As soon as I bought my plane ticket to Hawaii, my mom started looking at vacation rental houses to rent. Since we knew at least my mom, my sister and I would be going, she thought it would be better to rent a house rather then random hotel rooms. She got the recommendation for VRBO from some friends who had used it in the passed and sent me the link for a house she liked. She is normally the worst at looking up places to stay in that she just emails the first listing to come up on google or whatever search she is doing and then acts all shocked when it’s book (you should have seen her when I was booking stuff for New Zealand during the highest of the high season in major tourist towns). When I search VRBO for listings in Hilo, this was the first place to show up, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. I checked out loads of other listings in Hilo and around the island and after about a week of searching, this house seemed to fit us best, so my mom made a reservation. And then extended it once she realized that she, my sister and my dad who also got in on the action, should stay at least an extra 2 days as they all had nothing urgent to get back for.
The house was fantastic! Located on the less popular but beautiful Hilo side of The Big Island, it was located in a residential track area that I liked to call Hawaiian Holiday Pineapple Park (in reality it was called Hawaiian Paradise Park). We had a lovely large deck complete with a private pool and hot tub. From the pictures, I thought the pool was going to be a doughboy, but when we arrived, it was permanent above ground and quiet large! It overlooked the ocean and dropped right into the sea if you ventured out too far on the lava rock shore. When the tide came in, the waves would nearly come over the lava rocks and spray into the pool. Every morning was spent on the deck, jumping in and out of the pool depending on how fast the weather changed, from sun to rain and clouds and back, all in the span of 30 minutes.
The upstairs and the downstairs were not connected, you had to go outside and use the stairs, which at first was kind of shocking, but not really an issue for us. It included three large bedrooms with full and king beds and two full baths. An open plan living room, kitchen, dining and day bed area filled out the main living area and it was just all around perfect. Sheets and towels and all sorts of toiletries were provided so all you had to do was show up with your clothes and tooth brush and you were set! Due to the full kitchen (and distance from town, which was about 25 minutes) we ate at home for pretty much all meals. Heck, we didn’t even really get started with our day until after lunch, which is just how I wanted to spend my days! My sister fell in love with the French Press provided and we had Kona coffee every day.
Moral: If coming to The Big Island with a family, I would highly recommend renting a house or condo over staying in a hotel. I had the best time and loved staying in a “locals” area, away from all the hustle and bustle of tourism and the towns. If you don’t need to be waited on hand and foot and looking to save a bit of money eating (food is very expensive in Hawaii, compared to the mainland) you’ll get your own kitchen with a house/condo. And if you are lucky, maybe even your own pool!!