We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

Which Kailua-Kona hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Coquitlam, BC...
posts: 266
reviews: 5
arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

Thinking of booking a flight using points but it arrives at KOA at 8:30 pm. After getting the car and heading out, how daunting a drive would it be to go to VNP or Hilo at that time? This is our first time on BI and we'll be staying 4 or 5 nights at the Sheraton, but thought arriving a couple of days earlier we could go to VNP. This is mid March 2013, so it may still get dark fairly early, I'm thinking. Would you advise to stay the night near the airport and then go in the morning?

ON, Canada
posts: 10,620
reviews: 35
1. Re: arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

Yes, stay in Kailua Kona the first night and go the next day. This thread will explain why: tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g143034-i1651-k5806…

This hotel is often recommended: marriott.com/hotels/…

p.s. forgot to add ... sunset will be around 6:30 p.m, and twilight is very short.

Edited: 11:33 pm, November 23, 2012
Kona
posts: 1,845
reviews: 36
2. Re: arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

You will definitely want to stay in Kona that night. You're not likely to get out of the airport until well after 9 p.m. and the drive to Volcano or Hilo takes at least 3 hours over dark, windy roads. Susan (above) is correct with the 6:30 pm sunset time, but hey, sunrise is at 6:30 a.m. and you can get on your way early the next day if you're so inclined.

Besides, if you do the drive in the dark, you'll miss out on so much amazing scenery!

Coquitlam, BC...
posts: 266
reviews: 5
3. Re: arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

ok that settles that! If I go ahead and book that flight, we'll stay close to the airport for the first night. Any other suggestions for a hotel ? Marriott looks nice, just wondering if there's anything closer to the $100-125/night range that's decent.

Minnesota
posts: 369
reviews: 15
4. Re: arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

Try the Kona Seaside Hotel

Kona
posts: 1,845
reviews: 36
5. Re: arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

There's also Uncle Bill's Kona Bay Hotel . . . $99 Internet special:

http://www.unclebilly.com/UB_Kona.html

Both hotels are older, but totally acceptable for a late arrival/morning departure type of situation - slight edge to Kona Seaside, but garden side rooms there will be a bit more quiet . . .

Wow, I had no idea that the Marriot folks had jacked up the prices at the King Kamehameha so much when they took over!

California
posts: 654
reviews: 3
6. Re: arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

Uncle Billy's? No, don't stay at that cockroach palace. I've never seen any recommendation to stay there. Definitely stay at Kona Seaside for an inexpensive deal.

Coquitlam, BC...
posts: 266
reviews: 5
7. Re: arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

haha - thanks BobandDi for your reply!!

I read on another post that someone booked the Sheraton off the AA website and I just checked that and it's $110 (cheaper than what I've already booked for a few days later) I think I'll cancel my previous booking and re-book off the AA website. I think the Sheraton beats Uncle Billy's for the little bit more:)

Kona
posts: 1,845
reviews: 36
8. Re: arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

Oh, now, let's not cast aspersions on good ol' Uncle Billy's. I've had several friends and colleagues stay there and while it's not what you would pick for an extended stay, it's totally adequate for a one or two-nighter.

And cockroaches are everywhere in Hawaii; they have no respect for how much you've paid for your hotel room. A friend who is in management at the Mauna Lani took me on a tour of the gorgeous, ultra-upscale bungalows ($4,000/night). In one of them, right on top of a huge, pristine white ottoman, were two of the biggest cockroaches I have ever seen in my life . . .

But yes, if a tight budget is not an issue, the Sheraton would be a better choice . . .

Edited: 2:31 pm, November 24, 2012
Chicagoland
posts: 17,527
9. Re: arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

If you are going to Big Island just to see VNP, pay the extra to fly into Hilo. Stay two or three nights and fly home from Hilo. You can't do justice to Big Island in less than a week, minimum, and I would NEVER drive there after dark except for the straight stretch between Kona and the Kohala area.

Or...stay Kona-side (Kohala is nicer and has beaches) and either skip VNP or do an air tour over it from Kona.

Good lord, Uncle Billy's! Uh-uh.

Washington DC...
posts: 10,503
reviews: 233
10. Re: arrive at 8:30 pm - stay in Kona area or drive to Hilo/VNP?

I actually have never seen a cockroach inside at Mauna Lani, including in a bungalow. I have seen them squashed on a sidewalk there. I keep my screens closed. They fly!

The "roach" issue kinda masks the overall ambiance differences among Uncle Billy's and other places. But some people have never met a locally owned place they did not like...

Edited: 6:46 pm, November 24, 2012
Get answers to your questions about Kailua-Kona