A place to experience authentic Hawaiian Culture.
We travel a lot and it is not very often that we happen upon a resort or Inn that we genuinely look forward to writing about. For the record, this is not a sponsored post.
If you are looking for a Hawaiian beach resort this is not for you. If you want to immerse yourself in a small Hawaiian Inn with native Hawaiian hosts, this is a place you should consider. Kalaekilohana is not near a town. In fact it is set off the main road to south point on the big island of Hawaii. This is about as remote as you are going to get in Hawaii.
From the moment you drive into the front lawn of the beautiful Kalaekilohana Inn and are greeted by Kenny and Kilohana’s friendly wave, you realize that this place is special. Designed and built by the innkeepers, the facility is well thought out with lots of detail that takes a while to appreciate. There are many good reasons Kalaekilohana was named the #8 small hotel in America.
We owned a small resort for 20 years and know how much work it is to keep an Inn looking sharp and still have the time and energy to tend to your guests. Hospitality is an art. It is not something easily learned. Some people have a gift for knowing when to engage guests and when to give them space. Kenny and Kilohana have that gift in spades. When other guests arrived after us that day, Kenny would call out to the guests as they got out of their cars, “Welcome home!”
In the unedited video below Innkeeper/Chef Kenny talks about Kalaekilohana.
The Inn itself is small with only four units upstairs and a beautiful laundry space. The Inns design is inspired by the culture of Hawaii, and each room is large and uniquely designed with a lovely two tone color palette. Kenny & Kilohana designed and built the entire Inn starting in 2002 and finishing in 2005. It is a labor of love.
The bathrooms are beautifully laid out, decorated and appointed with everything you could possibly need. The shower in our room was huge and had ceiling rainfall shower heads. There are lots of nice touches in each unit like the USB charging station which was just what we needed with all of our computers and camera gear. Being well off the main road to south point, it is very quiet and restful at Kalaekilohana. Our room had a nice deck off the rear of the building that had a great view of the ocean in the distance. I took advantage of the setting one morning to get some much needed work done while taking in the scenery. This gallery of photo’s will give you a good idea of the gracious bedroom spaces the Inn gives it’s guests. This is definitely not a hotel, but a true and welcoming Hawaiian home.
One of my favorite spaces at Kalaekilohana was the wrap around porch or lanai, which had a great seating area to visit with the innkeepers or other guests. Of course the Hawaiian weather was perfect during our stay so we spent most of our time on the lanai chatting or dining with the other guests. My favorite feature on the lanai is the refrigerator which is nicknamed Rusty Jr. This refrigerator is always stocked full of all types of beverages so the guests can help themselves. Past guests send refrigerator magnets from their home towns to proudly display on Rusty Jr.
Being an Inn, Kalaekilohana stays include a fabulous breakfast. We found the food to be exceptional and chef Kenny will proudly explain how the food is locally sourced. The atmosphere could not be any better. Because of the remote location we opted to have dinner at the Inn during our stay. It turned out to be a great choice both for the culinary delights that were served, and the company we shared. During our stay we met a couple from Seattle and a couple from France and Australia who it turns out, manage a resort in Vanuatu.
The first floor contains the social spaces of the Inn where cooking, eating, music and conversation are the main elements of a good stay.
Another feature I (Laurie) found interesting were the creative feather arts on display in all the rooms, and a beautiful collection of leis. Kilohana shared some of his work, and explained the Hawaiian history and tradition behind the larger feather objects. Being a jeweler, I was fascinated by the textural beauty of the simple lei.
We hope this gives you a good sense of the Inn and it’s two gracious Innkeepers, Kenny & Kilohana. We highly recommend you look them up and make a point of staying at their authentic Hawaiian Inn.
Captain Dan’s tips for staying at Kalaekilohana: Stay at least two nights. There is so much to do in the area and you need time to unwind after a long day of sightseeing and this is the perfect place for that. Have your evening meal here as well. It is so quiet and peaceful and the food prepared with care by chef Kenny is outstanding. This is not a good place for children (see the policy section). There is no pool or hot tub. Do spend time with your hosts Kenny and Kilohana, they are a wealth of information. By the end of our stay we felt like the Innkeepers were old friends, we think you will too.