KONA, Hawaii - A
couple prepared to sail through Kahuwai Bay on a small boat. One-
and two-person kayaks shared a patch of shimmering black and white
sand, waiting for potential paddlers, many of whom were busy
reading under thatched awnings. And the beach attendant bid goodbye
to a couple by name, then called out, "See you next year!"
In all my travels
throughout Hawaii, I have never experienced a place quite like Kona
Village Resort on the Big Island.
Plenty of other
hotels are as luxurious and relaxing. But none has the homey feel
of the 125-hut Kona Village, with its thatched roof hale, dirt
pathways and friendly staff.
Maybe that's why
visitors return not just year after year, but decade after decade,
generation after generation.
Duerr came to Kona Village as an executive assistant in 1966, one
year after it opened, and has served as general manager since
At Kona Village,
staff and guests know each other by name. Servers, managers and
beach attendants don't just wait on you. They answer questions,
offer suggestions. Yet they also know when to leave you
The sale of the
resort last month to Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts will bring no
changes to staff, according to a spokeswoman for the hotel. Duerr
will remain as general manager.
Kona Village is a
throwback to the Hawaii of yesteryear. Dirt paths lead to
comfortably elegant, generously separated huts.
balcony, with a table and chairs, chaise lounge and full-size
Jacuzzi, looked out over unmanicured brush, black sand, lava rocks
and the ocean.
There are no
phones, televisions or clocks in the rooms (cell phones work, but I
didn't see a single person using one). Our bed was fluffy, and the
bathroom had a glassed-in shower and a deep-soaking tub.
At lunchtime, we
dined at the outdoor buffet on grilled shrimp kabobs, fresh fruit
and coconut cookies. Dinner at the indoor/outdoor Hale Moana Dining
Room is casual, suitable for families; evening meals at the Hale
Samoa Dining Room are more elegant.
There is so much
to do in Kona, but with all activities, such as kayaking and
glass-bottom boat rides included at the resort, there is little
reason to leave the property.
Situated on 82
acres of what was once a fishing village, it also is the location
of 400 petroglyphs, or carvings etched in lava, that reveal the
lives led by early Hawaiians in the area. Educational tours are
offered several times per week.
But sometimes the
best choice, especially at Kona Village, is to do absolutely
meals and activities and start at $515 per night, double. A
two-room hale (triple) begins at $850 per night. All prices include
use of the fitness center, the children's program, petroglyph
tours, beach activities and three meals per day.
or information on packages, call (800) 367-5290 or visit www.konavillage.com.
the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].