A room with a great view of Kealakekua Bay
This Hotel is an institution on the Big Island, having been operated by the Manago family since 1917. They offer cheap rooms with shared bathrooms facing the road in the old building. And ensuite rooms with private lanai in the "new" three story building.
The hotels restaurant is also famous for its food, especially the porkchops. The view of the ocean, Kealakekua bay and the sunset from the lanai on the third floor rooms is worth its $ fiftysomething.
If you are planning to go to Kealakekua Bay for the probably best snorkeling in Hawaii, the Manago Hotel is a nice place to stay so you won't be spending all morning driving.
A taste of old Hawai'i, at a true bargain price
We spent our 1st night in this delightful little hotel. I reserved the best room in the house, which happened to be done in a Japanese motif - right down to the tatami mats, futon bed, and Japanese style stainless steel bathtub (about 1/2 the length and 3 times as deep as a standard American tub). The room is dedicated to Kinzo Manago, who opened the hotel in 1917. This set us back a whopping $80, which included the 2 breakfasts we purchased in the restaurant. Now managed by Dwight Manago, Kinzo's grandson, the hotel still has rooms for as low as $25 (with a shared bath) in the front building and standard rooms for as low as $42 in the newer building, facing beautiful Kealakekua Bay. If you can handle the stairs (there is no elevator), take a room on the 3rd floor for the best views.
This is definitely a family run operation. When I told the airport shuttle bus driver where we were staying, he immediately told us 2 things:
1) they had the best pork chops on the island (he actually said 'in the world');
2) if we didn't get to the hotel soon (it was about 8pm), we would probably find our keys taped to the room door.
Well, the doors were still open when we got there, but I did have to ring a bell to get the desk clerk to show up (and after checking in, the front doors were promptly closed and locked). Unfortunately, we weren't able to try the famous pork chops either.
If you don't mind simple but very clean accommodations at bargain basement prices - then this is your place!
Big Island Adventure
After O'ahu we flew out to Maui for a few days and then onto the Big Island, before returning back to O'ahu for a few days...
A true adventure destination, where snow capped peaks stand guard over lush tropical rainforests and magical waterfalls, which in turn cascade down on to pristine beaches with crystal clear waters teeming with life. You can swim, hike, climb, ride, fish, fly, or just relax – The Big Island has something for everyone…
Did I say the island of Hawai’i does things BIG? Mauna Loa is the World’s biggest mountain and the Big Island is larger than all the other islands put together! Some of the World’s largest Marlin have been caught off the coast of Kona weighing in at 1400+ lbs, The Mauna Loa Macademia Nut farm is the World’s largest, The Parker Ranch is the Nation’s largest private property taking up 10% of the island, Hilo is the US’s wettest city and South Point is the US’s southernmost point…
Volcano National Park is probably the main draw, with the Kailua-Kona strip, Hilo and the lush Kohala Peninsula also major attractions. The Big Island also has a rich history, it is here that King Kamehameha I was born and died – it is also here that Captain Cook met his untimely end over the matter of a stolen boat…
Whilst it’s possible to spend your whole holiday in the vast and perfectly manicured grounds of the Hilton Waikoloa, it would be such a terrible waste to make it all this way without seeing the amazing sights the Big Island has to offer, the best way is with a car, but be warned – the other side of the island is half a day a way and a whole world apart!
Probably the best way to ‘do’ the island is by spending a few days in different locations around the island. Even if it’s just staying in Kona and Hilo, you will be breaking up you travelling distances. It is even possible to stay at the lodge in the Volcano National Park and the Manago Hotel in Captain Cook seems consistently well recommended!
A great resource is the ‘The Big Island Visitors Bureau’, which you can use to plan your holidays. They also give out "Hawaii's Big Island Driving Tour" which you can get if you call them (808) 329-7787. It's a step by step around the island driving tour.
"Best Way to Get Around"
If you want to do the island justice, you must hire a car! Although it’s “only an island”, we managed to clock up over 1,000 miles in under two weeks! If you can, get a 4x4 jeep, it’s an awesome way to travel.
Just remember that the weather can turn quickly – we’d taken the doors off and were only wearing shorts and t-shirts when we had to brave a one and a half hour night time journey in a cold and fine rain (the type that utterly drenches you!)…
Also, if you hire a car and are intending to tackle the saddle road between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, or visit the observatory – make sure the rental firm will allow you on the policy!
Lastly, if you have the cash to splash – this is one of those special places where a helicopter tour is well worth the outlay!