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“A wonderful place to stay”

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At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast
Ranked #13 of 18 Hilo B&B and Inns
Kilauea, Hawaii
1 review
“A wonderful place to stay”
Reviewed 23 February 2008

I travel quite a bit in the islands for business. I go to Hilo at least 6 or 7 times a year. Over the past couple of years, I have sampled the various choices in Hilo, including the few hotels, and a couple of the B&B's. After a number of not so pleasant experiences, I happened upon Claudia's B&B. And it was a big relief to find something in Hilo that was pleasant, comfortable, affordable, charming, peaceful, and.... Well, I can't help myself, it is a great place to stay. I'm a business traveler, so I don't usually have time to use the readily available beach gear, towels, travel books, and other conveniences at your fingertips in the house. But I will when I come back to just take a break.
Free high speed WiFi, even a computer and printer if you need it, comfortable beds, luxurious sheets and pillows, as well as interesting Hawaiian memorabilia on the walls of the rooms and the hallways. This is just my kind of place. Dare I say it feels comfortable, like home? Yes, it does.
Unlike hotels, where I worry about my luggage and personal items being at risk, I have never had to worry at all here. You can lock your room, but there is no reason to, as nobody wanders in, as the property is private and off the beaten path. This means a lot to me. And if there are others staying here, you meet them at breakfast, and it is always interesting to meet people from other places, other countries, and travelers who happened upon Claudia's home away from home.
And the price is the same or less than any of the hotels (which are dreadful) and the few other B&B's in the area. Claudia and Scott (the owners) bend over backwards to make your stay as comfortable and pleasant as possible. They have always been totally honest with billing, and happy to accommodate if your schedule changes.

I have not found anything to dislike about this B&B. I actually look forward to my visits. And that is saying something for a frequent business traveler, yes?

  • Liked — Quiet, secure
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Kauaivisitor56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
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  • German first
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  • Any
English first
Bellvue, Colorado
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 18 February 2008

We arrived in the midst of a "100 year" rain storm and truly took refuge for a brief stay. The house and grounds were absolutely lovely and the host made an extra effort to find restaurants and entertainment for us. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Stayed February 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank WillBellvue_Colorado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lynnwood, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
114 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 February 2008

My wife and I stayed at this great B&B for 4 days early February. This was the second half of our stay on the Big Island, having spent the first half in Kona at a B&B there.

We found our B&B experience here to be much better than what we encountered on the first half of our trip.

We were greeted by Claudia at the door the evening of our arrival. She gave a thorough tour of the house and made sure that we knew where everything was located.

Our room was nicely apportioned, having a king sized bed with a private bath. We had a TV/VCR/DVD in our room as well as a mini fridge. Additionally, we had a phone, an alarm clock, and a radio, aside from standard room fare - a small dresser, nightstand, desk, and chair. The floors were tile throughout the bedroom and the bathroom. The bathroom had soap, shampoo, cups, and a nightlight. The towels were changed daily (a plus for us as our previous B&B didn't change our towels at all).

Other accoutrements were available as well, including beach towels, sunscreen, insect repellent, coolers, snorkel gear, and boogie boards. The house was filled with books of the Big Island for anyone to peruse. There was also a computer "nook" at the end of the hall with a desktop for guests to use if you weren't using the Wi-Fi.

The grounds were magnificent. It was like pulling into a tropical forest. The view from the room was of the Anchialine pond with Koi and Mullet and the fantastic foliage. At night, the frogs came to life. We found this to be soothing. However, for those guests who found them to be otherwise, they provided earplugs.

We were able to see the ocean from our room, as well as from the breakfast area. As a "mainlander" not accustomed to coconut trees, it was amusing to see the warning on the coconut trees in the yard to watch for falling coconuts.

Just across the street from the front of the property is a park with ocean access. I could have literally thrown a rock from the front yard into the ocean. There were multiple parks along the waterfront within walking distance (of just a few minutes). Just across the street I saw 4 sea turtles (3 at one area and 1 in another) and also a breaching whale. It was magnificent.

Breakfast started around 8:15 each morning (although it didn't seem to be a necessity to be there at 8:15) and consisted of fresh fruit, the most wonderful granola, yogurt, fresh muffins, a warm dish, juice, and coffee.

Claudia and Scott were both very friendly and helpful. They have a book of restaurant menus to look over and are good for their own reviews. I would definitely stay there again if I'm fortunate enough to return and I would also highly recommend it to others.

  • Liked — Location, cleanliness
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Mr_RN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2008

This B&B has questionable business practices. I don't ever plan to stay here.

I canceled my reservation and followed the B&B's cancellation policy in their contract. According to the contract I had a year to use my B&B credit because I had cancelled at the last minute. When I tried to use the credit the B&B wouldn't return my phone calls and claimed they don't understand voice messages left on their answering machine.

I have phone records of the phone calls I made to them.

They said they can't understand phone messages left on their answering machine - Claudia, from the B&B said "Even if you called me on my home phone...I cannot always understand the messages... if they speak too fast. I always try to call back the numbers on my caller ID anyway. If there was a mistake made there is nothing I can do about that now." Funny thing -- Claudia didn't have a problem understanding the voice message I initially left to book a reservation. She only had a problem understanding the phone message asking to honor my credit.

After not hearing from the B&B for 6 weeks I contacted my credit card company, explained the situation and they credited me back for the amount that this B&B wouldn't honor. Claudia tried to 'make up' only after my credit card company refunded me. Then Claudia began sending me email after email (6-8 emails) even after I told her the situation is closed and I won't be staying at her B&B. She wouldn't stop badgering me, she replied by email saying "It is up to the credit card company and not you. C." Well, in the end I got my money back and this situation is closed. phew.

There are a LOT of B&Bs and hotels in Hilo that are honorable and do not play games with your money, the phone or answering machine. Based on my experience, I do not recommend this B&B.

NOTE: Regarding the date stayed at this hotel and how I booked my stay - I did not stay at this B&B - the date of "Feb 2008" was provided only because a date was required to submit this review. But I attempted to use my credit to stay at this B&B for Feb 2008, which did not happen. I initially booked my room from the owner's website but in the end I did not stay at this B&B for the reasons stated above.

  • Liked — n/a- don't stay there due to questionable business practices
  • Disliked — changed my mind - don't want to stay there due to questionable business practices
  • Stayed February 2008
    • Value
Helpful?
9 Thank bennytillie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
An_Innkeeper_in_Hilo, owner at At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast, responded to this review, 15 February 2008
I disagree. After a review of the dispute, the credit card company upheld our credit policy and reversed the unearned credit Feb. 7, ending this dispute in our favor. We are a small operation and every guest acknowledges our policies in writing before they are extended a reservation. The intent of the policy is to provide a reasonable amount of relief under terms we can afford to give. Anyone who has legitimate reason to cancel their reservation at the last minute will most likely have to rebook their entire vacation, therefore they will be coming back. We would like to keep their business so we extend an "in house" credit (rather then total forfeiture of the deposit) as an incentive to come back. Any re-booking can be made anytime using our standard on-line booking form at a guest's discretion.

Policy: If you cancel your reservation after the cancellation deadline you will not receive a refund. You will be allowed to apply the deposit towards another stay booked within a year. Re-booking to be made on-line according to availability calendar. This is a non-transferable "in house" credit and can it be applied one time within one year of the original booking date.

The email this person sent us had the wrong email address on it. It was close but not accurate enough for us to have received it. I accept her explanation at face value that she left a message on my AT&T voice mail. I probably didn't understand it. I wrote and extended the deadline for another six months to offset any mishaps or misunderstandings and explained on-line booking is available and to use it in the future.

The credit card company will first reverse disputed charges and then hold a review. In this case the credit card company upheld our policies and reversed the unearned credit. This incident will not impact our policies, which we believe are generous and mutually beneficial. We have a beautiful, unique property in a fantastic location and like taking good care of our guests. Persons contemplating taking unfair advantage of our reservation policies are forewarned they should plan to stay else where. Our B&B is not a high end boutique hotel catering to eccentric personalities, but a reasonably priced personal and friendly way to travel. It's a little like going to camp in that everyone gets to know each other and teams up to have a good time. Life is about making the best of every situation. People who understand this will ignore this complaint.

Owner


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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nor Cal
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2008

It’s a little like staying “at the beach with friends” as in the name. But while on vacation, I’d rather stay with a host. Friends may or may not make my bed, change towels or do a load of laundry they promised. If they do any of these, it’s at their convenience, not yours and not on a schedule.

But friends don’t have so many rules.

There was alarm in her voice when I spoke to her on the phone the first time because we were going to be late (seven, not six PM)
Don’t be late, but don’t be fifteen minutes early, either, I saw a couple asked to sit outside while she got their room ready… that room having had no guests for days and it was mid afternoon.
It’s only good manners to remove shoes at the door, but don’t take them back to your room.
Don’t knock on the breakfast room door to ask about coffee, knock on the one ten feet away leading to the same area.
Don’t bring the coffee and muffin back to your room to enjoy while reading the paper in your robe.
Get dressed and go sit in the dining room by yourself.
Don’t rehang the towels. Toss them onto the floor, so she’ll know to replace them. (But if you return late in the afternoon, ready for a shower, you might have that same moist lump for towels)
Be ready for a really long explanation of any rule if you question or inadvertently break it or if something promised is not done.
Don’t let any of this change your mind about the length of your stay. Even with four days’ notice, there’ll be no refund, just a credit for the next time you “pop over to the islands” and are dieing to return to this B&B.
But, if you make an observation that upsets her, be prepared to be told to leave without notice, without reservations anywhere else and without a refund for all the missed days.
Our reservations were for nine (9) days. We stayed seven (7.)
It was a fiasco.
It is an amazingly beautiful place that is, in the end, not very friendly.

Stayed January 2008
Helpful?
8 Thank clynnd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
An_Innkeeper_in_Hilo, owners at At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast, responded to this review, 21 February 2008
We run a friendly three bedroom, moderately priced, bed and breakfast in a portion of our large custom designed home on a unique property on Hilo Bay. We give equal consideration to all our guests and do not allow one guest to demand the lion's share of our attention or disrupt our general routines and other guests. Most people thrive on the personal service we do provide, relax, enjoy themselves, and fit in easily.

We have a coffee pot set up ready to go in the common room and encourage any guest who rises early to help themselves by pushing the start button. All of our guests tend to take their coffee to their room. We also provide small refrigerators in each room. We don't object to beverages in the rooms. We do ask guests to eat in the common room to avoid attracting ants and other critters in the bedrooms. People break the rules and eat light snacks and we won't say anything unless it turns into a definite problem. There are three glass tables in a well equipped common room which can be used for take out meals and we are always glad to provide table wear and clean up in return for keeping the mess confined to the common room. As for breakfast we set the tables and provide a buffet. We generally do not provide trays for guests to eat breakfast in their rooms although if someone is sick we will fix them a special tray. This was a conscious business decision.

We do the best we can to get beds fluffed, towels changed, and trash taken out daily. Sometimes for various reasons and demands we do not service the rooms and change the towels until the afternoon. We keep towels and trash bags in plain sight so people can help themselves in between. We generally don't provide laundry facilities or services.

We have two doors leading into the private portion of our home. They are marked "private" and one of them is preferred as it has a doorbell. We have a sign at the main outside door thanking people for removing their shoes when entering the house (a Hawaiian tradition)and provide a bench and place to leave them (but it not required). We make exceptions for older people or those with flat (no ridges) clean shoes, and explain the sign is there to make people think about what's on their shoes when entering.

This is not a high end boutique hotel with a full staff that caters to eccentric, mercurial, or demanding personalities. So if you are a high maintenance type, keep shopping.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gilroy, CA
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 February 2008

Aft'er reading disappointing reviews for hotels on the Hilo side of the Big Island, I began to look at B & B's. My husband would be working so I would be alone part of the time and needed to feel safe and comfortable. At The Beach with Friends is just the place. The grounds are green and spectacular. We had the Bamboo room which had the most beautiful view and entrance.
Claudia does everything she can to make you comfortable from giving you space to amazing conversations. She is a very intelligent women with lots of interests to share. The frogs and birds add a truely wonderful touch. They provide earplugs but why miss out on the fun! We will definetly return someday!

  • Liked — Relaxing atmosphere and beauty of surroundings
  • Disliked — Nothing, well maybe mosquitos but not their fault!
  • Stayed January 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank mickip13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, Calif.
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 January 2008

We arrived on a Sunday at 5:30pm and were looking forward to relaxing in our quiet room. Our B&B host Claudia looked surprised to see us and bit confused as to what day it was. It's not like we arrived to early. She said our room was not ready for us to use and asked if we could come back in two hours. I thought she was joking! No Joke. We left and came back at 7:30pm, and the room was ready. She never offered any compensation so my husband asked for $50.00 off our first night stay. After that all friendliness stopped. We felt so unwelcome and uncomfortable in her home. At night the intense noise of the frogs and the occasional airplanes landing was hard to ignore. From then on we wore the ear plug that were by our night stand. I have never written a bad review on any of the places we stayed until now. There is no friend at the beach here.

  • Disliked — Host
  • Stayed January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank gen52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
An_Innkeeper_in_Hilo, owner at At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast, responded to this review, 14 February 2008
Mistakes happen, and we try to make the best of it. This guest booked on-line then changed the date of their arrival by email and I forgot to correct it on my webervations program. So I was caught by surprised when they appeared to me to arrive a day early. I suggested that they go grab dinner while I got their room ready and I would be happy to pay for it. They agreed and I credited their bill $50 for the inconvenience. It should have been the end of it.

Owner




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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast

Property: At the Beach with Friends Bed & Breakfast
Address: 369 Nene St, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-4942
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Hilo
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Hilo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Private guest wing on a salt water lagoon across from Hilo's favorite swimming beaches. Luxury ocean view accommodations for $160-$180 king beds, ensuite baths, free WiFi, flat screen TVs, common sitting room/lounge area, games, books, & hot buffet breakfast. Small refrigerators in room and tea service available in common room. Triple room available. Beach towels, folding chairs,coolers flashlights and umbrellas on hand. $10/night discount off base price for five nights or more. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
At The Beach With Friends Hotel Hilo
At The Beach With Friends Bed And Breakfast
At The Beach With Friends Bed & Breakfast Hilo, Hawaii

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