We found the place to be basically basic. Neat, clean and tidy. I use the term basic because if comparing it to some of the Basic hotels brands like Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn, even comparing on B & B scale it has below that in terms of service and décor.
There is no front desk and no one to great you when you arrive regardless of time. We were given a pass code to access the building and our room with our reservation confirmation. All the rooms are up a set of stairs. The inn only consists of 6 rooms. We stayed in room 5.
The building doesn’t have central air. When we entered out room it was stifling hot. There was a portable A/C unit which we turned on. The unit it took hours for the room to cool off. The air filter on the unit was BLACK and clogged. After cleaning it off, the unit worked much better. I have similar portable A/C units at my home so I knew how they operated.
Room 5 consists of 2 double beds, bathroom, with a small kitchenette (microwave, fridge, coffee maker for which the supplies were not restocked from previous occupants use) and a connecting door to the adjoining room. We didn't hear or see any other guests during our stay, so either the noise insulation between rooms is really good or we were the only guests. Room 5 overlooks the main street with a view of the park. We didn't notice any noise coming from the street at night.
There was a big velvet living room chair in the center of the room which had seen better days as well as a small table and chairs. The curtains were threadbare and ripped, like a cat had used them for a scratching post. One roll down shade had a tear in the bottom. Bedding was comfortable and clean. The bathroom was a nice size but lacked any shelf or hooks to put toiletries on, especially near the sink. The room was clean and if cared for would better would have scored higher in my rating. But if the owners can’t even replace the curtains or clean the air filter it makes me wonder if they care about their guests or is this just a money maker for them.
Street parking is the only parking. Read the signs. We easily found a spot out in front upon our return from Mona Kea at 10 pm, so overnight parking isn’t an issue. Daytime parking is scarcer.
The what really disturbed us about this place was the lack of customer service. We had arrived in Hilo from the mainland at 8 am and were exhausted. We had tried weeks prior to our arrival to see if we might be able to check in early or if not, to book the room for the previous night so we would have a place to crash when we arrived. Even later that afternoon we called the contact number and despite asking that someone return our call we got no response. No one checked that we had been able to access the room. Wi-Fi was basic and worked. The café inside the door was ok, with very, very limited menu. They only have seating for about 8 people, and they had no information as to the accommodations’ but did advise not to park in the lot behind the building. I would suggest going a few blocks over to for more selection on food establishments.
Location is what place has going for it. It backs right up onto the Hilo Farmers market. The surrounding neighborhood has some interesting shops and places to eat. It isn't crazy noisy or super busy. There is a park across the street. You can walk, easily to the main area of commerce and find some nice places to eat, we had luch a a nice place I cannot recall the name now. Nearby is the Pacific Tsunami Museum and the Lyman Museum – recommend a visit to both.
We use the Inn as a base for the attractions in the Hilo area. Rainbow Falls is about 20 minutes away. Mona Kea is about an hour drive. Painted Church & Volcano National Park is less than an hour away. Hilo is a calm, somewhat charming town that isn’t at all too touristy as compared to Kailua-Kona area.
People were really friendly, “Aloha” spirit and were happy to make recommendations and give directions. Café 100 and Kens House of Pancakes were recommendations. We only had time for Kens House of Pancakes which was a great deal with friendly fast service.
There is a Shopping Center (Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Hilo Hattie’s as well as the Fast food chains) on Hwy 11 with all the major retailers so you can get anything you might need. Turn left out of the airport road instead of right.
I would stay here again, knowing what to expect. BASIC, no frills, no amenities, no service and with the exception of the A/C unit filter it was clean and tidy.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in historic downtown Hilo adjacent to the Farmer's Market and Wailoa State Park. Vintage building with upgraded interior, spacious rooms. Air conditioning, kitchenette available. Flat screen TV, internet, coffee maker. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Pakalana Inn Hilo, Hawaii