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“A window to historic Hawai'i” 5 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 #7 of 18 Hilo B&B and Inns
1 review
“A window to historic Hawai'i”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

A welcome change from the large could-be-anywhere hotels, our stay at Shipman House was a window into historic Hilo and a chance to experience the graciousness of our hosts and this house. Located off a quiet street not too far from old Hilo town, this house has nice views back to Hilo Bay, has beautiful lanais and living and dining rooms with impressively high ceilings and appointed with historic furniture and photos from the family's long history on this Island. Breakfast is a delight and delicious, featuring topical fruits -- many of which are grown on the property. This B and B offers an authentic, historical Hawaii experience and was a great base from which to explore Hilo, the Volcano area and the Hamakua Coast.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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188 people have reviewed this hotel

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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)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Connecticut
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

This property is a perfectly restored mansion with a water view from upstairs and a tropical garden view from the other rooms. It is a grand structure including walk through windows, curved glass in the turret, a grand piano, glorious staircase and copper roof. The decor is authentic to the era of the house from the opulent furnishings and fixtures down to the antique dolls in the high chairs off the kitchen. Our room, named Flossie's, had it's own porch which was also comfortably furnished in appropriate wicker. The screened shutters to the garden allowed the sound of the tree frogs and birds to come into our room which was delightful.

Barbara and Gary are extraordinary innkeepers. After a 14 hour trip from the east coast, we felt a warm and refreshing welcome. The generous continentinal breakfast included home made breads, muffins, granola, passionfruit butter and a dozen different fresh fruits. There were also cheeses, hard boiled eggs, fresh squeezed juice, a good selection of teas and terrific coffee. Both Barbara and Gary had very good recommendations on what to do and what to avoid on the island. They are very pleasant company and the Shipman House is a very comfortable inn. I hope to return soon.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

The highlight of our stay in Hilo. The ceilings are high, the big wide porch is welcoming, this is an estate run by a couple with an intriguing island history. Sparkling clean, a place you'll want to stay at least 2 days for the breakfast alone. Big enough so you can have some alone space. Big five stars.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bay Area, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

We had an amazing time at the Shipman House! Beth and Gary were so kind to us and we just loved her baked goods! I still dream of her granola she makes and wish we had it here in the mainland!

Right when you drive up to the Shipman House, it's like you're transported back in time. When you walk into the house, all of the 'normal' world fades away and you relive the family's rich history and can understand why they call it home for so many generations.

The rooms are quaint and inviting and we even got to listen to the frogs in the evenings! We got so used to the frogs lulling us to sleep we had to find a (albeit poor) replica of it to help us fall asleep when we got home.

Thanks again Beth and Gary! We miss you guys!!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 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
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Melbourne, Australia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

This place goes to show that the unplanned can be the most memorable about a place. We were unexpectedly overnight in Hilo (after a helicopter flight) - too late to drive back to Kona. We found Shipman House on a brochure, and although hadn't meant to spend this much for the night ended up being so glad we did. I could go on for ages about the houses beauty and history, about the fabulous, helpful kindness of Barbara and Garry in making our stay so great - suffice to say we wish we had stayed longer here: the house must be seen to be believed. Take time to browse each room and especially the library. Our bedroom with high four poster bed, original antique furnishings had lovely views, the lovely old bathroom was luxurious. The sumptuous fruit breakfast (all grown on site - at least a dozen varieties of fruit) was amazing - and we had a very informative and friendly chat with Garry over breakfast before we had to (regretfully) leave. My husband fell for the passionfruit butter - simply delicious over the home made muffins. Thanks so much Barbara and Garry, if we are back in Hilo we'll be back to stay without doubt - longer next time!

Room Tip: Ask for the big room at the top! (can't remember it's name) - well worth it - it overlooks...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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.
Riudarenes, Spain
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

We stayed just one night (pity we had a pretty full schedule), and we simply enjoyed the luxuries to the point of going back in time reveling in what this could have been like in the old days. Barbara Ann and Gary, were brilliant hosts. Top class accommodation and just perfect. We all recommend The Shipman House. Congratulations to our Hosts.

Room Tip: All the rooms are good.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

There may not be a better place to stay in Hilo. It is mostly certainly my personal bias but the hotel chains cannot outdo the Shipman House's Victorian charm and heirlooms. Special is a vacant word; the Shipman fills that void word with the smell of warm wood and porch paint, the sound of Coqui frogs and the taste and texture of tropical fruits that for once, aren't lurid mush.

I suspect and hope it attracts a clientele that appreciates its unique story, its time in history, the furnishings, and innkeepers. Lovely grounds around the house. A fresh and unprocessed bounty of fruits from the property, and homemade breads and muffins, granola, juices, and spreads to start your day. The rooms are simple comfort -- clean, well-maintained, rocking- chair-romantic.

If you don't like rules (meant to preserve the house and establish routine for the team running the property), then you're not looking for a B&B experience here. If you can go with their flow, you'll find they'll do backflips to tell you where to go, what to see, and where to eat. They have opinions and they will do their best to steer you from mediocrity.

Your excellent experience in Hilo and its environs starts with the Shipman House.

Room Tip: The Mauka Room is not on the side with the parking lot (plus) but if you can hear guests coming and...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 #7 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Hilo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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