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Tour Kona Village Resort With Travel + Leisure

© Douglas Friedman

“On Hawaii’s Big Island, there was once a resort called Kona Village. It opened in 1966, and because the closest public road was two miles away, guests took a puddle-jumper plane to the resort, piloted by whoever was around – a concierge, a cook, occasionally someone licensed to fly. The main bar was a beached sailboat called New Moon, which belonged to Kona Village’s founders, Johnno and Helen Jackson. When they were fixing up the resort, they anchored New Moon in Kahuwai Bay, where it took on water and sank — so they hauled the vessel out of the Pacific, gave it a paint job, and served mai tais from the deck.

The resort developed a star-studded cult following. Supposedly, The Doors’ Jim Morrison once set a record by drinking 21 mai tais at Shipwreck Bar. It was Steve Jobs’ favorite place to vacation — though, ironically, the place embraced an off-the-grid philosophy. Guests were told to leave their cell phones in the rooms, and there were no TVs. When they wanted privacy, they’d put a coconut outside the door.”

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