We only came for dinner, but I got a chance to checkout the rooms and have general look-around.
Aqua took over this property and are obviously trying to upgrade it. In fact, the restaurant was entirely closed off for renovations- that they expected would take many months.
The architecture is 'unique', to say the least- somewhat more reminiscent of Borneo than Polynesia, but then I may well be wrong. The rooms and bedding were pretty crisp- nicely done up, considering the age of the property and design limitations. Other commenters have correctly pointed out lack of adequate ventilation or a/c.
There is a small but adequate pool, a bar area that genuinely was home-style rumpus room fun in ambience. We were not there for the Friday night, so missed the weekly music touted all over the island.
The foreshore has no beach to speak of- really, you have to go down to Murphy's Beach at Mile 20, or better, to the far west end of island to Dixie Maru for a stellar beach.
Obviously, in keeping their doors open during a protracted renovation, they needed to provide some kind of limited food menu. They did so by either setting up a barbecue or hotplate somewhere, and served us some dried out mahi mahi on a paper plate with coleslaw and rice for $16.95. Frankly, it was barely passable fare, but the staff were so nice, and we were so hungry, and there are so few choices that actually we were just grateful to eat.
I root for these guys. With the Sheraton closing, they are the only game on island except for cottages, B&B's, some rental condos- some of which are pretty iffy. They have to satisfy a range of traveler needs and desires, and work hard, but not always successfully, to do so.
The real problem is the island culture. This is a very different Hawaii than Maui, easily visible to the East just a few miles away. There are lots of rusty corrugated tin roof houses, pick up trucks of certain vintage, sporting gun racks in case one spots an Axis deer or feral pig on the mountainside.
The economy is a shambles, with high unemployment, the ranch, golf course and resort hotel closed down, and few prospects outside of Monsanto agriculture taking over what used to be sugar and pineapple fields. They grow a bit of coffee too, but most people fish, hunt, and do whatever to make ends meet. Even the main grocery store did not have chicken or fish, or much of anything, for that matter, when we went in for provisioning.
So there is a kind of forlorn feel to Molokai, and really, nothing that Hotel Molokai can do about it.
The takeaway message is to adjust your expectations, and enjoy what hospitality they can offer. There is much to enjoy, but it requires a gestalt shift to do so.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy an authentic Hawaiian experience at our resort, located on Kamiloloa Beach adjacent to Hawaii's only barrier reef. Our Ocean front resort offers the ideal setting for your authentic Hawaiian experience. Join us every Friday for our "Aloha Friday" sunset celebration from 4pm-6pm Oceanside. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Molokai Hawaii