On Tuesday morning, after spending five days headquartered in Kona, we checked out of the Royal Kona Resort and our destination was 30 miles North and up the coast at the Hilton Waikoala Resort. On the way up the coast in our convertable, we stopped at several spectacular beaches. The guidebooks raved about this stretch of beach and they were right.
The first beach was Old Kona Airport State Park. The parking lot was on the old runway and the beach was nearly deserted when we arrived. We spent about 30 minutes at this beautiful beach, which is a combination of sand and lava rocks.
Our next stop was Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park. According to the guidebooks, this is a topless and/or bottomless beach and and the north section is an alternative beach. We did see a sign saying natural sunbathing was prohibited. However, the beach was normal today, as it was deserted except for a couple of families. It was a decent beach, but since there was construction underway, we didn’t stay long.
The next beach was Wawaloli Beach Park, which is located right next to Keahole-Kona International Airport. Wow, words can’t describe this beach, hopefully the pictures will do it justice. I’m almost hoping our flight on Friday is delayed or canceled so we can spend some more time at this place.
Our final beach of the day was Kekaha Kai State Park. If you make it to this beach, you’ve earned it. It took nearly 20 minutes to navigate this 1.5 mile road, which was like driving on the moon. Here’s a tip: Don’t ever buy a rental car that was used in Hawaii. The suspension on my Mustang convertible was creaking and groaning throughout this drive. Despite its remote location, there were a lot of people at this beach, which tells you how nice it is.
After our beach tour, we checked into the Hilton Waikoloa Village, which is a monster-sized resort property. The compound is 41 acres and you to get from the lobby to our room, we needed to either take a boat or the tram. For a winning bid of $130 on Priceline, this place was a steal.
After dropping our bags off at the room, we went to lunch at one of the many restaurants on the property, the Kirin Chinese Restaurant. This place was awesome. I ordered the won ton soup and my girlfriend had the hot and sour soup. Both were wonderful; in particular, she ranked hers as among the best she’s ever had. I ordered the sizzling beef tenderloin and she had an assortment of dim sum. We were both very pleased with the food. Sure, it was a $100 lunch, but it was well worth the money.
After our late lunch, we explored the huge property, which took several hours. Among the highlights: Numerous pools, include one for adults only; a pool with a water slide and several waterfalls; a sand beach lagoon for sunbathing and snorkeling; a rock beach on the oceanfront. It doesn’t bother me, but if you want to be picky, this resort does not have a sand beach on the oceanfront, but there are several within close driving distance, which we plan to explore later in the week.
At the end of our walk, the sun was close to setting so we found a hammock near the water and watched and relaxed for about 20 minutes. A rain shower sent us scurrying to some beach chairs with a cover for just such an occasion. About 20 minutes before sunset, clouds filled the horizon and we headed back to the room. Instead of dressing up for dinner, we ordered room service, which was decent, but nothing spectacular. We plan to eat at one of the formal restaurants on Thursday — formal in Hawaii being slacks and a Hawaiian shirt for the men and a dress for the women.