Armed with sunscreen lotion almost confiscated at LAX, my wife Debby and I arrived at the Maui airport and sped off for the Kea Lani hotel in Wailea, passing all the sights that remind us we’re back in paradise – a Costco, Bad Ass Coffee, K-Mart, McDonalds, and a factory with two imposing black chimneys spouting smoke…or steam… or peyote. We figured this was a perfect time to go, before kids are done with school and TV executives are still stuck in affiliate meetings.
Hawaii is my favorite spot on earth. Someday I plan to live there. I know there is concern about island fever but if I ever feel too hemmed in and need to return to the mainland I can always hop a flight to Tahiti.
This was our first time at the Kea Lani (Hawaiian for “no shade”). A lovely luxury resort done in the Hawaiian tradition of Morocco. We chose not to stay in one of their private seaside villas that go for about $2500 a night (but breakfast is included… just no seconds.). A friend stayed in one and was told he was in luck. All new furniture because Charlie Sheen had just trashed the place.
Most resort hotels have return business in the teens. For the Kea Lani it’s in the 30% range. On the one hand they’re very proud, on the other – it might mean Charlie Sheen returns and doesn’t like that new rattan décor.
There are three pool areas at the Kea Lani – an adult pool, a lagoon for families (read: screaming kids), and a drunk tank. This is a pool with a swim-up bar and let me tell you, the folks wading here were smashed out of their minds. Other than diving for fallen pineapple wedges, all these swimmers do is bob and weave to stay afloat…in four feet of water. There have been so many accidents however, that every day at 4:00 the red flag is put out.
True story: A guy took at a seat at the pool bar, water up to his waist, ordered a drink, and put a paper napkin on his lap. The message here: Don’t drink and swim.
The first night we had a leisurely dinner at the hotel, under the stars, listening to the gentle sounds of the trade winds and a fire alarm siren. We sipped cocktails and remembered Pearl Harbor.
They change the carpet in the elevators three times a day. (good morning, afternoon, evening.) They change the carpets in the room once every seven years.
You know us! We biked down the Haleakala crater, rode horses in Makawao, kayaked through the coves of West Maui, hiked through a bamboo forest, surfed Kapalua, and snorkeled in a cove of sea turtles. That was the first morning. After that we did nothing!
It’s bad enough I saw this woman slathering suntan lotion on herself and baking in the bright noon day sun. But she was reading LIFE LAUGHS by Jenny McCarthy. If she gets sunstroke that renders her stupid, how will anyone know?
For two days Maui was covered in Vog – volcanic emissions from a volcano on the big island (I forget its name. It had an “l”, a “k” and sixteen “a’s”, five in a row). It blanketed all of Hawaii (except the very exclusive Four Seasons) with a slight haze/fog the locals call vog. Fortunately, from our terrace we could still see Molokai and the Ruth’s Chris Steak House in the Wailea Shopping Mall.
All of Hawaii is still in mourning over the recent passing of Don Ho. There’s even talk of renaming Honolulu International Airport, Don Ho International Airport. I’m all for it. Most cities name their airports after presidents or beloved politicians. This would be the first one named after a lounge singer.
Macadamia nuts are cheaper at Trader Joe’s in Los Angeles than at Safeway in Maui.
Stand-up Paddle Surfing is the new island craze. It’s kayaking for people with balance. Caution: Not advised for oceans that contain waves.
In honor of the LOST season finale (filmed in Hawaii) the hotel did a fun thing. They abducted some of the women guests.
Saw a guy with a big Chai tattooed to his chest. He must save a fortune in jewelry.
Every cabana boy on the entire island looks like Owen Wilson.
Condo ad spotted: “Lovely unit. Two doors down from ocean view”.
Real estate prices in Maui are through the roof. All the haoles want to move to Hawaii. Where do Hawaiians want to move to? Las Vegas. Who needs rainbows when there are nickel slots?
As you walk the beach path there is a sign that says: “Welcome to the Grand Wailea. The pool & services are for guests only.” Originally, it also included “views” but the state made them remove it.
Only in Hawaii. Two serious local news anchors reported on the U.S. death toll in Iraq while wearing Aloha shirts and leis.
I got quite a scare after downing a particularly potent but yummy Lava Flow. I glanced down and yelled, “AAAA!! I HAVE TWO KNEES ON MY RIGHT LEG!” My wife assured me it was a mosquito bite but that still didn’t stop me from frantically calling 911 and demanding to speak to Dr. House.
As usual, there was no shortage of balding, pot-bellied, cigar chomping 60 year old men with their gorgeous 30 year old nieces (usually around the pool buying jewelry even rappers would think is ridiculously marked up). Hawaii just seems to bring families together!
A synagogue in Oahu has the following website -- “Shaloha.com.” I’m guessing they’re reform. Stopping just short of having a pig with an apple in its mouth at the Purim Luau.
FOUND!! One of my favorite lost singers of the 70’s, Yvonne Elliman surfaced and performed at the Diamond Head Crater Celebration. Yvonne is just like Katharine McPhee except Hawaiian, older, sings disco, and doesn’t smile every minute. When Yvonne passes (hopefully many years from now) there’s talk of renaming the Dole Pineapple Factory after her.
The Dali Lama recently stayed at the nearby Renaissance. (You’d think he could do better.) Wouldn’t you love to be checking in and there he is going bonkers because they gave him a room by the ice machine? It would also be pretty cool to go to a Yoga class and there is the Dali Lama sitting next to you. (I thought that actually happened to me but again, it was the Lava Flow.)
I always leave Hawaii kicking and screaming but at least now I’ll be able to get my daily fix. WHODAGUY HAWAII premieres July 7th, an internet radio station hosted by broadcasting legend, Ron Jacobs. I just know I’ll be transported – to the sandy beaches, the exotic rain forests, and when Ron spins a classic Don Ho hit -- the airport.