The place is amazing, Irene is amazing, and you meet the most wonderful people. My wife and I stayed here a half dozen years ago, have been thinking of returning ever since, and just spent a wonderful four more days. Your experience starts when you drive in underneath overhanging trees and past a metal gate showing the four elements of earth, wind, air, and fire, in an incredibly imaginative way. Every time we go in and out, we stop and look at it--then visit with the amazing sculptor who made it when drops over. Then a winding path past palm trees, and an old colonial style house, beautifully restored and full of old world furniture.
Then you meet Irene, who is just so enormously welcoming that after a few days you feel like family... You linger over her amazingly lush breakfasts, talking with her and other guests and thinking about the line from the Narnia books about heaven being a place with new and wonderful fruits, in this case all grown on the property. The people who come through are also really interesting. Our first time we met a musician who'd played with Sting, this time a mix from software designers from Bejing to a British couple who worked in a dental lab that helped design the teeth for the Lord of the Rings characters, to a bunch of other great people who were all just really nice--the place seems to draw that. Our first time Irene drove us the night we arrived to see the flowing lava. This time, it wasn't flowing, but we went with her to the great naturally heated ocean-side public pool nearby where she swims every morning, and spent hours visiting and catching up.
One Friday afternoon, we played music with the weekly ukulele group that meets (well mostly listened and banged on maracas and drums). Too often in Hawaii, people who've moved there hang out only with their tribe, and locals hang out with there's. Lava Tree mixes it up, so Irene gets friends who've lived here for four generations (or more in the case of the native Hawaiians), and others who've only recently arrived. Her warmth and hospitality helps everyone mix, and you really do get a window into the culture.
Another day a wonderful (and very reasonable) Lomi Lomi massage specialist she knew came and visited. We made forays out of the house, like to the amazing Kapaho tide pools nearby (with coral shapes out of Alice in Wonderland). And to eat in some of the great restaurants she recommended, three miles away in Pahoa. And to visit the Hilo farmer's market, then drive to the Mauna Kea Visitor's Center and see more visible stars than any other place on the earth. But mostly we just didn't want to leave, because the place itself is so lush with all the surrounding jungle (by the wonderful Lava Tree park and all its ghost trees), and just so comfortable that it's easy to lie back in a chair and just let it all sink in as time slows and everything else fades away.
We're hooked now, like some of the other repeat guests we met, and we couldn't imagine coming to this Island without staying here. In fact, it's a reason to come.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Lava Tree Tropic Inn B&B has a wrap-around lanai (verandah) with three separate sitting areas where you can enjoy your morning coffee, relax with a good book, or just sit and take pleasure in the view. Rooms are nicely decorated and comfortable. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lava Tree Tropic Inn Hawaii/Pahoa