The landscaping is gorgeous; however, I would trade that for a better inside and safety! The house is extremely HOT!!! On all of the days that we were there (11 nights), we would come back to the house and it was in the mid 90’s. We had to go to Walmart and buy 3 fans on our own. I called Juanita (the cleaning lady – only contact info we had) and she purchased 3 more fans for us because she was unable to contact the owners. THANK YOU JUANITA! Sadly, even with ceiling fans and 6 fans, the house was still HOT!!! (high 80’s – mid 90’s) The heat was unbearable! The master bed was not a king, but a queen. The twin beds were metal cots – one which folded down on my daughter in the middle of the night. The full bed is really a wood futon with a metal bar that runs down the middle! The mattresses were HORRIBLE on every “bed” – you can feel the coils poking you all night! All of the furniture in the house is very cheap and nonmatching – it looks like they went to a yard sale and bought the cheapest things they could get! In the amenities section, it lists Cable/satellite TV, TV, TV with vcr/dvd – I assumed that this meant there were 3 TV’s – NO, just 1 – they just listed it 3 different ways! This made it very difficult to keep everyone entertained with two teenagers in the house. As far as security goes, this house has none! The back door does not lock – there is a metal screened door that is locked, but the garage is open at the top and bottom and anyone could easily access the unlocked back door! The sliding gate does not lock – there are instructions in the owners notebook asking that you hook the padlock around the chain so “it looks locked to deter would be thieves”. The house is located in a very run down area – neighboring homes are literally caving in and there is trash in nearly every yard on the road. We were advised to keep all the windows open all day long (even when we were not there) to try to cool the house down. We did not feel our personal items were secure in this home as well as our personal safety. There is no trash service – we had to drive the trash 6.7 miles to the trash transfer station – I’m sure the rental car owners appreciated that! Also, trash bags were supposed to be provided – again, we had to go to Walmart to purchase trash bags – only 1 trash bag was in the can – no others in the house. Internet and cellular service was awful! We have ATT and could only get service if we went into a small area of the driveway – this was an issue because there was a medical emergency with my dog that was back in Ohio while we were there and the vet could not get in touch with us. Even though the landscaping is beautiful, the fruit they say grows on the property was nonexistent. The only fruit that was growing on the property was pineapple. Finally, they list attractions as being nearby, including Hilo; nothing is nearby this home. Just to get into Hilo, we had to drive at least double the amount of time that was quoted to us. This is our third time visiting the island and this is by far the WORST vacation home that we have ever rented (not just in Hawaii, but every state we have visited). I would not recommend it to anyone!
Hale Mala was the perfect base for our family from which to explore the Big Island. It is only 20 minutes from Hilo Airport but we felt like we were in the country on a huge block on a quiet road with no neighbours in sight. At night there was no sound but the tropical rain on the roof and the coqui frogs in the garden. With our rental car it was easy to reach the main attractions of the Big Island: it is a bit over an hour to Mauna Kea and close to the Volcanoes National Park, and less than half an hour to the Kilauea lava flow. The gardens were beautiful, lovingly landscaped and maintained with pride. The house itself was beautifully presented and the deck and gazebo out the back were a highlight. The kitchen was well equipped - we cooked a delicious meal of Hawaiian kajiki (blue marlin). There was plenty of room with 3 bedrooms, good Wifi and a big TV. The place has a really nice feel and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing and authentic stay on the Big Island rather than the 'touristy' resort experience.