Holding On to the Real Hawaii for Dear Life … Mother Nature Permitting
Those of us who have lived in Hawaii for more than a few years — for me, it will be 50 years in May of next year — can’t help bemoaning the relentless over-glamorizing of so many of the hotels here. As the renovations have added marble in the bathrooms and modern statuary and triple-tiered swimming pools, fewer and fewer of these posh resorts bear any resemblance to the wonderful, simple, real Hawaii we old timers remember so fondly. Happily, there are still some of the classic, traditional hotels around.
The grande dame of these classic hotels is the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach, affectionately known to all of us as “the Pink Palace”. Some years back, some numbskull at Sheraton corporate headquarters said that maybe it was time to do away with the traditional pink color of the Royal. Big mistake! The resulting screams of outrage brought an abrupt halt to that heretical notion.
But here’s the thing: two weeks ago, the tsunami generated by the earthquake in Japan pretty much wrecked the place. More than 20 of the bungalows were swept off their foundations and there was great deal of other damage. Many of the employees had been at the Kona Village for 20 or 30 years, but all 200 have been laid off. We dread the thought, but it is possible that this wonderful treasure of a place might be gone for good. We dread even more imagining what might be built in its place. When and if that happens, more than a few tears will be shed.