Hapuna Beach Prince Hawaii VacationAugust 3, 2010 2 Comments
What a perfect Hawaiian vacation! The first half of our adventure was spent at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel next to the ritzy glitzy Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center on the island of Oahu. Besides the daily ritual of sunning, swimming and fine dining, we spent countless hours in and out of the various stores, boutiques and street vendors in and around Waikiki in order to fulfill my pregnant wife’s passion and zeal for shopping (read about the first half of our Hawaiian Vacation: Waikiki Getaway During Pregnancy). At the end of the trip we were ready for the second more relaxing half of our vacation at the Hapuna Beach Prince resort on the big island of Hawaii.
Neither of us knew what to expect since this was our first time visiting the Big Island. All we knew was that it would be a more intimate setting with less crowds. After claiming our baggage at the Kona International Airport we picked up our rental car from Avis without any delays. The map they gave us with the directions were pretty simple. It was a straight shot up the coast for about 30 minutes. While we were driving we couldn’t help notice the vast fields of black volcanic rock on both sides of the road stretching out for miles and miles in every direction.
We were told that this side of the island was more dry, but this was not at all what we expected. I was a little concerned at first about the freakishly barren land and the idea that our hotel would be situated in a similar environment, but our fears were soon extinguished once we approached the Hapuna Beach Prince hotel. The off ramp circled around and under the highway and lead through a well manicured landscape and golf course with palm trees galore. After the valet greeted us and took our car, we walked into the lobby and were thrilled to see through the majestic structure out to the deep blue ocean. We had an ocean front room and we couldn’t wait to check in!
Our room at the Hapuna Beach Prince was spacious and luxurious, and the view from our patio was spectacular. This was not a high-rise hotel as we were used to at the Sheraton in Waikiki. Instead there were only about 5 or 6 floors stretching far and wide along the hillside above a long and inviting sandy beach. We spent each day either at the 90 degree heated pool or at the beach. We were surprised at how few people there were at the resort and wondered if it was full or if everyone was just hanging out in their rooms the whole time! Unlike our previous experience on Oahu, we had no problem what-so-ever getting a prime seating location at the pool.
There were a couple of times when we ordered room service for breakfast and just enjoyed our meal outside on our patio. We also ate lunch often at the Coast Grille right next to the pool area. I normally try to eat healthy food, but when I saw someone next to me eating the nachos I caved. Those nachos were loaded with goodies and I can say with certainty that they were the best I’ve had. For dinner and sometimes breakfast we ate at either the Ocean Terrace or the Reef Lounge depending on what was open. As I mentioned before, there didn’t seem to be very many people at the resort so I believe that is why we found that there was only one or two restaurants open at any one time.
Since we had a rental car, we did have a chance to go exploring for a while. One day we visited a nice beach shopping area with art galleries, boutiques, and of course restaurants. I was craving sushi so we decided to eat at the Kenichi Pacific Sushi Restaurant in that same shopping center. My wife was pregnant so she couldn’t have any raw fish, but there were plenty of other things on the menu to choose from that were considered safe for our unborn baby. I on the other hand didn’t hold back. I ate every type of sushi imaginable and even had some of their specialty rolls. The food was very good and I was more than satisfied. The only problem is that after the meal it looked like I was more pregnant than my wife! Well worth it!
On a different day we decided to drive from our hotel in Kona to Hilo which was on the other more wet side of the island. It took a little over 2 hours to get there, and it was raining and overcast about half the trip. When we arrived however, it had cleared up and the weather was perfect. It was a very beautiful and scenic trek, but unfortunately we found there was not much to do once we got there. Our mistake is that we didn’t do any research ahead of time so we had no idea where to go in Hilo. We ended up driving around town just exploring and looking for something interesting to do. We finally just pulled over at a small cafe, had dinner, and drove back that evening to our Hotel.
Although my wife felt like our drive to Hilo was a waste of a day, I really enjoyed the ride itself and some of the beautiful scenery we encountered along the way. It may have been a bit anti-climactic, but there were times when we turned off the main road and stopped at scenic points of interest which in my opinion made it worthwhile. That side of the island looked and felt more like Kauai with the rich vegetation. It was fascinating to see these thick and giant Banyan trees with their long exposed roots. It almost looked like they were growing in reverse with the roots reaching up from the ground and into the branches above.
The Hapuna Beach Prince was a wonderful resort and we will definitely return someday. It’s the perfect resort for a Hawaiian honeymoon. Looking back I wish we had taken their free shuttle to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel right next door to check it out. It’s a very nice hotel from what I have heard and it would have been nice to have dinner there at least once. I didn’t even realize it was so close and that there were shuttles pickups ever 15 minutes or we would have definitely gone for a visit. Next time for sure!