It was one of the most exotic and unique rooms I’ve ever stayed in. Built upon an ancient field of black lava rock, it looked like a hut on the surface of mars. But with secluded beaches only steps away, it was a true Polynesian paradise.
My getaway to the Kona Village Resort began after a half-day of fishing along the Kona coast with Sea Wife Fishing Charters (www.fishkona.org/sea_wife.html), one the island’s most popular sports fishing outfits. When the charter returned to port with its ice chests stocked with tasty fish such as ono and tuna, we headed to the resort for unforgettable barefoot luxury.
Located at an ancient Hawaiian fishing village, Kona Village Resort covers 82 private acres on Kahuwai Bay, along the Big Island’s Kohala Coast. The resort features 125 thatched-roof bungalows called hale (ha-lay). The hale are grouped into tiny villages surrounding lush lagoons, pristine white and black sand beaches, and lava fields.
As I mentioned, my hale was surrounded in the back by a sea of black lava, dating back thousands of years. Some of the rocks are engraved with ancient petroglyphs, the picture-like writings of early Hawaiians. The resort features more than 400 of the carvings, representing one largest petroglyph sites on the island.
In front of the bungalow, the landscape transitioned naturally into sandy beach. From my lanai, I could see the blue ocean peeking through swaying palm trees about 30 yards away. I could reach the water by walking 10 seconds over warm sand. When I did this I found a hidden cove, with an empty hammock and a couple of large sea turtles basking in the sun.
And then there was the hale itself. Topped with a thatched-roof, the wooden hut oozed Hawaiian charm. To keep things real, it came without island nuisances such as TV, radio or telephone. In their place I listened to wooden wind chimes and song birds, gazed at a real-life water color painted on my lanai, and breathed in the enchanting aroma of the colorful plumeria.
For faster paced fun, I explored the resort’s swimming pools, tennis courts, fitness center and Shipwreck Bar. But my favorite attraction was the Polynesia Luau, held Wednesday and Friday nights.
Staged on the banks of ancient Hawaiian fish ponds, this award-winning luau celebrates the culture and heritage of Hawaii, and in the process, it serves up incredible authentic food.
The luau begins when traditionally-dressed islanders unveil a bunch of food cooked underground in an Hawaiian earthen oven or imu. The highlight of this is when they lift out the large, succulent kalua pig, followed by fresh fish, chicken and island veggies.
After this, guests are seated near the lagoon, while a buffet is prepared. When the food is ready everyone lines up to fill their plates. They then sit down to beating drums, strumming guitars, spinning fire, grass skirts, melodic voices and beautiful dancers.
For more info on visiting the Big Island of Hawaii, visit www.bigisland.org. For info on staying at Kona Village Resort, visit www.konavillage.com
By Greg Aragon