This is a beautifully maintained property with a helpful, friendly staff.
We arrived late Saturday, January 26, 2013. We had pre-arranged for Roberts Hawaii transportation to pick us up. At the crowded baggage claim it was a welcome relief to hear the greeter calling our name. She waited with us while until the van arrived, approximately 15-20 minutes. He was a young driver and there was some discussion between them about the correct drop off location for our resort. Although he knew the location of the property he said he didn’t know exactly where the “lobby” was. This was proven as he first attempted the office facing the main road, which was the Mauna Loa Village office, and was re-directed to the Shell Vacation office further down the drive past the tennis center. (This confusion was a recurring problem with Roberts drivers, as it happened when we departed as well.)
Our daughter arrived in Kona before we did and the staff kindly allowed her to check into our condo earlier in the day. Eddie, one of the staff, drove us and our luggage to our unit on a golf cart.
We were quite hungry when we checked in, so walked next door to the Sheraton Resort and had a light dinner at the bar at Ray’s on the Bay. The food, drinks and service were excellent. There are no other restaurants around the resort, although there is a shopping center a mile down the highway.
The condo itself was lovely and very comfortable, with all conveniences furnished. Ours was a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath unit, with a spacious living/kitchen area on the upper floor. There was a balcony overlooking the pool, with a view of the distant ocean and also the mountains. The bedrooms on the ground floor shared a patio, each with sliding doors. Both the balcony and patio were furnished and comfortable.
We travel frequently, and knowing how website photos don’t always reflect reality, we didn’t have unrealistic expectations. Thus we were extremely pleased! The condo was immaculate and well-maintained, with floor-to-ceiling windows and brightly-colored décor. The kitchen had full-sized appliances and several small ones as well, such as a toaster and a rice cooker. Dishes, utensils, flatware and cookware were in the cabinets. The refrigerator had a working ice/water dispenser in the door. There was even a bottle of sparkling pinot grigio and two champagne flutes awaiting us.
The master bedroom had a king bed, and the second bedroom had two twin beds. Each bedroom had an adjoining bathroom, and each had a television. The master bedroom had a large counter/cabinet area with two sinks. We all agreed our beds and pillows were very comfortable. The showers had good water pressure (but figuring out how to pull the faucet out was a bit tricky). There was plenty of hot water.
There was a washer/dryer stackable unit in a closet on the ground floor. Towels and linens were good quality, and extra large blue towels were furnished for use as beach towels.
The pool, one of eight on the property, was small but very pleasant – crystal clear and icy cold. There was also a Jacuzzi. There were 5 or 6 chaise lounges, a couple of small round tables, and a regular table/umbrella and chairs. The area was frequently maintained by staff, checking the pool chemicals and sweeping debris away.
We opted to not a rent a car, and utilized the open-air trolley service which departed from the Sheraton. It was $2 per person per ride (no on/off privileges) and well worth it, if you were not in a hurry. It ran a two hour loop through the beachfront retail shops and major shopping areas of Keauhou, including Walmart and Target. Sunday we took this trolley to the beachfront and walked around, bought some souvenirs and items at one of the ABC stores (good wine/liquor prices) and ate at Lulu’s, an open-air sports bar. We got on the trolley again and made a quick stop at Hilo Hattie’s, and then on to Walmart to buy groceries for the week.
Monday morning we went to the 9 am “orientation” in which the concierge advised of the many options we had for tours. We bought tickets for the Halea Luau at the Sheraton that evening (spending extra for priority seating, which was worth it for the show). We also bought a volcano tour with KapohoKine Adventures. This departed at 11:30 am Tuesday from the office and comprised a full day, to include a stop at Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation (sandwiches for lunch) and Punalu’u Bakery, as well as Black Sands Beach, before arriving at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We ate dinner cafeteria-style at Kilaluea Military Camp, which was unexpectedly crowded with multiple tour groups, including a middle school field trip.
Our daughter opted for a scuba diving trip, also arranged through the concierge. She had a great time and this was her first dive adventure. She listened to the whales and swam with an 8-foot hammerhead shark.
Wednesday was a day of rest and relaxation, and the condo was a pleasant place to do that. We opened the doors and windows and enjoyed the fresh air through the screens. One regret is that we forgot the weekly farmers market on the Sheraton grounds that day, which we probably would have enjoyed. Later in the day we took the trolley to Royal Kona Resort on the water, and enjoyed happy hour at Don the Beachcomber’s, and then walked over to Huggo’s for a delicious dinner overlooking the water and sunset.
Thursday we asked about a late checkout since our flight wasn’t until 10 pm. The staff offered an extra day which we gladly accepted. This gave us time to pack, enjoy the pool and relax. We took the trolley for one final two-hour open-air ride, which was great to snap photos and enjoy the scenic views.
We had again pre-arranged for a ride to the airport with Roberts Hawaii, and again were disappointed by their confusion over the pickup location. This had happened to our daughter earlier in the day for her noon flight as well – they were an hour late. The actual customer service is great, as the manager received the call at home and hopped in his personal van to come get us himself rather than wait for the driver to figure it out. He assured us the confusion would be corrected and gave us his business card, assuring us of a tour when we return.
This week in Kona (our 30th wedding anniversary) was the best vacation I’ve ever had. Love this property and would definitely stay here again, and freely recommend it.