Luxury Bed and Breakfast Inns on Hawaii, the Big Island

Luxury baby boomer travelers are becoming more and more drawn to Bed & Breakfast Inns when they make their vacation plans.

In a recent communique from our friends at, we were told that there isn’t much industry data to substantiate my  claim, but that in a recent survey of B&B travelers, almost a third (29%) stayed in more B&Bs in 2011 than the year before.

However, as frequent guests in luxury Bed & Breakfast Inns, and having the opportunity to speak with other B&B travelers, we’re finding that as the availability and quality of the B&B product rises, so too is the B&B market share of the luxury traveling market.

During our most recent trip to Hawaii, the Big Island, we decided that we would spend the entirety of our trip in luxury Bed and Breakfast Inns.

We had a marvelous time, met some great people from all over the world, and have four properties that we want to share with you.

Our Luxury Bed & Breakfast Inn Picks on Hawaii, the Big Island

Note: properties are listed in alphabetical order.

Holualoa Inn

The Holualoa Inn is located in the heart of the Kona Coffee Belt and is nestled on the slopes of Mount Hualalai with dramatic long-range ocean views.

This Bed & Breakfast Inn sits on 30 lush acres, is home to a private estate coffee plantation, offers its guests paths to stroll through beautifully manicured tropical flower gardens, and where you’ll also find ginger, papaya, avocado, and pineapple.

Upon our arrival, a friendly sign asked us to remove our shoes, and we stepped into a stunningly beautiful plantation-style mansion with indigenous eucalyptus floors, a woven Lauhala matted ceiling, and wood-paneled walls.  Further, massive open sliders allowed the gentle ocean breezes to caress our faces, as long-range views of Kona, 1500 feet below, took our breathe away.

We spent two nights in the flagship Gardenia Suite.  The attention to every detail was present, and with the cool ocean breezes circulating through the room at night, I think we just might have had the best night’s sleep in our lives.  Even as I write this, I feel a longing for that extremely comfortable bed.

Another wonderful feature of our room was a spacious seating area with a couch and rocking chair where we enjoyed a bottle of wine and watched the sun set into the distant Pacific, all while a cool ocean breeze moved about the room.  Ahhhhh!

To further add to our enjoyment, breakfast at Holualoa Inn is a very special treat.  When we walked downstairs, the lumi ‘aina (dining room) was beautifully set, and we enjoyed fabulous cuisine from the on-site chef as we visited around the table with other travelers from all over the world.  Great fun!

The Palms Cliff House Inn

The Palms Cliff House Inn features four luxury suites, and four beautiful rooms that are all designed to be a couples retreat.  All rooms have king sized beds, while the suites enjoy in-room two-person whirlpool tubs, over-sized marble showers, and a gas fireplace.

Further, all eight of the rooms offer a private deck and sit 40 feet from the cliff facing the ocean and Pohakumanu Bay.

As we turned into the property, and drove down the palm-tree-lined drive, first impressions were very high as the white Victorian inn, sitting an easy stones-throw from the ocean, came into view.

After checking into our room, we found ourselves comfortably seated on our deck, spellbound by the sights and sounds of the ocean.  There were roosters crowing, waves crashing, humpback whales blowing in the distance, frogs croaking, and a delicious ocean breeze to wrap the whole package up in a bow.  Simply heaven!

With its easterly view, you will want to get up to enjoy the sunrise before you head down to breakfast.  And speaking of breakfast, you’ll be enjoying items like Apple-Banana Pancakes, Taro Bread French Toast, Mango Dutch Bake, or perhaps a wonderful Quiche along with fresh island fruits, and great Kona Coffee while watching the morning breaking into view.  Wow!

This was our second visit to The Palms Cliff House.  We can assure that you’ll have a magical visit, and that you will walk away with the owners, John and Michele Gamble, as new friends.

Shipman House Bed & Breakfast Inn

Located just a mile from Hilo, perched atop a hill on Reed’s Island, Shipman House Bed & Breakfast Inn is Hawaii Island’s only authentic historic B&B.

Here, your host is a descendant of the original Shipman family, and you are certain to delight as you make this mansion your home for a few days, just as the monarchs of Old Hawaii did many years ago.

The home is full of period-pieces that beget the grandeur of an age gone by, but yet offers all the modern conveniences that today’s luxury travelers have come to expect.

If you fancy yourself a piano player, a 1912 Steinway Parlour Grand B lies waiting, and you can join  Queen Lili`uokalani and many others who have tickled its ivories.

We spent two nights in Auntie Clara’s Shell Room where we enjoyed ocean views of Hilo Bay as well as the early morning sunrise.

As is quite common with a luxury B&B, breakfast was out of this world.

We noshed on exotic fruits from the property, poi muffins slathered in lilikoi jam (oh, you haven’t lived until you’ve had lilikoi jam), Kona coffee, and a host of other traditional breakfast delights.

While all of this was quite remarkable, perhaps the highlight of my stay was watching Carol take her very first Hula dancing lessons on the glass-enclosed lanai.  Oh, we also loved the rocking chairs on the grand front porch!


Waianuhea (cool, soft fragrance, as of upland forests) is a B&B Inn set in a remote setting, 2,500 feet above the Hamakua coast, on the slopes Mauna Kea.

As a side note, our GPS completely let us down in our attempt to get to this property.  Make certain that you have the written instructions from the folks at Waianuhea, or you’ll wind up driving the backwoods of Hawaii Island for a few hours, like we did.  ACK!

This property is distinctive from the others in that it is totally off the grid.  Electricity  is solar generated, Internet and TV programs are beamed from satellites, while the water comes from the ample supplies of the surrounding rainforest.

When you make your reservations, you’ll want to request the Malamalama room.  This king junior suite is the largest in the main house, features a cherry sleigh bed, the owners favorite armchair, and a twin-sleeper sofa.

The bath features a large soaking tub, and the views from this room include the lily pond, the top of Mauna Kea, and on a clear day the beautiful blue Pacific ocean.  To further add romance to the room, we also enjoyed a gas fireplace.

When considering your dinner plans, we highly recommend that you stay on-property to enjoy the optional 4-course gourmet meal prepared by an on-site chef.  We did, and it was fabulous!

In the morning, we enjoyed a wonderful hot gourmet breakfast as we gazed out the window to witness a fresh blanket of snow atop Mauna Kea.  As we have often found the case, by the end of our meal, we and our breakfast companions had formed a large circle as we all shared travel stories for nearly an hour!  Big fun!

Google Map to Hawaii Island’s Luxury Bed & Breakfast Inns

While location may ultimately drive your decision as to which of these B&Bs you might visit, we are very confident that you would enjoy a stay in any of them.

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