Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Review 1406: Aloha Vacation Cottages, Hale Kea
1bed/1bath cottage on Big Island, near Waimea, Hawaii
January 2005, 2 weeks
The Aloha Vacation Cottages are located on the Big Island of Hawaii, on the northwest part of the island (the dry side). There are two cottages: one is a separate house, the other is attached to the owner's house. They are located in a small residential neighborhood, just off the road from the Kohala Coast to Waimea. From the coast, you drive uphill to Waimea, so the cottages are above sea level. This area is quiet and surrounded by open fields and hills. You have views out to the sea.
It is a 10 minute drive to the lovely town of Waimea, with many restaurants, a big supermarket, a good natural foods store, and everything else you might need (there is even a Starbucks!). Waimea is at higher altitude that the cottages and when we were there in January was always much cooler than the seaside areas and frequently cloudy.
In the other direction, it is a 15 minute drive to a nice public beach or to the resort area with many restaurants. It was a 45 minute drive from the Kona airport.
You can do a short walk on the residential streets in the neighborhood - maybe a 15 minute walk to stretch your legs - but you can drive to areas with hikes.
Hale Kea is a 1 bedroom/1 bathroom separate cottage sitting in front of the owner's house. It is very private, both from the owner's house and the other cottage and from the street and neighbors. It sits up above the street and there are lots of trees and bushes to give you privacy. This is a very quiet street.
You enter the house through a sliding glass door from the deck. The kitchen, dining area and living room are one large room at the front of the cottage. At the back is the large bedroom and the bathroom. The house is carpeted except for the kitchen and bathroom, which are wood floor and tile.
The house is very bright and has lots of windows.
There is a lovely front porch with a table and chairs in shade and two loungers in a sunny area. This is a good area for having morning coffee or to sit and read. The whole property has many beautiful trees and bushes and is very beautiful.
The furnishings in the cottage are of good quality and are comfortable. There is no desk to work at, but we used the kitchen table. High speed wireless Internet access is available. The living room had a very comfortable couch and chair. The kitchen table sat four. The house was in very good repair and spotlessly clean. They gave you clean towels and sheets when you needed them.
The bedroom had a good King sized bed with those individual sleep controls (to make your side of the bed harder or softer). The bedroom was large, with a big walkin closet. The bathroom had a tub and shower and a washer and drier. There was a clothes line out back for drying out swim things.
The kitchen was good with a good stove, fridge and microwave. No dishwaser. Good pots and pans and plates, etc. We cooked most of our meals in the cottage.
Problems or Bonuses
No problems, only bonuses! The owners, Heidi and Keoki, are delightful. Heidi is originally from Germany, but has been in the US many years. Keoki is originally from California. They have both been on Hawaii for many years and love it there. Heidi does theraputic massage. We both took the opportunity to have a great massage from her while we were there.
They have lots of good tourist information in the cottage, including descriptions of great local hikes. Heidi gave us lots of good travel tips.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, I highly recommend this cottage. We were very comfortable there and had a lovely stay on the Big Island.
If you do not like how hot it gets in Hawaii in the summer, this is the perfect location, because its higher altitude makes this area a bit cooler. But in a 15 minute drive, you can be at the beach in the hot weather.
Staying there in the winter, we found it to be a little cooler than we were used to and it took us a few days to realize that while it was cool at the cottage, it was hot at the beach. (When I say cool, I don't mean it was really cool - we were still in shorts and flip flops.)
The owners are on site to help you if any problems arise.
Things to do in this area
The Big Island is very different from Kauai, where we go every year. The lava flows are amazing - fields of black rubble. From the road near the cottage, you can see a 13,000 foot mountain with snow at the top in one direction and the beach and ocean in the other.
There were two hikes nearby that we liked. One was just outside of Waimea, from White Road back through woods to a lookout on the Waipi'o Valley (about two hours round trip, but you could walk along the edge of the valley for another hour). We did this hike twice. The other was a nice beach walk on the Kohala Coast, from the public parking near the Malama Petroglyphs near the Fairmont Orchid, along the beach, through the Mauna Lani resort, through the ponds, to Mauna Lani point and back (about two hours return, but you can go further if you want and there are places to stop for lunch in the resort). We did this walk several times.
We liked the swimming and the beach at Hapuna Beach (public beach just south of the Mauna Kea resort).
We loved the high level and low level drive to the town of Hawi, the northern most tip of the island. There is a great restaurant there (Bamboo Restaurant, great seafood, good vegetarian options in a lovely old building on the main street - but they were about to change ownership), and a Tropical Dreams Ice Cream shop (locally made ice cream).
We drove to Kona and had a very good and inexpensive meal at Sibu Cafe, 75-5695 Alii Drive (Indonesian, many vegetarian options, located right in town on the main tourist street along the water).
We also liked Cafe Pesto, in Kawaihae near the cottage and also in Hilo, on the main street. Good pizza.
In Waimea, we liked the Thai restaurant in the strip mall across from the big supermarket, but there were many other good looking restaurants that we did not try. Heidi has a book of menus in the cottage.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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