As we descended through a small town on the Island of Kauai in our rental car we sought a hotel room for the night, in the morning we would hitch-hike to the entry to the Kalaulau Trail. We ended up in a valley at a small sea side port near Kalapaki Beach. There was a huge commercial chain resort on one side of the road, and on the other, a small, charming family owned motel. The lot was gravel, the motel probably had less than a dozen rooms and the courtyard consisted of overhanging trees, vines and tiny lights strewn among them above garden chairs and exotic flowers. The walkway was decorated with laid, hand painted tiles with images of sea turtles and sea shells. This was the Garden Island Inn.
You might miss this tropical gem if you weren’t looking close enough, there were two levels and with doors on the outside along the lanais, next to each door a small window of glass jalousies. The railings painted aqua blue and driftwood hung from the walls over the courtyard. It was perfect. When we went to check for a room the pleasant and casually friendly lady at the desk welcomed us, her smile was inviting and sweet and she informed us there was indeed one room available, so we gladly accepted it. She even offered to stash our duffle bag and extra equipment for us while we hiked the Napoli Coast out of kindness.
The small lobby office was decorated with bamboo, shelved board games and VCR tape cassettes were available to borrow…not to rent. As she finished our paperwork I watched the Koi lazily swim about in the pool that extended beyond the wall to the outside courtyard. Our room was simple, tiled and clean, and the garden fresh and quiet, sitting there at sunset you can hear the slight barking of Geckos as they climb the stuccoed walls of the motel. And as the sun sank beyond the ocean we watched feral roosters stammer about in the grass alongside the beach among hundreds of black crabs, running to and fro avoiding crashing vibrant blue waves.
This was a perfect start to our next adventure, often we think of that small motel and smile, the staff so personable and friendly, small businesses are still alive and well and pertinent in today’s world, this place was an integral part of making our vacation as fun and wonderful as it was.