For additional bed-and-breakfasts, visit the website of the Hawaii Island B&B Association (www.stayhawaii.com), which only allows licensed, inspected properties to become members; only eight are currently listed, reflecting the impact of more casual Airbnb and vacation rentals. You’ll find numerous listings of condos and houses on sites such as VRBO.com and Airbnb.com, which have been less of a hot-button issue here than on other islands. To help you compare units and complexes, as well as guarantee rapid assistance should issues arise during your stay, though, consider booking vacation rentals that have professional management, or go through an Island-based company, such as those listed for specific regions below.
All rooms listed below come with a private bathroom and free parking unless otherwise noted; all pools are outdoors. Rates do not include the state’s 13.41% tax, while cleaning fees refer to one-time charges, not daily service.
The Kona Coast
Many of the lodgings in Kailua-Kona and Keauhou are timeshares or individually owned condos; rates, decor, and amenities in the latter may vary widely by unit. For a broad selection of well-managed condos and a smaller selection of homes (most with pools), contact Kona Rentals (www.konarentals.com; 800/799-5662) or Kona Hawaii Vacation Rentals (www.konahawaii.com; 809/244-4752 or 808/329-3333). Note: Prices and minimum-stay requirements may be significantly higher during the week before and after the Ironman World Championship (usually the second Sat in Oct), as well as during holidays.
In addition to the lodgings below, consider booking a condo at the Royal Sea Cliff, on the ocean side of Alii Drive about 2 miles south of the Kailua Pier. There’s no beach, but it has two oceanfront pools, often the site of free entertainment, and a tennis court. Outrigger Hotels & Resorts (www.outrigger.com; 800/688-7444 or 808/329-8021) manages 62 of the 148 large air-conditioned units, ranging from studios (650 sq. ft.) up to two-bedroom, two-bathroom units (1,100–1,300 sq. ft.), all with full kitchens and washer/dryers. Outrigger charges $125 to $269 (two-night minimum), plus cleaning fees of $125 to $225, for its well-appointed accommodations, with free parking and Wi-Fi.
The cool, rural uplands above central Kailua-Kona are home to two distinctive lodgings. Part of a 30-acre coffee farm in quaint Holualoa, owner Cassandra Hazen’s gorgeous Balinese-themed Holualoa Inn (www.holualoainn.com; 800/392-1812 or 808/324-1121) offers an oceanview pool, lush gardens, six immaculate suites ($395–$495), a handsome cottage with a full kitchen ($560–$590), and the spacious, elegantly renovated Red Barn one-bedroom suite ($595-$650) at the top of the hillside property; rates include gourmet breakfast. At Silver Oaks Guest Ranch (www.silveroaksranch.com; 808/325-2000), guests in two simply furnished cottages ($195 double) enjoy meeting miniature donkeys and other animals on the 10-acre working ranch, as well as sunsets from the pool and hot tub; groups may book additional suites in the main house.
This rural region of steeply sloping hills, often dotted with coffee and macadamia nut farms, is home to many unassuming B&Bs that may appeal to budget travelers who don’t mind being far from the beach.
At the higher end, in every sense, Horizon Guest House (www.horizonguesthouse.com; 808/938-7822) offers four suites ($250–$350) with private entrances and lanais on a 40-acre property, including a spacious pool and whirlpool spa, at 1,100 feet of elevation in Honaunau, 21 miles south of Kailua-Kona. Rates include a gourmet breakfast by host Clem Classen; children 13 and under are not allowed.
The Kohala Coast
There’s no way around it: The three resort areas here are very costly, but the beaches, weather, amenities, and services at their hotels are among the best in the state. Although you’ll miss out on fabulous pools and other hotel perks, you can shave costs (and save money on dining) by booking a vacation rental. For the most affordable, rent one of the 38 Puako Beach Condos in Puako, a one-road, oceanfront town hidden between the Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea resorts. Island Beach Rentals (808/885-8856; www.hawaiioceanfront.com) has some of the best units (including corner unit 101, offering three bedrooms, two baths, two lanais and air conditioning); rates start at $139, plus varying cleaning fees. Down the road is Bailey and Baki Wharton’s spacious, ground-floor one-bedroom Puako Beach rental with a large screened porch; it’s below their unit, and averages $195 a night (www.vrbo.com/821534). South Kohala Management boasts the most listings (100-plus) of condos and homes in the Mauna Lani, Mauna Kea, and Waikoloa Beach resorts (www.southkohala.com; 800/822-4252). Outrigger Hotels & Resorts also manages well-maintained condos and townhomes in six complexes in the Mauna Lani and Waikoloa Beach resorts (www.outrigger.com; 866/956-4262).
Right on the sand at Anaehoomalu Bay, the lively Lava Lava Beach Club restaurant and bar (www.lavalavabeachclub.com/bigisland; 808/769-5282) also offers four luxurious beach cottages ($550–$675), with kitchenettes, king beds, daybeds, and outdoor showers; keep in mind the bar is open until 10pm nightly, with live music until 9pm.
This rural area, steeped in Hawaiian history and legend, has few overnight visitors, given its distance from swimmable beaches and other attractions. But it does include two luxurious accommodations that reflect its heritage in unique ways. At eco-friendly Puakea Ranch ★★ (www.puakearanch.com; 808/315-0805), west of Hawi and 400 feet above the coast, three plantation-era bungalows and a former cowboy bunkhouse have been beautifully restored as vacation rentals ($289–$629; 3- to 7-night minimum, $150-$200 cleaning fee). Sizes vary, as do amenities such as soaking tubs and swimming pools, but all have access to the organic farm produce and eggs, plus fast Wi-Fi. On the ocean bluff between Hawi and Kapaau, hidden from the road, the “eco-boutique” Hawaii Island Retreat (www.hawaiiislandretreat.com; 808/889-6336) offers 10 posh guest rooms and three bungalows with large bathrooms and balconies ($425–$500 double, 4-night minimum). Clustered near the saltwater infinity pool are seven yurts (large tent-like structures) with private bathrooms and shared indoor/outdoor showers ($195 double). Rates include a sumptuous, homegrown organic breakfast.
For a more economical stay, consider Makai Hale, a bed-and-breakfast in windy, higher-elevation Kohala Ranch, with panoramic ocean and Maui views. Jerry and Audrey Maluo offer one modern guest suite with queen bed, kitchenette, and bath ($165–$185, 2-night minimum), plus an optional queen bedroom with private bath ($110), both with access to the private pool and whirlpool spa and daily breakfast platters (www.makaihale.com; 808/880-1012).
Within a 15-minute drive or less of Hapuna Beach, the cowboy town can be a good alternative to pricey resorts. Attractively remodeled with rustic-chic touches, the 30-unit Kamuela Inn sits in a quiet enclave off the main road, but still within walking distance of Merriman’s and other dining and shopping, at 65-1300 Kawaihae Rd. (www.thekamuelainn.com; 800/555-8968). Room rates ($139–$189) include continental breakfast; some units include kitchenettes and bedding for up to six. The original 1960s wing (rooms $129-$139) was slated for renovations at press time. Close to the center of town, the two-story, two-unit Belle Vue (www.hawaii-bellevue.com; 800/772-5044 or 808/885-7732) vacation rental has a penthouse apartment with high ceilings and views from the mountains to the distant sea, and a downstairs studio ($95–$175 double, $25 per extra person). Although decor is dated, both sleep four and come with breakfast fixings in kitchenettes. Note: Check VRBO.com and Airbnb.com for even more listings, such as the roomy Banana Hale studio ($95), where bananas grow just outside your window; owned by friendly local teachers, it’s off Highway 19, a few miles west of downtown Waimea (www.airbnb.com/rooms/6392442).
The Hamakua Coast
This emerald-green, virtually empty coast is a far drive from resort-worthy beaches and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and so is less frequented by overnight visitors (other than coqui frogs). Those who do choose to spend a night or more, though, will appreciate getting away from it all. Two miles north of Honokaa off Hwy. 240, the Waipio Wayside Inn Bed & Breakfast (www.waipiowayside.com; 800/833-8849 or 808/775-0275) perches on a sunny ocean bluff. A restored former plantation supervisor’s residence, the inn has five antiques-decorated rooms with modern bathrooms ($130–$210 double) and a handsome living/dining room, where owner Jacqueline Horne serves hot organic breakfasts promptly at 8am.
Closer to Hilo, in rustic Honomu, the sprawling, Victorian-inspired Palms Cliff House Inn (www.palmscliffhouse.com; 866/963-6076 or 808/963-6076) serves a full breakfast on its lanai overlooking Pohakumanu Bay. Some of its eight large, quiet suites ($199–$449) have air-conditioning and jetted tubs; all offer king beds and an ocean view.
Although several hotels line scenic Banyan Drive, most fall short of visitors’ expectations, with the exception of the Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo—A Doubletree by Hilton, described below. Be aware you may hear coqui frogs all night wherever windows are open in Hilo.
The owners of the Shipman House, a gracious Victorian mansion on Reed’s Island formerly run as a bed-and-breakfast, now just rent out two rooms ($75) in its 1910 guest cottage on Airbnb. The mirror-image units in the Shipman House Guest Cottage come with queen bed, microwave, mini-fridge, desk, Wi-Fi, and a shared screened porch; the Mauka Room (www.airbnb.com/rooms/19664488) receives more cooling night breezes than the Makai Room (www.airbnb.com/rooms/19682128). The Old Hawaiian Bed & Breakfast (www.thebigislandvacation.com; 877/961-2816 or 808/961-2816) provides easy access to Waianuenue (Rainbow Falls) from a quaint 1930s house with three rooms ($105–$150, with full breakfast); children under 12 not permitted.
On a hilltop 22-acre compound boasting its own waterfall swimming pool, the Inn at Kulaniapia Falls (www.waterfall.net; 808/935-6789) offers a choice of 10 Asian- or Hawaiian-themed rooms ($169–$299, with full breakfast) or the Pagoda Cottage (from $339 for four, with kitchen stocked with breakfast supplies). Kayaks, paddleboards, yoga, and light lunches are also available.
An unusual collection of more than 350 species of palm trees shelter the four luxurious yet off-the-grid Balinese-style bamboo cottages ($160–$220) of Kipuka in Kapoho, all of which sleep two to six, and all have access to a saline pool (http://kipuka.co; 808/339-3027). Yoga and nature lovers should investigate the variety of rustic lodgings ($95–$245) and classes at the bohemian, gay-friendly Kalani Oceanside Retreat on Highway 137 about halfway between Kapoho and Kalapana (www.kalani.com; 800/800-6886; 808/965-7828). For an enchanted setting with its own thermal pond, a short walk to the Waiopae Tidepools, book Lani Mai Honua Hale (“Heaven on Earth”), a well-furnished 3-bedroom, 2-bath home in Kapoho Vacationland (from $195; www.vrbo.com/1054676). Throughout lower Puna, be prepared for humidity and the evening symphony of coqui frogs.
In Volcano Village, the frogs don’t like the misty, cool nights at 3,700 feet; ask about heating when booking rentals in winter. Joey Gutierrez of Hawaii Volcano Vacations (www.hawaiivolcanovacations.com; 800/709-0907 or 808/967-7178) manages choice cottages and houses for $120 to $199 a night. Mahinui Na Lani (www.mahinui.com; 510/965-7367) is a romantic, eco-friendly hideaway; the whimsical two-level treehouse studio offers a kitchenette and cedar hot tub for two, with a ship’s ladder leading to a cozy sleeping loft ($295).
As with the Hamakua Coast, few visitors overnight in this virtually undeveloped area, halfway between Kailua-Kona and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, but there is one lodging that encourages guests to linger. In a tranquil setting above the road to Ka Lae (South Point), luxurious Kalaekilohana (www.kau-hawaii.com; 808/939-8052) has four large guest suites ($369) in a modern plantation-style home. After one night in a plush bed, with a beautifully presented breakfast on the lanai, and true Hawaiian hospitality from hosts Kenny Joyce and Kilohano Domingo, many guests kick themselves for not having booked a second night or more—and multi-night discounts start at $40 off a 2-night stay. Kenny’s delicious dinners ($25–$30 per person) are a nightly option.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.