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Lodging tips/suggestions for first trip to Hawaii

Lodging tips/suggestions for first trip to Hawaii

Nov 9th, 2007, 08:09 AM
  #1  
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Lodging tips/suggestions for first trip to Hawaii

My husband and I are planning our first trip to Hawaii this February and can't decide which island--all have pros & cons to me. We only have one week so more than one island may not be feasible. Our lodging budget is in the $2000-$3000 range (total)& we're planning to rent a car. Things we'd like to do/see: snorkeling,surfing, whale watching,waterfalls, volcanoes,rain forests, island culture, natural beauty. We'd like some night life but are really looking for quiet seclusion & romance. Ideally we'd want something similar to the individual hales at Kona Village but don't want an all-inclusive. When I see pics of the Honolulu/ Waikiki area I cringe-- high rises & big city are the exact opposite of what we're looking for. Any helpful hints & suggestions as to which island and which resort?(daily maid service, room service and direct access to a swimmable beach are must haves for this trip) Thanks so much for your help!
melissaklob is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 09:02 AM
  #2  
 
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If you want an active volcano, the Big Island is the only choice and it would have all the other things you want also. As to a resort on a beach-- try the Hapuna Prince, located on Hapuna Beach. Here is a helpful website to check the location of hotels in relation to beachs http://www.wizardpub.com/bigisland/bigresort.html

I would not wait to book something--February gets very busy in the islands.
martym is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 09:39 AM
  #3  
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Thanks Marty,

Love this website! I definitely feel more comfortable having a 'visual'. Melissa
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Nov 9th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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If you go to the Big Island, Hapuna Prince is a fantastic choice. It is harder to find swimmable beaches on the BI and Hapuna Beach is considered one of the best in the world. We love the property, too. The wonderful infinity pool is very close to the ocean, and makes for a very relaxing atmosphere, (and you can have lunch right there).

For natural beauty, waterfalls, rain forests, and some nightlife, I would suggest Maui. It has many great beaches and you could stay in Kaanapali or Wailea and get everything you could possibly want. Although you could snorkel at Molokini, there are lots of places in Maui where you can just wade in and see tons of gorgeous fish.

I believe your budget goes a little farther on the BI than on Maui, but of course, things are pricey in Hawaii. If you haven't already, a search here will give you an amazing amount of information, and will really help you decide where you would enjoy yourselves the most. You can do a hotel search for both islands, restaurant search, etc etc,

You will love Hawaii whereever you go, its paradise.
Bikom is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 10:21 AM
  #5  
 
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Outside of Honolulu, Oahu is rural much like the other islands.

The only island with live lava is Big Island. But right now the lava flow is in a remote area & the only way to see the lava is by helicopter.

Lots of info including sites with free brochures for all islands:

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...1&tid=34812564
dusty56438 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 12:34 PM
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melissaklob, I'm also in the stages of planning my first trip to Hawaii and have decided on the Big Island. If Kona Village really appeals to you, check out their Bed & Breakfast plan on the Specials page. That way you get the best of both worlds--the romance and individual hale rooms of Kona and the freedom to explore the island without feeling tied down to a mealplan.

My husband and I will wind down our vacation next year at Kona and we're debating which package plan to do.
ejcrowe is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 07:16 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for the feedback Bikom, Dusty & EJCrowe
-- it is much appreciated! After researching online & polling friends I've come up with more questions and to the conclusion that no matter what we end up with we'll have a wonderful time--it's Hawaii!! Since we're doing this somewhat last minute, hotel availability may dictate our choices. Regarding the location of the Hapuna Prince on the BI, love that beach. What are the advantages of staying on a natural beach vs a manmade one? Would we be better off staying at another property & driving to the beaches? Anybody have any feedback on the Hilton Waikaloa Village?

Also, since the lava flow at VNP is somewhat remote right now, would it still be worth it to stay in Volcano and do a night trip to see the active lava? Could the park be done as a day trip from the Hapuna Beach area?
melissaklob is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 10:48 PM
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"Also, since the lava flow at VNP is somewhat remote right now, would it still be worth it to stay in Volcano and do a night trip to see the active lava?"

There are no night hikes right now. You may be able to find a helicopter for a night flight or for twilight hours.

About 5-6 months ago, the lava was flowing into the ocean & you could hike at night & get within 1/4 - 1/2 mile of the lava.

Then it stopped for a week or two & now it is flowing in a completely different area that is in a remote section of the park. It is nowhere near the ocean right now, nor close to any trails.

By February it may be in a more accessible area.
dusty56438 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2007, 05:44 AM
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Thanks Dusty, I didn't realize that the night hikes may not be available.
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Nov 13th, 2007, 08:25 AM
  #10  
MaureenB
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We've stayed at the Hilton Waikaloa, with our kids. Unless you have kids along, I wouldn't recommend it. On other trips, we'd drive to Hapuna Beach and it is gorgeous. I'd choose that hotel.

Unless you want a very nice, small condo complex. Our favorite place to stay on the Big Island is Sea Village, a small complex just below Kona. It is close to Disappearing Sands, which is a snorkeling cove popular with locals. Sea Village condos are individually-owned, so Google it and you'll find lots. The place is about 8 buildings that are three-stories, most of them facing the water. It's a very well-kept place, nice little pool, free tennis, garden area with free barbeques. We've stayed there two or three times, in a 2 bdrm/2 bath unit directly over the ocean. (No daily maid service, though.)
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Nov 13th, 2007, 09:57 AM
  #11  
 
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melissaklob, you certainly have the right attitude, it IS Hawaii, and you will love it. As Maureen says, the Hilton is best enjoyed if you have children along, plus there is no beach at all there. (They have a mad-made lagoon). Its such a huge property that I think its worth a stroll along the grounds, where you can take the boat shuttle ot the train shuttle, and you can have a nice meal there, but I personally wouldn't stay there without my kids.
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Nov 13th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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Thanks MaureenB & Bikom, My sister & brother-in-law stayed at the Hilton Waikaloa for a business meeting a couple years ago and thought it was fabulous. I'm sure the fact that it was on the company dime helped! I know our boys would love it but this trip is just for grown-ups. We actually teased our nine year old son, who is 'dying' to go to Hawaii, that they don't allow children into the state. We usually do condo/cottage rental trips with the kids which I think is part of the reason I've resisted these types of properties for this trip. Haven't had a "pampering" resort vacation since our honeymoon (St. Lucia Sept.'94--tropical storm knocked out main island water pump days before our arrival--no showers or flushable toilets for a week. Not so romantic)

I'm definitely leaning toward the Hapuna Prince. Are there any rooms you would recommend or areas of the resort to avoid?

Does anyone know if you can purchase tickets to the Friday night luau at Kona Village if you aren't staying on property? Would anybody recommend this?
melissaklob is offline  
Nov 13th, 2007, 11:24 AM
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melissa, yes ... you can purchase tickets for the Kona Village luau though you don't stay there. At least, that was their policy a few years back. My sister went, and said the whole experience was very "authentic."
elsiemoo is offline  
Nov 13th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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MaureenB
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The Kona Village is open to all, and we have enjoyed it twice.

If you're looking to splurge on the Big Island, there's the Fairmont Orchid and the Mauna Lani. Both are upscale and very nice.
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Nov 13th, 2007, 11:42 AM
  #15  
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Thanks Elsiemoo, just curious about those quotation marks around authentic--is that in a good way or in a cheesy, over the top way? Maybe all luau's are somewhat cheesy & over the top to a degree?
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Nov 13th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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melissa, I mean it in a good way. The food is the real thing, and the dancers know what they're doing, according to my sister.

Yes, luaus are a little cheesy and overpriced, but I think if you do Kona Village, Old Lahaina on Maui, or the Polynesian Cultural Ctr. on Oahu ... you will have done one of the best and be glad you did it.
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Nov 13th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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Thanks Elsiemoo, I was hoping that was what you meant. We will definitely try to hit the one at Kona Village.
Maureen, thanks for the suggestions. I looked at the Mauna Lani and really liked what I saw, but they didn't have availability for all of the dates I was interested in. I'd love to hear more on the Fairmont Orchid from people who have stayed there & esp. if you've stayed at both the Hapuna Prince & the Fairmont. Anybody?

Also, I was originally thinking of heading to Volcano first, spending a night or two then heading up to the Kohala Coast. After checking flights I'm not sure this is the best idea (many don't arrive till almost 10pm). Any thoughts on the best time to fit VNP into the trip, beginning or end? Or any suggestions for something closer to the airport(Kona) for the first night, then head to Volcano for one night, then to Kohala?
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Nov 13th, 2007, 04:31 PM
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Melissa, we haven't stayed at the Orchid, just the Mauna Lani. They are side by side, so we'd walked to the Orchid and eaten a meal there. It is very nice, and I think I remember that it has a nice beach.

The luaus are fun, and something that's good to do at least once. We went to the Kona Village one, and it has a good setting with good food. I think I remember its cocktails may have been expensive, but I could be confusing it with another luau we went to another time. One had free cocktails, and one had expensive ones.

Even though we've stayed on the Big Island three or four times, we've never gone to the volcano. Just never been too interested in it, I guess, so I can't help with that.

There's so much to do on the Big Island, but we like to stay in one place for a week at a tiime because part of vacation is sleeping in and relaxing, not moving.

Try not to overdo it, so you can get into the Mahalo spirit of Hawaii. It's wonderful there, whatever you do.
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Nov 13th, 2007, 04:36 PM
  #19  
 
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Melissa, you and your husband are going to have such a wonderful time!

We went to the Big Island last year (have been to Hawaii 4 times, but this was first time to Big Island.)

We stayed for 10 nights, and we could have stayed longer.

The last five nights we stayed at the Fairmont Orchid, and we thought it was great. It's about 45 minutes from Kona. The rooms were nice, the grounds were incredible. We loved the fact that they didn't pipe in music, and when we were lying around the pool we could hear the waves and the breeze through the palm trees.

We did stay for 2 nights in the Volcano area. We started out with 3 nights in the Kona area, then 2 nights near volcano, then 5 nights at the Fairmont Orchid. We like to save the most luxurious lodgings for the end of our trips, so we don't feel like we "moving down." If you do stay at the Fairmont, join their club (not sure what it's called) online before you go. It might help to get you some extra perks.

You can click on my name to find my trip report. I think I posted it in November of 2006.

We went to the Hapuna Beach, so we saw that hotel. It seemed nice, but my preference would be the Fairmont. The beach at the Hapuna is better, but the beach at the Fairmont is nice, too, with lots of good snorkeling (and many, many sea turtles swimming all around!)

Are you flying directly to the Big Island, or are you going through Honolulu? If you're stopping at Honolulu first, you should have several options for flights to Hilo that would arrive earlier than 10 p.m.
Samsaf is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 05:45 PM
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I would choose the Fairmont over Hapuna, too--we have stayed there and it's a really nice property. My first choice would be the Mauna Lani, if you can swing it.

The BI is my favorite Hawaiian island, but I usually recommend Maui or Kauai for a first-timer, as they are smaller and a little less intimidating to explore (the BI really is quite big!). As someone else noted, though, there's only volcanic activity on the BI.
Gellers is offline  

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