If you end up staying here because you’re spending a day or two in Volcanoes Park (which you should, because it’s amazing) you will be fine. VGH is clean, the guest units are spacious and have sparsely equipped kitchens The surrounding forest and gardens are lush and lovely. There is a separate cottage for breakfast with a hot tub that is pleasant enough to hang out in. The owners are nice and will answer any questions if asked, though they won’t go out of their way for you (which, depending on your personality, can be a relief or a slight).
So it’s fine. And I imagine at one point VGH was actually more than fine. But the issue here seems to be that the owners have been running this place for many years and they have figured out a way to do it that works very well for them—but maybe less well for their guests. In fact, it is hard to really feel like a guest here. There is neither the convenience and amenities of a hotel nor the warmth and attention to detail of a B&B. The furnishings are adequate but not especially comfortable; the sheets, towels etc (which are not changed while you are there, nor is there any tidying done or beds made) are basic at best and somewhat worn. There was no soap in the shower/bath when we arrived, just economy-sized bottles of Herbal Essences shampoo.
I would, perhaps, fact find all of that quirkily charming if it weren’t for the breakfast. The one thing one expects from a B&B is the second “B.” What you get at VGH is, I hate to say it (because, again, the owners are really nice) is cheap and indifferent. Cold cereal from Costco; Quaker instant oatmeal; Skippy peanut butter and grape jelly in a squeeze bottle; stale refrigerator bagels with a big tub of cream cheese that is three-quarters empty and deeply unappetizing (all knife-gauged, gummy and with crumbs in it). The first morning they put out an already-stale, pre-packaged cinnamon twist coffee cake, also (I’m guessing) purchased from Costco. We ate one slice, and didn't like it. They then proceeded to put the same package out every morning, as it grew more stale and even less appealing. Yes, there are fresh papayas and bananas, but the pineapple was visibly overripe and, once more, when we didn’t eat it, they just served it to us again the next day.
My feeling is if you’re going to run a B&B (and price it competitively) you should truly care about your guests’ comfort. Because they are just that--guests, not relatives that you want to discourage from ever coming back. I would so like VGH to be a better place, because it has some great qualities. But it needs to be seriously stepped up.
So for accommodations, because it’s spacious and well-located I give it 3 stars. For service, comfort, and breakfast I give it a 1 ½ or maybe a 2. I can’t fully recommend staying here, but you won’t be devastated if, for whatever reason, it’s where you end up. Just be aware that it does the job, absolutely nothing more.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Volcano Guest House is 12 acres of high-altitude tropical rainforest and farm, with three cottages, two apartments, and two big houses that rent whole or by the bedroom. Ten minutes from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, perfectly placed eco-accommodations to enjoy the wonders of an active volcano, and the native environments in this International Biosphere Reserve. Line-dried linens, solar-assisted hot water, free breakfast/snacks 24/7. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Volcano Guest House Hawaii