Hawaii Calls

Our room with a view on the Kohala Coast

Alaska Airlines has a sweet deal. For $75 a year, their co-branded bank credit card offers a 2-for-1 companion fare every year, among other perks. We used the offer to fly from Sacramento to the Kohala Coast on the Big Island (a favorite spot) this afternoon for some R&R (we’re celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary in May).

We upgraded to first class with miles and loved our flight. The menu was imaginative. The starters were a green salad, and a cup of gingered carrot bisque. One entree was Korean rice bowl (steamed rice topped with fresh shiitake mushrooms and spinach sauteed with sesame oil and garlic. Topped with homemade pickled vegetables and served with a spicy-sweet gochujang —Korean red pepper — sauce and scallions). Desert was Salt & Straw’s artisan ice cream. We watched The Post on the airline’s pre-loaded entertainment tablets.

Southwest is preparing to begin flights from the West Coast to Hawaii, and it has led to some steep price cuts on Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, United and others. It also has prompted the carriers with first-class service such as Alaska to up their game. (Southwest will feature peanuts).

Our room tonight has great ocean view, and we can see whales offshore. (It is the whale watching season). We’re going to read books, swim in the ocean and enjoy some fresh fish. Thanks to Jackie and Mitchell for holding down the fort. Here’s to the New Year!

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

2 thoughts on “Hawaii Calls”

  1. Give a try to Kona Joe. He has grown coffee like they grow grapes on trellis – interesting guy! Try the beach at the Mauna Kea, our favroite. Rockefeller had a good idea-
    Hold your head underwater for a few seconds and you can hear those whales call to each other.
    Aloha Nui!

    1. Chip,

      Thanks! In the go-go days in the late ’90s (when I was editor of CNET News during its IPO), we stayed at the Mauna Kea a few times. Love the Rockefeller lore. The hotel has become exorbitant, though. A room in the wonderful beachfront wing goes for $700/night this week — well over double what it was back then.

      Nowadays — as you note — we go to the southern side of Mauna Kea beach, where a few parking spots are reserved for the general public, with an easy 5-minute walk to the beach. Thank goodness Hawaii’s beaches are public!

      On another visit — our favorite — we spent a week tent camping on the Big Island, visiting all the great beach spots, swimming, snorkeling, sipping Kona coffee, and grilling locally caught fish from the local fishermen. While departing, the airport X-ray machine run by the agriculture department detected a lime we had forgotten at the bottom of our big duffle bag (not allowed). We had used it to make our Mai Tai’s on the trip!

      Will try the “whale thing” and Kona Joe too. Cheers,

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