One problem I was having when booking this trip was the price of rental cars. They were absolutely outrageous, coming in at well over $100 a day for a compact car. Ugh, and that was on the cheapest sites. I spent some time on google, and eventually came across Discount Hawaii Car Rental dot com. Checked their rates…and it seemed too good to be true…plus they weren’t even asking for a credit card to confirm it! I booked, they told me it had been booked with Alamo, and I checked Alamo’s website…and it was there. Wow.
Fast forward to Kona, and I get to Alamo to pick up the car. As promised, it was a two door jeep, and the price was as promised as well. Wow…score another win for teh interwebz!
Short 20ish minute drive, and we were at our hotel, the Kona Sheraton. Parking was an absolute bear, with no spots at all in the lot. Eventually I just gave up and gave the car to the valet…which turned out to be good, because when I checked in it turned out valet was complimentary for Starwood Platinum members. Something they should probably alert you about in advance maybe?
There was good news, however. We’d been upgraded to an “Ohana Suite” which was an amazing room with an oceanfront view. Found out one other disappointing thing at check-in: it was 9:15pm and all the hotel restaurants were already closed. Seriously, I know it’s a resort and it’s Hawaii, but no food after 9pm?! We ended up ordering room service (which delivered only until 10) and had two outrageously priced burgers and beers for like $60. At least they were quite tasty.
Then, it was time to brush the teeth…or so we thought. Turned on the faucets…and a stream of brown water came out for like 30 seconds. What is this, Sochi? I know well enough to avoid “dangerous face water” but it was running clear after a minute, so figured it was at least good enough to shower in. Called the front desk, they apologized profusely, and sent up several bottles of water for drinking…and then we passed out.
Woke up reasonably early, maybe 8a and the view outside the room of the pools was amazing:
The hotel had a great little coffee shop/stand, and we grabbed some great kona coffee and small snacks for breakfast. This is something I wish more hotels had: a local coffeeshop with great food and drinks so you don’t have to have a giant breakfast in the morning.
The pool looked awesome out our room, so we opted to spend the rest of the morning being completely lazy and sitting by the pool until check-out time. It was fantastically relaxing and just what I needed to start the trip off. Yes, I said check-out. We were in Kona for three nights, but ended up booking each night at a different hotel. When I booked, the Sheraton was only available the first and last nights, and the King Kam Courtyard was only available the middle night. Odd, but at least I’d get two Starwood stay credits!
We checked out at exactly noon, and drove to the King Kamehameha Hotel to check in. It’s right in the middle of the city, and I’d stayed there many times 15+ years ago when I used to go to Kona each fall to volunteer at the Ironman. The hotel was in much rougher shape than I remembered, but maybe that was partly to do with the lack of the festive atmosphere I remember from Ironman…who knows. They did give me a free box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, however, for being a Marriott Gold Member. Heh. The hotel was so-so and really musty smelling, and I don’t know…I just had really good memories of it and it was a bit of a let down.
Walked to lunch at the Kona Brewing Company, about a 10 minute walk from the hotel:
Very tasty Cuban sandwich with Kailua Pork, and even tastier samplers: