77-362 Paulina Pl, Kailua-Kona
The Big Island attracts different categories of people. On one side of the spectrum, you have your Four Season vacationers, and on the very opposite side, you have your Kona Hawaii Guest House crew. This place is for the social, the curious, the independent and the non-luxurious crowd. Rumor has it that one time a guest caught 36 fish, and the resulting BBQ (in which everyone on the property was fed 10 times over) went on all night long.
The property has five rooms, and each layout is quite different. (Despite repainting every year, the outside of the property doesn’t do the rooms justice and feels a little cramped.) The Garden Room is the most private and often referred to as “The Writer’s Room” since its back entrance provides the most isolation. The Big Kahuna opens straight up to the community BBQ/hang out area and is absolutely massive in size (although they still limit occupancy to a family of four… meaning children, not your bros). Even the smaller available rooms feel open and comfortable, with updated stunning ceiling fans and a sincere feeling of care about them. The owner has a lot of ideas for continued renovations and changes. Our favorite is his plan to mount an old piece of the railroad track (which used to run right behind the property) on the wall inside one of the rooms.
Speaking of the owner, he is a massage therapist, trained chef and entertainer who truly loves Hawai‘i and sharing everything he can with guests. Request his massage (and other) services for $100–$300 a session (couples option also available), or simply sit down with him to soak up tons of historical info on the islands and the surrounding area.
La‘aloa Bay Beach Park is about a mile away (walkable, but remember that you also have to come back up the hill), and there are plenty of restaurants in that area as well. Rent beach gear for $45 and take whatever you need, whenever you need it. We haven’t witnessed it ourselves, but we hear you can see whales from the lanai during the winter season. Rooms (326–850 sq. ft.) are $75–$189 (that top price is rare). Cleaning fee is additional. 3- , 7- or 14-night minimum.