All-Inclusive Packages Add to Resort's Simplicity

Kona Village brings back memories of simpler times

By: Dawna Robertson

Situated on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast, Kona Village Resort exudes the simple life both in vacation plans and pace. While the resort’s Family Packages deliver all-inclusive convenience to today’s traveler, its laid-back attitude transports guests back to a simpler time when Beach Boys, Hawaiian hospitality and gentle weather created the easy life for all to enjoy.

Kona Village’s selection of three-, five- and seven-night family plans each include three meals daily, on-property water activities, daily children’s program, gift basket, bottle of cham-pagne and line-art drawing of the guest cottage. Five-night stays also include two colorful Hawaiian beach wraps, while seven-night packages add on a choice of a 50-minute massage, one-hour tennis lesson or sunset catamaran sail.

Priced from $1,545 for the three-night option, Family Packages are available through Nov. 19 (excluding the periods of April 3-17, the entire month of May and Sept. 7-30). The price is based on two adults, double occupancy, with rates for additional children sharing the cottage with their parents based upon their age. Age details are detailed on the resort’s Web site.

Adding to the easy mood at Kona Village are the resort’s Beach Boys. Guests spending a day with this team on Kahuwai Bay are taken back to the era when Hawaii’s first truly famous Beach Boy, Duke Kahanamoku, ruled the waves.

When Kona Village first opened nearly 74 years ago, among the staff on hand that day were the Beach Boys. These were not the “sign out for a towel” kind of Beach Boys. They were and still are Beach Boys honoring the style of “The Duke” decades before. They are considered lovers of Hawaii’s ocean, first and foremost. They can read the waves, look at the clouds and predict the winds. And they possess that intangible gift of aloha that is willingly and humbly shared with guests.

“When I interview someone for the position of Beach Boy, I look for personality, water abilities, ocean knowledge, someone who can name the fish in our wa-ters, someone who can be charming but firm when need be,” said Fred Duerr, general manager. “I think every one of our Beach Boys fits that description perfectly. Our guests love them all.”

Robert “Bubba” Rutledge has been at the resort for more than 20 years. “I’ve watched kids so small they couldn’t see over our counter grow up and return with their own children,” Rutledge said. “We are all ohana [family] here the guests, the employees, we get to know one another and care about one another.”

John Tioni “TJ” Judd concurred. “I see the first-timers arrive, so intense they’re wound up like an eight-day clock. Over a few days, they begin to relax and slow down. By the time they leave, they’re practically crying because they don’t want to go. But we know we’ll see them again,” he said.

Also among the beach crew are Puaita Pulotu (beach captain), Justin Dryer, Keith “Kito” Gracidis and the lone female Beach “Boy,” April Strang.

Since the use of water sports equipment is included in every guest’s stay, Kona Village Beach Boys get well acquainted with those enjoying the marine preserve fronting the resort. They assist guests boarding the resort’s glass bottom boat and provide all the equipment necessary for snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and paddling. If caught in the hot Hawaiian sun without a hat, guests may ask a Beach Boy to quickly weave a coconut-frond hat for protection. Each of Kona Village’s Beach Boys tempers this type of aloha with common sense for the protection of guests. All have completed First Responder safety training and are qualified to use the resort’s heart defibrillator.

The Beach Boys touch of Old Hawaii today strengthens the ambiance that makes Kona Village Resort such a unique taste of Hawaii. As Bubba says, “We’re not really a hotel, we’re an experience.”

The 82-acre Kona Village Resort features 125 thatched-roof bungalows plus a full range of land and ocean recreation options.