Holualoa Inn was our first base after arriving in the Hawaiian islands from the UK, and it was a great place to wind down.
The B&B is beautiful and immaculately maintained. The rooms are not air-conditioned so we had to keep the windows open at night, but the property is about 1500 feet above sea level so it never felt too hot and there was a great breeze through our room (Orchid). We thought the noise from the tree frogs would be a problem - it was extremely loud all night - but we actually found it quite soothing and enjoyed the "back to nature" experience. The only problem was that, whilst the window nets kept out the mosquitoes, a few midges still managed to get through and we found ourselves keeping the lights very low when we came back to the room at night in order not to attract them. We still ended up with a few bites though!
The pool is spotless and attractive but can best be described as invigorating. It's unheated and was absolutely freezing! To be fair, the B&B warned us about this before we arrived (but not before we booked!).
As other reviewers have said, the breakfasts were delicious - nicely presented and very varied. The Kona coffee was amazing and the fruit (mostly home grown) was served perfectly ripe. The "treats" and juices that we left out each afternoon were another nice touch, not to mention the macadamia nuts, which we loved.
The common areas were superb, and there were so many places to "hide away". Everything has been thought of, even down to a laundry room. We just wish we had been able to stay longer - there is so much to see on the island, we didn't really get chance to enjoy all the facilities.
The staff were great. They couldn't have been more helpful, and were really good at recommending drives, beaches, restaurants etc. If anything, they were almost too attentive. Our tour of the property when we arrived took 45 minutes and we found the service a little too personal in some ways (as perhaps evidenced by the style of some of the management responses to each review) but we still loved it.
There was one uncomfortable aspect of our stay however which has resulted in our downgrading from 5 to 4 stars, and that relates to the request on the final bill for a tip. Coming from the UK, the American approach to tipping is alien to us, but we have been to the States on enough occasions to understand the approach and, wherever we travel, we always research tipping etiquette in advance and tip at the appropriate levels.
We had seen one or two earlier negative reviews on TA about the tipping policy at Holualoa but were still a little surprised to find a note at the bottom of our bill saying something along the lines of "many of our guests ask us about tipping, this is what you might like to tip at 10%, 15% and 20%." The 20% suggestion amounted to $200 for a 3 night stay which, quite frankly, we found insulting. At the end of the day this is an already expensive b&b with just a handful of staff, it is not a 5 star hotel, and to even receive a suggestion that we pay $200 was, in our view, quite insulting. We stayed at several similar b&bs whilst in the Hawaii islands and none of the others took this approach. We therefore felt very uncomfortable when settling our bill and, in fact, left a much lower tip than would otherwise have been the case. It has left us with a slightly negative memory of this otherwise excellent property and we really hope that this comment may encourage the b&b to re-think their policy on this.
Tipping issues aside, we would have no hesitation whatsoever in returning to Holualoa.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Casual elegance with Polynesian luxury... Spectacular Pacific Ocean views, 30 lush acres of well-tended tropical fruit and flower gardens, 4,000 Kona Coffee trees, custom-tiled mosaic pool, exquisite inn guest rooms, cottage, covered open-air pavilion, exceptional service, rooftop, pool and garden gazebos and an abundance of Aloha Spirit. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holualoa Hotel Holualoa
- Holualoa Inn Hawaii