Big Island getaway recommendations, please!
April 19, 2010 10:40 PM   Subscribe

We're headed to the Big Island for a week. We've gotten a package at the Hilton Waikoloa Resort so will be staying there for 4 nights. Now, we know we'll get sick of the hotel scene by night 3 or night 4 (but have already paid for it and are getting a good deal), SO can anyone recommend a nice cottage/B+B/lodge where we can go to wind down our vacation, somewhere relatively luxurious (no more than $400/nt please) and not packed with tons of people? FWIW, I looked on VRBO and there are sooo many choices my head spun. A lodge would be fine and if you happen to know of any vacation rentals that would be good too. I found this previously and have contacted the 2 places mentioned...they're taken! Anyone been to or know of the type of place I've described? Many thanks in advance!
posted by choochoo to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Way below your desired price range and maybe a little less luxurious than you'd like, but as two poor-ish students my husband and I LOVED this place. Cheesy name, but the views were lovely, it was a very intimate and cosy place, and we still reminisce about the nice night we spent there years later. It's not far geographically from the Hilton, but it is the exact opposite experience. It's pretty much literally staying in someone's house - the owner had all kinds of beach toys and equipment we could borrow - but it wasn't creepy and intrusive like some B&Bs, just friendly, mellow, and accommodating.
posted by little light-giver at 11:37 PM on April 19, 2010

If you want to drive around to the other side of the island (it's only a couple of hours), drive over to Hilo and stay a couple of nights at the Hilo Honu Inn. It's a charming little BnB that looks down over Hilo town, should be luxurious enough for you, and the lady who runs the place is really friendly.
posted by The Shiny Thing at 11:47 PM on April 19, 2010

Best answer: Where I would stay. Holualoa Inn.
posted by Muirwylde at 12:15 AM on April 20, 2010

Seconding Hilo Honu Inn. It's an awesome place!
posted by lois1950 at 1:28 AM on April 20, 2010

Does it have to be by the beach? Will you have a car?
posted by Songdog at 4:55 AM on April 20, 2010

Best answer: VRBO is the way to go, but you have to get seriously obsessive to look through as many properties as you can. Find something that resonates with you and you'll be much better off than a resort.

Get down to the Kealakekua Bay / Captain Cook area for a totally different vibe than the resorty Kohala Coast where you're staying. If you're lucky, you'll see the wild dolphins. We had a wonderful time at the Luana Inn - nice B&B. Just got back from a week at the Aloha Island Coffee Estate House which made us feel like rock stars.

IWeve also stayed down at the Volcano Village Lodge in a cedar cabin in the rain forest, which was magical even for Hawaii.
posted by troyer at 6:58 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you are willing to go farther afield I was going to suggest Carson's Cottages in Volcano but it looks like that property was listed for sale a couple of years ago and I haven't been able to establish whether it's back in business under another name. There are certainly other places around Volcano, however; and the lodge that troyer suggests looks appealing. There's also Volcano House, of course, but that's a larger hotel and in any event it's closed for renovations at the moment.

Even farther afield and even more unusual is the South Point Banyan Treehouse which is less expensive than I recall. You must have a car, however, as it's some distance from the nearest places you're likely to want to visit.
posted by Songdog at 8:32 AM on April 20, 2010

I can't help with the lodgings -- although in general I'd recommend some time up in Volcano for an change from Kona/Kohala.

I can, however, recommend a restaurant: Sansei. Nothing is exactly cheap in Waikoloa, but Sansei (which is just outside the resort, in a shopping center called "Queen's Shopping Center" or something -- there's a shuttle from the hotel) is reasonable. Also, they do a 50% special on certain evenings, like an early-bird type thing. Watch out for that, since people will be lining up outside.

Try the mango crab hand rolls, and (if they're serving it) the moi.
posted by lex mercatoria at 9:03 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do you intend to spend your whole week on the Kohala coast of the Big Island? If you like to be active, definitely checkout the Volcano and Hilo area.
posted by mmascolino at 9:13 AM on April 20, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you, all, for your wonderful suggestions! I went from NO idea on where to a whole bunch of choices!

little light-giver, the aaahtheviews seems really cozy and we're going to look into it as I love cozy.

Muirwylde, the Holualoa sounds like exactly what we're looking for.

troyer, the Luana Inn also sounds right up our alley (the Volcano Village Lodge is all booked up, boo).

Songdog, the Southpoint Banyan Treehouse looks charming!

I'll be contacting all these inns for availability today.

We like hiking and snorkeling so will definitely be heading toward the Volcano area.

lex mercatoria, I love Japanese food and will try Sansei as I don't see us eating at the Waikoloa all 4 nights we're there.

For all those who have more suggestions, keep them coming. We don't have to stay by the water and we will definitely have a car. Any anti-resort suggestions are welcome.
posted by choochoo at 10:16 AM on April 20, 2010

The Banyan Treehouse is delightful, we spent our honeymoon there. It is in the middle of nowhere though, about halfway between the two major cities of the Big Island, so you will absolutely need a car.
posted by Flannery Culp at 4:11 PM on April 20, 2010

We spent several days of ours there too, Flannery!
posted by Songdog at 6:25 PM on April 20, 2010

I stayed at the Hale Ohia cottages a few years ago, and had a great experience there. It's a cute little collection of mostly 1-bedroom cottages, tucked away near the entrance to Volcano NP. It rained the whole time we were there, but just in the little patch of land around Volcano -- and the cottage was a lovely respite from all that, with a little walled-in porch and a bunch of warm blankets.

Glancing at tripadvisor just now, I notice a few negative reviews (along with plenty of positive ones), so maybe it depends on which cottage you book -- unfortunately, I don't recall which one we were in -- or maybe the ownership has changed. When I went it was fantastic. If you go, there is (or used to be) a surprisingly tasty Thai restaurant in Volcano!

I also bookmarked the Ka'awa Loa Plantation House (near Kona, I think) based on various recommendations, but they were full both times we went.

(Oh, and Hale Ohia was $200ish a night, maybe a bit less; Ka'awa is more like $150.)
posted by chalkbored at 7:57 PM on April 20, 2010

For old school local Japanese food and great tempura down in Kealakekua, check out Teshima's. Nothing fancy, but it's a bit of history.
posted by troyer at 12:17 AM on April 21, 2010

Response by poster: Just wanted to follow up with you all. Thanks for all the recommendations, AskMe is great!

@troyer: We will be staying at the Luana Inn for 2 nights. Their reservation process was easy, with just 1 email to check for availability and 1 phone call to secure the reservation. They even emailed me a packing list which provided a lot of information which I--a first-time Big Island traveler--didn't know and which will be very helpful.
posted by choochoo at 2:44 PM on April 30, 2010

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