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“Fantastic Find!”

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The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls
Ranked #1 of 18 Hilo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
San Francisco, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Fantastic Find!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2014

This is the place to stay near Hilo! The scenery is spectacular, as most rooms have views of Kulaniapia Falls. There are trails to the verdant pool below the Falls, which allow inn residents a refreshing dip. The rooms are tastefully decorated in Oriental decor, and the breakfasts were delightful. Wifi access is spotty, however the views are a welcome exchange for an hour missing from the internet. The hosts were extremely gracious, hosting a dinner for stranded residents when Hurricane Iselle hit the island on our last night. This place is a gem!!

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view of the Falls.
See more room tips
Green Features: The bathroom signs noting reuse of towels (if desired) were helpful.
  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank tapbirds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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783 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (213)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2014 via mobile

We stayed in the Harmony Building in the maile room. From the moment we arrived this place amazed me.
Having read some reviews on getting there I was a bit sceptical, thinking we had an off roading experience to contend with I was delighted to find a tarmac road through a macadamia nut farm.
This place has such a laid back approach which is suited to it's location.
It really is beautiful and well worth the stay. Our room was clean. Breakfast was great and our housekeeper was quite possibly the nicest, friendliest and most helpful person I've had the privilege of meeting.
I will definitely return.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank AbiReed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2014 via mobile

The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls is a beautiful location. The location is fairly easy to find and the drive up the hillside offers a view of Hawaii agriculture, lush ravines, and Hilo. Our initial impression was apprehension, since we didn't remember any e-mail telling us what to do upon our arrival. We inquired with the owner (curt, but polite, and businesslike) who told us the key to our room was in the door. We stayed in the Harmony House, Mallory Room, which was very clean, tastefully appointed, and inviting. Our view of the waterfall and valley was unobstructed and beautiful. We toured the grounds, attempted to swim beneath the waterfall, and relaxed to the sound of rushing water (which we listened to all night out our open balcony door). There is a very beautiful lanai on the back of the residence, which I used for wifi access (temporarily unavailable at the Harmony House). The Harmony House and Residence facilities are both equipped with full kitchens, where I brewed the available Speepytime Tea before bed. The nighttime view of the sky and Hilo was great and good for long-exposure photography. Breakfast was very filling, as they offered a decent selection of local fruit, coffee, juice, etc, along with very good waffles and eggs made-to-order (cooked by the extremely pleasant and personable staff). Our experience was pleasant and relaxing.

  • Stayed August 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mrmonroe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Corona, California
Level Contributor
31 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2014

My family stayed in the Pagoda house after viewing the wonderful photos on the website. However after staying at this location we found it to be very different than the photos and the description.

The photos of the Pagoda house looked very nice, and the description of the property states it is a three-story building. In actuality, the top floor of the Pagoda was completely unusable. There is a pull-down ladder from the second story bedroom to reach the top floor but that level was so full of dust that we could not use the room. The accumulation of dust was so great we surmised that it had not been cleaned for several months. The room had a small lamp on the floor in the room but nothing else. My wife noted that the view from this room was the best in the house and the inn keepers would have enhanced our experience greatly if the room was clean and had a simple chair to sit and read.

The website description of the Pagoda house does not detail how many beds are located in the house, although it does say it will sleep “up to 4 adults and 2 children (16 and under)”. So, I relied on the website photos and this description to gauge the number of beds. My 13 year old son is a very tall, and we wanted a full side bed for him, so based on the description and photos the Pagoda house should have been fine. Unfortunately, the photos on the website are deceiving. The second floor has only one bedroom and the website shows this same bedroom decorated and arranged in two separate ways. There is a small chair that folds into a very small futon bed on the second floor that would only fit a dog or a small child up to five years old. We used this chair to hold our bags. The bottom floor had a trundle bed that might have been good for two children, but it was very small for our teenager who could only sleep on the top half of the bed because the trundle was broken. After going back to the website and looking again at the two bedroom photos I discovered the deception. To be clear, the Pagoda house has one king bed, one trundle bed, and one very small futon chair-bed. It will sleep two adults and two children, 10 and under.

The rest of the Pagoda house was dusty, dirty, and poorly built. The dust was pervasive, and so were the cobwebs. I surmised that the house is only cleaned once a week, and certainly not between each guest stay. However, there were other areas that appeared to have not been cleaned in long time. For example, above the second floor bedroom is a recessed lighting area that was full of cobwebs and spiders. Above the bed! The bathroom shower curtain, which was too short and barely reached the top of the tub, was stained and discolored with mildew. The refrigerator doors were lined with mold. In a word: disgusting. We have stayed at other B&Bs on the island and we expected a few bugs, but this is not the quality we were expecting.

The Inn’s website states that “included in your room rate is a full and complete breakfast”. However, upon arrival we were informed by Lara the property manager that our breakfast was already in our refrigerator and that we would be cooking our own breakfast. This was a shock, until we looked in the refrigerator and found a ¾ full mason jar of premade pancake mix, a jelly jar with about three spoon scoops of jelly at the bottom of the jar, half a stick of better (previously used), overripe fruit, and slices of bread that had been repackaged into ziplock bags. And the mold. Our shock quickly turned to disgust. We have stayed at similarly prices B&Bs on this side of the island and we were expecting a cooked meal.

The construction of the Pagoda house was also disappointing and not at all like the photos. The bamboo-wood floor was nice, but unfinished. The floors had no end-caps or molding when transitioning to other rooms and left rough cut edges exposed to bare feet. The sliding doors and screens did not meet flush with the building corners so 2 inch gaps allowed insects to fly freely in the house. The indoor paint was chipping in several places, even above the master bed.

The only redeeming quality of the house was the location. The view of the waterfall is spectacular and the sound of the evening rain, signing frogs, and flowing waterfall provided one of the best nights of sleep we’ve had in a long time. However, for this I cannot praise the owners of the Inn and Kulaniapia. They are just fortunate enough to be situated at a remarkable location, and all praise should go to Papahānaumoku, the mother of creation and Pele who sent the lava to create such wondrous waterfall.

I am perplexed after reading the recent reviews posted here about the Inn at Kulaniapia. I did not find this Bed and Breakfast very praiseworthy at all.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank George B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lennysutton, Owner at The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls, responded to this review, 4 September 2014
Unfortunately…..As hard as we do work here at Kulaniapia to make sure that our guests have everything they need….There are times when a guests expectations are not realized. This is a huge sadness for everyone concerned. Our Staff takes great pride in what it is we offer her at Kulaniapia and when people are not happy….we take it very seriously. You actually have to go back to 2013 before your find another bad review. We generally get very high marks for service and cleanliness. That you found the Pagoda Guest House not up to snuff is a heads up for our staff. We have re doubled our efforts to do a better job at this unit.

Once a visitors experience has not been met, it becomes impossible to turn that around…but in fairness, and to be clear, this is what the Pagoda Guest House is:
A very private one bedroom, one full bath and one half bath single family home that is built on a cliff overlooking our private 120ft waterfall. As you can see from the picture, this is a 3 story house, however the 3rd floor is an 8ft X 8ft attic that is an architectural detail much more than it is a living space and should not be considered a living space. The bedroom and the ½ bath are on the 2nd floor, and the 1st floor has a complete kitchen, full bath, dining, and living area. Contrary to this guest experience with the trundle bed/couch, it works fine and makes into 2 single beds or a double when they are put together. It has worked wonderfully for 17 years for small families traveling together that want their own private space. There are airbeds and linens for smaller children as well. Our Policy at the Pagoda has always been to supply a breakfast for our guests at that unit for them to prepare, this in keeping with the privacy and family nature of that unit. To avoid confusion and disappointment, effective immediately, we will no longer stock the Pagoda with breakfast fixings. People staying at the Pagoda will breakfast at the Residence with our other guests

As you can see from the pictures enclosed, when the pocket doors are closed, there is a metal strip that seals one door to the other. When the sliding screen shoji doors are employed, there is a 1/2'” space between the doors, so theoretically a bug could fly a convoluted pattern and make it into the unit….but that does not really happen. The Shoji Doors and screens are adequate to keep the bug population out, and the pocket doors enable an unobstructed view of Kulaniapia Falls.

We can never make this gentleman’s experience better. We would have not charged him had he let our manger Lara or myself know his disappointment, but that was not to be. What you should know is this. That we….The Owner and the entire Staff at Kulaniapia….take your vacation seriously. It is an honor and a privilege for you to have chosen us as part of your Hawaiian vacation, and if you are unhappy for any reason, let us know while you are here so we have the opportunity to make it right.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HOUSTON
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2014 via mobile

A wonderful, peaceful place to stay, waterfall and birds is all you hear. I would highly recommend it for anyone who is in search for the special place, staff is super friendly, breakfast is excellent and the baboo trail is one of a kind. I would definitely return

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Thomas K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minnesota
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2014

My wife and I stayed in the Pagoda House at The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls, Hilo Hawaii. When you rent the Pagoda House, you renting the entire one bedroom house. Very peaceful, it's your own private retreat. The bedroom is upstairs with an awesome view of the waterfalls right outside the window. The bed is high enough so we could lay in bed and look out the window at the falls. It was great to wake up and have the waterfalls be the first thing you see in the morning.

The Pagoda house has a kitchen, eating area, computer desk, living room area and a bathroom on both levels. There are outdoor chairs so you can sit and enjoy the view. Private parking area. Breakfast is delivered the day before and left in the refrigerator. No air conditioning, but was not an issue (we were there in July).

The grounds have many flowers, a bamboo garden and trails leading down to the base of the falls. We did notice some mosquitos here.

There was a card in the house advertising a local masseuse. We called on very short notice and she (Maya Swinford LMT) was happy to come to the spa building next door to the Pagoda House. My wife and I both had an awesome massage (first timers) and would definitely do that again.

Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank WFP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PHILL
Level Contributor
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2014

This Inn was awesome. We stayed in the Hibiscus Rome 4 nights. We had a queen bed, bathroom and a screened in porch. It overlooked the 120 ft waterfall. It was beautiful. There is no air conditioner but a ceiling fan and the screen porch let you hear the fall all night. It was GREAT! It had coffee available at 7:00 and breakfast from 8-9. You had a person who would fix you things for breakfast like Macadenia Nut waffles-great, any type of eggs, fruit, Passion juice, bread, bagels etc. It was nice to meet other people staying there expecially during breakfast. I think any one going to the Big Island should stay at this place. To get there, have the Inn on their website give you directions. We came in at 9:00 at night and had no trouble getting there.It is 4 miles away from downtown Hilo. Not any city noise. The owner came every day and talked to us. All the people working there are GREAT. LOVED THE PLACE!!!!!

Room Tip: The Harmony House there was perfect!!!
See more room tips
Green Features: Electricity from the waterfall Great food Nice helpful people things to do like bamboo trees to see one a walk, the waterfall, the small falls also.
  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank susieQ14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls

Property: The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls
Address: 100 Kulaniapia Dr, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-2361
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Hilo
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Hilo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls sits among 22 lush, natural acres, surrounding Hawaii’s largest privately accessible waterfall. The Kulaniapia experience is like no other, just 15 minutes from town, but completely away. Whether you come for relaxation, adventure or both, nothing quite prepares you for how much you find of each. Those seeking adventure are invited to sign up with the Kulaniapia Adventures team for a guided, 120 foot rappel down our namesake waterfall. Accommodations are provided in several asian inspired buildings providing accommodations ranging from standard/waterfall view rooms and family suites, to fully detached cottages and a Pagoda Guest House with a full kitchen. Enjoy a wholesome, locally sourced breakfast and the big island’s best coffee, all while enjoying the view of our namesake falls each morning. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Inn At Kulaniapia Falls Hotel Hilo
The Inn At Kulaniapia Falls Hilo, Hawaii

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