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wbpiii Dec 30th, 2009 10:51 AM

Kona Village 25% off Sale.
If anybody cares there is a terrific sale for KVR at this website:


Sally30 Dec 30th, 2009 06:03 PM

Wow, thanks so much for posting. I was just thinking about where to stay on the big island for a january trip. My husband and I love the Mauna Kea but haven't stayed there since the renovation, increased prices and since we have had a child. We looked at Kona Village and thought it looked great but figured we'd save the experience until our daughter was older. Now that I see that Kona Village (with the 25% off), and three meals a day included, isn't much more expensive than just the room at the Mauna Kea, I am wondering where we should stay.

I have a bunch of questions about the Kona Village. Our daughter is 3 so please keep in mind that we are looking for a place conducive to travel with a preschooler:

How does the beach at Kona Village compare to the beach at the Mauna Kea?

We aren't too concerned about the restaurants, we are just happy to have meals included and not have to look for places to eat outside the pricey resort restaurants. Are the meals at Kona decent in quality and quanity?

Are drinks included in the Kona Village package (water and soda and/or alcohol)?

what are the extras that aren't included that we should look out for?

how is the pool?

thanks for your help and most of all for sharing this great coupon!

wbpiii Dec 30th, 2009 07:38 PM

Sally, I will try my best to answer any question you have. I'll bet David will also phone KVR to fill in any areas I can't answer. Hopefully he will post his webbook to fill in the blanks.

There is no beach on the Big Island that is as nice as Mauna Kea. Simply it is the best white sand beach on the island. Ok maybe the second best but the best resort beach. However, I have never been disappointed with KVR beach for an number of reasons. There is a beach and it's about as private as you can get. The bay is great for swimming and snorkeling, much better than MK's. There is a lava bench that parallels much of the beach which is why KVR's beach has been dis'd but there is about 30 yards of great ocean access by the beach shack. Also, green turtles rest on the beach daily. It's really amazing to watch them climb onto the beach.

Meals at Kona Village are incredible. A huge breakfast of juice, tea, kona coffee, eggs, pancakes, lox, fresh fruit, and hawaiian french toast. The setting is outdoors facing the beautiful ocean. Lunch is a buffet of heroic proportions. Fresh salads, then sushi rolls ,oysters, or king crab, sashimi (fresh ahi) then there are hot entres, and next the grill with such items as hot dogs, hamburgers, pork or lamb and fresh fish. After that there is the pastry table of fresh pies, cakes and of course ice cream. Now dinner, there are two choice. The Hale Moana is the restaurant that is included in your rate. You can have anything on the menu at no cost. However, this does not include wine or alcohol. On Mondays, John Keawe plays his guitar. It's magical. There is also the Hale Samoa. This is the outdoor restaurant next to the beach. Now th HS is a little more upscale and on some orders there is a surcharge,like maine lobster or abalone. There are a few people who really get peeved by this surcharge. For me, if I don't want to pay extra, I don't go to the Hale Samoa.

Drinks have been a source of irritation for some. In the ice box you can get your choice of water, sodas or juices daily. Usually they leave between four to six bottle/cans. However if you are a big drinker of bottled water, juices or maybe beer, I suggest bringing in your own. I routinely ship a case of wine for my stay. My suggestion is to stop off at Costco and buys some alcohol for a predinner cocktail on the lanai.

Now regarding extras or surprises, you should be aware that not included in the price is hawaiian tax of maybe .12. Another complaint seems to be that the base price does not include tips. At the check-in you are asked if you want to participate in automatic tips. I always do the automatic plan of 15% but some really object about 15% for the lunch buffet, saying the servers don't earn it. I personally have no problem with tips but I can understand the objection. For me, the servers are like family, I want to treat them fairly. There is also a tip for the bellman.

Also the resort provides snorkel equipment, kayaks and sailfish for use of the guest. However there are some new toys like windsurfing boards and paddle boards that cost an additional fee.

The luau is fanatastic and the price is included. The luau occurs on Wed. and Friday. In my opinion it is the best luau on the island.

There are two pools. One is the children's pool and one is the adults. The pools are nice but not 4 Season luxury.

There is also a Keike Program during the day. The staff will entertain your child with stories and crafts. I don't know what the age requirements are. I don't know if there is a minimum age.

The gardens are beyond fantastic and there is a petroglyph field on the property. Oh I should say the atmosphere of the Village is very relaxed.

I am unabashedly a fan. If you have further questions, just ask.


wbpiii Dec 30th, 2009 07:53 PM

Sorry after I posted I checked the KVR website and the Keike program has a minimum age of 5.

HuskerMike Dec 30th, 2009 08:30 PM

Bill asked me to add some thoughts; I've brought my daughter to KVR three times as an infant, 1 year, and 2 year old. In a few weeks, she'll be back as a 3 year old.

KVR is a great place to take kids IMHO. The seclusion means you won't feel like you have to keep an eagle-eye on your daughter or stuff on the beach. You know all the stuff you have to lug around with kids; we feel perfectly safe leaving it on the beach while we play in the water. We've even taken our daughter out on a kayak, leaving our cameras and the like on the beach. I wouldn't dare do that at any other beach.

Since you sign for everything, you leave your car keys and wallet in your room. There's a certain security in doing that; 2 years ago, I misplaced my wallet at Hapuna Beach and spent a frantic half hour looking for it, all the while worrying about what I was going to do.

While your 3 year old is too young to attend the children's activities unaccompanied, she can still participate. My daughter (with help of my wife) made a grass skirt and flower lei one morning, attended hula lessons in the afternoon, and then danced in the keiki hula (wearing the grass skirt) on stage that night.

They have a kids menu with all of the kids favorites (chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, etc.), while you can still enjoy the "big person" meals at night. And the food is wonderful; you'll never go hungry. In fact, you'll probably gain weight. On our last day, we usually don't eat dinner as we're heading to the airport to catch the red-eye return flight. We're not really hungry (and believe me, nothing tastes good) until we get back to the mainland the next morning. Here's another bonus: for kids under age 5, they are no charge. I think that'll save you $30-50 or more a day at resorts.

And frankly, it's so nice to walk from your hale to the restaurants along the guided paths, you wouldn't dream of driving somewhere.

The only downside is that the hales are open-air, so if your daughter throws a temper tantrum (Imagine that, a 3 year old throwing a fit!), the noise will carry a bit. But I think that's the same everywhere, whether it's a condo or hotel.

Bottom line is that since there are only 125 hales spread out over a large area, you don't worry about your surroundings and simply enjoy yourselves. The fellow guests form an ohana along with the staff, and you'll feel like you are at home. In fact, that's the best way to describe it: it just feels like a second home.

wbpiii Dec 31st, 2009 05:25 AM

David posted his link on another thread so if you go to this thread

and look for mumpsimus reply.

Hope this all helped.

Sally30 Dec 31st, 2009 09:48 AM

thanks wbpii. i saw that link and it was fantastic.

thank you also for these very thorough replies. KV looks great, I am just wondering if the all-inclusive makes sense for us on this trip as I am going for a work so there will be at least a couple of days when we have group dinners. That, plus the negative reviews I read about some of the hales on trip advisor, are the cons. The pros are that it looks really fun and perfect for a kid. And I love that we don't have to worry about meals which with a kid can be a drag when they want to eat now and don't care that the burger they take 2 bites of cost $15.

so, for a trip with a 3 year old, when I will be away for a couple of days and my husband will be watching daughter on his own, would you pick Kona Village, Mauna Kea or Waikoloa Village? We want something easy and convenient where the beach is nearby since we inevitably have to run back ten times a day because we forget things.

We know and really like MK, especially the beach, but it is expensive. We are comfortable eating a nice lunch there and grabbing a pizza or something casual nearby for an early dinner. Waikoloa is the cheapest by far but seems a bit too built up and huge. open to other suggestions too.

wbpiii Dec 31st, 2009 10:36 AM

Sally, I understand your situation. I would like to be more helpful but at this point, I think you just have weight the pros and cons.

Regarding the condition of the hales, there is a reason why mike, david and I return year after year. There is a reason KVR has the highest return rate of any resort in the islands. If the hales were that bad, I would be somewhere else in a minute. I work hard for my money and if I didn't think I was getting value, I wouldn't be there on my vacation.

Truthfully KVR might not be right for you this time around. That is a personal decision that you and your hubby must make.
No matter what decision you make, I hope your vacation is wonderful.


Sally30 Dec 31st, 2009 10:46 AM

Thanks Bill. This information is very helpful. Not sure what we will do this time but it will be our third trip to HI in 6.5 years (all the way from Boston) so i'm sure we'll be back and make it to KV at some point!

HuskerMike Dec 31st, 2009 05:13 PM

There are some people that KVR rubs the wrong way; they want a phone (less important nowadays since most folks have a cell phone), internet, television, and air conditioning. But that's beside the point at KVR. Of course, I go in early February, so A/C has never been really needed. Someone who goes in August probably will disagree. Some hales sound like they have older bathrooms.

I've never seen a deal like the 25% off deal at KVR; this is unheard of, and I don't know if you can expect to see this offer again if the economy recovers. It still might be a steal even if you have to skip a couple of dinners.

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