I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
A Bit of Paradise
In May of 1993, my husband and I had the reward of a fantastic vacation trip to the big island of Hawaii. Airfare, the Ritz Carlton Hotel stay, and a few organized events were paid for by a major paper supplier in appreciation for the hard work people like my husband had done for them the previous year. My husband used to be vice-president and general manager of a paper distribution company in Houston, Texas. We knew some of the other people included on this trip, so we were prepared to relax and enjoy ourselves.
I am happy to share some photos to give you an idea of the beauty we got to see while there. By the way, the resort is under new management since we were there. It is now called The Fairmont Orchid.
Lush Foliage and Landscaping at the Ritz-Carlton Mauna Lani Resort
Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace.
— Paul Theroux
Day one was all about getting there. Hawaii is quite a distance from Houston, Texas, and by the time we arrived and transported from the Keahole-Kona Airport to our hotel, most of the day passed in the traveling.
Neither of us had previously been to Hawaii, and in my imagination, I thought that the entire island would be lush and tropical. Lo and behold, when we arrived at the airport and rode to our resort through barren black volcanic fields which bore no vegetation, I was most surprised.
We were on the west side of the island, which is along the sun-drenched Kohala Coast. All of the palm trees and other plantings were additions to each resort as they sprung up along the coastline. Thus each holiday center is an oasis of sorts, which we would soon discover.
One note of interest on the ride to our hotel was getting to see graffiti alongside the road. How is this possible, you might think? After all, I have just described a pretty barren palate of dark lava. Here is the answer: White coral washed up on the beaches is placed in patterns to spelling out words and is highlighted as such against the dark background. Where there's a will, there is a way!
The Ritz-Carlton Mauna Lani
As we left the black volcanic fields and got onto the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton Mauna Lani Resort, the lushness of what can grow and flourish in Hawaii unfolded before our eyes. A luxurious tropical paradise now surrounded us even if it was designed and implemented by human minds and hands.
The hotel opened in December of 1990, so it was only 2 1/2 years old when we arrived. Everything was elegant, as one might expect from the reputation of a Ritz Hotel.
Our room was one of 541 at this resort. Each guest room has a private lanai with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and mountain views. Amenities included twice-daily maid service, evening turndown service, marble bathrooms, plush terry cloth bathrobes, a stocked and refrigerated bar that was on the honor system, radios, televisions, and more.
After divesting ourselves of our luggage, we decided to walk around and explore our surroundings. With camera in hand, we strolled through some of the 32 acres of verdantly landscaped grounds. Set alongside the Pacific Ocean, we proceeded to follow pathways dotted with waterfalls, palm trees, fish ponds, and we enjoyed views of green and colorfully blooming tropical foliage of every description along the way.
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Having lived in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for most of my teenage years, I was familiar with many of the plants, but some of the vegetation was new to me.
More pictures will follow in subsequent days of our stay here at the Ritz-Carlton with some interior camera shots. This day before sunset, these photos shown here are simply some of what we were enjoying on our late afternoon stroll.
Lei Greeting, Poolside Buffet, and Sunset
At 7:30 PM that first evening we were invited to begin our evening on the Big Island with a traditional fresh flower lei greeting. It happened poolside, and we sipped on some refreshing drinks while visiting with friends and talking to new acquaintances.
We enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner while background music by a Hawaiian trio playing traditional island sounds added to the enjoyment. The tropical breezes were rustling the branches of palm trees, and we watched a most beautiful sunset as night fell over the Pacific Ocean. Flickering light from torches and other illumination made the surrounding scenery beautiful at night as it had been during daylight hours.
As we retired to our room, we were ready to sleep and get ready for the exciting days ahead. One of those days, we would take a helicopter ride over the island and see it from that perspective. Another day we took an all-day land tour of the Big Island.
Fine Art Collection
One could take a self-guided art tour at the Ritz-Carlton, Mauna Lani Resort. They had a massive collection of paintings, including seascapes, landscapes, portraits, and 19th-century scenes.
Also on display were fine porcelains, lithographs, hand-woven carpets, local artisan quilts, and precious Hawaiian koa wood paneling. Antique pieces also grace the elegance of the resort. We took advantage of this art tour on our last morning before we headed back to the airport for our return flight home. The photos below give you some idea of what we got to view.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Peggy Woods