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impromptu travel & why koa kea resort is a hawaiin utopia


It was a break-up that had left me gasping for air. Kind of like how you feel when Starbucks runs out of caramel for that frap in the middle of a summer heat wave.

I could feel the walls start to close in as my self-esteem plummeted into the deepest recesses of my insecurities. 

Nary a soul or unneeded handbag purchase could pick me back up. Or so it seemed. All I knew, is that the time had come for a change of scenery. In fact, it was time for a change, period. 

I needed to liberate myself from the nuances of everyday life while indulging in much needed R+R, not to mention private space away from everything and everyone FAMILIAR. True, my budget was tight clocking in at literally just $900 (including flights!!) for a week in one of the most popular destinations known to man, but that was no excuse to not get away and at least try. I knew I was a princess in my own right no matter what ugly things were said during my horrendous break-up. And who knew? Maybe I would even meet someone who understood how to treat a lady right! Okay, okay, truth be told I already had a gorgeous bachelor awaiting my arrival that I met...um...online. Yes, I had become one of THOSE women. Look, this is what idolizing Sex And The City does to a girl. You start thinking the story lines are attainable instead of enviable. And I am here for no other reason than to tell you they are. Please know that the only person ever standing in the way of the life you want at any given moment is YOURSELF.





Traveling Light 

Let's lay one misconception to rest. I am, and never have been privileged, or jet setting. I was lucky enough to visit London and the Caribbean because family lived there, but other than that, taking off to exotic destinations is not a typical weekend for oppressed minorities! So while reveling in the fact that a Ryan Reynolds lookalike actually found me appealing, well I found the best thing to do would be to bring as little 'baggage' as possible. So I did what I do best and downsized my entire travel wardrobe to two minimalist and interchangeable outfits before booking my flights and set my sights on Koa Kea Hotel & Resort in Kauai, Hawaii. Frankly, I swayed between wanting to vacation like a Rockefeller, then being reminded of my frugal budget, to seeking the most modest motels, then concocting the most resourceful plan that married both. With a backup plan of just camping if necessary, I chose Koa Kea due to the spectacular reviews (you will NOT meet a bigger review snob than me, I will stalk blogs and review sites for weeks indecisively) and was planted right next to some warm and inviting sand. Yes, I was ready for luxury and whatever fun may stumble in my general direction because I was a newly single and hedonistic woman. 

When the time came, I nervously stepped off the plane, hopped in the tattered vintage van of my fling, and took one of the most dazzling drives across the island to the hotel. Seriously, nothing can compare to the drastic beauty of this Hawaiian island. I could already feel my tender heart starting to heal. 

The Resort 

As I pulled up to Koa Kea resort, I knew I had made the right choice in affordably extravagant lodging. The resort couldn't have been any closer to the shore if they tried. More importantly, can we talk about how absurdly accommodating the staff was? I felt as if the views, marbled floors, and parking lot full of trust fund babies all came second place to the staff. I have never experienced such gracious five-star service. IN. MY. LIFE. They are truly the gold standard and I have never witnessed such excellent and attentive service since my stay with them, before or since (this all coming from a well-heeled native New Yorker). 

I checked into my room which was crisply colored with sleek and elegant furniture that was clearly inspired by the sensational view from my window. My personal taste is a bit more bohemian, but a woman can't turn down pure cleanliness. Plus, it's nice to see a hotel utterly replicate the images you see online. I didn’t want to waste a second of my trip though, and quickly got out of my sticky travel clothes and suited up for some hot tub time, which is where you would have found me every single night thereafter. I just don't have the words to describe sizzling in a hot tub with a flat screen view from the bar on one side and an entire ocean on the other. 

Beyond the hot tub, Koa Kea touts an excellent swimming pool area with a bar, a fitness center, beach activity rentals (snorkeling, surf boards, etc.) and the delightful Kauai resort spa. I made sure to surprise my vacation fling with a divine couples massage. I know I was trying to be thrifty but a girl has got to have a little fun on her break away from it all, and it was a chance to see his shirt come off, though he had a Matthew McConaughey way about him where no excuse was needed! 

Each treatment is crafted with products that use indigenous ingredients that left my skin feeling silky and soft. It was my little slice of heaven and I left the spa feeling rejuvenated and pampered. Beyond massages, their spa offers a variety of treatments including facials and wraps that can be enjoyed oceanside as well, but perhaps the exhibitionist in me was yet to fruit. While I made sure to have a little bit of high-end fun, I didn’t want to ruin my experience with an expensive hotel bill. I kept to my budget by eating out at some fabulous hole-in-the-wall gems found just outside the resort and in tourist malls that I would have never discovered if it wasn't for my sexy guide who was living out of that rickety van and a tent. For those of you that want a culinary splurge thought, you can consider dining at the gourmet Red Salt restaurant on the property. They serve meals all day and their dinner cuisine features contemporary upscale dishes and a sushi menu. 



Day Excursions 

While it was hard to tear away from the comfort and sumptuousness of the Koa Kea, I could not sit in a beach chair all day long when Kauai’s landscape was too diverse and deliciously exciting to resist. The resort is perfectly situated for easy day trips and adventures. I mean, how many times do you get to experience a tropical expedition on the eve of your newly established singledom? I was not going to let this chance slip away. Koa Kea offers a variety of adventures in which you can take lessons from seasoned staff members or, if you are already experienced, simply rent their equipment. Horseback riding and golfing are also easily accessible and the weather makes it the ideal location for these adventures all year round. I was crazy enough to find my way to the top of a 100ft. dare dive cliff on the final day of my trip. Okay, so maybe there are certain adventures that can be reserved for another life-changing event. I did not dive off the cliff in the end, but either way, the experience was beautiful and life-changing. I had finally reached the top of my figurative mountain and I was ready for whatever life threw at me. 

I was as sun-kissed as any brown girl could be, happy, and healing. My stay at the Koa Kea was unbelievable and just what the doctor had ordered for my sad set of circumstances. The staff treated me with honor, the resort offered an ambiance and touch of style that was glamorous yet relaxing, and I had ventured to the top of a cliff with no one there to help me. I came back from my trip ready to face life head-on because I knew that no matter how high the cliff I had to climb was that there was always a sunset waiting for me at the top. I share this story not to ignite jealously or yearning, but rather action. This is the memory I've lived on to feel alive, instead of just doing it again for myself, not for a boy. I know travel isn't for everyone and I won't make it the focus of my blog, but in a country that is obsessed with nothing more than slave-driving consumerism and medicated zombie lives, I'll be reaching for something more. Something a 9-5 can't give me and a closet full of designer duds will never live up to. It's funny how the best memories find me in nothing more than a little cotton tank top anyway...

When was the last time you did something impulsive away from home?

4 comments

  1. This trip sounded divine! I'm not the most impulsive person. I'm much more of planner; a very strict planner, but my goodness, this made me want to do something out of impulse simply for myself. Nothing crazy. Lol, and I, too, am a review snob. I read pages and pages, site after site of reviews before making a decision. I hope you'll get to do something like that again very soon! :)

    xoxo,
    Maya| Petite & Unique

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    Replies
    1. I'm a bonafide perfectionist and it has been insanely difficult to give up the controlling side of my personality to let "travel planning" occur more organically. The best way to do this is infact impulsive travel and I highly recommend it ;)

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  2. That is a great impulsive decision, it looks amazing!
    Simona Lake&Moon

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