We found a deal for this Inn on a "last minute" website, and took a room in the main house. After consulting the "Big Island Revealed" guidebook, we took the book's advice and arrived in the daylight - and we're glad we did. The Inn is off the grid, and there are no lights on the road to the Inn. (After checking in, we went down to Hilo for dinner and had no trouble finding our way back in the dark, but it might have been disconcerting if we arrived for the first time at night, as the private roads to the Inn are long and although clearly marked, we might have missed some of the signs in the dark if we didn't already know the way.)
Our experience at the Inn was terrific. The room was as described, big, clean, and quiet, with a small balcony from which you can see the Hilo harbor and the local falls. Our name was on the door with the key in the lock, so we didn't have any interaction with the hosts when we arrived - we just let ourselves in and then went out to dinner. Later that night, we made our way to the TV room / lounge and enjoyed a bottle of wine that we brought with us - the other guests didn't come down and we had the place to ourselves.
The next morning, the breakfast and coffee were terrific - I was up early and went to the dining area for a fresh-brewed cup of coffee, and drank it on our balcony waiting for my wife to get up. Our breakfast was fantastic, and we didn't eat again until dinner.
If you stay here, we recommend that you take the self-guided "bamboo tour." It's very low-key, but we found it interesting and relaxing to stroll through the well-maintained garden path for an hour or so, and read about the various types of bamboo planted on the grounds of the Inn. We also took a swim in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. After snorkeling along the coast for a week, this freshwater pool was cold, but refreshing (and you get used to the temperature after a minute of splashing around). If you want to swim, bring watershoes to negotiate the rocks leading down to the pool, or just keep your shoes on until you're at the water's edge. It's a little tricky, and I wouldn't recommend it if you're unsteady on your feet, but we had no problem (I'm 52).
Finally, we had an interesting conversation with the owner, and I was especially intrigued by the micro-hydro power generation that he has rigged up. (We saw the "powerplant" - a series of small turbines housed in a small garden shed - on our walk.) The three buildings of the Inn (as well as the owner's Chevy Volt) are powered entirely by the electricity generated by the four turbines turned by the water pressure of two six-inch pipes of water that come down from above the falls. It's a very clever setup, and of interest to anyone fascinated by energy, engineering, or environmental sustainability.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls sits among 22 lush, natural acres, surrounding Hawaii’s largest privately accessible waterfall. The Kulaniapia experience is like no other, just 15 minutes from town, but completely away. Whether you come for relaxation, adventure or both, nothing quite prepares you for how much you find of each. Those seeking adventure are invited to sign up with the Kulaniapia Adventures team for a guided, 120 foot rappel down our namesake waterfall. Accommodations are provided in several asian inspired buildings providing accommodations ranging from standard/waterfall view rooms and family suites, to fully detached cottages and a Pagoda Guest House with a full kitchen. Enjoy a wholesome, locally sourced breakfast and the big island’s best coffee, all while enjoying the view of our namesake falls each morning. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Inn At Kulaniapia Falls Hotel Hilo
- The Inn At Kulaniapia Falls Hilo, Hawaii