on August 23, 2008
This hotel has been around for a very long time. It has changed owners many times over the decades but the hotel still keeps to its plantation roots. The original hotel was built in 1908 as the club for the plantation managers and became the center of social activity for the plantation workers. Today it continues to operate as an old style hotel for visitors and kamaainas (locals) as a home away from home. My family and friends have stayed at this hotel over the years and my husband's relative operated and owned the restaurant that is in the same building at the hotel a few years ago. Over 20 years ago I stayed at this hotel and ate at the restaurant when I lived on Oahu. Back then people from Oahu heard about the wonderful surf and turf dinners that the restaurant had on its menu. If you want to stay at a hotel that is budget friendly with no frills then this is the place to stay at. The town is an excellent place to visit if you want to see the remnants of plantation life when sugar was an important industry on the Big Island of Hawaii. There is a beautiful mural at the right of the parking lot that depicts plantation life in the old days when sugar ruled. This is a nice place to stay at if you want to visit Waipio Valley Lookout and take a walk down the narrow winding road to the Valley Floor and Waipio Beach. They have wonderful Ocean View rooms (recommended) that overlook the serene ocean along the Hamakua Coast ($80 - $90 tax included). Note that there are no balconies and fancy lounges...just simple, rustic rooms. Their Ocean View Rooms include queen size beds, cable TV, and a private bath. The decor is simple with country style decor and large windows that overlook residential houses and the blue ocean in back of the hotel. Their prices include breakfast which is a wonderful plus if you are on a budget. Note that this is an old hotel with creaky wooden floors and country furnishings. If you get hungry there are about a half a dozen eateries that include a health food restaurant, a pizza restaurant (often with live music), a drive in, a sports bar and restaurant. The Hotel restaurant is not open, other than for parties and conferences. The hotel provides WIFI access, conference and meeting rooms and all rooms are non-smoking. Even though Honokaa is a sleepy town, there are tennis courts at Honokaa Park near the Honokaa Complex (within walking distance), a pool, a grocery store (TKS), numerous gift shops, thrift shops (next door), several banks, churches, and a library. The Hele On bus stops daily at different locations in Honokaa town and continues to either Hilo or South Kohala (though I wouldn't recommend catching this bus since it is usually filled with hotel workers and there are many stops before you reach your destination). I would recommend staying at Hotel Honokaa Club if you are budget conscious and you want to experience the slow pace and plantation life of Honokaa Town. Also this is a nice hotel to stay at if you plan to spend some time in Waipio Valley. To get to Hotel Honokaa Club, take Highway 19 from either Hilo or Kona and get on Highway 240 in Honokaa. The Hotel is on mainstreet (Hwy 240) in Honokaa. Look for the Hotel sign and the plantation mural in front of the Hotel.
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