Category Archives: Big Island

Southwest Airlines Now Flies to Hawaii!

Southwest Airlines flew it’s first commercial flight to Hawaii yesterday on a route from Oakland, California to Honolulu.  Southwest’s entry into the Hawaiian market has been eagerly anticipated and fare wars have already begun.  Starting March 24th, there will be two daily flights each way between Oakland and Honolulu.  April 7th will see the first flight from Oakland to Kahalui, Maui with the return flight available beginning the next day. Twice daily service between these two cities will start April 10th.

Other announced schedules include 4 times daily  inter island service between Honolulu and Kahalui starting April 28th  expanding to four times daily between Honolulu and Kona on May 12th.  Flights, once daily, between San Jose and Honolulu will start May 5th and between San Jose and Kahului, once daily, starting May 26th.

Details are expected within the next week  for schedules involving San Diego, Sacramento and Kauai.

We look forward to more schedules from Southwest Airlines and lower fares for all of us wanting to visit the gorgeous Hawaiian Islands!

 

 

 

 

Redevelopment Project Brings Changes to Makena

Located a short distance south of  our condo at Makena Surf is the Makena Beach and Golf Hotel.

Makena Beach Hotel

This hotel  will be closing and redeveloped into an exclusive high end resort. The permit for this construction lists the redevelopment as a $230 million dollar project.   The owner of the Makena Beach & Golf Resort, ATC Makena, has partnered with Discovery Land Company to complete this project.  In 2014, the project manager of Discovery told the Maui Land Use Commission that ATC has losses in excess of $20 million dollars since taking control of this property in 2010 and that the hotel as it currently exists is not sustainable. Discovery is a real estate development company based in Scottsdale, Arizona that specializes in building luxury residential private club communities in the U.S.  One of these properties is Kukio in the Kohala area on the Big Island.

Time estimates are still rather fluid and the hotel currently does not have a projected closing date.  Construction is scheduled to begin in 2015 and last for 3 years. The existing 310 room hotel will be renovated and redeveloped into 50 private residences that will range in size from approximately 2,400 to over 5,600 square feet and will vary between 2, 3, 4, and 5 bedroom floor plans with different levels of finishes.

Development plans also include building a new boutique hotel that will have 76 rooms as well as 12 multi-family condominiums, 5 spa hales and nine beach cottages.  The developer has indicated that daily room rates at this new hotel will be comparable to other luxury Wailea hotels and that the residential units would range from $1.9 million to $6 million. The 12 condominiums, known as Kula Villas,  will be constructed on the mauka or mountain side of the existing hotel and will range from 3,000 to 4,000 square feet and will include covered lanais and spa plunge pools. The 9 beach cottages will each be approximately 3,500 square feet, consist of 4 bedroom and 4.5 baths and will have ocean views. These cottages will be constructed south of the existing hotel near the parking area of Maluaka Beach and will feature architectural details reflecting the culture of an historic Hawaiian village. The Spa Hales will be the smallest and least expensive of the development project; these will have 2 bedrooms and will not have ocean views.

Those who buy one of these properties will automatically be members of the Makena Golf and Beach Club which will offer members’ only amenities including access to the now private golf courses, dining and other activities including horseback riding and tennis.  The private community will be gated and will also include a rustic “downtown” called Makena Village that will comprise a general store, restaurants, post office and retail stores. Despite this, the permit requires the developer to provide 10 public beach parking stalls and to maintain public beach access during daylight hours. Additionally, the developer is required to provide periodic shuttle service from the parking area through the resort complex to the beach.

Indications are that most of the property will be off limits to those who are not members. For those of us who like to walk through this area, that is disappointing. Time will tell how much access remains.

Choosing Your Hawaiian Island Vacation Destination

Congratulations! You’re dreamed about it and now you are going to make your vacation in Hawaii a reality. You can feel the warmth of the sun, the sand between your toes and hear the wind rustling the palm fronds. Whether you fantasize about lying on a white sand beach, lounging by a pool, playing a round of golf, or enjoying the ocean, Hawaii has a myriad of  activities to enchant virtually anyone. But which island to choose?  Most tourists travel to one of the four main Hawaiian islands – Oahu, Kauai, Hawaii (the Big Island) and Maui.

 

Hawaiian_Islands
Hawaiian_Islands

 

Oahu

Oahu is the busiest of the islands with the majority of the Hawaii’s population calling this island home. The state capitol, Honolulu, is on this island as are several iconic landmarks such as Pearl Harbor and Waikiki Beach.

Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor

 

This island boasts big city life complete with high end shopping and a vibrant night life.  With big city life however, comes typical big city traffic.   Gorgeous island beauty awaits the traveler to the North Shore where the mountains meet the coast and pro and amateur surfers alike frolic in the summer waves.  Wild winter surf conditions are best left to the pros.

North Shore Surfers
North Shore Surfers

 

We recommend Oahu for vacationers who are looking for an active vacation filled with shopping and nightlife; if serenity is your goal we would suggest looking to another island. On the plus side, Oahu is generally the easiest island to access when booking airline tickets.

 

Kauai

Kauai, the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, is perhaps the epitome of serenity.  Kauai is a laid-back isle with a more rustic feel to it. Certain areas boast of no cell or wi-fi coverage. Home to dramatic natural beauty such as the Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the West, and the majestic cliffs of the Napali Coast, Kauai appeals to rugged outdoor enthusiasts.

Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon

 

Napali Coast
Napali Coast

 

Much of this natural beauty is inaccessible by car and thus the more adventuresome will explore by foot, by boat or by helicopter.  An open door helicopter ride over this island remains one of our family’s most awe inspiring events in a lifetime of travel.  We recommend this island to those travelers seeking a more “off the beaten path” Hawaiian vacation.  A caveat is that Kauai has a well deserved reputation for being rainier than the other islands.

 

Big Island

Hawaii, also known as the Big Island for good reason as it is larger than all of the other Hawaiian islands combined, is famous for being home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes.  Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983 and is a very accessible tourist destination.  The visitor center is open daily and the 10 plus mile Crater Rim Drive lets virtually anyone experience the drama and sheer primal force of an active volcano.

Kilauea Lava
Kilauea Lava

 

The Big Island also boasts black sand beaches, rainforests , and snowboarding – yes you read that right!  While there are no ski resorts or ski lifts, Mauna Kea is a 13,796′ volcanic mountain that sometimes receives enough snow to enable skiers and snowboarders alike to experience their winter activities while on a “summer” vacation.

Snowboarding in Hawaii
Snowboarding in Hawaii

 

The Big Island has fewer beaches than the other islands, and most of these beaches are black or gray so if you are envisioning a white sand beach this is not the island for you. Additionally, there is often “VOG”, which is like smog but derives from the volcanic emissions and can leave a gritty taste in your mouth if the winds are blowing towards the area you are in.  The area around Kona is a frequent recipient of this VOG.   We recommend tourists choose this island if Kilauea is on your bucket list or if you want to experience an island vast enough to reportedly hold 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones.

 

Maui

Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands and is often rated as having the best beaches in the world. Additionally, every winter humpback whales migrate to mate or give birth in the warm waters and whale watch opportunities abound.  Seeing a sunrise or sunset on Haleakala should be on every tourist’s agenda but be sure to dress warmly – it’s often below freezing at the summit once the sun goes down.

Sunset at Haleakala
Sunset at Haleakala

 

The “Road to Hana” is an approximately 52 mile drive through a lush rainforest but is not for the faint of stomach. Despite numerous trips to Maui, I have yet to survive this trek. The road is narrow, windy, with numerous curves, one lane bridges and eye popping scenery, but it can make travelers very queasy, hence the local, popular “I survived the road to Hana” t-shirts that abound in tourist shopping venues.

Road to Hana
Road to Hana

 

Another popular tourist destination is Lahaina, once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the early 19th century, now on the National Register of Historic Places, this quaint town is full of fun shops and restaurants as well as one of the largest banyan trees in the world.  This isle has been rated very tourist friendly with easy flights, second only to Oahu, great resort areas, and a great mix of activities. Maui is our recommended isle for families, first time Hawaii visitors and those looking to satisfy those white sand beach urges.

Lahaina
Lahaina

Whichever island you choose, we wish you safe and happy travels.

Aloha!