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Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

swampscott
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Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

So sorry that I put this in the Maui section - this is my first post ever. This is a question for the experts, KK, typically tropical and Hawaiidan(whose candor I really appreciated). After hours in guide books and the internet sites.. I'm so CONFOOOSED!!! We are touring the Big Island for 10 days starting on March 1. In researching the bed and breakfasts in the Kona area, having a really having a hard time deciding where to stay in that area. I have already reserved 3 nights at the Volcano Rainforest retreat which looks cool - but that's for me-kind of new agey. My husband is French and has traveled and lived all over the world - he typically wants to try to learn about and integrate into the culture. We're going to do most of the things tourists do there (I'm from Boston and yeah, I go to Lexington and Concord once a year to remember the shot heard round the world) but we are really trying to also discover things you guys know about..like thermal springs...and I'm having trouble find a b and b that is nice, not too snobby and affordable but that might have some amenities - would love a nice ocean view and some privacy. What do you know about the end of the world B and B or Aloha Guest House? How about one of those plantations..look great but the accomodations look cheesy...HELP!

New York
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1. Re: Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

Hi,

I don't know much about B&B's on the BI, but someone suggested the Emeraldview Hilo and it looks amazing and the reviews from here are great too. Maybe you can check that out.

Island of Hawaii...
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2. Re: Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

hi doveydovey!

it IS confusing but I'm sure you'll get it sorted out.

Can you tell us, are you just looking at Kona area and Volcano?

I see Aloha Guest House is in Captain Cook and haven't found end of the world B&B. Sorry I don't know that B&B (looks nice!) but that isn't my area and I only know a few places over there.

Staying in Captain Cook will put you out of the tourist mainstream and give you a chance to enjoy the coffee country. It's nice down there, close to Place of Refuge and nice and lush. Used to be easy enough to run up to Kailua-Kona, but the road is more congested these days and not it's not ideal for a base if you want to explore the coast north of Kailua-Kona. But I'm not sure what you are looking

to see.

It would help us if you tell us the areas of the island you want to explore from each lodgings and what activities you envision, so we can comment on whether it's a practical location for that.

The Emeraldview suggested by JoBo is very well reviewed here but it is in Hilo and I'm not sure if you're coming to East Hawaii?

The thermal springs, well I don't know of any that are clean these days. The main warm pond Ahalenui, is not all that warm and not very clean. They make it sound wonderful in the books but it's not that great IMHO, so I hope it's not TOO important to you. I can tell you where it is, if that's what you're looking for, south of Isaac Hale in Puna, well marked, crowded parking lot.

Which plantations were you looking at? Coffee plantations? The plantation style house here is from the sugar cane days and some of the nicer ones are now B&B's; but I'm guessing you mean a coffee farm working plantation in South Kona?

We're here to help, the more specific the questions the better.

Palm Springs...
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3. Re: Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

Band B s here are mostly unlicenced, un supervised and conform to no set standard, un like France. As such there are some real pest holes and a a few palaces. There is no rime or reason and many change hands and staff without notice and thus the quality will vairy wildly throughout the year.

I am not a big fan of B&Bs as I feel like I am staying in a relatives house at christmas...If your seeking privacy in someone elses house I think you are looking in the wrong place.

I also find it amusing that B&B s here charge as much if not more, in many cases, than hotels or condos. So to me it is a poor value You can pay top dollar for a dump...

I think condos or home rental would offer a far better opportunity to accomplish your goals

This is Hawaii and for the most part the local hawaiians like to keep to their own private family groups. In many areas in Puna and Kua local hawiians are not all that happy with visitors and some downright hostle. Many beaches and parks become the haunts of locals on the weekends and you should not intrude into their privacy..... give them space... you will not be welcome as a non-hawiian

un less you have lived here for a long time you will not get to be buddy-buddy with the real culture. Older hawiians are more open while the younger generations are the exact opposite.

There are well done cultural shows that will give you insight into the culture, but it is done for commercial reasons and the invite dosent extend after the show ends. The National Park Service, at the Volcano and Place Of Refuge has very in depth cultural programs that go into the depth you might appreciate.

There is a general feeling here with Hawiians of " dont call us..we will call you" . Many of the persons who run B& Bs are not local Hawiiand but transplants form the world over with their own cultural feelings and ethics. As such you will not be getting any deep insight other than their own outlook on life

This is very true of the Captain Cook area which is home to a lot of

old hippy folks and some new-age alternative awareness folks....

It reminds me of Height Ashbury with pineapples. Very interesting.

Come to Hawaii as a sponge and soak up what you see there is a lot on the surface without trying to dig in to al the details. Dont try too hard and appreciate the differences and discoveries you will make without trying to become part of it.

Island of Hawaii...
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4. Re: Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

I would generally agree with what HawaiiDan says about the culture. You will be disappointed if you expect to interact much with Hawaiian people unless you come as friend of family. It's possible to have lots of pleasant exchanges, as Dan said, especially the older folks are more open (in my experience).

And he's right about the old hippies, which can be a plus or minus, some are so new agey they're annoying even to me, but I don't think they all are kooks by any means ... we stayed in a very pleasant cottage back in 1997 that I would recommend except I don't think it's still around. The couple running Pomoka'i is I believe German and not hippies, and our friends staying there loved the grounds but thought it was pretty funky construction and had noise issues.

Some of the places in that area are unpermitted structures. If they have carpet there can be musty smells, especially on ground floor. You do need to screen them.

Now here is where HawaiiDan and I differ somewhat. The license issue here does not mean they aren't nice and reputable; it's a hard job to get licensed unless you are zoned commercial, as it requires a variance and lots and lots of hoops to be jumped through, including wheelchair accessibility which often is just too difficult and expensive given the terrain here and with vintage houses..

Hawaii's Best B&B only handles properties up to high standards, but they do charge more. There are plenty of hospitable people here offering nice lodgings. They are regulated by the desire to have people come back and to say good things about them and their own sense of aloha. And you do meet interesting people, or if you don't like the people that much you aren't forced to interact with them.

Lastly, when you stay in a B&B here, whether or not you will have a Hawaiian cultural experience, you do get closer to the real island environment, if you like gardens and such, you can see real people's grounds and gardens. The hotel landscaping is so artificial even though it's pretty. So I think you get a more authentic view of the land.

Island of Hawaii...
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5. Re: Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

Dan is correct, most B&Bs are unlicensed here, though not necessarily by choice. Legally, you can not serve food here unless you have a commercial kitchen but you can have a commercial kitchen only on commercially zoned properties and most B&B's are not on commercially zoned properties. Catch of 22. The County of Hawaii started cracking down on them a few years ago and most claimed they were actually just vacation rentals, paid some fines and life goes on. There are some really good and nice B&Bs here regardless of the licensing status, but there are many more that are dumps and in many cases are noting else but a part of a house where someone else (owners) live.

swampscott
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6. Re: Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

Thank you so very much for responding. We do want to go to the Place of Refuge and the Captain Cook Monument. What do you recommend besides these for north of there? Is Captain Cook going to be too out of the way? We don't want to spend the entire day in traffic! We do love being off the beaten path.. We would like to do a little of each, kyaking, hiking, snorkling and swimming. It's tough with the French guy because his travel ethic is to never plan. He hates organized tours and groups of people so I have to ensure that those activities are going to be really worth it -like the Waipai horseback riding. Is the stargazing thing really worth it? I thank you for the 411 on the thermal springs. A little sports, history, no crappy souvenir shopping but maybe a couple of galeries, architecture, learning about the history of the island and its inhabitants. As I mentioned, we are staying in Volcano for three days and two days in the Waimea region. The middle three days is what is up for grabs.

I will share the information on the Hawaiian culture/attitude with my husband. Certainly hope we meet some of the elders and some hip kids. I think the sponge metaphor hits it square on. My husband grew up in a hotel in a tourist town in France so he hates hotels - thus the bed and breakfasts-inns..and the condo thing is way too sterile for him...He is searching for the human element and has been able to crack the code in locked up places like Arizona and New Mexico and in the Mississippi Delta..not your average tourist..

For me, the idea is to know what not to miss in your place since we probably won't be going back! For example,as a native Bostonian, I would know exactly where to send you -there are certain things about a place, if you love it, that you are honored to live with and that you want to share with tourists.. There are a zillion things here in New England I would encourage you to see.

Could I also ask you what would you, as natives share with me that you appreciate and love yourselves as natives of your place that you want me to walk away with..if it's really the hula, the leis and the luaus, then, please let me know!!

The answer, I guess ties into the bed and breakfasts. If we are relegated to transplants, I will try to find the nicest places in the locations that you recommend we visit on that side of the island.

thanks again! And sorry for the long wind!

Portland, OR
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7. Re: Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

Doveydovey,

In response to:

“Could I also ask you what would you, as natives share with me that you appreciate and love yourselves as natives of your place that you want me to walk away with..if it's really the hula, the leis and the luaus, then, please let me know!!”

I wish I had visited more and seen more of the Northeastern area when I was stationed in Maine. Lexington and Concord, for example. So here is what I would say:

Respect for the land, nature and people. If you leave with this, and this alone your trip will be more successful than most that visit Hawaii once. It isn’t your right to come visit, have shore access and other claims frequently made by those visiting. It is your privilege, and I know most do not agree with me on this. Just because the State of Hawaii owns the shore line, it doesn’t give those from the mainland the right to access it. It is a respect issue.

Understand that Hawaii was its own country, a kingdom. While it was sometimes harsh and brutal, it was a proud nation. Respect this. The very first South Pacific Islanders to come to Hawaii did it in a time before there was anyone there. Hawaiian traditions, language and lore were almost lost to obscurity after the illegal and dishonorable actions of White businessmen who stole a nation. This act is where this mistrust and sometimes hostility towards strangers, visitors, or haoles stems from. I am not saying it is right or wrong, it is what it is.

While I congratulate your husband on his ability to interact with those in the SW and the South I would caution him to take it easy in Hawaii. Listen. Be respectful and courteous at all times. As HD and KK say, it takes time to be accepted, and EARN trust and respect.

Visit places like the tsunami museum, for those born and raised in Hilo, there is an unspoken respect for those who lived through one or both.

Visit at least one Heiau. I like the lost lonely ones in Kau or North Kohala.

Visit the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Cultural centers also offer glimpses into native lifestyles

There are places on the island that feel more like unspoiled, not yet overdeveloped Hawaii. Seek those out and experience the land, the ocean, the sky, the rain. Feel the mist in Waimea or Honokaa. Hike down to the bottom of Pololu valley and imagine what Hawaii was like after Kamehameha but before the missionaries and whalers.

Gaze out at the white capped Pacific Ocean from Ka Lae and feel the lonely wind. Imagine the courage it took to take a canoe across that ocean.

Stand in awe at Devils throat, or in the middle of the Kilauea Iki trail – feel the power of Pele.

Taste the food of Hawaii, have some kalua or some lau lau, try some poi. For this, I say yes to a well done, quality luau.

It is the experiences and the feel of the land, the taste of the food, the stories of the elders that one will remember long after the flush of “OMG we are in Hawaii” is gone and it is cold and dark in Boston. If one is able to take away those experiences, the smiles of the people returning your smile, it would be a successful vacation. This is what I hope you leave the islands I dearly love with.

Good luck and happy travels!

swampscott
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8. Re: Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

To Echolynch. This is great commentary. .Some people take journeys and others are tourists. From your response, education on the history of Hawaii is necessary before the trip and I will also note your recommendations. The salient word in your comments is "respect."

. When my husband and I travel, we are trying to learn something as well as experience ... we do feel as though we have had life changing experiences in most of our travels in our 10 years together..even in France where he is a native. Not all of the world has been dumbed down and mediahyped-even if we have to be exposed to it....some of us (not in academia even) still do read the great books and quest to learn and experience. My husband picked this trip to Hawaii ..I would have sooner gone hiking in Utah or to the Black Hills or even Antartica.. So, I think there is a reason for going.. It would have been last on my list as too touristy. ..so I hope that I have not been overhyped and won't be disappointed.

Your comments assist in giving some insight and I will look forward to experiencing the strength of the land and if privileged, the culture.

Everyone has a pride of place and yours comes through here.

I will seek the Hawaii that you know..and if you ever decide to come back to New England...put Concord and Lexington first on the list along with Plymouth.

Anybody with any info on a great B&B on the west coast, please let me know!

Island of Hawaii...
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9. Re: Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

well, echolynch, your post gave me a lump in the throat, so very well written. You have quite the gift ...

doveydovey, I can't find where you said you were staying in Waimea ... which place there? Is there some reason you really need to stay in Kona and Waimea both? Every time you change lodgings you lose some of your precious time here.

My first visit to the Big Island was 15 days, and we did 7 days (Honaunau, drove to VNP for a day), 2 in Honoka'a (from which we visited Hilo), 3 in Captain Cook (the Manago Hotel, it was cheap!), and 2 on the water on Ali'i Dr (Hale Malia B&B, which doesn't seem to be around any more) ...

We did see a lot of the island, but it was too much moving, and I wonder if your staying 3 places in 10 days may feel that way to you once you're here. If you take a "moving" day and convert it to a "drive" day, you can visit the South Kona area from Waimea (just take the upper highway through Holualoa), see the area, and return without having had to pack all your stuff. Plus you get some more continuity with your hosts. Just a thought.

I've always thought that Aah The Views in Waimea sounds very nice. I corresponded with the owner once -- we wanted to stay there but they didn't have the dates available -- and she really impressed me with her warmth.

swampscott
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10. Re: Big Island Bed and Breakfasts I'm confused!

KK - We are staying at Aah the Views on the last two nights. The owner is wonderful. The Volcano Rainforest Retreat also looks really out there - it's a glass house in the woods and the guy who runs it seems really cool. There are only four rooms and the couple is fairly ensconced in the culture, etc. I wanted to stay high on the mountain overlooking the ocean for three of the remaining nights in the Kona area - but what I am confused about is do we go north or south of Kona. I liked the Alhoa Guest House and would like to book there but it is in Captain Cook and I want to avoid traffic..there are also some cool coffee plantations like Rainforest Plantation and then the Edge of the World which is what the owner at Ahh the Views recommended..it just seemed very rustic... I looked up the place that you mentioned that you thought doesn't exist anymore and that inn is up for sale - there seems to be no response.

The "drive to days" are supposed to be visiting days as well not backtracking...We are staying in Volcano and can access Hilo from there since I really would like to go to the tsanumi museum now that Echolynch recommended it... We moved around a lot in the SW also from Sedona to Oak Creek Canyon and I found staying in different places really helped us to appreciate the geographical differences more...while Sedona was hot and arid, Oak Creek Canyon, only about an hour away was cool and wet..we do this in France also. If you were to come to New England,, I would absolutely tell you not to stay in one place in 10 days even though day trips are possible. You would really miss the feeling of the other places. That whole idea of staying in a condo and doing day trips was of absolutely no interest - too clincial.

I guess we can access each airport from Wameia. Is there a better airport from there?

While I'm at it...any help for two nights on Oahu is appreciated..I am getting nothing on that at all except these horrible high rise resort buildings..which is why I would have NEVER picked Hawaii as a destination...The only place I'll stay in a high rise hotel is in NYC.