Let's start by making it clear tat Halemalu is not 'specialty lodging' as described by Trip Adviser. This is a Bed & Breakfast, a very new one, and one of the most unique that I have had the pleasure to spend time at. It deserves a detailed review so that you readers can make an informed choice, rather than an inspired guess like me.
When I first pulled up to the property I had a moment of pause. It didn't look like the B&B's I am accustomed to--more like, well, a boarding school. That's what it used to be. However, after five quiet, comfortable nights in the care of Eric and Suzette I was reminded of the old adage; it's what's on the inside that counts. But I digress.
Let's start with location. Halemalu sits high over Captain Cook, over 1,600 feet above Kealakekua Bay, (which took a patient Suzette five days to teach me how to pronounce.) It's climate is mild and fresh, with only the occasional vog drifting from distant Kilauea.
To reach it from the main highway involves driving up three side streets to a steep private road, more like a twin set of paved tracks. No loud traffic or late night tire drifting in this neighborhood. It sits on several acres of cultivated land containing, I was to learn, numerous varieties of fresh fruit and flora. It is bordered by a macadamia farm and other small cultivated properties. It's rural, but only fifteen minutes drive from Kailua-Kona town, and only a couple of minutes from a variety of local businesses down the hill, so it's hardly remote.
The guest rooms themselves are all in a large peaked roof building. From the building's size I thought there would be eight or ten separate guest quarters inside. Instead, there were just four to five on two floors. By good fortune I was given my choice and picked one of the two with upstairs ocean views. And they weren't just rooms--they were privates residences. Mine had a large living room and dining area, a main bedroom, a guest room, bath, and a twenty foot covered balcony. All were modestly appointed, being this is still a very new B&B, but everything was clean and comfortable, if not plush. I expected to spend about nine hours a day in my rooms, mostly asleep, so the bed was of primary concern. I was rewarded with a comfortable queen mattress and almost no house noise. In fact, they might want to consider ceiling fans in the bedrooms, not to keep cool but to drown out the silence. One night it was so quiet, I heard the distant shish of a passing shower that never reached the property. Only morning roosters and distant dogs mingled with the peace. Well, maybe one little earthquake but who's counting.
Each evening Suzette asked me my plans and prepared a breakfast based on them. Some mornings there was a magnificent buffet lined along a kitchen counter. Fresh fruit from the property (sweet papaya, two types of mango, bananas, etc), cereals, bread plus local speads and honey. If I wanted to cook something the stove and refrigerator were available to me. Other mornings when I was departing early to explore the island, she made up a to-go cooler, prepared for quick access in the car. This was one of the nicest favors I have every been offered at a B&B. Try getting THAT at a hotel.
One afternoon, Eric gave me a tour of the property. Besides his home and the B&B there were over a dozen varieties of fruit growing on it, including examples of south american cherries that I had never heard of before. The school, which he constructed, had only recently shut down, so he decided to put the whole place into the lodging business.
The result is a spacious B&B, capable of handling small business retreats, wedding parties and the like. One side of the structure has a covered outdoor dining area, enough for over twenty. The opposite has a patio that Eric has prepared for events, including a small stage area.
Halemalu is the type of place where you get to know your hosts, and make friends. I had free reign to collect macadamias and attempt to hammer them open (the survivors were roasted up for me by Suzette), to sign my name on a leaf of their autograph tree, borrow snorkel gear, watch videos in the downstairs guest area. It was all incredibly relaxing and must have been good for me, because by the time I reluctantly left I was walking noticeably slower, swearing less and totally hooked on flip-flops.
All this for a remarkably affordable rate. In fact it's the rate that probably makes many people wonder about it.
Stop wondering, and take advantage of it before the owner realizes what a bargain he has going on up there. I know I plan to again, in the very near future!
And Trip Adviser, please change this property's listing to a B&B. It is most definitely a B&B.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on the Big Island of Hawaii on the beautiful Kona coast, Halemalu has become a world premier individual, family, or group vacation rental property. The Halemalu Estate Villa is situated on a private five acre Botanical Garden Estate in Captain Cook and is ready to welcome you or your group. Our two bedroom suites offer a better value and are far more spacious compared to any hotel, lodge, inn or bed & breakfast. Plus our facilities are designed to accommodate all of your needs. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com so you can book your Halemalu reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Halemalu Captain Cook, Hawaii