With the King Kamehameha (Hawaii’s Greatest King and the new name of our SUV) loaded with our two small carry on bags, we set off for our hotel on the sea.
Roberta was looking at the reservations I had printed out, “We’re staying at the Hilton?
“No, we are staying at the Waikoloa Village Lodge.” I told her.
“No, this says “Lodge at the beautiful Waikoloa Village.” Then if you read the second line it says, there is no place greater to stay than the Hilton at Waikoloa Village.”
“No way, it was too cheap to be a Hilton.”
“I’m sure it was, but you’ve still got us booked at the Hilton.”
“Well, it can’t be a very fancy one.” I said turning into Waikoloa Village.
A few moments later we pulled into the Parthenon in Athens. Gigantic columns stretched to the sky in the open air lobby. Valets in Hawaiian shirts and Oakley sunglasses ran out to fetch the sports cars of the guests.
Giant blue Macaws and rose colored cockatoos filled the lobby. Then a train pulled into the enormous lobby to take guests to their “towers”.
If you felt a train was too crass and undignified there was a fancy little motor boat that would follow the canals to your building.
“Aloha,” the receptionist said, “What can I do for you?”
“I think we have reservations here.” I said.
“Sqwaaaaaaaaak!” Yelled a parrot.
The lady was looking at me and I realized she had said something.
“What was that?”
She smiled, “I said- ”
“under your name.”
We eventually found they were under Roberta’s name.
The receptionist looked relieved, “I was worried. We are booked to the gills. Anyways, you can catch the train or boat to the ocean tower.”
“Can we walk?”
“Sure, go across the train line and take the bridge over the boat pickup service. Then it is about a – sqwaaaaaaak! – minute walk.”
The walk through the Hilton is the best manicured piece of Hawaii. Even though I want to scoff at the flourishes, the architect was a genius. Statues and torches align the gently meandering path that skirts the lagoon at the center of the estate. Green sea turtles can and were often seen flying through the water, calm, serene.
The serenity is killed with a swift bullet to the heart when you pass the hotel restaurant that advertises breakfast for only 35 dollars per person.
“Ahahahahaha! What a deal!” We laughed and skipped on by.
Arriving at Flotsam tower, we realized we had been sentenced to the tower for cheap travelers. It was no less luxurious than much of the rest of the hotel… I think… but the oil paintings of horse and rider on a fox hunt and the hideous statues of ugly dogs let us know where we stood.
Intriguingly, in one very dark corner of the hallway, there is a painting of a sickly, pale girl with blood red lips. Roberta and I spent our time unpacking in our large but plain room concocting the Hilton Horror Story based on this singular piece of artistic mastery. (See the following blog for the story).
Being late, and our first night in Hawaii, we were very tired we fell asleep with the Albino Tuberculosis Girl on our minds.
Therefore, it is a testament to our comfy beds and being in Hawaii that we woke refreshed without bad dreams, and realized that there really was a train and boat that would take you to the lobby. We hadn’t imagined it.
We only ended up taking the train once because;
A) It is the slowest train in the world and never shows up when you are ready to use it. In fact the only time it shows up is to stop in the middle of your path when getting to the lobby or your tower, making you wait until it leaves to get by.
B) The automated robot lady voice decides to tell you all sorts of neat facts about the Hilton to “Impress your friends at home”.
These bragging reports revolve around the prodigious use of water to maintain the lagoon, the size of the property, and most interesting it lets you know that all the staff (servants) use an extensive tunnel system beneath the hotel to deliver baggage and move cleaning carts and garbage. The robot lady tells you warmly and proudly that they call these tunnels the “Heart of the Home”.
Roberta and I grimaced at one another eyes wide with surprise. If we’ve ever stayed at a place that had an underground warren full of people catering to us it has been kept quiet.
“I bet it is an entire mole city of families shanghaied by the Hilton.” Roberta said.
“Do you think we could find the tunnels.” I asked.
Roberta looked alarmed, “You better not, they would surely force you into a life beneath the ground never to see the sun again.”
“So not much different from living in Seattle.”
“Plus, you would never find them. The exits are hidden seamlessly throughout the grounds.”
“I bet there is one behind the vampire girl painting. That is why it is so scary, to keep you away.”
Our first morning at the Hilton was the only time we purchased anything on the grounds. We made the mistake of ordering espresso drinks for the low price of 16 dollars.
We justified our mistake,”That is only 3 minutes in first class on the plane.”
In fact, we have based much of our purchases on first class minutes.
Shaved ice: 1 minute in first class
Hamburger: 2.5 minutes in first class
2 Surfboard Rentals: 12 minutes in first class (this is the one area where first class seats are the better deal)
We hurried to the car, stopping only to ooh and aww at some black and white bursts with vivid red heads from the next up. Oh yeah, and we stopped to pet the orange “feral” cat. And of course there was a sea turtle we had to watch for a few minutes. But half an hour later we arrived at the grande King Kamehameha and began our trip down the coast to Kailua-Kona and some snorkeling!
But the snorkeling is another story altogether…