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“This is now our favorite place to stay on the island”

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The Palms Cliff House Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Honomu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 15, 2009

I’ve never posted a hotel review before but my wife and I enjoyed our stay at the Palms Cliff House so much that I decided I had to put it in writing.

This was our fourth trip to Hawaii and our second to the Big Island . We’ve done most of the typical tourist things and we just wanted someplace where we could put up our feet and relax. The Palms Cliff House was was exactly what we were looking for. We’d stayed on the Kona side the previous week and this was such a nice contrast. It's located close enough to Hilo that we enjoyed some nice dinners downtown and we visited the botanical gardens aagain (we’ve been there before). But mostly, we enjoyed just sitting on the balcony or in our hot tub doing pretty much “nothing”. The breakfasts were excellent and Michele and John made us both feel so welcome, we felt more like friends coming to visit than hotel guests.

After our stay at the Palms Cliff House, we went back to the Kona side and stayed two nights at the Fairmont Orchid since we were flying out Kona. I thought the Fairmont would be a nice place to end our stay and, as hotels go, the Fairmont is ok. But we really missed the Cliff House and wished we’d stayed there instead. For us, it was exactly what we wanted to get away from it all and we can’t wait to go back again. Next time, however, I’ll be staying as many nights as possible.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Vanlippe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 8, 2009

The Palms Cliff House Inn was a great location for the first part of our Honeymoon. We spent four nights while on the Big Island before heading to Oahu It is wonderfully secluded with amazing ocean views. The entrance is hard to find (adds to the feeling of seclusion!) and it is not a full service hotel with hordes of staff at your beck-and-call, so if you like big hotels with lots of tourists and traffic, stay on the Kona side if the island. But if you want a romantic stay in a beautiful Victorian house on a high cliff over the ocean, this can't be beat. We thought the breakfast was great . . . french toast made with Hawaiian sweet bread, fresh fruit juices, etc., served on the open lanai overlooking the ocean. The owners aren't constantly telling jokes and slapping everyone on the back but they are very nice and helpful -- perfectly appropriate for this type of accommodation. If we're lucky enough to get back to Hawaii, we will definitiely stay here again. I agree that many of the negative reviews appear to be a result of misguided expectations.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dave3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2009

I reciently got stationed at KBay on Oahu but wanted to take my fiance for a romantic trip to the Big Island to see the volcano. I only had a 7 day leave so I wanted it to be special. I asked around base and several suggested this B&B. She flew in from CA and we met at the Inn. I got there our room was filed with flowers and fresh fruit - a gift from the owners. (Seems their youngest kid is a Marine too.)

Anyway, the room was great, to food was fantastic, and the best part was how quiet it was. The inn is so small that there are just not a lot of people to make a lot of noise. So you can hear the ocean, and the birds. It was great. We spent a lot of time at the Inn just being together and talking to the other guests.

The owners had lots of suggestions about where to eat and things to do and I thought they were very nice. When I came to post this review I noticed some of the negative reviews and I can't figure them out. We had a great experience. The owners run the Inn like a resort with all the amenities they offer. But it has all the charm of a small business. I thought it was a great combination and I thought they were doing a great job at it.

If I had leave to go back, I would. I have already recommended it to others.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank 808marine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2009

First of all, as others have mentioned the inn is poorly marked from the highway and therefore difficult to find. My wife and I arrived after dark and so we passed it the first time, even with a GPS, and had to make a u-turn to get back to it. This needs to be addressed.

I was very offended to see what I later learned to be the Hawaiian state flag flying ABOVE the U.S. flag on the front porch of the inn. Those of you who now your flag etiquette understand that this a no-no as well as against federal law. I asked to speak with the owner about it and she claimed that Hawaii has some sort of exception to the U.S. flag laws and etiquette. I did not attempt to argue this point but let her know that I was not happy about it either way.

The room was nice enough. The bed was comfortable. For the most part everything was clean and in working order. After dark, I couldn't even tell if there was anyone else there beside my wife and I, except for occasionally hearing a neighbor's door open or close. Too tell you the truth It's almost too quiet. Like another said, arriving at your room after dark feels like your a teenager sneaking back into your parents house.

No internet is unacceptable in a $400+ a night room in 2009. When my wife and I tried to use the hot tub, the jets sprayed all over the place because the water level was too low. As it was after dark and the inn's staff disappears at sundown, nothing could be done, so no hot tub for us. They did have satellite TV, but just the basic package, so that was worthless. Aside from right outside the rooms, the property is dangerously dark at night. The no-shoes rule is ridiculous. It's one thing to ask someone to take off their shoes in your home, but to ask people who are paying you good money to be in your INN is just absurd.

The view was OK to tell you the truth. From our room we could see a sliver of ocean between the trees and bushes. My wife and I are from Florida, so maybe we're spoiled, but I've seen better ocean views from a Comfort Inn balcony. Breakfast was decent, nothing special, but decent.

Another reviewer commented that the ownership was not nice and even rude. While I agree, I think it's more of a locals-aren't-nice-in-Hawaii thing. We found that to be true almost everywhere we went in HI. You get the feeling that Hawaiians put up with visitors cause they have to($) not because they want to. The southern hospitality that we're used to apparently never made it to Hawaii.

All in all, it was OK, but definitely not worth what they are charging. I expected much more for our money. The whole operation seems a little half-hearted to me.

We stayed in three places on three island in Hawaii, and this was the most expensive and also the worst. The half-hearted operation, school-like rules, nursing home atmosphere and Hilo's constant rain and clouds easily made this our worst stop on the entire trip. The only thing I liked really was the closeness to Volcano National Park, which we enjoyed very much. If your going to the big Island, avoid this place, hell I'd say go to Kona instead. I'm not just being mean or bitter for the fun of it either, I gave the other two places we stayed glowing reviews and they deserved it.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank smc2783
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2009

My wife and I picked this Inn as the last stop of our three week tour of the Big Island. All three locations were wonderful (the other two were Kilauea Lodge, Volcano and the Waikoloa Beach Marriott), this was the perfect climax. We originally booked this stay based on recommendations seen in numerous tourist guides and magazines. When I later read some of the reviews published on this site I was a little concerned that we had made a mistake. After spending one week with John and Michele, I can't explain how anyone can be disappointed with the wonderful ammenities provided at the Inn. This was certainly no mistake.

Maybe if you're looking for service at your elbow 24/7, then you will be disappointed. But, if you are looking for a place to relax and unwind after indulging in many of the adventures available on the Big Island, this is the place. To address some of the negative comments specifically we add the following: Breakfasts were great and served from 7:30 to 9:00 with coffee and tea available at 7:00. Snacks and drinks are available for purchase in the guest lounge where there is also ice and a microwave. They also offered a continental breakfast delivered to your room if requested the night before. We did not choose that option as the breakfast on the lanai was not to be missed. The lounge also had information about local attactions and restaurants. John or Michele were always friendly and helpful providing additional local information and restaurant tips. They also assured us of our privacy, which we greatly appreciated. We saw them numerous times during our stay and they always greeted us by name and inquired as to how we were enjoying our stay.

Yes, there were "rules" but none appeared to be unreasonable. If you are a smoker you should consider staying else where. Same if you want to experience a loud late night party scene or if you can't take your shoes off indoors. We found these rules enhanced our enjoyment of the Inn, no lingering smoke oders and no late night disturbances. The carpet in our room was deep and soft, as luxurious as any hotel or resort carpet and meant to be enjoyed in bare feet. This is a small Inn run very efficiently with a small staff that offers a great value on the Big Island. We believe the rules they have chosen are very resonable and allow them to maintain the exceptional quality of service and the outstanding facilities at an affordable price.

Palms Cliff House will always be at the top of the list of places we recommend on any of the Hawaiian islands for those looking for a relaxing get away and to experience the spirit of Aloha. We have stayed on all the major islands after completing this trip. The accomadations at the Palms Cliff House are not exceeded by anyplace else we have stayed.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Pegjude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2009

I booked a stay here through Expedia before I had a chance to research it. I'm glad I did. There are some not-so-good reviews on this site, and I was worried that our stay would not be a happy one.

I am thrilled to say that was not the case. The 7 days we spent here were terrific. I think some people confuse this place for a full service hotel because the amenities are so amazing. The rooms are not set up as a typical B&B. All 8 rooms are off to the side in their own wing. The rooms are huge, and the bathrooms are enormous with walk-in showers lined in stone tile. The entire ensemble of lanai, main house, and rooms wing appear to have been recently built or renovated in very good taste. The place and the owners were well known to everyone we talked to on the island, even to people from the Kona side. The consensus among the locals was it's the nicest B&B on the island.

Rooms 1-4 are on the ground floor, and rooms 5-8 are on the 2nd floor. Rooms 1, 4, 5, and 8 have bay-window style balconies. The other rooms have rectangular balconies. Some rooms did seem to have their views blocked by trees. For the best views, stay in room 7 or 8, or 3 or 4. You also get great views from the yard and lanai. We spotted whales almost every day of our stay in late January. (Look for a vertical spout of steam, then keep watching for the whales' backs and tails. We spotted them from as far as half way to the horizon, up to just 4 wave tops from shore. We even heard one from the room before seeing it. Don't forget to bring your binoculars.) We had no rain at all the whole week of our late January stay.

Coffee is served from 7:30am to 9am, and breakfast is served from 8am to 9am. The 2-course breakfasts were different each day, always with fresh fruit, not canned as some have mentioned here.

Again, this is a B&B, not a full service resort. We saw very little of the owners (almost exclusively John, who was very nice). If you want room service and maid service on-call, stay at a resort, not at a B&B. If you want quiet and privacy with no screaming kids running the halls, stay here. We chatted with several of the other guests, but everyone was very respectful of each other's privacy.

As others have mentioned, we did miss the entrance and had to backtrack and stop in Honomu to ask directions. If you're coming from Hilo, this place is literally the first driveway on the right after mile marker 13. It has a white fence and white sign, with a very dim light at night. If you get to the SR-220 turnoff for Honomu, you've gone exactly one normal city-block too far. If you're coming from the north from the Kona side, it's on the left barely past the turnoff for Honomu. Once you've found the entrance, you'll have no problem finding it again, day or night.

The location is just 15 minutes outside Hilo, and just down the hill from Akaka falls. It's a great base for just about anything you want to do on the east side of the island, from Volcano National park, to waterfalls, to jungles. Even the Kona beaches are only a short day trip away (1-1/2 hour drive each way).

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank bcballard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2009

Having stayed here, I can not fathom for the life of me anyone having anything negative to say about this place, or the owners.

The breakfasts are out of this world (and are made with local ingredients). The property is gorgeous and the owners treated us like family.

WARNING: this is an UPSCALE place for people SEEKING QUIET (they don't accept kids under the age of 13), and this is NOT a party place. We were very glad that they do not allow loud congregations past a certain hour which one of the reviewers griped about.

While we were there, a couple moved in next door and blasted their TV. John (one of the owners) asked then to quiet down. The next day at breakfast, this couple were extremely rude to the staff--they obviously resented it and did not do their homework. The resort also explicitly states their refund policy and that people should let them know in advance if they have food issues (for the reviewers griping about these issues).

No trip to the big isle is complete without a stay on the Hilo side because that is where all the rainforests and waterfalls are. Kona has the white sand beaches. We stayed on BOTH sides of the island and HIGHLY recommend this approach.

To the people upset about the "no smoking" signs--it is our understanding that is required by Hawaii law (and they are very clear and upfront about their nonsmoking policy).

I can't believe some people penalized this place for the weather in their reviews--unbelievable. This is a MAGNIFICENT place.

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank caocgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Palms Cliff House Inn

Address: 28-3514 Mamalahoa Hwy, Honomu, Island of Hawaii, HI 96728
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Honomu
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Spa Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Honomu
Price Range: $220 - $366 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Palms Cliff House Inn 3.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This 3.5 acre private estate offers sweeping ocean views perched ocean side atop a 100 foot cliff. Delicious full breakfasts are included in the regular room rates. Honored in Song and depicted in hula, this inn specializes in catering to couples seeking a quiet and romantic get away that embodies the feeling of the Old Hawaii we all dream about. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Palms Cliff House Hotel Honomu
The Palms Cliff Hotel
Palms Cliff Hotel
The Palms Cliff House Inn Hawaii/Honomu

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