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Should I change my reservation.

Chatham, Canada
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26 posts
24 reviews
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Should I change my reservation.

I have booked for 7 nights at keauhou surf and racquet club in an ocean front town home this coming winter. It would cost me my deposit to cancel plus the alternate area I'm looking at is Mauna Lani in a fairways condo and they are about $40-$50 more per night. When I originally searched it looked like a popular and safe place to stay. After reading through TA it seems Kailua-Kona gets a bit of a bad rap. My biggest concern is safety. I will be travelling with my family and we have young kids. We plan on being active and hope to do a couple of beach days. We will be staying in Volcano for 2 nights to explore the east side as well. So staying the bulk of our time on the west side and driving up and down the coast to explore. Thanks.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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1. Re: Should I change my reservation.

Keauhou is a safe place to stay, and it is popular. There are some bad apples around town, but it is safe as long as you donʻt do unwise stuff like being in certain parking lots late at night.

While I donʻt think Keauhou is nearly as nice as the Mauna Lani Resort, and I think Mauna Lani is worth the additional money per night, I would not advise you or anyone to lose your deposit. Next time you come you can try something different.

When we compare the two places, keep in mind that we are speaking (most of the time) to people who have not made up their minds yet and donʻt have anything at stake if they expand their search.

I really donʻt like the town area weather in summer, but winter it is at its best.

If you have young ones, I hope you will even do more than a couple beach days.

Just plan your driving efficiently so that youʻre not going back and forth up and down the coast on your explorations. Go south one day, go north another, think it through and youʻll see more and spend less on gas.

Chatham, Canada
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26 posts
24 reviews
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2. Re: Should I change my reservation.

Thank you so much. I appreciate your response. Still working out itinerary but want to keep it loosely planned to make room for unexpected fun we encounter along the way.

Denver, Colorado
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3. Re: Should I change my reservation.

Basically the Kona area is an older more rustic version of a Florida beach side town where as South Kohola area is all new larger resorts and condo choices so you have to decide what fits you best. The north end of Kona is about where all of the cloudy weather and typical fog starts to dissappate. The farther south you go the more possible it will be raining almost every day.

Where you are currently booked Keauhou will be convenient for a jumping off point for a day trip to Volcano or shorter day trip to Captain Cook sites. Your closest nice beach will be about 5 miles north of Kona starting at Honokohau Beach next to the marina and a couple more beaches just north of that. If you plan on doing South Kohala beaches such as Hapuna Beach or Waialea Bay then you will be doing allot of driving. Also, Kona not at all convenient for heading to Hilo where you could easily spend 3 to 4 nights seeing all of those sites.

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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4. Re: Should I change my reservation.

How young are your kids? I wouldn't spend time in VNP if they're younger than about five due to air quality and safety concerns.

Here's what I have to say about Keauhou versus the Mauna Lani. Obviously many people like Keauhou and Kailua Kona or there wouldn't be so many condos there with people staying in them :-). It's not like you'll have a horrible time, and if you read through the TQs you'll see the perspective of people who really like to stay there. I personally am not one of them for the following reasons which may or may not matter to or reasonate with you:

Most of the people who like staying in town are not snorkelers/divers/swimmers or beach people. I spend a lot of time in the water and like being and walking on beaches. I would not want to spend two hours every day in the car while on vacation to get to the best beach and ocean sports areas.

I don't like the congestion and numbers of people around town. I prefer more space.

I'm a foodie and most of the better restaurants are more easily accessed from up north.

I like to cook and the kitchens in most of the South Kohala condos are a lot better and bigger than any of the condos I've seen in town, and the furnishings and fixtures usually nicer and more updated.

I find the vog and clouds in town depressing and I like the very blue skies of north Hawaii and the near constant sun on the Kohala Coast.

I disagree with TJ that there's any advantage to being closer to Volcano since you're already planning to stay on the east side, so that wouldn't factor into my decision.

Bottom line if it were me, yeah I'd switch in a heartbeat because I would save that $40 per night just in gas as I'd be driving out of Keauhou every day. But I'm not you and so you do need to really look at what you plan to do and how much the deposit hit will be, etc and make a decision that's right for you. We have had several people here who did switch and incur a hit and were very happy they did so. Others stayed put with their plans and were very happy they did so. I think it's too individual a decision for us to tell you what to do but I think if you read through the TQs you'll get a good sense of what area is right for you, which is really all that matters.

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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5. Re: Should I change my reservation.

Also it is not accurate that "South Kohola (sic) area is all new larger resorts and condo choices". South Kohala has many condo complexes decades old, historical local communities like Waimea, commuter villages like Waikoloa Village, ancient fishponds and petroglyphs and the remnants of old Hawaiian villages, and small beachside communities like Puako. It's a very diverse area.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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6. Re: Should I change my reservation.

Thatʻs very well said by Shea.

My answer was aimed at your stated primary concern -- safety. I donʻt want you to turn cautions about car break-ins at parking areas into a fear that your familyʻs persons will not be safe. I wouldnʻt let teenagers walk around alone in Kailua, and I would at Mauna Lani, but you donʻt have teens. So I donʻt see safety as the issue, rather the things Shea mentioned that may or may not concern you.

That is a good point about taking young children to VNP that I did not catch. How old?

I agree with Shea that gas and your time are something you should consider carefully. She is not exaggerating the extra it would cost you to drive up the coast and back every day, or the time. Possibly because you do need to run the car A/C at all times, the gas mileage per gallon here is typically poor, and the more people in the car and the larger a car, the more gas you use. I donʻt think a compact would be right for a whole family though.

You can use Google maps to calculate point to point mileage, and figure $5 a gallon and maybe 17-18 mpg, not sure about the last figure and donʻt know what car you will have. Figure to use more gas on any trip where you head up hill.

My question is, what if anything do you plan to do around Keauhou? It is best to stay near your center of action.

Chatham, Canada
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26 posts
24 reviews
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7. Re: Should I change my reservation.

It sounds like I need to look at our must do places to see and figure it out from there. I would like to snorkel, hike and see historical sights. My kids are 7&8 and they are active. We want to eat meals as much as possible in our condo to save money and with busy kids will look for family friendly restaurants when we do eat out. I was originally all set to book the Fairwinds cruise but have second thoughts after reading through TA. Only because it sounds like we can snorkel for free from the beach with the same or better viewing. The scenic lookouts are on my list too which are located in the north. (Pololu and Waipi'o) So again, it sounds like I should break out the map and discuss with the hubby what we plan on doing. Thanks for all your feedback.

8. Re: Should I change my reservation.

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