My husband and I came to the island last month to celebrate my 40th birthday and Lai Nani turned out to be the perfect choice. I fell in love with the place just looking at it on their website, but in real life it was much more than I expected. First of all, the place itself is absolutely stunning, with a panoramic ocean view, beautiful garden, lawns, gazebo (with a fan!), a pool with a little waterfall, etc. If I believed in paradise, this is how it would look.
Our pool side bungalow was very clean and comfortable, with a giant bed and soft pillows. Had a surprisingly good sleep there - I rarely sleep well on our trips because I almost never feel as relaxed as I did at Lai Nani.
Every morning I would wake up with birds, make myself coffee and came out to the gazebo to watch the sun rise and the whales. Every night we would spend at least an hour star gazing, the sky is so beautiful there. And during the days… There are lots of things to do during the days. Stay in and watch the wales, have cocktails in the gazebo, dip in the pool or soak in the adjacent hot tub. Or drive around and have fun. My husband and I are not into beach activities, but there are plenty of other things to do on the east side of Hawaii Island. Lai Nani is located about 15 minutes north of Hilo and almost next door to spectacular Akaka falls, Botanical Gardens, zip lining, horseback riding and other entertainment. If you drive through Hilo to the south, you’ll find black sand beaches and the volcano park. Or drive all the way down south and hike to the green sand beach or just take a look at the beautiful bright blue water of the southernmost point of the US.
The greatest part of what we liked about our stay at Lai Nani were the people and, most of all, the owner of the place, Garry. When we arrived he welcomed us with his open arms and guided us around the place and the bungalow while talking about the island activities. We had dinner reservations for my birthday, but then we were invited by Garry to share dinner with him and his friends and other guests. Garry made a fabulous prime rib with all the works and we enjoyed the company and wine on the terrace. I was surprised when the hosts took out the cake with candles to celebrate my birthday, which was completely unexpected, but so-so touching and wonderful. “You come as a guest and leave as friend,” Garry says and you believe that he really means it.
The last but not least, Garry talked us into a zip lining with the Umauma Experience and a helicopter trip with Paradise Helicopters (and I am afraid of heights. At least I thought so). Both places were fantastic and highly professional and gave us great discounts after we mentioned Garry’s name and Lai Nani.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Lai Nani is an oceanfront estate on the Hamakua coast of the Big Island of Hawai'i. We offer a quiet, remote, botanical setting 20 minutes from Hilo. This is a private residence which offers 3 separate bungalow style villas with stunning ocean views. We create an environment for the traveler who wishes to experience Aloha without the tourist resort hype. This is quintessential hawaiian living. ... more less
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