Many of you showed an interest in my overall impression of this monstrous resort, so here it goes.
The grounds are absolutely beautiful with over 40 acres manicured. The bay in the middle makes it seem even bigger. We have walked from one end to the other each morning and although there are a few joggers on the path, it is still quite peaceful. Plenty of lounge chairs, statues and hammocks for all. Shade is plentiful under the palms. There is no sensation of being crowded anywhere, at least this time of year.
This week after Thanksgiving is the time to be here. Maybe we should have a Frugal Convention here next year? The airfares are way down, room rates are only about $210, (as if we’d ever pay that) and occupancy has been confirmed by two or three employees at about 35%.
Prices are very high for everything at the resort. A coke is $4, 12″ pizza is $17, self parking $15 per day but I keep forgetting to pay as it is not very well monitored. The internet is about $16 per day for wireless or cable modem. I won’t even touch the spa prices. Mask and fins for an hour is $7 and it is $14 for half a day.
Eighteen holes of putt putt golf is $15 but for the $15 you get to play right where Wheel of Fortune was filmed last month. Does that make it any easier to cough up the cash?
Now the good news. When we were here last year the shopping for sundries, cokes and potato chips was limited to the Kings Shops which are a 10 minute hike or free shuttle ride from the hotel. The new Queens Market is now open with a few restaurants and a grocery store. Our room has a fridge so we bought coke at $4.35 per six pack instead of $4 each at the resort. The Queens Market is also serviced by the free shuttle which runs every half hour until 10PM. It is now located in the lower lobby.
Waikoloa is out in the middle of nowhere and this is a huge island. The active volcano is 2 1/2 hours away one way. It is half an hour back to the town of Kona for some funky kind of downtown stuff and entertainment.
We have been to the volcano and up to the other side of the island. If it is your first time here, definitely rent a car and explore. The contrast from the ground covered by lava and that which is growing plant life is very striking. Some of the views are breathtaking from the higher elevations.
We rented a car for 5 days at $130 and have the parking issue to consider???? I could not find a hotel shuttle listed, but did see cabs that came out here from the airport. Next year, I think we’ll just get a cab and plan on staying here on the resort and surrounding grounds. I also noticed a Budget rental counter here in the hotel. There is golf BTW.
The shuttle will get us to the Queens Mall and Kings Shops. I went back to the very tiny fried fish place hidden behind the Kings Market. It seems the local workers grab there lunch there. You eat outside, but the fish is fantastic as is the pineapple cole slaw.
The crowd is mixed with younger children and young marrieds, but is so sparse you can get away from a loud bunch of kids very easily. At noon today I counted 6 people at the lower one third of the pool. I counted the lounge chairs in this one third lower area 120 lounge chairs. Occupancy 6 lounge chairs.
There are also a few fellow empty nesters and honeymooners. Katy let our kids know we were setting an example for them on how to handle the empty nest years and still make our contributions to the economy.
I’ve been to several resorts now here on the islands. The Hilton Resort on Waikiki in Honolulu, Marriott Kauai, Sheraton Kauai, Hilton Kauai, Marriott Waikoloa, Kona Resort in Kona, Kauai Sands and a Sheraton one block from the beach in Waikiki.
I like this one best on the Big Island, the Sheraton on Kauai and have not ventured to Maui until next June.
The most striking thing for me, is still the air. It is so fresh, clean and the temperature this time of year is so nice. It will get hot in the direct sun with no breeze, but other than that, it is delightful day and night.
Now it’s time to explore a few more tidal pools.
We stopped by this Loius Vuitton store today while having lunch. The handbag was $1440 and the matching hand purse and shoes were $585.
A guy on the shuttle had just come out of the real estate office. The Realtor said a sale had closed today on a condo purchased last year for $990,000. The sale price today after the foreclosure was $430,000.
It won’t take too many of those blunders by people paying $1400 for handbags to burn through the $700,000,000,000 us everyday people gave the government, without a vote, or even vote of confidence.
Am I missing something here?
Dmitriy Has Info on the Merger
When he came up short today on miles needed to book an award ticket on Northwest, the agent informed him he could use some of his Delta miles to get to the number of miles he needed. No charge for the transfer and it all happened over the phone. Phone fee charges applied but no transfer fees.
That info is good to know and we all appreciate you sharing the info.
Southwest Airlines Denver Sale
50% discount available only at www.southwest.com/denver
Fine print: Purchase December 8 through December 12, 2008, midnight central standard time. Travel January 6 through March 7, 2009.
Travel valid all days of the week.
Blackout Dates Apply: February 12-February 22, 2009.
If any portion of travel falls on a blackout date, the discount will not apply. Roundtrip travel is required on a Wanna Get Away fare from Denver to any Southwest Airlines destination. Offer applies to Southwest Airlines-operated, published, scheduled service. 50% discount available only on southwest.com/denver off the total amount of any roundtrip Wanna Get Away purchase before taxes and fees .
Seats are limited and won’t be available on some flights that operate during very busy travel times and holiday periods. Fares do not include federal excise tax of $3.50 for each flight segment. A flight segment is defined as a takeoff and a landing. Fares do not include airport-assessed passenger facility charges (PFC) of up to $18 and government-imposed September 11th Security Fee of up to $10. If combining with other fares, the most restrictive fare’s rules apply. Fares are nonrefundable but (except for tickets purchased through our Group Tickets program) may be applied toward future travel on Southwest Airlines. Fares are subject to change until ticketed. Any change in itinerary may result in an increase in fare. Changes made to the itinerary after purchase may eliminate qualifications for this promotion. Standby travel requires an upgrade to the full unrestricted fare.
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases