We arrived to Palms Cliff House for the second half of our honeymoon, after four nights of luxury on the west side of the island. We couldn't have been happier upon our cross over to the rainforest paradise that is the east side of Hawaii. Palms Cliff House was pricey for sure (we paid $1,000 for three nights, and we're normally people who camp when we vacation, with the exception of a few nights), but well worth it for us. The location was excellent for us (off the beaten path, but close to Akaka Falls, our zipline experience at Umama Falls, and the Wai'pio Valley). The grounds were beautiful, situated on a cliff above the ocean, palm trees and geckos everywhere. Awesome! There were lawn chairs and tables on the grassy lawn, which I definitely took advantage of for afternoon reading.
The porch where breakfast was served was amazing. The wind blew through and we loved the view! Breakfast was great. The first morning, we were treated to a yummy butter rum muffin (which I am still thinking about), chicken sausage, fresh fruit, and delicious quiche. The second morning, we had banana pancakes (along with a muffin, fruit, and sausage again), and the final morning, we had french toast and all the other accompaniments. We found the food to be flavorful, as well as being fresh - the muffin was even warm - not sure how they did that, but it was great!
The room was nice. While there was no air conditioning, which made it hot during the day (we weren't there anyway), the bed was comfy, the balcony was great, and the extras in the room made it great (the yoga mat and cooler especially; we also enjoyed use of the small backpack that we got from the front desk). I enjoyed sunrise yoga from the balcony each morning, as well as listening to the waves from our bed. We also really liked the free movies we could check out, especially in the evenings after dinner, or in the early mornings after sunrise and before breakfast. While there was only one TV channel, there were plenty of movie choices to enjoy, if you wanted to have a lazy evening in bed. You don't really come to Hawaii to watch TV anyway :)
While reading other reviews (mainly the negative ones), I noticed people complaining about the unfriendliness of the owners and not feeling welcome. We didn't meet the owners, so we can't comment on their personalities, but all of the other staff was super friendly and made us feel right at home. Ashley was great when she checked us in and showed us around the property. She did mention that the main house would be locked at 5, but gave us a key to access the snack bar and small kitchenette after hours. Jeanette, the wonderful local who served us breakfast, was so fun! She made us feel at home and was very sweet and helpful. While she hadn't been to many places on the island, she still engaged in conversation with us and asked us where we were headed every day. Super sweet! We thought that this property definitely showed us the true spirit of Hawaii.
The only complaint would be that the housekeeping staff closed our screen door and turned off our fans each day. When we returned from our day, we hoped that leaving the lanai door open, with the screen closed, of course, and the fans on, we would help keep the room cool. However, we figured that this was likely due to energy costs, and since we found the Hilo side and the Inn were concerned with the environment (due to signage, requests for towel reuse, etc.), we didn't mind. We liked how environmentally conscious the property was, and if the screen door, etc., was because of this reason, we applaud them!
I also noticed in other reviews the complaint of what you got for the price, as well as the rules of the property. Maybe it's because I worked at a national historic landmark lodge built in 1937 for three years, but I have a really hard time with these complaints. When you stayed at the lodge I worked for, you weren't paying $300 a night for luxury, you were paying for location, a historic lodge built on the flanks of Mount Hood. You are not paying for a luxury resort at the Palms Cliff House. You are paying for a unique bed and breakfast in a historic Victorian building. You are paying for a place to stay that is off the beaten path and "over 15 miles from restaurants." Cry me a river. If you want to stay in a luxury resort in the middle of town, go to the Kona side and stay at one of the properties that sells themselves as such. The Palms Cliff House advertises themselves as a unique B&B that offers a taste of classic Hawaii. Maybe you don't know what that is? I'm not from Hawaii, so maybe I don't either. While the rooms were pricey, two breakfasts at our Kona resort cost us $70 (with tip), so if you take that off the $333 room tab, you're paying a little over $250 per night. If you don't want to pay that much, stay somewhere else. As for the rules, maybe we misinterpreted. We found a cute notebook in our room that had a welcome note from the owners explaining the property, not just the rules. The rules all seemed common sense, however. If you want to use the towels in the room to clean off sand from something, ask for cleaning towels and don't use the white ones in the room - sounds pretty reasonable to me. Don't leave the door wide open without the screen or there will be bugs in your room. You're in the rainforest, so that makes sense. Just follow the rules and quit whining.
If you're looking for a non-pretentious property with lots of charm, great service, a stunning location, and yummy breakfasts, this is the place for you!
Stay in rooms facing the ocean. The Garden Suite was excellent!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.