-by Alesandra Dubin
One of the very best things about travel is seeing something you’ve never seen before. How many times in our adult lives do we really get to do that on a given day? (That’s one reason David and I have a strict no-repeating-country-stamps-in-the-same-passport policy.*)
Still, the lure of a perfect beach is a tough thing for me to resist, and so, if left to my own devices I might never have pulled myself away from the Big Island of Hawaii’s Kona coast, were it not for the hospitality of the Volcano Village Lodge up near Volcanoes National Park, which hosted us for two nights of our last and final (?!) babymoon.
After dragging ourselves away from the Four Seasons Hualalai‘s spectacular pools and beaches, we set off for the drive to the lodge, without knowing much of what we’d find. Although we were told to plan for about three and a half hours, we easily made the drive in under two and a half. (I kind of love how locals give you estimates based on island time — I feel like in L.A., we’d say instead, in a moment of desperate wishful thinking, “Leave an hour if there’s no traffic,” and then it would take you that long just to execute your first left turn.)
The drive was easy and scenic, and we found the lodge with the help of the teeny-tiniest vestiges of daylight left — and not a moment too soon. The Volcano Village Lodge has the feel of such a remote tropical jungle paradise, more like you might imagine you’d find in a Costa Rican rain forest, and no streetlights to really guide the way. Arriving after 6 p.m., we found our welcome letter tacked to the reception area, and our room unlocked. And it was a spectacular sight!
One of five lodge-like rooms, Hale Manaluna seemed to glitter like a pretty beacon from the outside, surrounded by lush green foliage. We hadn’t known what to expect, really — but this was way more. Inside, we found our fridge stocked with cut tropical fruits, cereals, yogurts, frittatas to reheat for breakfast, and all the Hawaiian coffee we could brew at our leisure the following morning. Beyond that, there’s no TV reception and no phones so that guests can really appreciate the serenity of the special property’s location within the sacred lands of Olaa, at an elevation of 4,000 feet. (Fear not, plugged-in people! There’s wi-fi, and it was dependable enough for me to put in plenty of work on deadline during our visit. It’s a good thing I wake up at 3 a.m.)
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About Alesandra Dubin: Alesandra is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody In Motion. She is also a lifestyle contributor to outlets such as Today.com and iVillage.com, writing about her expertise in travel, food, fashion, and entertainment.