Where to Stay on the Big Island?
August 15, 2013 11:58 AM   Subscribe

In February my family (couple and 9 year old) are going to the Big Island of Hawaii for 9 days. We're arriving in Kona at 9:30pm on a Friday, and leave the following Sunday at 10:30pm (a red-eye). We're haven't made any reservations for where to stay yet, and I'm wondering where and what are best choices.

I expect we're going to visit and do what typical tourists do, the beach, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, visit an observatory, etc. (any other suggestions on things to do are welcome, too.)

We could just stay at one place (probably in Kona) for the duration, or we could stay at more than one place. For example, we're considering staying a couple of days in Volcano. With the size of the Big Island, I imagine staying in more than one place can avoid long back-and-forth car trips between where we're staying and what we're checking out for the day.

Having a condo where we could save money doing our own cooking is a plus, but we wouldn't mind a resort or inn for part of our stay.

Given that we have a late-night flight out, we're considering paying for an extra day on the last day just so we have a place to hang out until we have to head to the airport.

Any suggestions on where we should stay? We'd like to keep it under $250 a night.
posted by ShooBoo to Travel & Transportation around Island of Hawai‘i, HI (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Check vrbo.com - we got a good deal on a big island condo that way.
posted by GuyZero at 11:59 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

We stayed at this little place, the Volcano Teapot, near Volcano and it was great; private place, private hot tub, breakfast in the morning, not terribly expensive (and it's in your price range). Not far to the park. I'd go back again in a heartbeat.

We also spent a couple days at the Hapuna Beach Prince; it was nice in a big-hotel-on-the-beach sort of way. If you're not staying on the water, ask for a room high in building 4 for the best views.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:08 PM on August 15, 2013

We used vrbo.com to rent two nice, 2-BR vacation houses (both around $150/night, if memory serves) over the course of our 8 days on the Big Island a couple of years ago -- one just outside Kona and one in Volcano. I would definitely recommend not staying for the duration in Kona; unless you plan on doing water activities every day, it felt like it would be pretty easy to run out of things to do there, and there's definitely a lot of the island you'll want to see without having to make it back to Kona to sleep every night.

Have fun! We loved every minute we were there.
posted by scody at 12:11 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

When we went to the Big Island in 2009, we got an amazing deal at the Hilton Waikoloa Village through Priceline. It's a gorgeous resort, and we kind of regretted that we really only spent time there to sleep. I think a 9 year old would love it: you take a monorail to your room, there are extensive pools, including a dolphin pool which is awesome (the only dolphins we saw on that trip). Super comfortable beds. We had an in-room fridge and microwave, though not a real kitchen. But good enough to do our own breakfasts and lunches. We had a cheap "garden view", no ocean, but beautiful mountain sunrises.

The only downside was that the evening we went to watch the lava flow, it was a looooooong drive back. You pretty much could not be further from the active volcano.

A quick search on Priceline shows that it would be under your budget (although I suppose it depends on exactly when you're going). It was $199/night for the random dates I selected.
posted by Kriesa at 1:24 PM on August 15, 2013

Nine days is a nice amount of time to enjoy the Big Island. I would suggest going the airbnb or vrbo route for maximum flexibility (and to get a more downhome experience).

Given your flight plans, I would consider staying your first few days somewhere on the Kona side, then decamp to Volcano for the middle portion of your trip. Volcano is a really special community in itself, with fun explorations of coooooooool volcanic stuff for the kiddo; it also puts you in easy driving range of Hilo, and the rather intriguing Wild West of Pahoa town, and Kalapana/Kapoho, where you might/might not be able to hike out across lava along the coast to see the lava flow spilling into the ocean (depends on the whims of Madame Pele).

You could feasibly then move base to Hilo -- rent a condo down by the sea turtle beach in town; even if it rains, you can still go swim -- and see some waterfalls and maybe the farmer's market.

From there, you could head back to Kona side via Saddle Road (a truly world-class drive -- don't be put off by the outdated scare stories; it's been repaved/improved in recent years), and spend your last day or two in Kona, before flying home.

I'm on the fence about recommending the observatory expedition. If there's snow (or even if not), it's really cooooool up top, but it will take up a whole day, and if any of you have altitude sickness/driving sickness issues, it could be tricky.
posted by nacho fries at 1:28 PM on August 15, 2013

On preview: heck yeah, the Waikoloa is a great kid-friendly venue. Maybe end your trip there for the last few days? It would be kind of the "Disneyland" (in a good way) portion of the trip...might want to save it for the grand finale.
posted by nacho fries at 1:33 PM on August 15, 2013

I stayed two nights in Hilo, two nights in Kona, and two nights at the Volcanoes National Park lodge, called the Volcano House. It was a perfectly manageable plan--the Big Island isn't really that big. If I had it to do over again, I would get a rental house in Hilo, or south of Hilo, near the water--the hotel we stayed in there wasn't anything special, though it had a nice view. Kona didn't appeal much to me, but it was near great snorkeling, so, again, I'd probably try to get a vrbo-type place to the south.

Now, the Volcano House isn't fancy or nice or special, really, no in-room refrigerator, have to go to the bar to get ice, old and a bit shabby, but oh that view, and it's a great launching point for volcano hikes, which are magical in a way that's hard to describe.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:58 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

We stayed at these two places in 2009 and loved both:
Maile Treehouse - near volcanoes, beautiful and large with kitchen
Lucky Farm B&B - in Kona, amazing fruit at arm's reach! even the coffee is grown on premises. We stayed in the coffee barn.

Both very affordable especially compared to resort-type places.
posted by beyond_pink at 2:12 PM on August 15, 2013

We stayed at the Waikoloa Marriott for nine days & had an incredible time. I highly recommend it. I think we got our deal through Priceline or something similar. We loved the Big Island and our resort. I'd rebook it in a heartbeat. We didn't spend all of our time there, but definitely enjoyed our lazy days there.
posted by studioaudience at 11:40 PM on August 15, 2013

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