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Resting and Relaxing in Hawaii - Kona Village or other options?

Resting and Relaxing in Hawaii - Kona Village or other options?

Old Oct 21st, 2010, 08:16 PM
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Resting and Relaxing in Hawaii - Kona Village or other options?

We've stayed twice at Kona Village, once on our own and once with our children and my parents. Both trips were memorable but more than 15 years ago.

We're planning a return trip to Hawaii for a week in late February. We'll probably head to the Big Island but might also consider Maui. Our sole goal is to relax and recuperate. Easy access to snorkeling and swimming, watching whales, eating good local food without having to drive, comfortable beds, spa facilities, and a hammock or lounge to enjoy tropical views or breezes are among our priorities.

Should we return to Kona Village or do folks have other recommendations we should consider? Kona Village would be at the top of our price range.

Thanks for your input!

Wren
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Old Oct 21st, 2010, 08:34 PM
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Wren, I'm a huge fan of Kona Village, and go there three times a year because I love it. If you haven't been there in 15 years, take a look at www.davidskvr.net for a refresher. It's a website I did because I can't get my mind off the place. You'll find some improvements, but the same ambience, and many of the same staff.
David
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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 05:20 AM
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For whales, Maui wins hands down. There is nothing like having Moloka'i and Lana'i as backdrops for whales jumping. Ive seen more whales sitting at a restaraunt in Maui than Ive seem on BI whale watches.

BI didnt handle their growth nearly as well as Maui. I dred driving into Kona whereas 30 yrs ago I loved it. Maui really did a better job in this respect, but if you are just going to hang at Kona Village it really doesnt matter. If you stay on the BI you have to spend some money on a good place(I wouldnt stay anywhere other than the 4Seasons or Mauna Kea), whereas I can get a 3-4 star in Maui and be very happy.

IMO-Check out Napili Kai
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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 06:49 AM
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How refreshing to see a post about Hawaii that doesn't ask about ziplines and magic shows. It's about the natural beauty of the islands.
Maui is the place to see whales,and hear them. From our lanai in Kihei we can watch them jump out of the water. When you snorkel you will hear them,it's the strangest sound.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 07:09 AM
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I agree with Frank about the whales. There are more whales on Maui and also people. Now, as I read your post whales are only one part of the equation.

I've been to Maui and I think Hawaii is far superior. Maui is wall to wall condos and resorts. The resort all have 600 rooms. It's growth out of control. The road through Lahina is just as congested as those on the Big Island. The two big resort areas are 30 minutes away from the airport, farther for the Lahina side. A car is mandatory.

I am not saying that the Maui resorts are not nice but I don't see them as peaceful and relaxing. The only resort snorkeling is at Black Rock and it's just ok. All other snorkel spots demand a commute.

On the big island, resorts are Mauna Kea, Hapuna, Fairmont, Muana Kea and Four Seasons. At its best "sale" price, which is a rare event, the Fours Season is more expensive for just the room than Kona Village and then you have to eat. You need a car for that and a commute.

Muana Kea, a beautiful resort, rather formal and a great beach. The price is slightly lower than FS. There are no alternatives to food without driving either to Wiamea, Muana Lani Resort or to the Harbor. I think if you intend to eat well, MK is more expensive than Kona Village. Oh, big beaches don't equate to good snorkeling so you would have to commute to your snorkel spots. The closest decent spot would be Puako.

So that leaves Muana Lani and Fairmont. I love the Muan Lani Resort Property. It has the same feel as Kona Village. They both are equivalent in price if you get a sale and eat moderately well. If you eat on the cheap, they might be cheaper.

Snorkeling can be had at both resorts. It's not the best. Muana Lani has a cute little beach that is .25 miles from the resort. There is some snorkeling around there. Foodwise, if you don't want to eat at the resort, there are a few restaurants in the area such as Tommy Bahama and Ruth Crist. I think buses will take you there from the resorts.

Personally, I am not a fan of the 60s architecture of the ML. It's so not Hawaiian. It's the white box theory. But people love it and it kinda cool inside. ML has excellent restaurants and spa. My one complaint with ML resort are the hundred maybe thousands of condos. It's so over built.

If I couldn't go to Kona Village I would look at either ML or Fairmont.

I humbly disagree with my fellow Island traveler that 4S and Muana Kea are the only good places to spend money. It certainly depends on the experience you want. Kona Village is designed to be different. No phones, no television radios, no elevators. Once you are on the campus, most guest stay there because you have everything at you disposal, a protected beach, three fantasic meals, a very gentle use of the land, a feeling of old Hawaii, kayaking and snorkeling. Further, if you walk out to the bluffs at the north end of the resort, you have a wonderful point to watch whales.

I can't tell you what to do because it's really about how you want to relax. I am sure you will enjoy whatever resort you choose.

Bill
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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 07:31 AM
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I don't have a hotel/resort/town to recommend, but the island of Maui is amazing. Since you've already been to the BI, why not try something new?
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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 08:09 AM
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Thanks, folks. Appreciate the input and please keep it coming. We really are looking for a place that we can enjoy "staying put" with ready access to the water for swimming and snorkeling. We might rent a car for a day's explorations, but really just want to stay in a place that truly feels like Hawaii. Is there anything similar to a Kona Village like setting on Maui? Should we look into something out Hana way?
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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 08:40 AM
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>>

There's not.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 09:32 AM
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May be out of your price range, but the Mauna Lani (sp?) is an awesome resort where you can just park yourself for days on end! The next door Orchid resort is also very nice.

For a more affordable place, we have stayed a few times at Sea Village, just below Kona. It is a smaller condo complex which is very well-managed, and very reasonably priced. It has free tennis, a small pool, a lovely garden area with barbeques, and many condos have full ocean views.

Google Sea Village and you will find lots of them for rent. They are individually owned properties.

We were there one June, when we could see lots of dolphins swimming out front of our lanai.

One drawback is that you cannot walk to a beach from there, as the shore is rocky at Sea Village. But there is good snorkeling not far away, at Disappearing Sands beach, a favorite of locals so you see lots of colorful characters there!
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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 09:33 AM
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To clarify, Mauna Lani is on Hawaii (Big Island).
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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 09:41 AM
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Around Hana is lovely but remote. It is on the wetside of the island and get 90 inches of rain a year. It like a rainforest. The beaches around Hana are few, just like the eastside of the BI and those that exist are suited to bodysurfing, a little rough. There are few is any stores in Hana. Maybe two restaurants of limited quality. I am not a fan of the "drive" to Hana. It's slow and curvy. Some people love it but it's remote. It's is quiet, however.
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Old Oct 24th, 2010, 04:24 AM
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Is it just me? or is the Orchid & Mauni Lani not 'destination' type resorts? While both are very nice, neither has a good beach
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Old Oct 24th, 2010, 02:06 PM
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I think we're going to stick with Kona Village. It really is pretty unique. We actually stayed at the Mana Lani once and it was a lovely hotel - but it was a hotel. When you're at Kona Village, there's no question where you are.
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 05:31 AM
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Count me as one who adores Hana and The Hotel Hana Maui. There is great hiking and even though the weather can be iffy at times, the overall vibe of the place is closer to the real Hawaiian experience (which many tourists don't really want.)Lots of natives live here and if you're into more than lying by the pool in the sun (yes, it does appear) and destroying your skin, then you might find this the paradise that I do. Hamoa Beach in the summer can be calm and very swimmable. In the winter, not so much.
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 08:27 AM
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Frank, the Orchid and Mauna Lani don't have good beaches? Hmmm. Have they moved since we stayed there??

The Mauna Lani has a snorkel cove, too, plus lovely white sand beaches and amazing places to sit and look at the ocean all throughout.

They are both destination resorts. Not sure what you meant by that.

Both these high-end hotels meet the criteria: "Our sole goal is to relax and recuperate. Easy access to snorkeling and swimming, watching whales, eating good local food without having to drive, comfortable beds, spa facilities, and a hammock or lounge to enjoy tropical views or breezes are among our priorities."
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 09:13 AM
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Mauna Lani might look good in pictures, but the rocks sure are hard on the feet. Orchids man made baech is is just too small and uncomfortable. However, both hotels have spectacular facilities & grounds
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 09:28 AM
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Again, we have stayed at the Mauna Lani. There is a short walk on a maintained path to the snorkel cove, which also has bathroom facilities. It is a very nice place for snorkeling. We were there everyday.

There is a sandy beach for swimming, also at the hotel, near the pool. Not sure where the rocks are hard on the feet, but that could certainly be the case somewhere, like at the golf course?

Anyway, it has all the amenities the OP is looking for.

Seems the OP has made other plans, so no need to discuss further.
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 09:28 AM
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Well since we're arguing, I must say that there is a piece of road between Kohola and Hawi that the locals refer to as Whale Highway. Just sayin' Whales on the Big Island? absurd!
Surf's up!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78xYPU-YTV8

And as far as Hana is concerned, it's vedy vedy dark, and where there are lots of cows, there are lots of cow patties and there are nekid people there just like when Captain Cook brought the natives the pox. Gravity makes visiting nekid beach less fun on both fronts. Just sayin'
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 11:36 AM
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Thanks for the link Kealalani. I hope to see that this January!

Bill
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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or was it called Humpback Highway?
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