Your Hawaiian Retreat is a collection of houses ranging from a small treehouse to a palace-like collection of Balinese huts brought over in a shipping container. They sit on an off-grid property owned by a couple who run an organic ginger farm and can be rented at a shockingly reasonable rate.
Two friends from the US and two friends from Brazil and I rented the Mango House in early January. The girls were a bit worried about the off-grid thing, but the first thing we noticed about Mango House (other than it's gorgeous location surrounded by fruit trees) was that it was no different than our houses back home. We had electricity 24 hours, plenty to charge our computers and cameras...there was even WIFI! Unlimited hot water from the on-demand heater, which pulls from a rain catchment system. (They provide bottled water for drinking.) There's a full kitchen to prepare meals, and the owners thoughtfully stocked the fridge with organic eggs and milk and loads of fresh fruit from the trees around their property. They even provided raw honey from their bees.
The beds in Mango House are all in a communal room on the top floor of the house. There's a romantic loft-bed, a queen-sized bed suspended from the ceiling and accessible by ladder. There's another queen-size foldout with a very comfy latex mattress, and two futons, and luxurious silk sheets were provided for us to use. The whole house has an outdoors-in feel...windows everywhere, and bathrooms accessible from outdoor balconies. The semi-outdoor shower was the biggest selling point for the girls, with unlimited hot water and a view as soon as you step out.
There are other houses on the property that we didn't stay in, but we did get to tour Ohana House, a one-of-a-kind property of imported Balinese huts serving as bedrooms around a central great room with massive hewn timbered ceilings and river-rock kitchen counters and bathrooms. I think she said it can sleep 12 individuals, or even more couples. We noticed two side-by-side outdoor clawfoot bathtubs for a romantic sunset soak.
The property is located in Puna, my favorite corner of the Hawaiian islands. Far from the artificial, touristy beaches of Kona/Kohala, Puna is rural, remote, and utterly gorgeous. From our balcony at Mango House, we were 5 minutes from really cool steam caves (natural saunas), 10 minutes from a hot spring pool just steps from a beach, 10 minutes from a black sand clothing-optional beach, and 15 minutes from the current lava viewing area. No tourists in site (except at the lava), just locals, and the locals who've chosen to settle in Puna include gay couples, alternative off-grid environmentalists, organic farmers, and hippies. The nearby town, Pahoa, has a wild-west feel, strangely enough, with some funky restaurants and an organic market. A mega-grocery store is 20 minutes away, and the major city of Hilo is 30 minutes. The location could NOT be better...it's removed enough from everything to feel like you have the entire countryside to yourself, but close enough to everything to be convenient.
Elvira and Hugh were our gracious hosts, and they made us feel like part of the family from the instant we arrived. Each morning they would bring us goodies...the first morning it was smoothies of yogurt from their goats, raw chocolate, and organic bananas from their trees, blended with raw honey from their bees. The next morning it was a juice of fresh squeezed tangerines and pineapples with crushed ginger and turmeric from their farm. The next morning it was an entire quart of fresh goat yogurt, delicious, rich, and tangy.
Combine this with the price (we got the Mango house at its normal rate of $100 per night) and you've got enough reason to never stay anywhere else on the Big Island. I've been back from my trip only 3 days and I've already planned my next one in a couple of months.
If you're a Four-Seasons kinda person, Your Hawaiian Retreat is NOT for you. If you like unique people and places, if you prefer to scramble eggs and peel a tangerine for breakfast rather than sit in a restaurant for 2 hours, if you love being surrounded by mango and lime trees, flowers galore, and the buzzing of bees and the singing of frogs, then you'll fall in love with Your Hawaiian Retreat just like we did. I can't recommend it highly enough.
- Also Known As:
- Your Hawaiian Retreat Hawaii/Pahoa