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“Good option for volcano park”

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Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Hilo
Reviewed April 6, 2006

If you're going to the big island, it's probably to see the visit the National Volcanoes Park. My wife and I went for 24 hours and we stayed at Hilo Hawaiian. You definitely want to stay in Hilo because it's much closer to the Black Sand beach as well as the volcano park. And if you're like us, you'll be out all day and come back to the hotel for sleeping purposes only. For that reason alone, the hotel is your best value. Heck, they even had free internet access which we didn't find at any of the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa hotels. The only reason I gave this hotel 4 star is because: A)Best Value-Pro and B)Typical average hotel-Con. Do not compare this hotel to other luxary ones. It will be well worth the money though for a short stay.

Stayed: April 2005
8  Thank beanstock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 26, 2006

Hawaii is a huge island with major climactic differences. Once one understands this, one understands why (1) being on the rainy side, Hilo is not where you want to go for most of your "fun in the sun" vacation, but (2) one will save oneself a lot of time and frustration by staying 2 or 3 days on the windward side to see the volcano, waterfalls, etc. If you’re interested in touring the volcano, count on 5 hours of driving time if you’re coming from Kona or Kohala. Before I discuss the hotel, I would like to strongly advise a helicopter tour from the Hilo airport if you can afford it. Without a helicopter tour, you will probably not be able to see lava flows, and certainly won’t be able to peer into the Pu’o O’o caldera. It was by far the best thing we did on the island.
We stayed three nights in early January. Our plane being 3 ½ hours late, we arrived at 10:30 PM and did not notice anything remotely resembling a parking problem. There is parking both under the hotel and on lots to either side, and they certainly seem adequate in order to accommodate all rooms. The only way there could be a problem is if a large number of non-guests used the spaces (i.e. if there were a wedding).
The woman checking us in was a little rude. When we arrived, she didn’t greet us, so I said “Good evening!” to which she responded “What?”. Even if she couldn’t figure out what I was saying, a more appropriate response would have been “Pardon me?”. Perhaps because we had arrived so late, we received a room in the back near the ice machine, which made quite a ruckus, and couldn’t be switched to another room that night. Fortunately, the next day they moved us to another room, and even made it an ocean view room for our trouble. The ocean view rooms have gorgeous views of the bay and Mauna Kea. The rooms themselves didn’t have anything fancy like internet hookups or minibars, but they were clean, comfortable, spacious enough, and reasonably quiet if you didn’t get stuck near the ice machine.
The pool was small, in the shade most of the time, and unheated. However, you’re not staying here to lie by the pool—this hotel is a base for seeing the nearby sights. It’s next door to a beautiful Japanese garden and an island in the bay with a bridge. A coin laundry downstairs is quite convenient. The breakfasts were really great and the view from the restaurant is fantastic (Bay, Mountains). The dinner buffet is of surprisingly reasonable quality and cost (this ain’t Vegas’s Aladdin buffet, though). You may save yourself some time if you have a reservation in the evening.
Getting to the National Park is pretty easy. Just turn left and keep driving until you hit the park enterance. Also not to be missed in the area are the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden Akaka Falls, and Rainbow Falls. So spend a few days here to make your touring on this side of the island more enjoyable—but don’t expect luxury.
Final hint--we got a $64/night rate by using our Entertainment Card. Even if you only stay one night, it's worth it to get the Entertainment Card for that alone (but the card has other uses).

  • Stayed: January 2006
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28  Thank lebelgo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2006

I stayed there Jan. 18th and 19th. It's nice and close to the airport and to downtown. I had a deluxe oceanview room for $123.00/nt. that was one the fifth floor. Big room with a nice lanai overlooking Hilo Bay and Cocnut Island. This hotel is definitley not a "resort" type hotel, but is good for business travelers, and far better than the surrounding hotels. The room was clean and didn't smell or feel moldy like some others I have stayed in in the area. TV was small, but had alot of cable channels. The bar doesn't open until 5:00 p.m. which was kind of a drag for me. The food at the resturant wasn't that great and it wasn't cheap either. Service there was rather marginal too. The buffet looked pretty gamey and was pretty picked over by 7:00 p.m.. Skip it and go to downtown somewhere instead. Breakfast menu was very limited and not cheap. Again, go into town. Other employees were very nice and helpful. No room safes even though it says it has them in brochure. No room service either. That was a drag for me because I was alone. The pool is old and very small. Overall it was just okay.

Stayed: January 2006
15  Thank ShadyGrady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2006

My mother and I stayed a couple nights here in June of 2005 and I had stayed here once before in February 2004 as part of a packaged deal. I really enjoy this hotel and feel like it is the best hotel option in Hilo. Here are our thoughts:

1) The hotel's location (historic Banyan Drive)right on Hilo Bay is a definite plus. The entire first floor (which is kind of like the second floor)is dedicated to bar space/dining and the open-air lobby. All the rooms are on the 3rd floor or higher, so occupants will be safe in the event of another devastating tsunami (Hilo has had 2 in the last 100 years). It was fun to chill out on the rocky lava outcroppings that jutted out into the bay, as was exploring the nearby tidepools. Coconut Island was also pleasantly close by and viewed nicely from our room.
2) Our room was fantastic! We were in a very clean deluxe room on the top floor with two large beds, great bathroom, and a large balcony with an awesome view of Hilo Bay and towering Mauna Kea. We dropped in after being dissatisfied with accommodations elsewhere in Hilo and got a great deal on our room at $115/night. This definitely felt like a reasonably good deal.
3) The staff were very friendly and really projected a sense of island welcome in their dealings with us.
4) Facilities were great. Parking was close and secure, the laundry facilities were nice, and the pool was divine. The koi pond looked a little neglected but the grounds in general seemed to be kept very well.
5) This was one of the most relaxing places that we stayed in during our visit to Hawaii.

1) The hotel itself is a little out-of-date and, although it offered more than my mother and I need in a place to stay, some people may be unimpressed with the hotel's look/atmosphere.
2) A minor annoyance is that you need to get a wristband from housekeeping before being able to use the pool.
3) The bar is a fun place to hang out but the restaurant seems to be a little overpriced. Discount tickets are provided for each day that you stay, however.

All in all, this is a great place to stay if you're based in Hilo for a few days. This is definitely no resort, but offers a lot in the way of location and general comfort.

Whatever you decide, enjoy your stay in Hilo!

  • Stayed: June 2005
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15  Thank ChrisDaberer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2006

First impressions are everything. We arrive at the hotel after driving all day, and there's no parking ANYWHERE. The parking lot and all surrounding areas in view are wall to wall cars. We asked where we were supposed to park and were told that there was a wedding there that night and so it was really busy, and we could find parking "somewhere" in the area. So, we pulled up to the front door and tried to unload our luggage so that we wouldn't have to haul it from 10 miles away, and were told that we needed to move our car because there was a tour bus coming in. By this time, we were so incensed that I'm pretty sure my friend told him where he could shove his tour bus (and it wasn't a pretty place either.)

Another note on service, I asked for a box of tissues because the box in our room was almost empty and I had developed a cold, and the front desk guy sent me down to the basement to find the supply room myself... and then they didn't even have a box of tissues that wasn't open. She ended up giving me a partially used box. ew. But I needed them bad, so I guess I couldn't be choosy.

The location is great, right next to the Japanese garden... beautiful setting!

  • Stayed: February 2005
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5  Thank Sashasmommy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2006

I was thinking this hotel would be pretty bad given the price ($110/night) but it was really very nice. Super great hotel staff! It is an older property, but Hilo is kind of a quirky old town anyway so it really feels fine. The rooms are older, but nice enough, very clean. The food in the restaurant was not very good, but the staff was sure nice. Free parking, pool, nice open lobby. A great choice on the big island!

  • Stayed: December 2005
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8  Thank BridgetF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2005

This hotel was a in great location. We stayed here because the hotel in Kona was booked for our last night and we are glad we made it here. We were able to explore the volcano from the side that is not well travelled and the hot thermal pools where we swam and snorkelled. The hotel decor needs updating but as all we wanted was a clean room to sleep in it fitted the bill. Also, the parking was free (unlike the hotel in Kona). The dinner at Cafe Pesto (downtown Hilo) was the best meal we had during our two week vacation in Hawaii. Would recommend Ken's for breakfast - great banana pancakes. It was a nice easy drive back to Kona airport in the late afternoon along the 19 to catch the red eye back home to San Diego.

12  Thank Narelle M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel

Address: 71 Banyan Drive, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-4693
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Hilo
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet (WiFi) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Hilo
Price Range: $150 - $278 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 286
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Hilo's best full-service hotel, offers outstanding views of the ocean or quaint Hilo Town framed by the backdrop of Mauna Kea. Located on Hilo Bay, and approximately two miles from Hilo Airport, Hilo Hawaiian Hotel is the perfect headquarters for exploring the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Enjoy incredible views of Mauna Kea, Hilo Town, and beautiful and historic Coconut Island. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hilo Hawaiian Hotel
Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel Hawaii

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