My base-camp while staying on the Hilo side of the Big Island was the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. Hilo is the working side of the island, driven by small businesses, a lot of them started by vets after World War II. There are three main streets downtown and 500 businesses! The Hilo Hawaiian Hotel may not be a fancy resort, but it is perfectly suited for what is important in Hilo…family, humbleness, service.
The hotel is the primary hotel used by anyone using Hilo as the center of their activities. And that is actually a lot of people. Particularly all the adventure junkies – hikers, bikers, photographers, you name it, Hilo is where the die-hard outdoor enthusiasts meet. And the hotel offers a clean, comfortable spot to sleep after a long’s day of adventuring. The hotel is centrally located and you can’t beat the view – it’s either this gorgeous waterside view (like I had) or a view of the gorgeous Lili‘uokalani Park And Gardens with the banyan trees that line the road.
My first morning at the hotel I had the pleasure of having breakfast with the hotel’s sales director. As with all my other “meetings” with anyone in Hawaii, it was liking catching up with a long lost friend – everyone is so warm and inviting, you feel like you have known them forever!
Along with the incredible company I had an incredible meal, the Mauna Kea Sunrise made up of Portuguese sausage (like my grandparents used to make!) poached eggs (you got my number!) and a light, bright and delicious lillikoi hollandaise sauce. I ate every single bite!
The hotel’s restaurant is well known for their buffets and on the weekend’s there are as many locals as guests. That is always a good sign!
In addition, walking distance from the hotel is the Hilo Bay Cafe, an absolute gem. I had a sumptuous sushi dinner there, including a Hamakua mushroom poke in an absolutely spectacular dining room and sushi bar.
My stay was quiet, I really enjoyed taking in the sunset from my room, there really is nothing like an island sunset!
If you are staying on the Hilo side of the Big Island, I definitely recommend checking out Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.
How about you? Have you been to Hilo before? What was your favorite part?
My visit to Hawaii was courtesy of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. As always, all opinions are my own.
You can also view more of my trip to the Big Island in my Big Island of Hawaii for Foodies Wanderlist on AFAR. I am also playing around with TagBoard, you can see all my Instagram photos together in one spot on my #MWAinHawaii board.