Hilton Waikoloa Village Big Island Hawaii
Travel

Big Island Babymoon! A Last Hurrah (for Real This Time) and a Glimpse Into our Family-Travel Future

At this point in my pregnancy — just about 26 weeks — I’m getting a lot of, shall we say, feedback, from strangers. Feedback like, “You’re about to pop!” (No, I’m not, but thanks, person who was obviously raised in a barn!) And, “Shouldn’t you be at home knitting booties quietly in your already-set-up nursery plastered in hokey decals, with your hospital bag dutifully packed?” OK, well, not quite in those words, but there seems to be a prevailing sentiment that pregnant ladies are fragile patients who ought to retire to rocking chairs and wait obediently until delivery day.

But if you know me, you know that slowing down doesn’t come naturally — there’s so much fun to be had in the world! Beyond that, we couldn’t even be peacefully nesting in our house while in the midst of a dusty, disruptive remodel anyway. And everyone knows that baby names are best chosen over a mid-air brainstorm, jotted on airplane napkins (so says years of peer-reviewed scientific research). So surely I was in no position to say no to a generous offer from the Hawaii Big Island Visitors Bureau to take one last babymoon (this time, I mean it) on its spectacular shores.

Hilton Waikoloa Village

Honu at the Hilton!

Twenty four and a half weeks into my twin pregnancy, we arrived at the Hilton Waikoloa Village to truly one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve seen anywhere in the world (pictured above), witnessed from our revamped Makai ocean-view room. Needless to say, it was an auspicious start!

We spent three days on the Hilton’s sprawling property, where a monorail and even a boat serve as guest transportation throughout the 62-acre grounds. I took a hapai pregnancy massage in the Kohala spa — luxuriating in my first chance to lie on my belly, thanks to a fancily engineered pillow, in months. Sidebar? The Hilton’s spa has some of the cutest, most expertly curated resort wear and coverups I’ve ever seen while traveling, at a price that’s totally accessible. [Kicks self for the zillionth time for not scooping up the chic and maternity-friendly navy and white Mud Pie swimsuit coverup, even though it was on sale. #theonethatgotaway]

Acclimating to my new physical inability to do all the stuff I would have done otherwise — snorkeling, say, in the property’s own lagoon — I made myself comfortable for hours devouring What to Do When You’re Having Two poolside where David went diving just off property. And I spent a lot of time observing all the families vacationing at the totally family-friendly resort. It can be done! In fact, Hawaii is a perfect place for a whole-family vacation from Los Angeles, very much on the beaten path, but with tropical breezes and sunsets that feel as exotic as the most far-flung beach anywhere.

For dining, Kamuela Provision Company‘s got views for weeks (and a seriously delish and pregnancy-approved tomato and pasteurized bleu cheese salad!).

Tomato, Maui onion, and — pasteurized! — bleu cheese at Kamuela Provision Company

Tomato, Maui onion, and (pasteurized!)  bleu cheese at Kamuela Provision Company

Imari, with its teppanyaki offerings, would be a great place to re-visit with kids. (Have you seen how nuts kids go over flying knives and adult-sanctioned playing with food? You can’t lose.) Don’t get me started on the luau — kid heaven.

Before setting off on our short road trip to the Hilo and Volcanoes National Park area (more on that later), we spent a truly indulgent day at the Four Seasons Hualalai. It’s one of those properties that drops your jaw from the very beginning, when you check in over fresh juice and fruit in a drop-dead gorgeous indoor-outdoor lobby.

Right away, I remarked that Hualalai reminded me of one of my top three favorite hotels in the world: the Four Seasons Bali at Sayan. So it wasn’t a surprise to learn that the Bali developers visited Big Island first for research. Think villas and suites spread out over a spectacularly landscaped and meandering island setting, a complement to instead of a blight on an impeccable natural environment.

Four Seasons Haualalai Spa

Open-air treatment room? Yes, please.

Following a superlative buffet breakfast at the ‘Ulu Ocean Grill (fresh kale juice, Kona coffee, and as-you-like-it eggs), we headed to the spa for another hapai massage, this one in an open-air cabana and a frankly pretty inventive side-lying position that felt so good on achy pregnancy bones. Before and after your treatment, you hang out in a serene meditation garden instead of an indoor lounge — because, hello, Hawaii.

From there, we spent the day posted up on fabulous loungers on the beach in front of the super-chic and swank Palm Grove pool — the 21-plus quiet pool with the swim-up bar — since we figured it was our last shot at such a thing for a while. But that was just one of seven swimming areas on property, right for vacationers in all stages of life, and we were seriously heartened by what we saw at the others. A dad, for instance, was enjoying the shade from a cabana lounger next to which he’d set up a pack-and-play for baby. I don’t know anything about parenthood yet, but I know that’s an arrangement I could really get used to.

In fact, that’s the image that sticks in my mind — in addition to the spectacular sunsets and sunrises, super-soft sand, and infinite shades of blue on the horizon, of course — now that we’re home from babymoon number… three? Four? I forgot. Point is, our travel won’t end when we have kids. Like staying home to knit booties the moment you get the BFP on the HPT (gag me with the hokey message board alliterations, but avoiding them altogether is a losing proposition), deciding your traveling days are over once you have kids is a choice. And it’s a choice I don’t expect we’ll make, given our endlessly deep passion for it — especially when, for instance, Hawaii’s Big Island is a five-hour direct flight away.

Famous last words? We’ll see. But sitting idly aint really my jam, and my kids will share my genes after all. So.

Four Seasons Hualalai Beach

We never know what the future holds — but it looks bright from where I sit.

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5 Comments

  • Reply Petra Bantum April 28, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    I stayed active throughout my pregnancy (even though it was just one, not two)… I even swing danced on my due date 🙂

    direct flights = a blessing for family travel … and a must for us if they exist 😉

    Pack and plays rule!

    • Reply Alice April 28, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      I love it! Swing dancing on your due date — that’s a way to bring a kid with rhythm into the world!

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