The Big Island was the second portion of a two island vacation. This was our first trip to Hawaii, celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary. We spent our first five days in Oahu, a truly beautiful, vacation spot, but we are the nature lovers. Once we arrived in Hilo we knew we found our paradise. Not only is the Big Island as magical as they say, but At the Beach with Friends is truly that - you feel like welcome guests.
Claudia could not have been more welcoming. We did not meet Scott until a couple of days into our five day stay - we ran into him one morning at the beach across from the inn, and without introduction we just knew who he was by his welcoming conversation. Claudia and the other guests at the inn provided wonderful conversation. We were on the island during the volcanoe explosion/volcanic gases and "vog" in the air period which caused some evacuation of areas in Volcanoes National Park. The park was actually closed for a couple of days while we were there. Although we were outside of the evacuation area, Claudia kept us on top of up to date warnings , and gave us ideas of how to spend our time when our plans were postponed.
Claudia's breakfasts are always a creative surprise. We stayed in the very roomy Bamboo Room, at the rear of the house overlooking the Koi Pond. This room even has a view of the ocean! The entire inn is decorated with authentic polynesian furnishings and artwork. Every day I noticed something new and interesting that I overlooked before. I took a photo of one of the amazing carved doors , and when I arrived at home and looked at the photo, I noticed something in the artwork of the lamp next to the door that I had not noticed before.
The frogs seem to be a real topic of discussion on this website. The first night we arrived back to the inn after dark we were amazed how the frog chirping fills the air. As much as I had decided ahead of time that it wouldn't bother me, I suddenly became panicky - what if I can't stand this? Remember, all of the windows in the room usually remain open because of the climate. As we drifted off to sleep, we were amazed how the frog chirping actually lulled us to sleep! I'm a pretty light sleeper, but even when I would wake during the night they would lull me back to sleep.
The location of the inn is so convenient to the Volcanoes National Park, the valley, the waterfalls, near the airport (quick drive to take our helicopter flight), and we took that trip to the Mauna Kea summit. That was probably the longest drive that we took from the inn. (We ran out of time to make the drive to the Kona side of the island, which is a two and a half hour drive from the inn.) We met our bus from the Mauna Kea Summit Adventures at the 190/200 intersection, just about an hour and a half drive from the inn. That was a once-in-a-lifetime excursion that we will never forget.
The Big Isand is magical, and this location is perfect. In five days we walked on ancient lava, saw active volcano activity and lava flows, hiked in the rainforest, played in the ocean, played in the snow, and lived in what feels like a jungle paradise. At the Beach with Friends was a big part of our perfect paradise!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.