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“Wish I had stayed anywhere else but here!” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Shipman House Bed and Breakfast Inn

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Shipman House Bed and Breakfast Inn
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131 Kaiulani Street, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 18 Hilo B&B and Inns
VA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Wish I had stayed anywhere else but here!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012

The rules are overwhelming! If you need to have so many "rules" for others to stay at your "home", maybe you should just have family come and stay.
Barbara is very gruff, Gary is very personable! Gary should take over more of the face to face with guest and leave the computer interface to Barbara.
Great picture of the bath tub in the brochure, but don't think you can use it after a hard day at Volcano National Park. It has a huge sign on the tap putting it off limits to guest.
If you are not learning impaired, you will feel like it on your second or third or fourth mandatory breakfast tour of the 'fruits of the Shipman property'. Nice touch on the oatmeal, but there is not enough prepared for all guest to help themselves. If you think you need more than fruit to carry you up till lunch, you need to visit Ken's on your way to your activity. The breakfast here does not carry the average person through to lunch, even with minimal activities planned. (If your response is that the county does not allow HI B&B's to serve hot breakfast, then you need to check what the competition is serving and the county ordinances, since I asked the county district supervisor!)
A/C would cut down on the amount of moisture that seeps into your luggage while it sits in your room. It would also dampen the volume of the frogs... not blaming the frogs on Shipman, but the ear plugs do not help. Several stiff drinks does help, but the drinks make it difficult to make it to breakfast on time... bracketed for the owners convenience.
The boards on the great wrap around porch (really, loved the porch) but many boards are puttied and caulked, and not fixed properly.

Room Tip: Stay some place else....
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hilomama, Owner at Shipman House Bed and Breakfast Inn, responded to this review, October 2, 2012
Wow, that's quite a list. I am so sorry you were unhappy here nearly a year ago. Let me address some of your points. Rules-- We actually have very few rules: no shoes worn in the houses; no smoking (it's the law); no candles or anything that burns in the house; and we ask that luggage not be rolled indoors, as it leaves an imprinted trail on the soft wood floors. Think "Museum", as that is what the Shipman House is. These rules are included in nearly every piece of correspondence we send out, so there are no surprises upon arrival. On the other hand, we offer guests some privileges not offered elsewhere: guests are welcome in any room that has its door standing open, they are encouraged to play the same Steinway piano Hawaii's last queen played when she would come to visit my great-grandmother, or they may sit in the library and read books a hundred years old.
The bathtub in the brochure is the one in Auntie Clara's Shell Room's bathroom, and is only for guests staying in that room. The one you refer to is in the porch bathroom, our 'public' bathroom, and is strictly decorative these days. It is not part of any guestroom. Each guestroom does have its own shower/tub combination, although only the Shell Room has a clawfoot tub.
Our tropical fruit platter has such an unusual selection, even many locals ask questions. We give the breakfast tour to first-timers only, but others on the lanai may overhear it (again and again) when new people arrive, or when a new fruit appears on subsequent mornings. For a cereal, most people opt for our Hawaiian macadamia nut granola with all the condiments, but we do offer a hot cereal for those who prefer it. There are other choices on the buffet, but yes, if you want a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, Ken's may be the answer. I've just checked with the county, and continental breakfasts are still what the county allows for B&Bs in residential zones. Please email me the name of the supervisor you spoke with-- I'd love to hear otherwise.
Coqui tree frogs present an ongoing challenge to all of us. They are quiet during the winter months, when nighttime temperatures dip into the high 50's and lower 60's...January through March.

Mahalo for sharing your concerns.
Aloha,
Barbara and Gary
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191 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
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English first
California
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
404 helpful votes 404 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

I'm a foodie so I have to gush about the breakfast!!! Breakfast at Shipman House B&B was a fabulous treat we looked forward to for every one of our 5 mornings at the B&B, with an unsurpassed offering of a gorgeous fresh tropical fruit tray artfully displaying a delicious rainbow of island fruit. Fresh lilikoi butter (passion fruit) was made every morning, and it is addicting when spread on a slice of gently toasted fresh Portuguese sweet bread, or on a whole wheat English muffin. Healthy oatmeal or quinoa was also offered, along with yogurt, home-made macadamia nut granola, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, and a different home-made baked treat each morning.

The tropical fruit was fresh and local and exquisitely ripened...some of it grown right on the grounds of Shipman House. My husband and I both miss the Shipman breakfasts, and I long for a return visit to the Big Island just to feast on the addicting tropical breakfasts! There were a dozen different tropical fruits at breakfast each morning, and the supply of fruit was generous, so we could have seconds of our favorite fruits. I was delighted by the sweet papaya with a scoop of passion fruit and a squeeze of a lime-like fruit.

We had booked 2 nights in a cottage room at Shipman, and 3 nights in Aunt Carrie's room in the main house. Both rooms were lovely and comfortable, with Queen beds, and ensuite bathrooms with overhead shower heads plus hand-held personal showers.

Shipman B&B has 5 guest rooms: 3 in the main house, (a historic mansion), and 2 in the duplex cottage. On our next visit I will be happy to book any of the rooms which have a Queen bed in either the main house or the cottage.

If you are choosing your room, here is some info.

Cottage Rooms: There are 2 cottage rooms in a duplex cottage in a separate building but near the main house. I felt that our casual, airy cottage room had a feeling of romantic seclusion, even though it was actually close to the main house and next to 4 small parking spots and some garden plants. The coqui frogs calling at night add to the tropical atmosphere, and we were closer to the frogs in the cottage. We love the sound of coqui frogs as it reminds us of romantic tropical nights! Our room in the duplex cottage was quiet, and we never heard a peep out of the other couple in the other side of the duplex cottage. The cottage showers heat up their own hot water when you flip on the shower. If you are taking a long shower, you need to flip the switch off and on again to receive plenty of hot water for a longer shower. The cottage showers have good water pressure, and flipping the switch off and on to get more hot water is only a minor inconvenience. We would cheerfully stay in a cottage room again, and I feel it's a romantic choice.

Main House rooms: We had also booked a few nights in Aunt Carrie's room in the main house. Lovely Aunt Carrie's room upstairs in the main house has a better shower, a slight advantage compared to the cottage rooms. Also, being in the main house makes it convenient to explore the very interesting Shipman family mansion. The coqui frogs sound quieter from the main house, and whether you think this is an advantage or a disadvantage depends on your personal preference.
Since we found advantages to both the cottage rooms and the rooms in the main house, I will have a hard time selecting my favorite room the next time we stay at Shipman House! Ah, yes, the Big Island is calling me back already...
We also found Hilo to be a great base for day-trips to the Volcano National park and up to Mauna Kea.
The owners are friendly and helpful at Shipman, and they always had tips for us every day, answering our many questions and marking places on a map for us.
After 5 nights at Shipman House B&B, we were sorry to leave. We then headed to the other side of the island. On a return visit to the Big Island, I would absolutely book a room at Shipman House B&B again.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rancho Mirage
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2012

The house is gorgeous. Barbara and Gary, the Shipman House operators, did an outstanding job directing us to all the best restaurants and attractions in the area. The breakfast they serve is top notch. We definitely want to come back!

Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Adelaide, South Australia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2012

My wife and I spent just over two weeks on the Big Island, with Shipman House being the last place at which we stayed. We stretched our budget a little more than normal, but it was well worth it.

It is a historic and beautiful house, which Barbara and Garry have restored with much of the original furniture. They are welcoming hosts who made us feel very much at home.

We stayed in Auntie Carrie’s Room. Just outside our room, on the first floor was a balcony overlooking the front garden, plus providing views of Hilo bay.
Breakfast was a great experience, with an amazing range of fresh fruit, plus freshly baked breads and muffins, as well as Barbara’s own brand of granola. My wife is on a gluten free diet, and that was also accommodated for.
Each morning at breakfast, Barbara and Garry chat with the guests at breakfast, and ensure everyone is introduced

There was no TV in our room, which is no bad thing. There appeared not to be laundry facilities, a minor disadvantage, as there is a laundry not far away.
Shipman House is in walking distance to the shops and restaurants around Hilo bay

All in all, I think that Hilo was one of the most charming places we visited on the big island, and this was in no small part due to Barbara and Garry, and Shipman House.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2012

Staying at the Shipman House is a great alternative to the underwhelming hotel options in Hilo. You pay for this luxury but it is worth it. This is a home where Queen Liliokalani used to spend afternoon's visiting, eating poi with her hosts, and planning the home's grand piano. Now Barbara Anderson, a descendent of the original Shipman hostess Mary Shipman, along with her husband Gary host guests with their wonderful breakfasts and great conversation on the wrap around porch. History surrounds you everywhere at the Shipman House. One may choose between a guest room in the home or cottage lodging built in 1910. Either way, you will have made a good choice.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
145 reviews 145 reviews
89 hotel reviews
Reviews in 76 cities Reviews in 76 cities
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2012

Staying here is like staying at a good friends place. The owners, Barbara and Gary, share their expertise with you as well as have breakfast each day with their guests. Everyone is introduced and made very welcome. The breakfast is delicious with a wide selection of tropical fruits, Barbara's famous muesli and fresh baked breads and muffins. The house is quite famous in Hilo and the furnishings and nick nacks are worth viewing. The rooms are large and the beds comfortable. This B&B is located in downtown Hilo close to many good restaurants and a 35 minute drive to the volcano.

In my opinion, for siteseeing on the Big Island, Hilo is the best place to stay, better than Kona, regardless of the regular rain in Hilo.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2012

My partner and I stayed at the Shipman House in the Mauka Room for three nights. The property was beautiful - a manicured jungle of sorts. Our room was lovely - very spacious, simple, tasteful, and clean. We fell asleep each night to a beautiful cacophony of tree frogs. The breakfast was a spectacular assortment of home-grown fruit and fresh baked goods with yogurt, cheese, and homemade jams/spreads. Although Barbara seemed a little particular at first, she and Gary proved to be very friendly, helpful, and accommodating hosts. We would definitely recommend this place to travelers looking for something more than a banal hotel room.

Room Tip: We loved the the Mauka room in which we stayed.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shipman House Bed and Breakfast Inn

Address: 131 Kaiulani Street, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Hilo
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Hilo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
What to do in Hilo? Plenty! Get some of the best local advice from your hosts at Shipman House B&B, an historic home from Hawaii's monarchy period. Free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, free parking. Large guest rooms all have modern private baths. Amazing breakfast fruits. Special diets accommodated. Your part-Hawaiian host, a Shipman descendant, knows the best places to eat, shop, explore. Walk to restaurants, museums. Hula available. National Register. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Shipman House b&b Inn
Shipman House Hotel Hilo
Shipman House Bed And Breakfast Inn Hilo, Hawaii

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