will be oceanfront but not beach front, you will have to walk or drive about 5 mins to some nice small beaches or 20 - 30 mins to the bigger beaches. In Kona try Hale Kona Kai, they are oceanfront and have central air.
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Old Jul 4th, 2007, 09:24 PM
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We've stayed several times in Kona Village; although it is expensive, it does offer a certain amount of seclusion in the setting and seems fairly well run. I don't think it would be good to go there and get a feeling for Hawaii however and I'm not certain whether or not there is a week minimum stay at this time? It is more a place of once you get there you really don't want to move around too much. However, everything is right along the beach, you have the views and wonderful tropical settings and everything else you seem to want.
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Old Jul 4th, 2007, 11:21 PM
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Kauai would be my last choice; I'm afraid we were disappointed and slightly bored and we wish we had been to BI instead. There are areas of beauty but not enough to keep interest for more than couple days. Scenery reminded me of parts of north-western Australia. Scuba diving however was excellent. Any good beaches where you could actually swim were crowded. I didn't find it more or less touristy than any of the other islands (spot the mustang convertible).

But Maui seems to have it all, it's the perfect all-around island and gorgeous especially around Kapalua and Napili. Oahu also is beautiful once you get away from Honolulu and we regret not spending more time there.
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Old Jul 4th, 2007, 11:39 PM
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I also think Kona Village does not have televisions in the rooms? If you're willing to spend that much I'd consider the Four Seasons next door. August is one of the busiest months in Hawaii (if not the busiest) and there will be many families. Even the 4S with the exepensive price tag has plenty of children but there is a nice adult pool. If you are a person that really wants quiet the only place to possibly find it during August would be the Kona Village but again, I don't know if I could do w/o a tv, radio, or telephone. I also see the KV has a kids program attracting families, just depends on what you're looking forward to crowd wise.
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Old Jul 5th, 2007, 06:13 AM
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So many different opinions! I guess that's why they make 32 different flavors of ice cream. For me ... it's Kauai. I "like" the Big Island ... but I "LOVE" Kauai: Waimea Canyon; Na Pali Cliffs; waterfalls ...

I'll be there in 3 weeks -- and chose to spend the entire 12 days on Kauai--so that should tell you how I feel
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Old Jul 5th, 2007, 09:02 AM
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Songdoc,
You have that right that is why they have vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. As for Safa1 the original poster, she/he asked for something not to touristy and crowded. I will still stick to Kauai. I can see Odin's point and perhaps one would get bored in time but it all depends on personalities. I didn't see enough perhaps of Maui to form an opinion. I am from Southern California orginally and I traveled to hawaii from the East coast. I could have gone La Jolla and found it to be much like Maui. Beaches, cliffs, rocks, etc. Not a huge difference from what I was able to see. When we returned our rental car in Maui I didn't even have to close the door, The wind did it for me. I do mean tighly. I don't care for wind.
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Old Jul 5th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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Consider several nights at the Hotel Hana Maui.

I don't think Maui is at all like Southern California. I also love the Maui Prince. A combo of the Maui Prince and the Hotel Hana Maui would be very nice.
 
Old Jul 5th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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Try a vacation rental in Kailua, Oahu. It has one of the prettiest beaches in the world, plenty of nice restaurants, and the consistent ocean breezes should keep you cool even in August. No hotels - so it won't feel to touristy. Kailua is an easy 30-minute drive from the airport on your choice of 3 highways that go over Oahu's central mountain range - I would be hard pressed to judge which is the prettiest drive, so have your camera ready no matter which route you choose.
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Old Jul 5th, 2007, 10:43 AM
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From our trip report posted in May --

Author: trg
Date: 05/07/2007, 04:33 pm
After much research, we made our first trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 29th anniversary. Chose to hit the 'hot spots' and did not try to overdo it. R & R was the priority. When it was over, felt we had done just enough without trying to force too much.

Saturday, 4/21 --
Arrived in Honolulu on Continental about noon. As airline family members, we were flying standby and ended up getting an earlier flight than originally planned. We had a paid reservation on Hawaiian Airlines for late in the afternoon but decided to wait standby (at no additonal $) to get on an earlier flight which we did. However, our luggage stayed on the original flight so we still had to wait in Maui. Rented a Mustang convertible - really enjoyed it. Lot's of traffic to Kaanapali so the drive was about 45 minutes. Checked into the Mahana and was assigned a great room. #1216. Brought dinner in and enjoyed the sunset.
Sunday, 4/22 --
My wife saw our first an only whale early in the morning. Spent most of the morning just relaxing in the room, then drove to Lahaina in the afternoon. Walked the town and took care of the souvenir shopping. Had our anniversary dinner at Kimo's. Outstanding food, service and view at sunset.
Monday, 4/23--
Purchsed sandwiches from The Market across the street from the Mahana and packed a cooler of drinks/snacks, then made the drive to Hana. Took a couple of short stops for scenery and longer ones at Twin Falls and the Garden of Eden. My wife really enjoyed the GoE. You can drive through or walk some trails, suggest the walk. Well worth the $10/ fee. We had our picnic lunch at an observation area. The drive itself took about 10 hours RT and was very physically and mentally tiring. NEVER felt anything was dangerous, just had to stay alert. Would do it again in a hearbeat.
Tuesday, 4/23 --
Another relaxing day. Just stayed around the room in the morning enjoying the ocean breeze. Made a trip to the aquarium in the afternoon. Had reservations at the Old Lahaina Luau. This was a great evening with an outstanding show and food.
Wednesday, 4/24--
Once again packed a picnic lunch and headed for Haleakala. This was a beautiful drive with a rewarding incredible view at the summit. That evening, took a dinner cruise with the Pacific Whale Foundation. Friendly crew and good food.
Thursday, 4/25 --
Headed for the airport with a stop at the Iao Needle on the way. Had heard of theft concerns so we did not go all the way up, stayed witin eyesight of the car. View was impressive from the bottom.
Friday, 4/26 --
Returned home with a ton of memories.

Observations ----
- Great local produce
- Milk is $8 gallon - wow
- Would recommend the Mahana to anyone
- Banana Bread at Halfway to Hana is outstanding, don't forget the shaved ice
- Kimo's, parmesan crusted snapper - yummy
- Take warm clothes to Haleakala
- VERY windy when we were on the island. Wife is a girly girl, but wore one of my ball caps every day to keep her hair under control
- Neat shorts and shirts are OK in even the nicer restaurants
- Locals very frendly everywhere we went
- Nothing like starting a day with a walk on the beach
- Rent a convertible


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Old Jul 5th, 2007, 01:14 PM
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To those of you that are comparing Maui to Southern California:

What exactly do you mean when you say Maui reminds you of Southern California?

It is a weekly occurance here and I've never understood the comparison.
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Old Jul 5th, 2007, 02:10 PM
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I have never read that here before nor have I been on the Hawaii forum very much. It was just my observation as a tourist and a former Calif. resident. When I say this I refer to the Coast line, La Jolla Shores, San Diego, Sunset Cliffs, on up the coast, big sur, pebble beach etc. Coast line, palm trees, golf courses. I mean the terrain, geographic, mostly. I went to the Marriot hotel in Maui and thought I was in La Jolla.
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Old Jul 5th, 2007, 07:30 PM
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I have to say that the first time we went to Hawaii, we went to Maui first, and I, too, felt like we were in southern California. The traffic jams there didn't help. We prefer the Big Island and Kauai and Molokai.
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Old Jul 6th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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I, too, have stayed at the Kona Village. It is pricey. But, you the price includes thee meals with soft drinks, and they stock your fridge with soft drinks of choice, which in Hawaii can be pricey, e.g., a six pack of cola will run you about $7. Included in the price are activities and the Friday night luau, if you are smart enough to book on a Friday night. The activities are really nice, like unlimited glass-bottom boat cruises and craft classes.

Kona Village is one of the most relaxing places on earth. They have a great rule--NO PUBLIC USE OF CELL PHONE. I wish all resorts had this rule.

As for the lack of TV, I did not miss it. Actually, I think that it was more relaxing not to have TV while in Hawaii.

As for lack of air conditioning, it felt a little warm while unpacking and packing. But, it was definitely uncomfortable at night. But, we paid for a Superior category room that was closer to the ocean.

In August, the snorkelling should be rather good. There is a huge coral reef on their beach, and you should be able to swim with the sea turtles and other tropical fish.

I honestly cannot tell you how relaxing this place is. I did go over next door to the Four Seasons, briefly. People were busy running around with their cell phones, and just did not seem as relaxed. But, the FS does have good golf and a great spa that only hotel guests could use.

Btw, DH is careful with money and thought I was crazy to want to spend over $750/nt for an AI room. But, it was our weddingmoon. So, he indulged me. Now, he cannot wait to go back.

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Old Jul 6th, 2007, 12:04 PM
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Hey folks- I am overwhelmed with all the wonderful and insightful contributions. Thanks much, really.

While it does present the problem of having so many choices since different people like different islands/resorts, it does give us a lot more information so that we can go deeper in our research. It seems to me that maybe we need to do this trip later in the year, when I have done more research, but I haven't ruled out August yet, although it is getting very, very late! I appreciate the comments about Kona Village Resort in particular since it does seems like for our first trip, it may be a little too isolated, and not quite give us a good picture of Hawaii. I will be looking into the other areas and just picked up the 2007 Fodor Hawaii guide as a back up reference. To be honest, I have been avoiding Hawaii in the past because I knew there are so many options, and also it always seemed to me too touristy ( I know this is a terrible generalization) so I always opted for Europe, Southern France, Italian Rivera, and other places, but I do think it's time for us to go to Hawaii. I am not into shopping or other urban activities, nor is my wife, butI want my son to see the natural beauty of Hawaii, which many people rave about, and for him to enjoy swimming in a very nice beach. These may seem too modest or simple goals for an area that offers so much, but we travel a lot and my son has special needs, so I design our trips in a different way than typical travel plans.

Thanks again and let me know if any other areas pop to mind with the additional details I provided. It is really amazing how helpful everyone has been on Fodor forums. I hope I too can contribute in the future.

Regards

Safa
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