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“Web description for Sushi Cottage results in disappointment”
Review of Aloha Happy Place

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Aloha Happy Place
Reviewed 10 October 2012

One has to be careful about booking accommodations at Aloha Place online, because there are at least three websites for this inn, all containing conflicting information. We used the main site to book a four-night stay in the separate Sushi Cottage and were attracted by the description of the elegant furnishings and the private lanai with a promised view of native birds, a bamboo forest, and a field. In fact, there are a couple of hydrangea and camellia bushes that don't do a good job of obscuring a large shed covered with a green tarp, a backhoe or bulldozer, and a field of dirt and rubble. Further, the lanai is private but, even without the promised view, it's not very inviting, as the chairs, BBQ, and umbrella are all covered with plastic. Another Aloha Place website I looked at later omits the promised views from the lanai. All the websites promise a DVD player; in fact, there was only a DVD remote. Two sites promise Wi-Fi in the cottage, and one does not. There is Wi-Fi only in the main house.

On the positive side, though not elegantly appointed as our web description also suggests, the Sushi Cottage is comfortable, quiet, private but quite modest. The "kitchenette" is just a tiny sink, refrigerator, and two-burner stove. One can heat a bowl of soup and that's about it.

Also, at the time of our stay in late September, the recycling bins were filled--five of them containing bottles--as if they hadn't been emptied for weeks.

Future guests should also be warned that Aloha Place, which is listed on several bed-and -breakfast sites for Hawaii, does not offer breakfast. The main website is very clear about this, so it's a little strange that the place still is listed on B and B sites. At one time, breakfast was apparently offered because older reviews mention it.

The facilities are described as "self check-in," which means that, in the four days we were there, we never saw a proprietor or caretaker, nor is there any maid service. You are on your own, in other words, and if you book here, it's imperative that you have a cell phone in case of an emergency. If you are the sort of traveler who wants to chat with a friendly innkeeper, look elsewhere. If you crave privacy, then this lack of human contact won't bother you. Still, it seemed odd.

Last, I need to mention that we could have overlooked these aforementioned defects, but as inveterate animal lovers, we were disturbed by the chicken coop behind the cottage, which houses about a dozen chickens and one rooster. These chickens were never let out during our four-day stay, which seemed strange because just to the left of the coop is a huge field where chickens could happily peck away eating bugs. Even worse were the red Queensland heeler and another dog that are kept in a wire enclosure. I foolishly went over to see the heeler, and he lunged and lunged at the fence. We own a blue heeler, and this one sight alone would make us unwilling to recommend the Aloha Place to future guests. To our knowledge, these dogs were never let out in four days. It appears that these birds and animals are on the inn's property, as there's no fence dividing their quarters from either the main house or the cottage.

If you book at Aloha Place, be sure to bring ear plugs, as the roosters crow at all times of the day and night.

The price is right, though, and the more nights you stay, the lower the nightly fee. So, at least the Sushi Cottage is a comfortable little place, but the glowing web descriptions are bound to result in disappointment.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank dkspears
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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19 - 25 of 55 reviews

Reviewed 24 August 2012

We decided to stay in volcano for one night as we were kona based and wanted a more liesurely drive experience (and to see the volcano in the light and dark).

We're glad we picked this little place. Check in a very different - and trusting! They leave the keys on a cork board and you serve yourself. There is no breakfast but we left early and didn't mind. We ate at the lava rock cafe and it was delicious!!

Yes it's a bit musky... but you're in a rainforest. I didn't see chickens. Our room was done up in a horse theme and it was very cozy and nice. Bed was comfortable and overall I felt very comfortable here.

I do recommend

Room Tip: We stayed in palimino which was a cute horse room
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Pelepassion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2012

I think the reviewers w/ negative comments are significantly biased...

Their Main dis-satisfactions were: 1. Not Enough Water. 2. Dusty Smell. 3. Chicken.

Considering where the inn is located, these situations are understandable:
1. Water is a scarce resource in the mountain. Availability is based on recent precipitation.
2. You have to pick your poison: open the window to avoid dusty smell and inhale the volcanic ash/volcanic gas instead.
3. You are in Hawaii, expect chicken!

In general, I had a pleasant stay. Rooms are nicely decorated. They are very unique. Owner has attention to details. I stayed in many B&B before and was rarely satisfied with the breakfast. No breakfast doesn't bother me. A great breakfast place is walking distance away from the Inn.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank garycjchang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 February 2012

We spent 5 wonderful nights here. Though it does a little cold at night this time in volcano village, the thick but comfortable quilt is enough to give us a great sleep. The room also has dehumidifier, beach mats, towels, flashlights, wifi and almost everything we might need there.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank tingtingwang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 December 2011

I had a very comfortable stay at this place. Some of the negative comments I read were worrisome before I got here, but once I see the place I found it quite adequate, not unlike many country B&B that I have used. The room named Ali'i that I had was quite large, very comfy bed, sofa, plenty of tea and coffee machine. Some nice touches here and there. Yes, the hot water was slow to come and when it came, it was hot. Some bonuses at this place were the artwork all around the house, a large library of books and videos. It also has a desktop computer you can use, but quite slow. Umbrellas to borrow. Yes, there chickens outside but if the windows are close, it won't bother you. I even met the innkeeper, Joan, just briefly. This place is great for someone who just want a quiet place to rest after a day's activity. There are a few places nearby that serves a good breakfast, or lunch and diner. And you are just 5 minutes from the park entrance. Good location to take a quick drive into the park at night to see the volcanic glow after dark.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank Artscene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2011

We spent two nights at Aloha Place - Inn of Volcano during our nine-night Big Island trip.
The place looked nice enough and at first glance seemed to provide a lot of extras - robes, tea set, games books, refrigerator, umbrellas, etc. etc... As we had very low expectations for this place, having read all the reviews and wanting just a basic place for three to rest our heads for that portion of our trip with the most activities planned, we were pleasantly surprised. However, we quickly realized no extra goodies could take the place of the basics the place lacks or make the stay bearable. The room was dusty and damp, and something in it made us all itch. One of the pillows reeked too much to be usable. All the posted rules such as "don't take a bath" and "don't flush the toilet unless necessary"(?!) were really bothersome, too. If they just installed a more efficient water heater, so that you don't have to waste so much cold water first for a warm shower, I'd think that should conserve enough water to stop the drought worries. The lack of personal contact with the owners/management (check-in consisting of finding an envelope with keys and registration form taped to the office door) would have been fine, except that we could feel that they were watching us throughout our stay, like they were making sure we didn't break any of their rules. It was really creepy, not to mention made us feel absolutely unwelcome. The worst part of our stay, however, was the cold. We slept in our jackets and woke up with stiff joints. One of the posted rules was to turn off the heater when leaving the room, except we didn't see any heater no matter how hard we looked. The note in the envelope stated that firewood for the library fireplace would be provided daily, but we didn't get a single stick of wood. We would normally have asked the management, but we were so creeped out by the place and the invisible owners that we didn't dare.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank wanderlustt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joan P, Manager at Aloha Happy Place, responded to this reviewResponded 17 January 2012

These three visitors booked a room designed for two, with a limit of two guests only. They snuck in a thrd person and then complained about anthing they could invent to complain about. There are only two single beds in the room these three booked.

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Reviewed 24 January 2011

We stayed at Aloha Place - Inn of Volcano for two nights. When I made my reservation I was already aware that they did not serve breakfast and that it was self check-in with an envelope on the bulletin board. Unlike others I was not surprised by these things. There were a few good things: free parking, free wireless internet, bed was comfortable, umbrellas provided, information sheet about nearby businesses with hours, and a small fridge provided.

But here is what surprised me:

I never received a confirmation from the owner that they received our reservation and when we arrived our room had changed. At first I thought the change was good because the room was the larger Sushi Guest Cottage...except directly behind the cottage is the chicken coop! The chickens will crow at all hours of the night and morning...they don't wait for the sun to come up. They would crow a bit at midnight and then start around 5am and not stop till 9am! I understand that people in Hawaii raise chickens but if you run an Inn you should give up this lifestyle for the comfort of your guests.

The other reviewer was correct about conserving water. They ask you to not take baths, reuse your towels, and to flush the toilet only when necessary. Volcano is experiencing drought and the water provided is gathered through rainwater. It was a shame that we couldn't do laundry but there is a laundry mat in town right next to the great Thai restaurant.

We also had a circuit breaker go out when I used the hair dryer provided. This circuit breaker provided power to three outlets in the cottage. We knocked on the office door but no one answered and called both provided phone numbers but had to leave a message. When we returned from the park nothing was fixed so we knocked on the office door again. The owner did not seem pleased, had an argument with someone else in the office/main house, and then came out but was unable to fix the breaker. The whole experience made us feel unwelcome at the Inn and we would not recommend anyone to stay there...even if their rates are cheaper then nearby B&Bs in Volcano. Either pay more somewhere else in Volcano or stay in nearby Hilo and drive back and forth to the park.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank HRIMDegree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Joan P, Manager at Aloha Happy Place, responded to this reviewResponded 17 January 2012

There are no chickens or roosters at this accommodation.

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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 Aloha Happy Place

Address: 19-3870 Old Volcano Road, Volcano, Island of Hawaii, HI 96785 (Formerly Aloha Place)
Region: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Volcano
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 21 Speciality Lodging in Volcano
Price Range: £105 - £150 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Aloha Happy Place 2.5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This is NOT your regular Joe B&B; actually it isn't a B&B at all, but a farmstead accommodaton. It offers everything you'd expect at a three star hotel and more for a fraction of the cost. Our location is key for planning your perfect stay while visiting the Big Island. We are located a short drive from Hilo International Airport and just minutes from the most active (and safest) volcano in the world. Kilauea is situated at the 4,000 foot elevation amidst lush tropical rainforest where you can escape the heat and crowds of the fast paced city life. Come enjoy some "Aloha" hospitality at its best! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aloha Happy Place Volcano, Hawaii

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