VIDEO: Tsunami batters Kona Village Resort hale bungalows

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Video courtesy Lynn Beittel, Matt Binder of Visionary Video

By now, Hawaii is familiar with the damage sustained at Kailua-Kona tourism hotspots like Alii Drive and the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel when a tsunami generated by the 9.0 earthquake in Japan swept the leeward shore.

The luxury hotels along the Kona coast also took a beating. On Wednesday, these video images from the Kona Village Resort were captured, showing the numerous hale, or island-style luxury bungalows, that were damaged by Friday’s surge. Some were even knocked off their foundations.

In this video, Patrick Fitzgerald, CEO of Kona Village Resort, talks about the evacuation and the damages at the seaside destination.

Fitzgerald says all guests were safely evacuated and there were no reported injuries. The Kona Village Resort remains closed.

From the resort’s website: “Note that our phone lines are now working and you can reach us at (808) 325.5555 or toll free (800) 367.5290. As you can imagine we are unusually busy tending to guest queries so please be patient if you need to call.

“Thank you for your understanding and support during this difficult period. The Kona Village Resort Ohana are very grateful for such wonderful guests and our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan.”

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28 Comments

  1. Hawaii Island Life said:

    I heard about this. Amazing to see the damage. I hope they will be back in business soon, as Kona Village is such a unique resort.

  2. Chris e said:

    We spent most of our childhood growing up at KVR. It breaks my heart to see the damage, but rest assured it will come back better than ever. Without the ocean, there would have never been the shipwreck bar!

  3. Pat T said:

    I’ve been in contact with a few people about “our KVR”. We have been going there for 31 years and are very saddened by this but with great faith and patience the Village will again be “The Most Dreamed of Spot on Earth”. Thank goodness everyone is ok.

  4. Barbara Clinton said:

    I was in the village with my family and friends. The evacuation was wonderfully executed, just as you might have expected from KVR personnel. I want to thank both resorts for all they did to make us comfortable, providing food, water, shelter and towels for covers and beds for those that needed them most. While it is so sad to see after 34 years of going there, I am grateful for all the good memories and anticipate that they will be up and running in the near future. KVR is more than a resort, it is a community of guests and personnel…a family in Hawaiian style. I have tears for the destruction but hope for the future. My sympathies to those KVR employee friends whom are affected by this event…there are so many.

  5. Elizabeth Hogue said:

    We are so saddened to see this! We just spent 10 wonderful days at KVR in November for our honeymoon we stil talk about it almost everyday and how special everything was. I am glad everyone was safe.

  6. Nancy Labowitz said:

    I am sadden and shocked looking at the destruction of KVR from the Tsunami. My Family has spent many years enjoying our vacation in this one of a kind resort where you also became part of the family with many of the wonderful employees. I have so many memories I am still in shock. My Mother visited the village many times a year bringing different groups of her Family, She passed away last year and the whole family stayed at the village the week before the Tsunami as a tribute to her.. In 2006 my husband and I were married on the beach and planned to return this October for our 5 year anniversary. I can only hope the powers to be will realize what a unique special place Kona Village Resort was and rebuild it to be that again.

  7. Bruce Brainerd said:

    Oh well,now people will realize what they have been missing out on when they discover Mauna Kea, Mauna Lani or the four Seasons next door. Good riddance!

  8. gina jost said:

    We were just at kvr a week before.it was my mom favorite place ever.she passed away last year.this wouldv has broken her heart.I know they will rebuild but it is still terrible

  9. john Wacker said:

    my wife and i came to kvr with my daughter and son in law to share in there family reunion and memory of their mom who returned to this heaven every year. i can honestly see why after being here. i did not want to leave this piece of heaven on earth. i hope all is restored and that the islanders that work there are able to survive this disaster. I will return again for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years to come. i already miss my massage and chats with Rusty at the shipwreck bar. thankyou for your wonderful world. john/joan wacker

  10. linda lawler said:

    We are so sad to see the images of KVR. And for the wonderful employees who have been effected by it.
    It is our favorite vacation spot in the world!

    We were just planning our 25th anniversary at KVR when we heard about what happened. We will miss our tradition of spending our anniversary and my birthday at the most dreamed of spot on earth.
    We look forward to the day that all of us who know how special KVR is will be able to return.again.
    There is no resort like it!!

  11. Nancelia Jackson said:

    I am 86 yrs old and have visited Kona Village 5 times. My son Gary and daughter-in law Regina take me for my birthday to the place I call heaven on earth. He planned on 2013 for our next visit.. My sister passed awy this year and he took her along to help me celebrate my 85th birtday. We always have a group of friends and I just love every minute of it. There is no place like it.

  12. Julie Forester said:

    I am so sad. We were just talking about booking our trip to Kona Village and just heard horrible news that it was closed due to the tsunami. We have been vacationing at the wonderful resort for over 10 years and feel like it’s our special paradise. Our little shipwreck bar…. the pool… the turtles… We have lots of fond memories and loved every inch of the place. I really hope they reopen because there is no place like KV!
    My heart goes out to the families of Kona Village….

    My husband just loves the shipwreck bar! We would sit there for hours……..

  13. Dougan Dimmitt said:

    It breaks my heart to see this. I am 49 and have been going to KVR for 40 years. Growing up in Hawaii Kai and remembering Royal Hawaiin Airlines take us over and land right there… My family My childhood all my brothers and sisters and cousin, and nieces and nephews… Man on thanksgiving and my moms 80th birthday we had over 30 of us to celebrate.. Hurt to see the Sand Samona hales destroyed… I hope they rebuild it will be very sad if they do not. Man great times there…Hard to imagine it being gone :(:(:(

  14. Noel Hobbs said:

    Our daughter and son-in-law were married in Kona Village last November. It was our first time to enjoy the setting, the unique opportunities and the special hospitality that the resort offers. We spent 7 fabulous days.there. We are sorrowful to see the devastation wrought by the storm, but we are sure that the ownership and management will restore the facilities in keeping with those values that make Kona Village the very special place that it was before the storm. We are thankful that no one was hurt, and hope that you will soon be fully operable again. We will keep you and your employees in our prayers.

  15. Joan Steele said:

    My family first came to Kona Village in 1968; we sent my grandson and his bride there for their honeymoon in 2005 and celebrated my 80th and 81st birthday in 2010 and 2011 with a family reunion. As so many people have commented, there is no place like it and we hope and pray that it will be able to reopen in time for #82 in 2012.

  16. Keliipiha said:

    Definitely a sad day for the Kona Village family of guests and employees. No place on earth will ever compare to the “Aloha” experienced at KVR. Not Four Seasons, Not Mauna Kea, Not Mauna Lani. Anybody can put up a hotel in Hawaii, but none of them have shared true Aloha like the people of KVR. Sorry Bruce Brainerd – you wouldn’t know anything about that because Aloha is always met with Aloha, hence the word “SHARE.” You effectively embarrassed yourself as your ranting purely displayed your ignorance. Good riddance to you as well as Hawaii cleanses itself of squatters like you. A-A-L-L-O-O-H-H-A-A-!-!

  17. Kathy Bailey said:

    I am very saddened to see the damage @ KVR. I worked there ib the early 70′s (Kathy Abay-Abay @ the time). Over the years have expressed fond memories & hopefully led some business to KVR. Hopefully they can reopen in the near future to instill more fond memories to guests & employees alike. I share in the opinion of Keliipiha regarding Bruce Brainerd. It is terribly sad that people can be so cruel at a time when others are suffering. Meanwhile, I wish you all well & will keep you in my prayers.

  18. Beth Thompson said:

    My husband & I were married on the island in the pond. Our memories are endless – the staff, the food, the luau, our favorite Hale BT5, the wonderful bay to snorkel in, the amazing turtles & mantas, beautiful sunsets. I hope that someone has the vision to return it to an even better place to return for many years. We had to go to Fiji to find anything close. We pray for all the employees to find a way to make it through this difficult time. Remember the logo with the sails & it’s meaning. Although you may travel away, you will return. Aloha..

  19. Tom Hansen said:

    My wife and I have spent many nights at high end resorts and hotels around the world, but when anyone asks us where our favorite place is, our immediate answer is Kona Village. It brings a smile to our faces as we then begin to explain why. Those of us who have had the good fortune to be able to experience the beauty and calm that comes at the Village, understand. Our hearts go out to all the wonderful staff who have made us feel at home in this special place. My screen saver will shine brightly with the picture of the bay from our last morning breakfast there in February. We have always said that Kona Village is not for everyone…. But it definitely is for us.
    Mahalo, Tom and Cheryl Hansen

  20. Catherine said:

    It’s so sad this happened. Kona Village was my fiancee and my top pick for our honeymoon. We’ve tried looking at other places in the Caribbean but nothing compares to Kona Village.

  21. Craig From PA said:

    This Is So Sad!!
    I Dreamed Of Going To KVRSince I Was 16, My Wife And I Went For Our 2nd, 3rd, And 5th.
    Ann. Missing # 4 As Our Little Girl Arrived That Oct. ( Though The Wonderful Folks There Sent Us Our Faverote Meal (Island Bread Filet Minion, Those Tasty Island Patatos, And A Whole Coconut Cake In Dry Ice Deliverd Next Day Air For Us At tNo Charge To Bring Us Closer To Our Hawian Home During A Specail Time In Our Lives).
    I Will Miss Them! Even If They Rebuild They Will Never Get The Old Family Of Workers Together Again.
    And That Will Change It Even if Its Built The Exact Same. This Is Truly A Very Sad Month!

    To All Our Fond Memories Let us Never Forget The Way It Was!! I Fear It Is Gone Forever.

  22. Karen from California said:

    I have stayed at Kona Village on five occasions. Each one a truly delightful experience. On one of my visits, I was married there on the beach. I have never been to a more inviting place. The staff, the ambiance, THE FOOD, all very special. Even though it was only five times, each time I returned, I was made to feel that I was coming home, and it really did feel that way. I am so sad that this wonderful Hawaiian paradise will no longer be. It was one of the most inviting, comfortable and peaceful places in Hawaii. I do hope whomever does the new build on that property, will attempt to recreate that delightful feeling of the KV, so that those of us who appreciate the Hawaiiana that we had the opportunity to experience there, and may again be able to return to that special feeling and special place. And, to you Bruce Brainerd, you are the one who has no idea what you have been missing and It’s unfortunate that you will now NEVER know its magical feeling.

  23. roberta Nieberg said:

    I have been to Kona Village many times during the past 35 years and my entire family went together in 2008 to celebrate our 50th anniversary. KVR is a very special and unique place that we all love, a place for all ages as well as marvelous relaxationn. It would be a pity to lose it. I hope that it reopens soon and that my family can all go together ( 14 of us) in 2013 to celebrate our 55 wedding anniversary.

    Roberta Nieberg

  24. Reese said:

    I haven’t been going to Kona Village as long as many of you have considering I am only 13, I have been 14 times, but it already holds a special place in my heart. I have to admit that when I first heard about its destruction it brought tears to my eyes. I have heard lots of talk about people rebuilding Kona Village but making it fancier and more modern. Personally I really hope this doesn’t happen. A few changes here and there wouldn’t hurt but if they made it into a mini four seasons or something like that it just wouldn’t be the same. Kona Village was a really special and great place just the way it was. I always loved how it wasn’t modern and flashy. I hope it reopens with only a few minor changes. It was an amazing escape from the “real” world, and truly a paradise.

  25. Ravi Etwaru said:

    Its almost the end of July 2011, and its this time of the year we plan our vacation, and here my wife and I looking for the reservation site for Kona Village and WOW! – its like we got hit by a bus!

    It is so sad, and heart wrenching to see what happend.

    This is sooo sad, and heartbroken to see the place that has been so special for us, is no longer.
    The Employees were the best and we really hope Kona Village return to its luster days so guest can return to a place we love so much.

    We surely miss this place and its people.

    God bless you all,
    Ravi & Kim
    Garden City, New York

  26. Kevin lincOlm said:

    The kona village is my favorite vacation spot of as time. It has almost been a year since the damage. I really hope it is beng rebuilt. Cheers!

  27. Carol Gilbert said:

    Having stayed at Kona Village Resort at least 12 times, we still haven’t found anything that compares. We’ve been back to the islands and had a good time on Maui and Lanaii, but no place is like KVR. We fervently hope that it will reopen and be close to what is was like in our memories.

  28. Justin Fleet said:

    I learned to Swim in the black bottom pool at Kvr. I remember the parrots and climbing the tower . I hope there rebuild is sucssesful. I would like to return for a vacation and a Lua one day soon. (O.)b

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