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Hilo Area

Resorts by Name

Arnott’s Lodge

(808) 339-0921
98 Apapane Rd, Hilo

Located just off Kalanianaole Avenue in east Hilo past the industrial area, this hostel is popular with backpackers. They offer several tours in their vans, since, as they put it, “Most of our guests don’t have cars.” They have a room with 55-inch smart TV (feel free to login to your streaming account) and a large outdoor patio. Although you might not get Four Seasons pampering, the staff here seems laid back and fun (on a particularly rainy day, they helped guests build a slip-and-slide in the yard area…why weren’t we invited?).

The lodge/hostel is a scattering of buildings. Dorms are small and can get hot (especially interior-facing dorms). On this visit the rooms felt fresh, but many units still feel closed in. They say they clean the carpets fairly often, and in rainy Hilo that must be a full-time job. Bike rentals are $10 per day. Lockers for storage of bulky items, like backpacks are $2/day.

2020-07-10T10:03:03-10:00 Rating: No Award

Country Club Hawai‘i Condo Hotel

(866) 935-7171 or (808) 935-7171
121 Banyan Dr, Hilo

So what are they—a hotel or a condo? They’re a condotel with units owned by individuals, so expect wide variations among the rooms. There are also many long-term renters/owners here. They are on a month-to-month land lease with the state, so things may change at any moment, and you should consider that when deciding how far in advance to book. Some rooms have been updated and are acceptable, but not all, so keep looking until you find one with surroundings you like, or stay somewhere else altogether. Lanais on most (except room numbers ending in 9, 17, 10 and 22). Coffee maker in some, washer/dryer in a few, others use coin-op laundry, daily housekeeping only if you pay the daily rate.  We used to give it a Solid Gold Value, but the cheapness doesn’t void the pretty unpleasant atmosphere (disheveled, poorly maintained grounds, etc.) If you just want cheap, then this might be worth checking out, but otherwise try somewhere else. Rooms (around 300 sq. ft.) are $74–$110, kitchenettes (add a hot plate) are on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

2020-07-10T10:03:56-10:00 Rating: Solid Gold Value

Dolphin Bay Hotel

(877) 935-1466 or (808) 935-1466
333 Iliahi St, Hilo

We find this hotel quaint and comforting. It helps that it’s one of the better bargain hotels in Hilo. Rooms are clean and have complete kitchens. No phone in your room, but you can always use the one in the lobby. The coqui frog problem here is particularly noticeable and they will give you free earplugs, but some guests actually enjoy the sound. Free coffee, cakes and fruit in the morning. Friendly and helpful staff. An easy place to recommend. Rooms are $119–$159 (it’s worth the upgrade to Superior), one- and two-bedroom units are $179 and $199. The two-bedroom unit only has one bathroom. Additional person add $10. 2-night minimum in certain rooms.

2020-07-10T10:06:17-10:00 Rating: Solid Gold Value

Grand Naniloa Hotel

(866) 568-0896 or (808) 969–3333
93 Banyan Dr, Hilo
Visit website

For quite some time we’ve had a note on this property: “This resort has gone under extensive renovations and is now part of the Hilton DoubleTree family. We will be re-reviewing it soon.” Although renovations at the Grand Naniloa have concluded (a mere $20 million later), we have a feeling that changes will keep coming, and we look forward to them with…curiosity.

Renovations have made the hotel clean, spacious and modern (though many things have not changed such as the bathrooms, for example) with a Hawaiian influence in the decorations (walls lined with Kim Taylor Reece artwork are exceptionally beautiful) and live music seven days a week. But they left the pool alone (though there are now pool and lounge chairs available). Although sometimes the combo of Hawaiian and modern seems to clash rather than flow (the lobby feels a little unnerving to us), in general, this hotel has undergone tremendous change for the better.

2020-07-10T10:04:40-10:00 Rating: No Award

Hilo Bay Hostel

(808) 933-2771
101 Waianuenue Ave, Hilo

A very nice hostel with bright, very clean rooms and shared spaces, including the kitchen. You can tell they really put in the extra effort. On the second floor of a historic building built in 1911 on a busy corner in downtown Hilo, so expect road noise. Lockers available for the dorms, but BYOT (bring your own towel). There’s a TV and DVD player in lobby (they only play movies). They do have fans, but this place can get hot, especially in sweltering summer months. Dorms are $30 per person/per night, up to six people per dorm. Private rooms with fridge (approx. 200 sq. ft.) are $79 (private bath with towels) per night, one to two people per room or an additional $10 charge per extra body. If you have a large group, they may rent you the whole place.

2020-07-09T14:03:16-10:00 Rating: Solid Gold Value

Hilo Hawaiian Hotel

(800) 367-5004 or (808) 935-9361
71 Banyan Dr, Hilo

Hilo Hawaiian Hotel is one of best hotels on Banyan Drive at the moment (though that in itself is not worth tons of bragging rights). Their location overlooking Coconut Island affords them nice views. The rooms and bathrooms are fresh and modern, still in keeping with the feel of Hawai‘i. All the photographs in the rooms were taken on property, and when you come in you’ll find cards that share stories about the islands. These little details are welcoming, however the a/c does have some quirks. The most annoying being it’s motion sensitive and will shut off at night unless you get up and walk around. Good for sleep walkers and those of us who have small bladders, but the rest of us will sweat it out. Overall, the building is well-maintained for its age with updated restaurants (they’re working on some additional remodeling). The top floor is the smoking floor (but only on the lanais). There are some small shops on property (not run by the hotel), such as a beauty salon, massage spa and a convenience store.

2020-07-10T10:05:05-10:00 Rating: No Award

Hilo Seaside Hotel

(800) 560-5557 or (808) 935-0821
126 Banyan Way, Hilo

Very clean, simple hotel (but very dated except the bedding) rooms across from the Ice Pond. Very warm staff that make the whole hotel feel inviting. Well-maintained building and grounds with one of the nicer pools in Hilo (and it includes lounge chairs). Rooms facing that pool (interior side of property—#16–29) are preferable since they’re away from the street noise on this busy corner. As a second choice, get a room facing the koi pond which also has lanais. No room safes but free safety deposit boxes at front desk. Free bike rentals, hospitality room and a small historical museum. Local calls are $0.50. Rooms (around 350 sq. ft.) are $154–$169 and include a full breakfast.

2020-07-10T10:03:26-10:00 Rating: Solid Gold Value

The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls

(808) 935-6789
100 Kulaniapia Dr, Hilo

We’re not sure how to classify this one, so let’s start with what it isn’t: a hotel, a hostel, or a bed and breakfast. Think of this place as a destination retreat locale. It’s only about 20 minutes away from Hilo but light-years away in everything besides distance. Come here to be away from it all. You can swim in a gosh darn pool at the bottom of a waterfall, so why the heck would you leave these grounds? The three main buildings sit on an incredibly beautiful grassy hill above Kulaniapia Falls and pond whose sound can be heard from all rooms.

The aim of the Inn is to provide different experiences. Some are included, some you can get discounted if you purchase them at the time of booking. Rappel off the previously mentioned waterfall, or go on a farm-to-table cooking adventure (start by picking your ingredients and end with a deliciously self-prepared meal). You can hike the grounds, visit the pigs (don’t get too attached; they will be dinner some day), or hire a private chef for top-notch cuisine.

2020-07-10T10:07:08-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Wild Ginger Inn & Hostel

(800) 882-1887 or (808) 935-5556
100 Puueo St, Hilo

This is a budget traveler’s kind of place, a little bit hotel, a little bit hostel. Private rooms have an empty fridge, microwave and TV; private hostel rooms have a full-size or bunk bed and shared bath. There’s a shared kitchen in all categories. Towels, bedding and lockers supplied. No phones (the two pay phones are just for décor), no a/c. Everyone gets a continental breakfast. Every time we review this place it has changed, although they seem to have refined their options a little more. The owner and people who run it are extremely nice and very proud of the place. When you visit, they don’t make it out to be more than it is, and really want to manage visitors’ expectations. But we have seen their website, and we gotta say, their photographer did a great job of making this place look lush, and in some ways it is just that. But in other ways it feels run down, old and dirty. This is the kind of place that you will either love or hate.
2020-07-10T10:06:43-10:00 Rating: No Award
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