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Thursday, June 22, 2017

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL


Nothing to do with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, nor The Bad and The Beautiful, the former film with Clint Eastwood, and the latter with Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner.  But for future reference, consider that Rotten Tomatoes gave TGTBTU 97 ratings for both reviewers and audiences, while TBTB scored 96/85.  But those terms well describe my visit to Kona thus far.

First, this summer looms to be good, bad and, maybe, beautiful, but not for Donald Trump.  Depending where you are, north or south hemisphere, your solstice just passed, meaning you already experienced your longest/shortest day of the year.

Perhaps our President learned something.  He has kept hands off the assassination of Obamacare in the U.S. Senate so that he is not blamed for another failure.   Protesters are not lining the White House nor any Trump hotel.  But that will yet come by Labor Day on a range of other controversies.

There is a difference between good and beautiful, for you can be beautiful and bad, or good and ugly. You can also be beautiful and good, as are most of us.  I'll begin with some beautiful photos from my hotel room, with an enjoyable breakfast in the Kaiulu Lounge:


See that white spot on the horizon on the top photo?  That's the Pride of America moored off my next hotel, King Kamehameha, a distance of seven miles.  However, another shot showed the volcanic air pollution affecting this region, a definite bad:


I caught the Kona Trolley, which is free for Sheraton hotel guests,  otherwise $2 every time you get on, to the Keauhou Shopping Center, to have lunch at Sam Choy's Kai Lanai.  I was surprised to learn that it has been around since 2011.

Portuguese sausage, fish and eggs with rice, a salad, plus glasses of chardonnay and beer.  The view was spectacular, so this meal was both good and beautiful.


I noticed several birds eyeing my meal, with an owl statue behind the palm.  I was thinking of getting one of those to scare away the birds on my lanai.  The waitress said it doesn't work:


Way in the background to the left is the Sheraton Kona, about a mile away.  Here is an example of something that could be good, bad or beautiful, depending on your point of view:


Sam Choy must either love or hate marlins.

I then bought a bottle of beer, some potato chips and spicy Italian Subway for my sunset dinner on my room lanai, then re-boarded the trolley into Kailua-Kona town:


That's a grass shack on the grounds of the Courtyard Marriott King Kam.

Well, dinner on my lanai did not work out so well.  First of all, it rained so I could not see any sun setting.  I sat on my chair and did not realize the cushion was soaked.  The rained had stopped so I set up my meal:


The wine came from the club lounge.  Just as I began eating, with a wet bottom, the rains re-came, and, so quickly, that the potato chips got soggy.  So, no doubt, this was a bad meal, again, when you include yesterday night.

Which returns me to the Sheraton Kona, where just six months ago all was fine.  So much of value, in fact, that I decided to return.  The problem is once you find a fault, you seek others, and, maybe, the problem is me...but:
  • On check-in, my room was not ready, so I waited.  They took my cell phone number and said they'd call me.  Never did.  Two hours later I inquired, and was told the room was available.
  • I was looking forward to a sunset dinner at Ray's on the Bay, so I called the concierge.  She said it was closed and that she was with a customer so will call me back for other options.  An hour and a half later, I finally went down to check.  There was no concierge on duty.  Later in the day I saw someone there so I asked again.  Ray's had just closed for re-construction, so I made a reservation for Ainakai at 6:30, requesting an ocean view.  As a Platinum member, I had a card that insured for a premium table.
    • I showed up at 6:30, and the place was well crowded.  I was taken to a particularly terrible location, so I said I had inquired for an ocean view.  I happened to spot one table available at the window that seemed to be unoccupied.  After a lot of hemming and hawing, I was reluctantly taken there, disgruntling the staffer.
    • It took forever to get my meal.  But I could understand their dilemma, for this was only the second night of opearation.
    • But there were flies.  A lot of flies.  The last time my blog reported on this problem, I was at the Four Seasons Koele on Lanai.  Soon thereafter, the whole hotel was closed for re-conditioning and won't reopen until late 2018.
  • I inquired about a local newspaper and the response was that some are left at the check-in desk table in the morning, and first come, first served.  Nothing was available even for purchase.  No West Hawaii Today, no Star-Advertiser...but something that looked like a Japanese language newspaper.  The closest to getting anything English was a store in the shopping center, a mile walk uphill.  The second morning I went, and nothing.  In all Sheraton executive lounges, they normally have a lot of copies.  Here, none.  They usually deliver me a morning paper, and they don't do this here.
  • The check-in desk staffer was surly, and the staff now very uneven.  Some great, many not.
  • The internet service comes and goes.  Midway through my stay I had to work with a technical services person located somewhere else in the world, who, after more than half an hour later, got me going again.  Same thing happened the second day.
  • The elevators need to be re-conditioned.
  • The rugs are here and there spotty, if not dangerous.
  • The volcanic haze is a problem in this part of the island.  Not terrible, but, in the long term, I would expect respiratory problems to occur.
  • One of the pillows smelled, very badly.
  • The hair dryer had no heat.
  • The plumbing is faulty, with the water flow too low, and not hot enough water.  The toilet water level is too high, which can lead to body contact, to put it nicely, if you are a male.
  • My entrance door takes a full body push to open.
Something is terribly wrong with this hotel.  I suspect the transition to Marriott ownership is the reason.  The location is great if you want to be isolated.  The views are wonderful.  Everything else is going haywire.  That's bad.

Tomorrow, on to the Okinawa-Hawaii OTEC gathering.

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