Budget Travel by Arthur Frommer : You can still enjoy the Hawaii 'that once was'
Budget Travel by Arthur Frommer
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.09.2007
If you really mean it when you complain that Hawaii has "lost its character," if you're genuinely troubled by the crowds at Waikiki or Lahaina, if you're determined to experience the Hawaii "that once was" — then you'll consider booking a stay at the 120-acre Kalani Oceanside Resort Center on the Big Island of Hawaii.
It's a dreamy, laid-back, unpretentious place designed for the same people who patronize yoga centers and meditation camps on the mainland. Some 30 years old, it still follows the gentle precepts of its founder (he's still around): a mainly vegetarian cuisine (but with lots of fresh fish), yoga and tai chi everywhere, supportive and non aggressive fellow guests who follow their bliss, plain but adequate accommodations — and none of the conspicuous consumption or boisterous showoffs of the standard resort. Rooms are without TVs, and most are with open, screened walls.
A typical dinner starts with coconut squash soup, then features seared ahi with pineapple salsa, baked tempeh, quinoa with sunflower seeds, broccoli stir-fry and cucumber salad, and ends with lemon ginger cake.
Rates are refreshing by Hawaiian standards. Starting at the bottom: If you bring your own tent, you'll be given a campsite, three meals daily, two full-body massages, daily yoga classes and the right to engage in all resort activities (hula, ecstatic dance, meditation, weaving, pool, hot tub and sauna) for a total of $780 per person per week, whether single or double. If you're one of two persons traveling together, you'll receive all of the above for $930 per person per week in a room with shared bath, $1,020 with private bath.
A final touch: Volunteers willing to work 30 hours a week for a month pay $1,000 for an all-inclusive one-month stay at Kalani, attending all classes and activities, receiving accommodations and all meals. Call 1-800-800-6886 or log on to www.kalani.com.
But how can you get there cheaply?
Call ATA Airlines.
After Southwest Airlines bought a large portion of the struggling Indianapolis-based carrier ATA, the two airlines — now partners — dropped some routes and added others to complement each other and provide better connections for travelers. Hawaii is one of the major areas where new ATA flights have been added. And the result is that the least likely airline in America now offers the cheapest fares to Hawaii.
Bookings must be made through ATA (not Southwest); go to www.ata.com or call 1-800-435-9282.