Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Coco Palms

Tomorrow we are having an employee appreciation day at work. The theme of the party is "Luau". I'm making sweet and sour meatballs tonight, and bought a pineapple and mangos for slicing. I bought dozens of leis at the Dollar Tree and fished out my old Hawaiian music CD & a boombox. Tomorrow should be fun but today all the preparation has me nostalgic and a bit blue.

While Greggory Abbott was belting out his #1 hit "Shake You Down" in 1987, I was on the garden island of Kauai at the Coco Palms Hotel - a Polynesian styled resor - saying "I Do". The photo above is the chapel where Jerr & I were married (vintage photo from the web). We didn't have Greggory Abbott singing for us but we did have an acoustic guitar player struming traiditonal Hawaiian music, which was beautiful, and two stranger off the beach as witnesses (the strangers were on their honeymoon too). The hotel was also the site of a convention of forensic pathologists while we were there so we heard some interesting talk in the Jacuzzi.

Sadly, Hurricane Iniki struck in September of 1992 and caused so much damage to the picturesque grounds (coconut groves and beautifu lagoons) that it was never reopened and basically lays in ruin now. And to think this is the place where Elvis filmed the final scenes of "Blue Hawaii"! Sometimes, when I have trouble sleeping, I fantasize and let my imagination run free about some place or project. One of these is restoring this place to it's pre-hurricane status. It wasn't a slick, modern, boutique hotel; instead, it was kinda old school with large clam shell sinks. Some people thought it was out of date - I thought it had ambiance like an old, dark steakhouse.

I searched the web and found these photos of the grounds. When I could locate them, I also included "after" shots.
The before and after of the entry way. I remember driving up there, getting out of the car to register, and the visiting the shops across the driveway to check on the flowers for our ceremony and Jerry buying me a pair of pearl earrings as a wedding gift to wear on our wedding day.

Before and after of cabins along the lagoons. At sunset, performers would come up the lagoon in outrigger boats, usually with torches, and land on the beach for their show.

This is where we had our after wedding lunch. I remember I had a shrimp salad on croissant with papaya. It was heavenly but I was just too hyped up to really reklax and enjoy the meal or the atmosphere. The before photo really doens't do it justice because you can't see the mural and it makes the restaurant look crowded - which it was not.

The only thing recognizable to me in these before and afters is the metal stair railing (the shots are from two different angles). There was also a Jacuzzi surrounded by a rockwall, like a grotto.

Below is the main hotel building, post Iniki, which is where we stayed. There were also cottages available along the lagoon.

So, if any investors out there are looking for a project, think Coco Palms! I'll be your first guest when you reopen ;)


My Little Family: said...


Coco Palms was indeed the location of the famous outrigger canoe wedding scene from Elvis Presley's Blue Hawaii, released in 1961, but the resort was also used in other films, such as South Pacific, Pagan Love Song, and the TV series "Fantasy Island."

There are still weddings taking place on the lagoon amid the over 2,000 coconut palm trees, and limited tours are conducted by an outside company. Groups still make pilgrimages to Coco Palms to have their photos taken in front of the little grass shack where Elvis once stood.

Rumor has it that echoes of Elvis can be heard blowing through the palm tree leaves every Blue Moon. The next Blue Moon is December 31, 2009.

Julie said...

WoW...what a gorgeous place to marry!!! What happy memories!

CiNdEe said...

That is sad they never restored it. My friend always went to Kawaii and always told me how beautiful it was. I have never been there. I always love seeing pictures and wishing I could go! What a great project for someone to do! It looks like it was a fun place to go to when it was open!

Millie said...

To Coco Palms, I feel that it is a beautiful place, Ad least you still can have it really nice and just have the up-keep on it with nice plants , shrubs and the Blue Lagoon kept nice and clean and path ways, And make it really nice to still enjoy it, Just keep the hotel and special buildings roped off, But still be enjoyed by the public. Just clean it up the way it was in stead of over growing. Please respond. (coming to Kauai Oct. 12-19, 2012)

A Snapper In the Hood

We ran an errand early this morning and saw this guy leaving the pond and making his way somewhere else. The Muscovy ducks, more about them ...