Saying Goodbye to the Kona Village Resort

Our first true glimpse of the Kona Village Resort on the Big Island of Hawai’i came at dawn, as the birds squawking outside our grass-roofed hale woke our tired bodies.  Despite our late arrival, the time difference wouldn’t allow us to get back to sleep and the open air roofs of the hale didn’t provide much soundproofing for the jet-lagged. But since this was our first day in Hawai’i, on a special family trip to celebrate our 10th anniversary and my 40th birthday, we were eager to see what these exotic islands had to offer.

Black Lava on beach at KVR |

Black lava stone by the beach at the KVR

We stepped off the porch of our beach hale to a profusion of colors, sounds, and aromas. Donning the leis of hibiscus flowers that greeted us upon arrival the previous evening, we headed down the flower-lined path toward the beach to see what the resort had in store.  Our early bird arrival on the beach did not disappoint.  In addition to a beautiful sunrise, the beach had another surprise in store.  A quartet of sea turtles were making their way out of the ocean and up onto the shore.  While it was hard to restrain our excitement, we held back and watch them make their way to dry land as others slowly shuffled their way back to the water.

Sea Turtle in Hawaii | Saying Goodbye to the Kona Village Resort from We3Travel

Beach at KVR | We3travel

Exploring the beach

After exploring along the volcanic rocks, we paid tribute to the tiki and draped our leis around his neck.  The thing about the Kona Village Resort is that is was different from just about every “hotel” you have ever been to.  Reminding us of our honeymoon in French Polynesia, each guest or family has their own hale.  Ours opened into a main bedroom with a king size bed, and had a small anteroom with a twin bed between the main room and the bathroom, perfect for our family of three.  The point of the Kona Village Resort (or KVR) is relaxation.  There were no TVs, no phones, no locks on the doors — just true Hawaiian style relaxation.  Certainly not cheap (it was a favorite of Steve Jobs’ family), it isn’t at all what you think of when you think of a luxury resort — and that is what made it so special.

Tiki on beach at Kona Village Resort | We3Travel

Hale at Kona Village Resort via We3Travel

Our Hale

After our morning exploration, we were ready to try a Hawaiian breakfast.  While the resort offered various meal plans, we opted just for the breakfast since we were hoping to explore the island a few of the days.  After being seated, we were served a tropical fruit plate and guava juice.  Ah, sweet guava juice.  I’d go back just for that. You then had a choice of the breakfast buffet or ordering off the menu.  It was a hard decision, so our server suggested we do both, after all, it was included.  Now you are starting to see why breakfast quickly became our favorite meal.

As thrilled as I was about ordering anything and everything that I wanted, my daughter, who was six at the time, had her first real experience with a buffet.  Her eyes when she learned she could go up more than once reminded me of Merry, one of the hobbits in Lord of the Rings when he found out that beer came in pints. For my husband, the discovery of the trip was coconut syrup on macadamia nut pancakes.  And yes, we brought a bottle home.

Flowers at KVR via We3Travel

The spirit of KVR can’t be captured in the food, or the pools — which frankly weren’t very great, or even the beach; but is probably found best in the long walks through the verdant paths to and from your hale.  Flowers in your hair, sand under your feet, hibiscus smell in the air and families of quail wandering around your ankles.  If you are looking for relaxation and an authentic Hawaiian experience, you found it at the Kona Village resort.

Sea Turtle on Kona Village Resort from We3Travel

That is why I was so saddened to learn recently of its closure in 2011 due to damage from an earthquake-generated tsunami.  I hope beyond hope that they are able to rebuild and keep its authenticity because I would like to celebrate my 50th birthday there as well.  So good bye for now KVR, we will always cherish the memories. Learn more about what you can do with kids on the Big Island.

Kona Village resort review from

We Heart KVR


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