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“Terrific Stay in an out-of-the-way Inn”

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The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls
Ranked #1 of 18 Hilo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Terrific Stay in an out-of-the-way Inn”
Reviewed January 22, 2014

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.

Room Tip: All of the rooms looked nice on-line - we were happy with ours (top floor of the main house, closest...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Dan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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781 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
1 review
Reviewed January 15, 2014

I just moved to Kona about 5 months ago. This was my first visit to Hilo with a new lady friend that I wanted to impress. The place didn't disappoint. Really close to downtown Hilo, beaches and other famous sights. The grounds were great. Breakfast cooked for you fresh each morning was fantastic - the mac nut waffles are sublime. Views and constant waterfall sound was soothing. Room was comfy. Overall it was great and I plan on coming back.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank EscapeHatchRentals
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2014

The rooms are beautiful, they are nicely decorated and our had a small balcony area with a perfect view of the falls. The staff is very nice and helpful and the breakfast they serve is delicious with many options. The grounds are beautiful, complete with short trails to enjoy the greenery, but the best part of the inn is the falls. Completely private if you go at the right time you will probably have the waterfall and pond all to yourself. It may be a little cold to swim in but definitely worth it! Great place to spend a night or two whether you are local or just visiting Hawaii.

Room Tip: The Hibiscus room is one of the cheaper ones but still comes with a little outdoor sitting area that...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Amor G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mesa, Arizona
1 review
Reviewed January 4, 2014

My wife and I recently spent 5 wonderful days (12/22/13 to 12/27/13) at Kulaniapia Falls B&B. We stayed in Maile Room and our accommodations were everything we expected. Our private lanai looked out over a beautiful 125 foot waterfall and the views were spectacular. Our Innkeeper, Leah, was especially wonderful. She brightened every day for us when we arrived for breakfast each morning. She was also very informative in helping us plan each of our days while staying here. The owners and the rest of the staff were also very warm and friendly. This was a truly unique and wonderful experience for us!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Michael W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zug, Switzerland
Level Contributor
108 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2014 via mobile

Not much to add to what was said before. Very nice location with a "hideaway" feeling. great privatewaterfall and I like that they make their own electricity and use it for a hybrid car, very thorough. Plus, they were able to accommodate us in high season despite the travel agent screwing up our reservation.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Code2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
1 review
Reviewed December 31, 2013

The inn is located in a serene area of Hilo with waterfall on property. At night with windows open you hear the nice roar of waterfall while you go to sleep. The room we had was nice, and had a the typical amenities. the breakfasts in the mornings where very good and the staff gets 5 stars. sorry about the late review since we stayed at the end of October. The bamboo hiking trails around property are relaxing and bountiful with tropical plants all around. Can't wait for next year to spend 3 to 4 days at the inn. Good job Len and your staff.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank d b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Englewood, New Jersey
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed December 29, 2013

The IAKF is a great place to stay in the Hilo area. The falls may be one of the best waterfalls in an island of waterfalls ! It is very like Rainbow Falls nearer the center of Hilo but it is PRIVATE !
Our room (Orchid in Harmony House) was comfortable although a little smaller than we would have liked (why do so many rooms at these inns have so little storage for clothes and other belongings ?). The sound of the falls and the frogs made for restful nights. The grounds are well laid out and really unique. When (not if) you take the walk to the falls, start down through the bamboo garden rather than down the path in front of the Residence as that could be slippery and steep.

Leah (the Harmony House hostess who cooks breakfast for those staying there) gets rave reviews from other reviewers and she gets another from us ! She has an amazing ability to cook breakfasts to order, keep the coffee coming and carry on three different conversations at the same time all while maintaining her 1000 watt smile ! Her macadamia nut waffles alone make the trip worthwhile.

OK - why not an excellent rating ? Minor points really given the rest of our experience but here goes .... (1) Lenny's "check-in" process is a bit funky but we were lucky to find him on premises when we arrived, (2) You have a rather long and initially confusing drive up from Hilo. This is, I guess, the "other side" of the seclusion. There are no stores or restaurants anywhere nearer than downtown Hilo. Arrive before dark the first time otherwise you may loose your way and if you do arrive later, consider finding your evening meal in town before heading up to the Inn. GPS systems seem to have the location and road correct, however. (3) No guest laundry facilities on premises - even though they are in plain view (but clearly marked Not for Guest Use). I suspect that this is because they appear to have limited water supplies - although that is hard to understand given the HUGE waterfall on premises !

Would we return - absolutely - if only for the macadamia nut waffles, but if Leah wasn't there .........

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Nigel W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls

Property: The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls
Address: 100 Kulaniapia Dr, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-2361
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Hilo
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Hilo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
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

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