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“Unfriendly Front Desk”
Review of Volcano House

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Volcano House
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Reviewed 29 April 2014

We visited the Big Island only for 1 night on our 2 week trip to Oahu and Maui. The main purpose was to see the crater and visit the National Park.
We arrived at 9 am at the Hilo Airport and fortunately the lady at the Information Desk at the Airport was extremely helpful. She suggested we visit the black sand beach to see the turtles and since we have two boys 14 and 11 and they would like to see the turtles up close lazing on the beach and advised us to pick some food along the way since there isnt any food on the way.

On the way back from the black sand beach we reached our hotel at around 1 pm and the front desk lady gave us our room keys. The room was very basic for over $300 a night. But thats ok since we were paying for the location or so we thought!!

After putting our bags in the room we went back down to ask a few questions but she said we should inquire at the Visitor Center of the Park!!!! Never had such unfriendly front desk /concierge...
staff interaction before.

We were very disappointed that the front desk person didnt provide sufficient information about the Jagger Museum, the surrounding hot steam vents and the many things we could have done in the evening. It seems like they are not knowledgeable and unwilling to provide information. We landed up going back to the room and checking things online so we could see all teh sights the next morning.

After exploring around the park and following a few hiking trails... we came back to the hotel...since there is no other place to eat around there we decided to try the bar/cafe at the restaurant.

there was only 1 lady server with an assistant who was helping with the seating. the place was packed.. and we waited over an hour to get our food...which would be ok..if they served in the order they were supposed to!!!!!

I think they need to better manage their staff at busy times, since breakfast next morning there were 4 tables occupied and 6 staff on hand!!!

the breakfast was also overpriced and just about ok! but since there is no other place to eat around there you are pretty much stuck.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank rans_travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David M, General Manager at Volcano House, responded to this reviewResponded 7 May 2014

Aloha MovnOut,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your recent stay with us here at Volcano House, located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I'm glad to hear that you appreciated our world class views.

I'm sorry to hear that you had a poor experience with our front desk staff. Part of the delay in my response to this posting was that I was taking the time to discuss with each front desk employee the proper ways to provide Park information to guests.

We created a lending library that now contains trail guides and natural history guides about the Park. We've also provided the front desk with 2 different hand out maps to explain the highlights that the Park has to offer.

Also, we offer a complimentary, guide-led tour every evening that for hotel guests only. This leaves the lodge each evening at 5:30 and returns at 7:00. If you're here multiple nights, no worries because the tour rotates through several different guides and program materials.

While the National Park Service's visitor center is still an excellent choice, we will now supplement there material and offer suggestions for our in-house guests - thank you for calling this to my attention!

I'm assuming that you had dinner in Uncle George's lounge. When I first arrived here 3 months ago, this was guide a hectic paced place. We've made changes to the lounge including hiring a full-time manager and bringing on additional staff. This has helped things along significantly, but we still have room for improvement and will continue to strive to make things better.

We take reservations for the dining experience in the Rim Restaurant, this is often the choice made by our in house guests.

Thank you again for the feedback and I hope you will be in touch.

Mahalo,

David MacIlwraith
General Manager
Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Company
dmacilwraith@hawaiivolcanohouse.com
808.756.9625

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Reviewed 26 April 2014

As a regular visitor, the Cabins are my get away from the hot Kona side of the Big Island. If you prefer large camp fires and outdoor cooking over the B&B experience, this is your ticket. The Hotel linens are also appreciated. The cabins, grounds and shared bathrooms are always well maintained. Thank you Jose, for not only being a diligent staff member, but also a great Hawaiian ambassador.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Ken S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David M, General Manager at Volcano House, responded to this reviewResponded 28 April 2014

Aloha ChefKen2014!

Thank you for taking the time to share your excitement about the Nāmakanipaio Campground and the cabins there. We appreciate Jose's attention to detail and excellent guest service skills as much as you do! I will share your feedback with him - he will be thrilled to hear it.

Thank you again and please stop in and see me next time your visit the Park.

Mahalo,

David MacIlwraith
General Manager
Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Comapny
dmacilwraith@hawaiivolcanohouse.com
808.756.9625

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Reviewed 21 April 2014

We made our reservation on line and paid about $100.00 extra per night over the standard room rate for a "Room with a View". We were in room 28 in the Annex Building and the view was not good at all. There were bushes outside our room that completely blocked the view of the glowing caldera. You could see about half of the crater looking in the other direction but we had to go to the dining room or observatory to actually get a view of the smoking and glowing caldera. I believe that the other rooms had a better view than we did and a second floor room would definitely be better than on the first floor. Since we only stayed one night, it didn't make sense to try to change rooms but we did bring it to the attention of the Hotel on our review with them (haven't heard anything back from them so not sure if they even care). Since the Hotel is inside the National Park you do have to pay the admission to Volcano National Park, which is $10.00 but it is good for up to 10 days if you are in the hotel. Also if you are over 62 you can get a lifetime pass to all US National Parks for $20.00 ($10.00 for the pass & $10.00 processing fee) but only certain National Parks accept an application on site. It is easier to apply by mail and it takes about 2 months for processing (www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm).

Although the hotel was closed for sometime for renovations, the rooms haven't been updated much. Our room was the size of a typical hotel room although the bathroom was very small with very little counter space and a tiny shower stall. There was a small heater in the room but it was enough to keep the room comfortable (we were there in early April and it was cool at night). There is wi-fi in the room but no television (not that you will have time to watch TV). The hotel is across from the Visitor Center and about a mile from the Jagger Museum. There are a few hiking trail heads very close to the Hotel entrance if you are into hiking.

There is a very good restaurant in the hotel as well as a lounge. The views from the dining room were as good as those from the Jagger Museum and a lot less crowded, especially at night. The menu selection was varied to suit most tastes and the food was very good, both at lunch and dinner. You should make a reservation for dinner and request a table by the window (they can't guarantee window seating but will try to accommodate your request). During dinner they did announce and then turned off the dining room lights to give a better view of the glowing caldera. The dining room staff were very friendly and knowledgable. Service was efficient but not rushed. Prices were a little higher but you are a captive audience in a great location within the National Park. Overall this is a very nice place to stay if you will be in the National Park for more than a day. Just be careful if you pay more for a room with a view as you may not get what you think you paid for.

Room Tip: Do not accept Room 28 as a room with a view if you have to pay extra for it.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Ron26067
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2014

We had a crater view room, but crater view was blocked by a tree. It is a very old hotel with just the basic amenities. Stay at the regular rooms or reserve a B&B in Volcano village, which is just a few miles from the park.

There is a pricey restaurant, make reservation if you stay for dinner. There is also bar/snacks place on the property.

Drive to Jaggar museum (which is very short drive from the hotel) at night to see the lava glow coming out of the crater. Plenty of hikes and things to do during daytime.

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Thank sdasan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 April 2014

We suprised our children by staying at this resort shortly after it had reopened. If you are wanting to maximize your vist to Volcano National Park this is the place to stay. The room was great and you can't beat the view of a glowing volcano out your window.

Everyone was very helpful. The breakfast buffet and both the food in the bar were great.

The only downside was that there wasn't a tv in the room. This wouldn't be a problem except for one of the evenings it was pouring rain so we couldn't be outside. Keeping two kids occupied was a little challenging. They might want to have a came room or a library where you could check out games.

Room Tip: Make sure you get a volcano view room!
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Hula1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David M, General Manager at Volcano House, responded to this reviewResponded 16 April 2014

Aloha Hula1966,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your recent stay at Volcano House located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I'm glad to here that you enjoyed your room and the food & service in our restaurant.

We have purposely kept televisions out of our rooms to encourage guests to enjoy all the beauty of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Since your stay last August, we now offer many TV alternatives, including: free use of iPads and Wi-Fi, daily guided walking tours of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, free bike rentals, live entertainment in Uncle George's Lounge on Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday evenings, board and card games, and a lending library with guide books, cultural history and Hawaii-themed children's bedtime stories. If you do need to catch the big game, television is available in Uncle George's Lounge.

I hope you'll make it back our way again and enjoy all that we now offer!

Please contact me with any questions or concerns.

Mahalo,

David MacIlwraith
General Manager
Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Company
dmacilwraith@hawaiivolcanohouse.com
808.756.9625

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Reviewed 12 April 2014

My husband and I have visited the Big Island twelve times since 1990. One of our "musts" on each trip has always been a day at the Volcanoes National Park. Until two years ago, we had always stayed on the Kona side of the island, making for a very long drive and limited time in the park if we wanted to get back to the hotel before dark. Two years ago we got smart and, although we still spent the majority of our time on the other side of the island, spent two nights in Hilo, which is about 45 minutes from the park. This year we decided to go all the way and spend two nights at the Volcano House. I had read numerous reviews about the hotel, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. We stayed in a "Deluxe Volcano Crater View" room (#35 on the second floor). The room was relatively spacious. I was able to get a glimpse of one of the other rooms, and from what I could see, it was quite a bit smaller than ours. I think the size of the room was what put it in the "deluxe" category, because I think the view of the crater was better in some of the other smaller rooms. But it was okay, since we didn't spend too much time in the room. However, the bathroom was tiny and really designed for only one person. The shower was one of the worst showers I've ever experienced. You could get more water pressure standing out in the rain than you could from that showerhead! But...as I had expected, staying there was all about location, location, location--which was awesome. There were two restaurants--The Rim, which was quite elegant and pricey; and Uncle George's Lounge, which was a bit more reasonable. There was a very reasonably-priced breakfast buffet in The Rim. We ate one dinner at The Rim, one at Uncle George's, and had the breakfast buffet both mornings. I have to say that the food was very, very good. Both my husband and I agreed, though, that The Rim didn't "fit" with the rest of the place. The hotel really is, when you come down to it, more of a "lodge" than a hotel. The elegance of the restaurant seemed out of place, especially since almost all of the people dining there were wearing hiking clothes! Another thing--the hotel was cold! We had a little electric baseboard heating unit on one of the walls in the bedroom, but everywhere else was (or seemed to be) cold. Even at night, when it got down into the low 60's (or maybe even cooler), all the doors in the lobby were open! One thing I had read was that the hotel is very noisy. And indeed it was. We could hear people tromping up and down the halls (especially children, of whom there were a lot), and one morning I could actually hear what was going on in the bathroom in the room next to ours. (I'm sure they could hear us as well...) One last minor complaint--the there didn't seem to be enough parking for the hotel guests. One night after dinner my husband and I drove to a lookout point to see the crater up close. We were gone for less than an hour. When we got back, the parking lot was completely full. I ran into the lobby and asked the person at the desk where we should park. We had to park across the road, in the Visitor Center parking lot. It wasn't that big of a deal for us, but we saw a family in that parking lot unloading luggage from their car. My guess is that they were checking and had to cart everything across the road because there was no where else to park. It was quite cool and misting, and I felt badly for them. On a more positive note, the staff was mostly pleasant and efficient (especially in the restaurants). And, I have to say that the gift shop was one of the best hotel gift shops I've ever been in. Not only did they have many logo souvenirs, they also had a lot of very unique art objects--things I've never seen anywhere else; and believe me, I've been in many, many gift shops in Hawaii over the years. All in all, I'm glad we stayed there. We had never been in the park after dark, and seeing the caldera glowing at night was an unforgettable experience. That image will stay with me forever. Now that we've done it, however, I doubt we'll stay there again; we'll probably stay in Hilo for two nights next time.

Room Tip: Our room was on the second floor, at the very end of the addition (Room #35). I think a room closer...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank CDWfromNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David M, General Manager at Volcano House, responded to this reviewResponded 16 April 2014

Aloha CDWfromNY,

Thank you for providing feedback on your recent visit to Volcano House located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I'm glad to hear that you think our gift shops are some of the best you've ever seen. We take great care to stock wares from local artists and really showcase them front and center. I'm also pleased that you enjoyed our friendly staff, the food in our restaurants and our world-class view!

I'm having our maintenance department look into the shower flow issue you mentioned. We'll replace any shower head that isn't flowing properly.

We are a historic lodge located in a National Park and have to balance the historic fabric of the building with meeting our guests needs and expectations. The smaller size bathrooms and the hallway noise is something that we are addressing. We've added spa sound machines to all the rooms and we are putting together sleep amenity packets that will contain aromatherapy, sleep masks and ear plugs - and don't forget our turndown service with cookies from Big Island Delights! We've increased the usable space in the bathrooms by adding additional robe hooks and towel racks and we will be adding additional shelving for amenity storage.

Thank you again for the feedback!

Mahalo,

David MacIlwraith
General Manager
Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Company
dmacilwraith@hawaiivolcanohouse.com
808.756.9625

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Reviewed 8 April 2014

Arrived at midday and was curtly told that check-in wasn't allowed until 3pm. Asked if we could store our bags, and was told we could leave them next to the desk. No thanks. Denied all knowledge of our dinner reservation. Luckily we had the email confirmation.

Room was very basic, with paper thin walls and roof. Shorted out one of the lamps by trying to plug our iPad
charger into the wall socket.

Staff in the restaurant were friendly but the meal was rushed. Mains served while we were still eating appetisers.

Okay for 1 night, but a bit like a school camp.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Christie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David M, General Manager at Volcano House, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2014

Aloha Christy W,

Thanks for offering feedback on your recent stay at Volcano House, located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I'm sorry we let you down by not having a room ready prior to our 3:00 pm check-in time and for not offering a more secure location for your bags.

Our policy is to check guests into their room if it is available and clean, even if this is before our published 3:00 pm check-in time. With a 12:00 pm check-out time, we often don't have many room available until 1:00 pm. Upon reviewing the notes from your reservation, I see that you first arrived at 10:30 am. Unfortunately the guests that were staying in your room the evening before didn't check-out until nearly noon, and we weren't able to service the room until 1:00 pm. I've talked to the front desk supervisor about this and we are going to retrain our front desk staff to make certain we clearly communicate that we will do our best to have rooms ready early, if possible.

We currently store guest luggage adjacent to our front desk area in a small alcove. I didn't realize that this may not seem like a very secure area. Based on your observation, we've changed our policy to now secure luggage in a locked office a few step from the front desk - thank you for the great suggestion!

As for your lost dinner reservation, it appears that we did have you reservation, but there wasn't an attached time. You communicated your reservation desire in the notes section of the your online reservation. We should have taken the time to call you to confirm the time that you wished to dine with us. I apologize for this over site. Based on this experience, we will now be reviewing all in-house guest dinner reservations 3 days prior to arrival. We will follow up with a phone call to any one that hasn't yet made a reservation or if we have any questions about specific times or requirements. Thank you for another great observation!

I'm also sorry that your appetizer and entrees came out too close together - I agree, this makes your dinner feel rushed, which is never our intention. We allow a full 2 hours between seatings to give diners ample opportunity to enjoy our locally sourced dishes and our iconic crater view. I've spoken to our Restaurant Manager and he is doing a pre-shift training tonight with all of our servers to make certain they are to allow enough time between courses for our guest to take in their dining experience.

My apologies again for letting you down, but also much thanks for letting me know about areas we need to improve upon. Without your feedback, we wouldn't have know to make these changes.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns.

Mahalo,

David MacIlwraith
General Manager
Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Company
dmacilwraith@hawaiivolcanohouse.com
808.756.9625

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Additional Information about Volcano House

Address: Crater Rim Dr, PO Box 53, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI 96718
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Price Range: £237 - £325 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Volcano House 2.5*
Number of rooms: 43
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Volcano House is the only hotel located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and is perched on the rim of Kilauea's Halemaumau crater. The historic Volcano House Hotel has long captured the imagination of visitors from all over the world with its iconic location, rich cultural legacy, and warm Hawaiian hospitality. Drawing upon a storied history dating back to 1846, Volcano House Hotel is now re-imagined for a new era with updated rooms, a restaurant and lounge serving Pacific Rim fare, and retail shops. Come experience the best Hawaii Island has to offer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Volcano House Hotel Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Volcano Hotel
Volcano House Hawaii/Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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