We found a great place to stay just outside Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.
Value travelers will be familiar with this struggle. Sometimes it feels like there aren't many options between the realm of luxury hotels and bare-bones campgrounds, especially if you're searching for a property that comes with a bit of character, as well as great value. But when Ryan and I were exploring one of the 'hottest' spots in Hawaii, we discovered an inn that's decidedly cool. Kilauea Lodge, in the village of Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, is a beautiful property but that's not why we enjoyed it so much. We found some cool things here that you just don't discover every day.
1.) Homemade quilts on the beds.
There's nothing like sleeping underneath a homemade quilt! It just makes me feel so cozy and at home. While I do love the white linens of a traditional hotel room, sleeping in a bed with a quilt is an extra special experience. It was great to see them at Kilauea Lodge, since Hawaii is so famous for making tropical style quilts. I had read so much about them but this was the first time I was able to stay on a property that featured them.
The room had an additional special touch that was also a new experience for me: a towel warmer. Where have these been all my life!?! While I was slightly disappointed that the bathroom didn't have a soaker bathtub (my favourite travel treat of all), the warm, snuggly towels were a very nice touch.
2.) A old fashioned, resort style lounge.
3.) A rare historical pedigree.
I really liked the cool lounge room that was at the centre of the lodge. It felt so warm and homey and it was filled books, magazines, and board games. While it's hard to imagine going to Hawaii and not wanting to be outside, this would be the perfect place to curl up and read by the fireplace during a rain storm.
A common room for socializing may not be everyone's cup of tea but I never saw anyone else using it whenever I walked past it and the room is shared among just a small group of rooms, making it unlikely that you'd run into anyone else there. But if privacy and quiet are of utmost importance to you, it would be wise to ask for a bedroom that's not immediately adjacent to this space.
By now, you probably realize that Kilauea Lodge is anything but a standard property. And there's a good reason for this. It wasn't built as a hotel. It's a renovated 1938 YMCA camp that thousands of children have called home over the decades. There's even a 'friendship fireplace' in the main dining room built from stones from around the world. The lodge also served as a radio school during World War II. You don't come across many properties that can boast a history like that!
Its unique history means the rooms are anything but cookie cutter in their design. The rooms have large windows, sometimes with high ceilings, and there are no standard square bedrooms. And this design works really well, as the rooms feel spacious and airy.
4.) An amazing location.
Volcanoes National Park is one of my favourite parks and it's one of the absolute best reasons to visit Hawaii's Big Island. There is fantastic hiking, wildlife viewing, pictographs, and, best of all, an active volcano! It's an incredible place to explore and Kilauea Lodge sits just a mile from the park gates, making it easy to head home to rest between adventures. And you'll definitely want to stay in the area overnight to experience the evening glow of the volcano's cauldron!
I know most people don't travel to hang out in hotel rooms, and nor do I. But whenever I stay on a unique property I can't help but feel that it adds a little extra value to my travel experience. For about the same price as as standard chain hotel, it's nice to have something that really makes an impact, both through little touches and big stories, from the quilts to the YMCA history. And I believe Volcanoes National Park is such an amazing attraction that it warrants spending at least one night in the area - and hopefully you'll be as happy as I was to stay at Kilauea!
Is Hawaii your idea of a dream destination?
Check out our other articles about Hawaii!
Visiting Kauai's Glass Beach
Driving Maui's Hana Highway
Coffee Beans and Hawaiian Dreams
I was provided with a complimentary media visit at Kilauea Lodge and my visit to Hawaii was facilitated in part by Go Hawaii. All research, writing, and opinions are my own.