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“A special place like NO other!”
Review of Puakea Ranch

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Puakea Ranch
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Hawi
Big Island, Hawaii
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A special place like NO other!”
Reviewed May 27, 2012

We just got home from our anniversary trip to Puakea Ranch and it was the best anniversary ever! It is so unique and propels you to relax and enjoy life. The ranch itself is unlike any accommodations we have ever experienced. The attention to detail is overwhelmingly impressive. I personally spent much of my time on the tree swing in front of our bungalow. It is the small touches they have included that really had us appreciating the simpler things in life. We can't wait to go again & bring the kids next time!

Room Tip: The cowboy house was where we stayed but all the bungalows were private and relaxing!
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Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank princesstepa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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English first
Portland, OR
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 24, 2012

Our family of four (husband, two daughters ages six and four, and I) spent an idyllic week on Hawaii at the beginning of May, and Puakea Ranch was the heart of our experience. When our kids are grown someday and we sit reminiscing about the truest joys of their childhood, I sincerely believe we will talk about time at Puakea -- during this trip, and also the many more we hope to make over the years! We love traveling and trying new places but typically are not "repeat visitors". There is always something new beckoning to us -- with Puakea Ranch and the big island though, we will make an exception. Owner Christie and her husband have created a haven that is equal parts stunning, educational, historic, earthy, sophisticated, peaceful, and wild. The grounds are exquisite -- a different view from every angle, each telling a gorgeous story…and such incredible light! An artist's/photographer's paradise. There is so much space to spread out, explore, indulge in everything. A perfect, perfect place to "teach" kids about sustainability, nature, freedom -- simply because there is no teaching involved, they just "live it" and it becomes a part of them. All the cottages and buildings were clearly restored with loving, artistic, dedicated, skilled hands, and the history of the ranch is affecting and woven into everything. Hosts Daymon and Sarah are terrific - responsive, unobtrusive, knowledgeable, and warm.

We stayed in Miles Away -- PERFECT for a family of four. The location was supremely private, the views heartbreaking, the cottage itself so tasteful, pristine, and bright, but also comfortable and cozy (we found this balance between luxurious and unpretentious to define the island as a whole, BTW). The beds were hands down the best we've ever slept in, the pool was dreamy (everyone who sees our pictures says, "That pool was just for you?!?"), and the bath house a really special gem. Each morning began with a breakfast of veggie omelets and tropical fruit - 100% of the ingredients gathered or picked from the ranch. Each day brought a new treasure: rainbows, horseback rides (our kiddos were whisked away for an hour to explore the ranch on Abby and Blue, while we enjoyed a glass of wine on the lanai and waited for them to be dropped off at the hitching post in front of our cottage), long hours in the pool, treks to search for the elusive goats, fruit/flower/fauna explorations, one of the best massages of my life with Sarah on the lanai of Miles Away (warm sun beams AND light sprinkles adding to the experience). There's even a well-stocked toy shed where the girls spent a drizzly morning playing and scored beach toys for the times we were able to tear ourselves away from the ranch.

If you CAN bear to leave for a while, you'll find you're close to a thousand other types of paradise. We spent amazing mornings on drop-dead-gorgeous Mauna Kea Beach (arrived at 8:30 to be one of 45 spots open to the general public each day) and at the delightful Mauna Lani bay. Both beaches are ideal for young children - uncrowded, nice sand, calm waters, close bathrooms. A day circling the island with a three-hour stop at Volcanoes National Park was also well spent. Just driving up and down the coast filled the soul. We loved charming, laid-back downtown Hawi too. Nearby food options were diverse/excellent - particularly enjoyed Sushi Rock (twice!), Kohala Coffee Mill, Gil's Lanai, Lighthouse Delicatessen, and Cafe Pesto. We found dinner at the Four Season's Beach Tree Bar & Grill to be a worthwhile splurge - live music, sublime outdoor setting, and a lovely lawn for the kids to run around on while my husband and I pretended we were on a romantic date.

There was so much to do on and outside of the ranch and we barely scratched the surface. We left without sadness though, because our time was sweet and we know we'll return again and again to repeat the same pleasures and find many new ones. We feel incredibly fortunate to have found Puakea Ranch and will love it, and the island it inhabits so beautifully, always!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank karaoh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed April 16, 2012

So you can't decide where to stay on the "Big Island" and you are not in sync with big resorts for your entire vacation? Well agonize no more - Puakea Ranch will deliver all or part of a Big Island experience that you imagine in your best dreams.
For years our family opted for the "wilds" of Panama, Belize, Costa Rica. But the lure of volcanoes, a true Hawaiian experience and high vacancy due to the economy, caused us to book a March 2012 trip to the Big Island. If you want a resort vacation, with hotel food. lounge chairs, mixed drinks and valet service, read no further. If you are adventurous like us, and you want to live and feel local - read on.

Puakea Ranch is an easy 1.33 hr drive from Kona or beautiful 2.75 hr drive from Hilo Airports. When you arrive Kona, go north in your rental car and when you pass Mauna Kea/Puako and Kawailhae - the road narrows, the pace slows (stop at the “farmers market on the right past Kawailhae and pick up incredible produce and flowers – the best papaya, tomatoes and pomelo!). When you get to Mile Marker 13/14 - everything changes - the climate is breezy and cool, the grasslands and rolling hills arrive, and you leave the dryness and "resortiness" to the south. As you pull up to the ranch gate at mile marker 18.5 and put in the code, a secluded and arguably elite world of travel emerges.
We (a family of three) stayed in James Cottage - a large, studio with spectacular views towards Maui, privacy, awesome separate local wood / stone bathroom with ultra high ceilings, awesome sink/counter, land private giant cedar hot tub. We made awesome breakfasts - stocked with local produce and ingredients from the on-site organic garden (the garden is seasonal so you have to hunt for what is available during your stay - don't let the appearance make you think it is barren). Even an avocado tree drops fruit and delivers right to your door. The kitchen is open, well stocked; it is easy to cook casually on hot plates, microwave, blenders in beautiful setting. A beautiful deck for dining or hanging out, and of course a hammock. You can gloat when you make the best smoothies with local fruits as often as you want!
Breeziness, vistas, privacy in a tropical ranch setting says it all. The climate is delightful, cool in day and even cold at night – some great rain showers – but even that just makes this better and causes you to slow down. Go to the website and focus on the amenities - fresh eggs in the morning from the local chickens, visits from roaming horses, breezes and sunsets and stars abound. You can be left alone like we wanted, or you can ask for daily maid service, meals, massages. But you are never bothered and any help is just a tel call away.

James Cottage and the other three larger rentals are well separated, and even with other guests on property - you hardly know they are there. It is a wonderful base to explore local or far. You can be in Hawi in five minutes and Waimea in 25. (for the iron-person in your group – you can run to Hawi and north along 19, with a full lane shoulder, breezes, and hardly any traffic). Pick up the phone anytime and the ranch manager can guide you in travel, restaurants, and snorkeling, hiking options (or stop at the Kohala Visitor Ctr in Hawi). We snorkeled 10 minutes away with locals, dined on great food in Hawi, delighted in the architecture of Hawi and Kapaa'au, hiked the miraculous trails at the overlook at the end of 270 (north of Kapa'au) and drove and hiked Waiplo valley. We stayed three full nights and could have stayed longer. The prices are less than any of the nicest resorts. We spent five days after at Mauna Lani (also fantastic in a different way) and although there was a day of adjustment to the Resort – we found it the optimum combination of accommodations.

Attention to detail is evident everywhere - candles, high quality towels, nice art, toiletries, excellent king bed and furnishings, open space inside and out, a sense of wonderful tropical freedom and vacation from anywhere you could have come from (even if you live in Kona).
Only glitch - we thought the lava rock pool by the big house is for all guests but it turns out it is for that house only (much like the hot tub is only for Jame's). The website makes a cryptic mention of a "community pool" but that pool has not been built yet. We did get to use the pool once as a family, but I suggest the owners consider making the lava pool a community pool - that makes this property a 10 out of 10 - otherwise - it drops to a mere 9.5/10.
Take time to come to Puakea Ranch, shop locally in the Nakahara Market in Hawi (say hi to Richard, Brenda, Lani) , meet locals, and be lucky you live Hawaii.

Room Tip: Any of the four are great - depends on group size.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank GrahamGriffin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
malibu
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2012

We honeymooned in Maui 37 years ago and have been to the islands many times since but after spending 4 days at the ranch this will be the only place we'd return. We stayed at Yoshi's House and enjoyed so many things the property has to offer (private black lava pool, incredible bathroom, fresh eggs every morning, fresh veggies from the garden, the views of the sweeping landscapes and water beyond, the horses, Elsie mooing each morning, Lola coming on by every time we cooked, the hammock, the horseshoes and the serenity). The staff was also terrific and very helpful.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank barneh5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 15, 2012

I wanted to say a big "Thank you" for having such a beautiful place for our family to take a vacation.

Miles Away was so comfortable for our family of 3 and the pool could not have been more perfect for our 3 year old. Our daughter fell in love with Lola (the dog) and can not stop talking about her. The extra touches like the Toy Box (the puzzles and Noah's Ark were some of the favorites), the chicken coop and the farm stand just took the vacation to whole other enjoyable level. We loved the fresh fruit and plan to return during mango season so we can have even more of that wonderful fruit.

Daymon and Sarah were excellent caretakers. We thoroughly enjoyed our massages with Sarah. She is both knowledgeable and very skilled at massage. I am often disappointed with the quality of massages when I go on vacation but hers was excellent.

We hope to come back in a year or so and bring some grandparents with us. Maybe the Cowboy House will be perfect for us, especially when the new pool is done.

We loved our time at Puakea Ranch and look forward to returning soon.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Becca G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Piedmont, California
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2012

On past trips to the Big Island [our favorite island] we've done all the big Kona hotels, but for a family trip with our two adult sons and their families, we decided to try something different. Luckily, we found Puakea Ranch, rented three cottages, and are now in the 6th day of a 9-day stay. The place is simply wonderful. Instead of waking up to noise in the hallway in a big hotel, we leave all the windows open, feel the tropical breezes and wake up to the sound of the local birds, cows, goats and horses. And the three cottage plan works wonderfully for our family.

Puakea Ranch offers the feeling of old Hawaii, before the big hotels arrived. Quiet, private, low-key. Fresh eggs in the morning, chickens running around, goats, cows and horses nearby. Last night, Christie the owner, arranged for a private caterer to put on an outdoor dinner with traditional Hawaiian musicians. The caterer, Taylor Made Catering, was fabulous and the ambiance of the Ranch and the music were magical.

A bonus is being in the less-populated area of Hawi, five minutes away, a quaint old Hawaiian sugar town which franchises have not yet found. Everything is local and home-grown. Nearby, we have hiked into the Pololu Valley, done zip-lining with Kohala Ziplines, played golf at the local Hawi 6-hole course, and had a good dinner at Bamboo restaurant, also with traditional Hawaiian music. The only local clunker is Zest Restaurant, which should be avoided at all costs.

We have access to all the big hotels and did a great luau and dinner at Mauna Kea, played golf at Mauna Kea and Mauna Lani, hit the big beaches at Mauna Kea and Hapuna and taken our 3-year old grandson to Spencer Beach, a toddler-friendly beach---all 20-30 minutes away.

We definitely will return to Puakea Ranch.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank gtsaperstein
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2012

I have to preface this review with the information that I had been going to Kona Village resort since 1977. It is now closed due to the tsunami and I needed to find a replacement. Not easy! Puakea Ranch fulfilled all my wishes. I stayed in their Miles Away house. I loved my little private submersion pool.Christie, the owner has done an excellent job of refurbishing this old ranch with close attention to details.
Fresh eggs daily from the ranch chickens, papayas, bananas, limes, and an organic vegetable garden for your use. Because I'm an animal lover, it was nice to see the horses and cows.
The town of Hawi is very close with good restraunts and fun shopping. I really didn't want to leave "Miles Away" much though. Watching the whales from my front deck was an added bonus.
The caretakers on the property are a wonderful couple, who have many talents along with making sure you're comfortable, including massage and acupuncture!
I will be returning next year for a month!


  • Stayed January 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jillderwinski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Puakea Ranch

Property: Puakea Ranch
Address: 56-2864 Akoni Pule Hwy, Hawi, Island of Hawaii, HI 96719
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Hawi
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Hawi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Puakea Ranch Hotel Hawi
Puakea Ranch Hawi, Hawaii

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