We had a long flying day on Saturday, flying on United from Tulsa to Los Angeles to Honolulu to Kona. The flights were uneventful except for one of the landings being the worst I have ever had. The whole airplane clapped and cheered when they finally got us on the ground without death or dismemberment. I’m not sure what the problem was.
We picked up our rental car and drove towards our hotel. Along the way we stopped at Kona Inn Restaurant. It was a fancier restaurant than we had anticipated, but we decided to eat there anyway. It was in the first resort hotel built on the island, in 1928. The views of the ocean were wonderful. Our server was very friendly, and the food was excellent. Josh and I shared an appetizer salad, a seafood combo platter, and a dessert. It was the perfect amount of food for two, and we got out of there for $65. This would be a great restaurant to come as a couple or with other adults, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for children.
We continued on our road to the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort. We were only staying here one night, the rest of the time we will be at The Fairmont Orchid Resort. The Sheraton is fairly nice, although it is showing its age. There were several very large pools, with very long waterslides. I’m sure they provide hours of fun for the kids staying here. They also had pool tables and ping-pong tables in the lobby area, which were being put to good use when we arrived.
We walked around, enjoyed our complimentary welcome beverages, and walked down to the coastline cliffs where the Manta Rays come to swim at night to feed on the crill that are attracted to the bright lights the hotel shines in the water. There was also one of the snorkeling/diving Manta Ray excursions in the same area, waiting for the Mantas as well. We saw two Mantas gliding along from the cliffs. They were pretty far away, and looked like dark shadows gliding through the waves. Then, exhausted, we went to bed.
The next morning we stopped in very briefly for our free buffet breakfast at the Sheraton, then hurriedly left and drove to meet a group for a kayak and snorkel trip to the Captain Cook monument. The monument is built in close proximity to the place where Captain Cook met his death at the hands of the Hawaiians in 1779. The monument area is actually British territory, the only foreign territory that is part of the United States besides that of foreign embassies.
We went on our tour at 7 am with Adventures in Paradise. The operation was done with a husband and wife team, and they were very friendly. They also grow coffee and roast it, sending it to anyone who orders it. We kayaked a little over a mile to the monument then spent several hours snorkeling and eating snacks. On our way to the monument we saw a large pod of dolphins, and during our stay at the monument the dolphins came closer to the monument, but they left again before we could swim with them. They were very active, jumping and spinning out of the water. It was fabulous.
We kayaked back to the pier again, which was harder on the way back. I was paddling slower and slower until Josh just said I should stop. We made it back to the shore, then headed to get some lunch. We found a local place on Yelp with 205 reviews and still had a 5-star rating: Da Poke Shack. It’s a little hole in the wall that has some BBQ and a lot of poke. We didn’t know what poke was, but discovered that it is a raw fish salad. I had one of the kinds that the girl at the counter said was one of the most popular. It reminded me of chicken salad, except with buttery, melt in your mouth tender fish. It also came with rice and a side. The rice had a seaweed topping that was delicious. Basically, eat at Da Poke Shack if you find yourself in the Kona area. Yum!
We went to our new hotel: The Fairmont Orchid. It is amazing. We also used several coupons that they sent Josh for staying 10 nights with Fairmont in the past year, one for a free night, one for a free upgrade to a suite. INCREDIBLE. This is a gorgeous hotel. Our room is humongous, and the view from our balconies (yes, 2 balconies) is out over the ocean, right where the sun sets. Everything is so perfect. They have a beautiful beach, a huge pool, free activities, very friendly staff, ah – I feel like royalty whenever I stay at a Fairmont. What a great hotel company.
In the afternoon we toured the grounds and relaxed. We went to the local grocery store just up the road and bought some desserts and drinks and had a little picnic on our lanai and watched the sunset. It was such a wonderful day.