When we arrived in Hawaii, I posted this photo taken from our hotel room balcony:
What I didn’t mention was that that shot was carefully cropped. The view really looked like this:
Well, hey, we got the cheap rooms, so you kind of expect that. Still, there was a lot to see right on the hotel grounds. First of all, we stayed at the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort south of Kailua-Kona. Outrigger had recently taken over the hotel, and they were in the midst of remodeling. They had to block off part of the parking lot for a couple of days in order to bring in a crane and replace the air conditioner. So I expect any review of the facilities themselves is going to be outdated within a couple of months.
The hotel grounds include a couple of heiau ruins, some tide pools, and a small garden area. The lounge/bar is open air and looks out on the tide pools. They light up the pools at night so that you can see the fish and sea turtles. Here’s a view from near the hotel lobby, at low tide.
Like everything else on the island, these tide pools are remnants of an ancient lava flow. You can still see the rippled pahoehoe patterns:
Beyond this area were the tennis courts and a path out to a bridge. Unfortunately the bridge was labeled “kapu” so I figured I’d be better off skipping it. I later found out that there used to be another resort nearby. I assume the bridge leads onto that property.
By this time the tree trimmers had finished their break and blocked off the path back to the hotel grounds, so I went behind the tennis courts and found this gem.
They were actually trimming the palm trees most of the time we were there. You might expect this to mean a couple of guys in hard hats with a crane go up with a chainsaw and hack off the limbs. No, there was a guy with a rope climbing up the tree trunks, hacking away at the fronds with a machete!
The hotel gardens themselves aren’t huge, but they did have some interesting trees and plants.
On Monday we spotted a squirrel in the hotel parking lot. Then we looked closer, and realized it wasn’t a squirrel. A mongoose? Yes, as it turns out, there are mongooses all over the Hawaiian islands. They were imported to cut down on the rat problem, having worked well in Jamaica(?). Only one problem: the polynesian rat is nocturnal and tends to nest above ground, while the mongoose is diurnal. So they never come into direct contact, and the mongooses never encounter rats’ nests, either. Now the islands have a rat problem and a mongoose problem!
Later in the week we wandered over to Kahalu‘u Beach (right next to the hotel) and finally got a mongoose to hold still long enough to get pictures.
Note: We stayed in Kona during the week of April 4-10, 2005. Most of the photos of the grounds were taken on Tuesday, April 5.
Update: I’ve posted higher-res photos on Flickr.