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Radio Guest List—Royal Kona Resort, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii—September 2, 2017

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This week, the Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio Show broadcasts from the Royal Kona Resort in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Perched on the edge of Kailua Bay, The Royal Kona Resort is the quintessential Hawaiian setting—highlighting the sunsets and many natural wonders of the Big Island. This week, Chef and Restaurant Owner Sam Choy talks about working at the Royal Kona in the 1980s. Master Mixologist Joey Gottesman defines what makes a Mai Tai. Associate Editor of West Hawaii Today Chelsea Jensen suggests that travelers should plan to stay for at least a week to enjoy the beaches. There’s all of this and more as the Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio Show broadcasts from the Royal Kona Resort in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Click here to listen to the show streaming live from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 2, 2017.

Have a travel question? Ask Peter. Email him at, post on his Facebook page, or tweet your questions to @PeterSGreenberg.

Patrick Surry, Chief Data Scientist at Hopper, discusses the short-term depression in traffic after the election and the shift away from international travel. He mentions how it’s been an interesting year in terms of airline pricing and that there are some amazing deals out there now. He also talks about cross-border travel and reveals that their followers often have a Plan B.

Sam Choy, World Famous Chef and Restaurant Owner, reminisces about working at the Royal Kona in the 1980s. He recalls that the restaurant used to receive criticism which empowered chefs to focus on local food. He also talks about being a judge at the Mai Tai Festival and writing culinary books, three of which are on Hawaiian poke alone.

Jonathan White, Author of Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, shares that he used to be a sailor and that he grew up in California with a tide chart in his back pocket. He also talks about the time when he lost his boat by not knowing the tides in Sitka, Alaska and informs us about the changing sea levels.

Joey Gottesman, Master Mixologist, defines what makes a Mai Tai, and elaborates on the various liquors used to create it. He discloses that the first Hawaiian Mai Tai was created by Trader Vic in 1953. Every year, the Royal Kona holds the biggest cocktail contest. He also adds that people got really creative this year since the Royal Hawaiian is easy to make quickly with fruit.

Darin Aiu, Maintenance Worker in the Facilities Department of Royal Kona Resort, shares that he started out as a dishwasher and worked his way up. He notes that even though most maintenance workers don’t have contact with guests, it’s different at Royal Kona as he interacts with guests all the time. He expresses that he wants people to feel like they are coming back to a second home.

Gary Hogan, CEO and Owner of Hawaiian Hotels & Resorts, reminisces about his pleasant Hawaiian holidays and recalls that his parents started their business in 1959. He reveals that the Royal Kona hotel was built in the late 1960s by Conrad Hilton as one of the flagships. He notes that despite not having a rewards program, the resort still has a high return ratio on guests and they have already been approached to add more rooms and towers.

Chelsea Jensen, Associate Editor at West Hawaii Today, remarks how Hilo is unique when it comes to the climate, people, and the environment. She explains that travelers should plan to stay for at least a week to enjoy the beaches. She suggests that the best way to explore the volcanic island is to go hiking to see the volcanoes, get in the caldera, and go in the forest. She also recommends going to Umekes where you can enjoy food cooked by local Hawaiian chefs.

Andy Doughty, Author of Hawaii Revealed, recalls that he walked a lot to make these books. He goes on to share that the best stuff is not seen from the road and that it’s important to keep looking and finding new things. He also talks about the black sand beach and reveals that Charles Lindbergh’s grave is accessible—and that he wants to be buried there when he dies.

Norman Estin, Founder and Medical Director of Doctors On Call, discusses the travel pack he’s created, which is the size of an Altoids box. He recommends getting a mosquito repellent that has the active ingredient DEET and suggests always packing Aspirin or Tylenol when you travel. He also explains the need to use sunscreen with 50 SPF or higher.

By Keefe Liu for