Get off the lawn you damn kids

I spent last week at the Four Seasons Hualalai. We go there every year, typically in September. The staff at the Four Seasons is incredible. I don't know how, but they always remember our names (we may be on the problem guest list). They are genuinely happy to be working there, and can solve any problem. You know you're being treated well, when people come to your beach chaise to clean your sunglasses.

I've truly become the angry old person/high maintenance guest. We stay in the Palm Grove, which is the quiet zone. It's very zen and peaceful. A couple of days into the trip a few really annoying people sat in the pool drinking and shouting about football and SDSU. The next day, we saw the same dudes playing golf and blasting rock music from their golf cart. Not good form.

A few days later, a group of doctors for a conference acted like the Palm Grove pool was Fort Lauderdale at spring break. Okay, I know this sounds jerky, but after doing everything possible to cancel the noise, I called the front desk and asked for some help. Security showed up and they either lowered their voices or all went back to their rooms to pass out.

Later, I felt bad when I was told they were cancer doctors. They're saving lives and I'm cranky that they are having fun in the pool.

I decided that this was simply the way of the world. Those times of good manners were a thing of the past. I was the problem and needed to accept change and get over it.

But, I was wrong. The next morning two senior managers tracked us down in person and apologised. Boy, did I feel dumb. I was truly amazed. You've heard me say before, follow the three "R"s with clients when something goes wrong: Recognize the problem, express remorse, and resolve it. They did that. If it were me, I'd be scared to talk to me. That old uptight white guy is complaining about the noise. How fun can it be to talk with him?

Beyond the Reef

Be warned, this is a travelogue post. As many of you already know, each year we go to Kona Village in Hawaii for the first week of September. This year, because the tsunami closed Kona Village, we moved next door to the Four Seasons Hualalai. I was nervous about this. We were used to seeing the same crowd at KVR and knew most of the staff. The Four Seasons seemed so fancy-pants, I was worried it would be like a week at a stuffy Westside Los Angeles restaurant.

I was wrong. Four Seasons was wonderful. I couldn’t find much online about the resort before our visit. There was the official site, and other travel sites had reviews that were typically positive, as in, “It was expensive, but worth the price.” What does that mean? I need actual facts. Of course, several people posted who clearly are never be satisfied, “I was forced to dry my own feet. I demand my feet to be dried with a young virgin’s hair.”

Now here is the lowdown if you plan on going:

  1. Get a room in the Palm Grove. It’s the no children pool area. The rooms are close to the beach, and it’s quiet and secluded.
  2. Ask for a ground floor room. They have an outdoor shower. At first, I thought, “creepy,” but it was great. I took showers and watered plants at the same time.
  3. Make sure Cody at the Palm Grove pool is there to help you. Everyone, without exception was gracious, down to earth and friendly. But, Cody had a great faculty to make us feel pampered and among good friends. He was endlessly patient with my aimless questions, and was a highlight of the stay.
  4. Eat at Pahu i`a's Surf, Sand and Stars, a barbecue on the beach. No, it’s not like an old macaroni and cheese, ancient fried chicken buffet. The appetizer section, sushi, and lobster alone are worth the price.
  5. Go to Safeway or Costco for booze. Yes this may seem rather low-rent, but why spend enormous amounts of money for cocktails when you can make your own.
  6. Take a good hike up around the golf course every day. Otherwise you will eat a great amount of food and get fat.
  7. Eat at the Resident’s Beach House. The Mai Tai is actually a rum Big Gulp.

For over a decade we went to Kona Village, and I thought moving on to Four Seasons Hualalai was treason. It would be loud, with snobby guests and staff. It wasn’t in the least. The Hualalai staff went above and beyond to create a perfect spot. And to quote Patrick Henry, “If this be treason, make the most of it!” (Pretty impressive to combine a founding father and a Four Seasons in Hawaii.)