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Hilo Hotels best bet?

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Hilo Hotels best bet?

My fiancee and I are arriving at Hilo this Friday on a late night flight via ATA (arrives past 11pm). We plan on leaving for the Volcano the next day.

We just made reservations with the car company and found out that the car rental office is already closed at that time, so we have no other option but to pick it up in the morning.

I checked the airport's site and found out that only Arnott's Lodge and Hotel Naniloa have shuttles (although both won't pick-up past 10pm). I surfed this forum and the reviews from readres and both hotels got bad reviews, to put it mildly.

I am guessing it would be a pain to book/find a cab the next day to go to the airport to pick-up the car, so any input in deciding between Arnott's and Hotel Naniloa would be much appreciated.

Of course any other better options are much welcome too.

Thank you very much!

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Arnott's Lodge
Arnott's Lodge
612 Reviews
Island of Hawaii, HI
Dolphin Bay
Dolphin Bay
#1 of 7 hotels in Hilo
Arnott's Lodge
Arnott's Lodge
#2 of 7 hotels in Hilo
Hilo Seaside Hotel
Hilo Seaside Hotel
#3 of 7 hotels in Hilo
El Cerrito, CA
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23 posts
20 reviews
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11. Re: Hilo Hotels best bet?

We just returned from Hilo yesterday (Nov 12)having done the Oakland-Hilo

flight on ATA on Nov. 1. I had the same concerns about not being able to get the car that night and found that

all the rental companies keep staff on hand to handle the

ATA flight from Oakland. Our flight was over an HOUR late and

we didn't get to the Thrifty counter until 12:15am...........I was

expecting the worst, but lo and behold they had monitored the

flight and were waiting with our car! Not to worry and have

a great vacation!

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Reno, Nevada
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10 posts
67 reviews
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12. Re: Hilo Hotels best bet?

We are booking with ATA from Oakland to Hilo in March via Southwest. Could you give some details on the service, flight, satisfaction with your ATA flight?

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
El Cerrito, CA
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23 posts
20 reviews
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13. Re: Hilo Hotels best bet?

To UNR91: Re, ATA.

ATA was surprisingly smooth considering the difficulties

I had with Expedia after booking. ATA and Expedia'a computers do not communicate changes to each other and this resulted in much confusion, anxiety and many phone calls on my part to find out what was going on with my booking........

My best advice is to always book ATA directly from ATA and not

through another party. You can get good deals directly.

We arrived an hour late in Hilo (12:15 am), but considering the

price, well worth it. ATA charges for everything, and I do mean

everything. Meals, headsets, pillows, blankets. You do get

free water, coffee, tea, and soft drinks. All in all, I'd fly ATA

again.

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Reno, Nevada
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10 posts
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14. Re: Hilo Hotels best bet?

Thanks for the details on the ATA flight. We booked through Southwest. I wonder if they will have the same communication issues as Expedia...

Sacramento
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5 posts
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15. Re: Hilo Hotels best bet?

Our family will be arriving in Hilo on the infamous 11PM ATA flight from Oakland. I'm very glad to hear about the rental car counters staying open as we had planned to grab a taxi with 2 sleepy kids and getting the car the next morning. I'll call Alamo to change the pick-up time.

Here's my real dilemma: We are staying the first 2 nights in Hilo and the last 5 nights in Kona at the Sheraton. We need to travel to the Hilo airport on the morning of Wednesday the 20th in time to catch our 8AM flight back to Oakland. What time do we need to be at the airport, considering car drop-off, check-in, security, etc? And then what time to we need to leave Kona to get there? What is the driving time that early in the morning, and what is the most direct route to get there? No time for sight seeing - we just need to catch our flight.

We considered staying the last night in Hilo, but want to maximize our west-coast time. I appreciate any guidance and advice. (p.s. Is it worth joining Costco just for the gas cost savings for our rented SUV?)

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
Portland, OR
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1,886 posts
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16. Re: Hilo Hotels best bet?

AuntBek,

Drive times, at that time of day, allow 3.5 hours to be safe. It is a long, dark drive and if raining can be treacherous. Allow plenty of time. Considering the returning of the car, and the security lines etc, I would plan on being at ITO NLT 6:15 AM, but contact the airline directly or the airport to determine when they will allow baggage screening. Long standing policy in Hilo is the airport hour’s matches the flights, but I don’t know how many hours in advance of a flight the TSA and baggage counter will be open. The returning of the car should be quick, I would give consideration to checking in your bags, keeping the car, going to Ken’s to eat and come back, return the car and wait for the flight. Keep in mind; this is only if the airport will let you check your baggage two hours early.

Regarding Costco – only if you have a Costco in your town to off set the cost by using it. Otherwise, fill up in Hilo before you leave and only as needed on the Kona side until you are back in Hilo. Then for the last one to return full, there is an Aloha Autogas right across the street from the airport entrance. Fill up there.

Good luck and happy travels!

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
Sacramento
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5 posts
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17. Re: Hilo Hotels best bet?

Wow - Thanks for the reality chack. I'm going to change our reservations. We'll spend the first (late) night in Hilo, leisurely drive around to Kona seeing the sights along the way, spend 5 nights in Kona, leisurely drive back around to Hilo and spend our last night there. If it really takes 3+ hours to drive accross the island, I don't want to waste it in the dark with sleeping kids. Then we'll have plenty of time to gas up and have breakfast at "Ken's" (I'll figure out what that is). I'll pass on the Costco (I'm already a Sam's member). This is my first time to anywhere in Hawaii, so I don't want to waste ANY of my time. Really, thanks for the help. I was thinking 2 hours, max.

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
Costco
Costco
90 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Hawaii
Hawaii
United States
San Francisco Bay...
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19 reviews
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18. Re: Hilo Hotels best bet?

To AuntBek,

We just returned from Hilo to Oakland on the same ATA flight a few days ago. I would strongly recommend with 2 young kids that you plan to spend your last night in Hilo prior to the 8:20 am flight as we did. We drove from Kona to Hilo on the southern road through some heavy rainshowers at times and with a few stops (didn't even stop at Volcano National Park) and it took us probably 4 hours easily. Recommend you do that the day before rather than the day of your flight out. There's not much between the points except rocky scenery so pack some snacks and water. We had no problems the next morning returning our car around 7:00 a.m. Woke up early, had breakfast at Ken's House of Pancakes (it was OK, nothing exceptional, like Denny's with friendly aloha spirit, but at least it was open 24 hours), gassed up at the Aloha station, and then drove less than a mile to the airport. We did web check-in the day before so we only needed to go through agricultural inspection and check our bags in. It was pretty light with few people in line at the counter and through security. Nothing like what you'd encounter usually at OAK airport. Flight left pretty much on time and we arrived a bit early into OAK. Service was good. If you spend the night in Hilo and get up early and have breakfast you should be fine for the flight without worrying about buying food that early to bring aboard. Nothing was open that early inside the airport except for a concession stand with magazines/souvenirs and the like. Flight was only about 4-1/2 hrs. ATA is fine but nothing is free except for the beverage service. The movies to OAK on my flight were "Step Up" (bad) and "Failure to Launch" (decent). We stayed at the Hilo Seaside both coming and going but the rooms are very small and minimalist., but economical. With a family you may want to stay at the Castle Resorts Hilo Hawaiian. Oh, and when we first arrived, the car rental company indeed stayed open for us so we didn't need a taxi to get to our motel, which was great. Have a great time!

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
Ken's House of Pancakes
Ken's House of Pancakes
2,331 Reviews
Island of Hawaii, HI
Hilo Seaside Hotel
Hilo Seaside Hotel
1,114 Reviews
Island of Hawaii, HI
Sacramento
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5 posts
2 reviews
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19. Re: Hilo Hotels best bet?

We're all set. We're at the Hilo Hawaiian the first and last nights, and at the Sheraton in Kona 5 nights in between. We'll just make day trips out of the drives across the island. This board has so many great ideas for things to do and see along the way.

Interestingly, though, when I tried to change my Alamo pick-up from early Thursday morning to late Wednesday night, it was a real hassle and about an hour on the phone. Once I got past the reservations agents who insisted the counter closed at 10:30 (they called Hilo a few times to check), got disconnected, transferred to customer service, I was finally told it would cost me almost $100 more for the same 7 day period because the weekly rate was higher for pick-up on Wednesday than it was on Thursday. After finally talking to someone at the "corporate office" they let me make the change at the same rate. I just kept telling myself it was worth not having to take two taxi rides to/from the hotel.

Thanks, everyone, for saving us from what was sure to have been a huge mistake and a bummer way to end a great vacation.

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
San Francisco Bay...
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20. Re: Hilo Hotels best bet?

Glad to hear you were able to change your plans. Don't worry about Alamo. When I read in the forums that the counters do stay open, I called Alamo in Hilo Airport myself and they confirmed that they will always wait for the last flight to come in which is ATA. Due to the daylight savings time change, the ATA flight into Hilo has been arriving after 11:00 pm which is after the official closing time of 10:30. Our flight arrived about 20 minutes late and it was 11:30 by the time we landed. When you try and book online and input the arrival time, a message pops up saying the counter is closed at the time of your arrival. The Alamo reservation agent I then called to change my reservation didn't know a thing about the situatuon in Hilo but he just changed the arrival time to 10:30 pm which the online system then accepted. There was no problem with rate changes. Picking up the night before only added about $30. Have a good time!

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI