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Now I’m going to try to be as fair as possible but based on the information available to all of us, I feel short-changed; not deliberately mind you, but this stay ain’t ever going to be a very fond memory.
OK, it turned out I went during the absolute worst week of the year for me or anyone else looking for peace and quiet. You say I should have known it. How?
Cond Nast Traveler says, “laid back luxury…everybody’s tropical idyll.” Everybody’s, see!
Birnbaum’s goes on and on about lessons in flower arranging and hammocks for “those blessed with true slothfulness”, “the more intrusive aspects of modern life Telephones and television have been blissfully excluded”, and “you’ll never hear your next door neighbor.”
Rene Lecler’s 300 Best Hotels in the World said, “It’s what every Pacific island resort should be like and so often is not”…”gentle and reflective.”
But then again, Kona Village started out behind the 8-ball I’d just been to Bedarra and in my book not many places can compare with that. But I try not to make comparisons, not even in my own mind.
Now these are excerpts from Kona’s own brochure: “125 thatch-roofed hales,” (bungalows) “spaced for privacy,” and “…romantic nights…await honeymooners at Hawaii’s favorite beachside hideaway.”
However, upon arriving, you get another little book; it tells it all: “Children have become a very special part of the Kona Village scene, particularly during school holiday periods.” Too bad we didn’t see it before traveling halfway around the world to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
The same booklet also says that Breakfast is served from 7:15 to 9:45 not true, breakfast stops cold at 9:00: not too great if you’ve flown from Dunk to Townsville to Sydney to Auckland to Honolulu to Hawaii the day before; even less neat for all those honeymooners don’t even think about room service breakfast.
Now I’m not necessarily saying the service isn’t commensurate with Everybody’s tropical idyll, but the same booklet advises that if you want drinks in your room by 4:40 pm, you have to order by 11:30 that morning!
I guess you’re beginning to get my drift. We arrived at 9:30 a.m. to enjoy our second Christmas day this year thanks to the International Date Line. We were told to go and have breakfast as our room wasn’t ready. See Breakfast, above.
The surf was high; no sail boats, no surf boards, no catamaran tours, in fact swimming was virtually “off limits.” The kids didn’t like that much and took out their frustration racing around the pool and along the paths. There must have been more than 400 unless they were the same ones all day. Didn’t matter, the effect was the same pandemonium.
We settled into our semi-detached, Deluxe; right off a charming black sand, pocket beach. All sort of ’50’s rattan, it had a king and a single and a decent bath. We napped.
I had been told to eat only in the Hale Samoa. The Hale Moana is the general dining room while the Hale Samoa offers finedining. That is one word. I’d first heard of it at the Crescent Court in Dallas. I still don’t know what it means but it has nothing to do with discreet service or the quality of food. Let me just say that this dining room suffers from hypertension, which has nothing to do with blood pressure, except mine. The waiters go through the motions in much the same way that Japanese night club singers mimic Frank Sinatra not having a clue what the words mean. Now you see how fair I’m being: can’t blame that on the children.
The miles having caught up with me, I was in Nod by 10:00 p.m. At 11:00, I had an embarrassing ringside seat to “The War of the Roses” who occupied the hale next door. So much for privacy, and my sleep.
There was no way I could make breakfast by 9:00 the next morning; we decided to rent a car to get away from all the irritation. Returning at 12:00 for lunch, we went straight to the buffet hamburgers! Oh well, I needed to lose a few pounds anyway. I longed for sleep. Returning to our hale, I found that the beds hadn’t been made. Now I was faced with the big decision: should I just nap on the unmade bed only to be disturbed when the maids finally arrived, or should I call the housekeeper to find out what was what. See Telephones, above. I walked to the office and inquired when the maids normally do the rooms. “It depends upon what kind of a day they are having.” I knew what kind of a day I was having. They promised to radio the maids that we were not to be disturbed until after 6:00 p.m. You know the rest they soon arrived and I never got one, a rest that is.
We tried the main dining room and ate outside. It was glorious. The children and their charges were inside and we had the scintillating stars above; never noticed what we ate.
The next day management acquiesced and we were moved to another hale. Away from the beach, on a pond, our bungalow was new, charming, clean, and comfortable. We opened a bottle of wine to enjoy on our little porch; the kids started massing at 6:00 p.m. It was the weekly Paniolo Steakfry and Country Music Jamboree at the Hale Ho’okipa right across the water from our “peaceful” little house. We Mai Taied at the bar to numb our disappointment then wandered to our terrace table and the stars. “We aren’t serving outside tonight.”
Maybe it’s more idyllic in February, maybe it’s not. But I sure wouldn’t repeat paying that kind of money to spend what can only be described as Parents’ Week at Camp. Even for those of you looking for a terrific spot to take the family, just remember that when the kids are here, they rule the roost, the schedule, and the atmosphere.
…and in the words of Lowell Thomas, “as the sun sets, we bid adieu to…
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