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The Fitness Center

Years ago (possibly 1969), the travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, Stanton Delaplane, wrote a review of Kona Village, saying it was “a place dedicated to laziness.”  I read that review and decided it was just the place for me, and that led to my long love affair.  Since the food was tasty and unlimited, and the popcorn was also unlimited at the Shipwreck Bar, it was hard to keep a step or two ahead of gluttony.  While staying at the village could involve a good bit of walking, depending on how far you were from the center of the village, it was not usually aerobic, because of the tendency to take it easy and be aware of the surroundings.

So to placate those who wouldn’t do their own pushups, or walk faster, or jog, KVR built a well equipped fitness center.  (I know, I’m mocking the lazy among us, including me...)

I have to confess I’m not an exerciser.  Oh, I’ll exercise my right to vote, and I’ll exercise stock options, and I even occasionally exercise good judgment, but I told my doctor,  “If you give me a couple of golf clubs and a putter, I’ll walk all day, but if you call it exercise, I won’t do it!”

Some of the equipment was designed to make various parts of the body sore, and I felt if that’s what it takes to float your boat, you were welcome to it.

As a bone thrown to my doctor to keep him from nagging, I walked on a treadmill, but I certainly didn’t do it to excess -- a mile a day was enough.  The view from an actual, moving KVR treadmill (left), was a whole lot nicer and more motivating than the view I had from my treadmill at home (my bedroom wall).  The treadmill was a whole lot better, too.

My good friends Bill and Jeanie appear enjoyed it thoroughly, but they may just have been smiling for the camera...

The logo-shaped placards on the end wall had great significance.  The industry average for guests returning to a given hotel is 18%; at Kona Village, the return rate was 66%.  Each placard had name plates bearing the names of return guests, placed according to the number of times they’d been there.  The one on the extreme left was for guests who had returned 30 or more times, the one next to it, 20-29 times, and so on.  An interesting thing happened: When guests reached a milestone deserving of a move to the next placard, they’d go out to see if their nameplate had been moved.  I asked why the placards were in the fitness center and not in the center of the village where all could easily see.  The reason? It was the only place in the village with enough wall space.

This was the left-most plaque, and the champion was a man and wife who just completed their 86th visit.  He passed away just before the tsunami.

Incidentally, hanging from

the ceiling was a magnificent

outrigger canoe.


The three lighted tennis courts were part of the fitness center, and there was a practice wall as well.  Instruction was available from the pro, and there was a charge, but they provided shoes and racquets if needed, at no charge. Round-robins were also available for guests.


Attached to the Fitness Center was the massage center, and a wide variety of massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, wax treatments, etc., were available.

Here’s a personal admission: I’m uneasy when I’m uncertain, and I never had a massage at KVR because I didn’t know what to expect.  I decided to find out.

Of course I needn’t have worried. The whole procedure was explained by the masseuse, and it was all very soothing---and chaste.

If you wanted your massage to be out where you could hear the ocean and feel the sea breezes, you could schedule it in this secluded spot at the edge of the village, just beyond LT10.


Yoga classes were conducted for beginners and advanced students as well, for a nominal fee.  The participants could choose whether to have the session here on the Hale Samoa lawn or in a secluded area.

Celeste demonstrated a tree pose. (I was very impressed, but then when she closed her eyes, I just shook my head and smiled.  Not me, Celeste, not in this life...)