On March 11, 2011, the Kona coast of Hawaii was hit with a six foot tsunami generated by the 8.9 earthquake centered in northern Japan. While nothing compared to the devastation in Japan, the damage at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel was extensive.  The damage extended into the first floor of the hotel.  As a result, the hotel’s lobby, restaurants, shops, and grounds were closed for repairs.

Six months later, the hotel is reopened.  The pool is new, and there is one functioning restaurant.  The hotel’s small beach looks good, and although the grounds are still being rehabilitated, the luau has returned. The hotel has at least one restaurant left to reopen, and there is quite a bit of construction going on in the public areas.

When I booked our vacation, I was generally aware that the Kona coast had been hit by the tsunami.  It is likely that one of the reasons Hawaii was within reach for this vacation was the tsunami.  The entire village of Kailua-Kona is clearly in recovery mode.   There’s quite a bit of construction on Ali’i Drive, and the ground vegetation is not mature.

Still, I love the fact that this hotel is located right on Ali’i Drive.  It’s the nicest hotel in the central village area of Kailua-Kona.  All of the hotels in this area are older, and some do not look particularly well maintained. Newer hotels are on the Kohala coast, but this area is quaint with a funky vibe.  Restaurants and shops are right across the street.  The hotel is on the water, with a very small beach.

Our room is well-appointed and updated.  The bathroom has a large tub and a rain shower head.  The bed is comfortable, and there is a sofa and a 42-inch flat screen TV.  There is a small lanai with two chairs.  I detect no mold or smoke smells.  Our particular room faces the village.

I have two complaints about the hotel.  First, there’s a lot of noise, both from the road outside the hotel and from neighboring rooms.  Second, (and this is probably not so much a complaint about the hotel, but more about Travelocity), I was led to believe our room included a free breakfast, but that turned out not to be the case.  I will be contacting Travelocity with this complaint.

The hotel does not have free parking, but there are few hotels here that do.  There is free wi-fi, which was the deciding factor for me in booking here.  There is a convenience store located in the hotel.  I did see a workout room and a business center.

Although the location here can’t be beat, I might try to find a condo-rental next time, partly for the free parking, but also because it’s nice to have a kitchen.  I suspect it would be a little quieter.

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