We’ve been asked many times about accommodations in or near Hilo, on the southeast coast of the Big Island. This is the gateway to the wondrous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. While we have yet to find a fully Harper-worthy property, we did discover a charming bed-and-breakfast that we happily bring to your attention.
Located about 15 minutes north of Hilo, the aptly named Palms Cliff House Inn is a Victorian-style house set amid verdant grounds that sweep down to dramatic cliffs tumbling into the Pacific. The setting affords unobstructed views of the ocean from almost everywhere in the inn, including the eight rooms, which are housed in a wing immediately adjacent to the main house.
In addition to the superb views, these spacious, individually decorated rooms have amenities that you don’t always find in a B&B — wonderfully comfortable king beds, small sitting areas, small refrigerators, satellite TVs, DVD players, CD players, phones with dial-up Internet access (Wi-Fi is available in the lounge), large baths (although the vanities are in the rooms) and expansive lanais. The rooms are four to a floor, and the four corner suites have big in-room Jacuzzi tubs that overlook the ocean, and small gas fireplaces.
The lounge is well-stocked with a DVD library, an ice machine, an honor-system snack bar and an extensive range of information on local sights. Inside the main house, you can take advantage of the cozy reading area or browse the small gift shop with an attractive array of goods. The delicious, hearty breakfasts are served on the big covered lanai on the ocean side of the house, and they are linger-worthy. One morning, we particularly enjoyed the banana pancakes with muffins, fruit juice and superb coffee. We set out every day feeling well-fed.
Hosts John and Michele Gamble are absolutely delightful and are full of excellent recommendations and information about the area — restaurants, shops and sights including the national park and the spectacular Akaka Falls, just 10 minutes away. They have made their inn a place of real comfort, and we enjoyed our stay. Palms Cliff House Inn. Rooms, $199-$219; suites, $299-$349. P.O. Box 189, Honomu, HI 96728. Tel. (866) 963-6076.