As a solo traveler I look for smaller, intimate places to stay. I feel lost in big resorts and quite frankly it’s just not my style. I was combing the internet in search of a small, local place to stay near Waimea on the Big Island and I came across Annette at the Aloha Vacation Cottages. I contacted her about availability and to learn more about the cottages to see if they would be right for a solo traveler. Annette and I immediately bonded over worldly travel and expat living. She was an avid traveler and expat for her career in Europe, however a medical scare made her re-evaluate life and landed her in Hawaii based solely on an instinct to follow her passion. Clearly you can see why we would get along!
As I pulled up to the Aloha Vacation Cottages in South Kohala in my rental car, there was Annette waiting for me to arrive. After speaking to her extensively on the phone to set up my reservation, I felt as if I knew her. I got out of the car and gave her a big hug as if she were an old friend. She introduced me to my new ‘home’ at Hale Kea Cottage, showed me around, and then we sat in the kitchen and chatted for the next hour about travel, careers, taking chances in life, and about the Big Island. She had a passion for the Big Island and her home that was delightful to see.
I only stayed 2 nights at Aloha Vacation Cottages, but it was a very memorable 2 nights, and when I left I knew I would be back again one day for a much longer stay. It was a place you could easily call home.
The cottages were nicely located for travel around the North side of the island. They are nestled in a neighborhood far from the big commercial resorts. From the cottages, you could easily reach the gorgeous public beaches of the Kohala Coast within 15 minutes, the ranchlands of Waimea, and the stunning views and hiking in Waipio Valley. Annette will send you detailed instructions on how to get to the cottages and will be there to welcome you!
Annette has maps and info at the house on how to get around the island and information on the nearby attractions and hidden beaches.
Rooms and Amenities:
Aloha Vacation Cottages consist of 2 separate cottages – Hale Kea and Hale Plumeria. Each have separate entrances and driveways. I stayed at the Hale Kea cottage; it was quite large and slept 4. It had everything one would need for a long term, comfortable stay; kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom with laundry, a patio, grill, and parking.
However, what made the cottage stand out above any other I have ever stayed in was the all of the extra amenities. I was so surprised to find all condiments, fresh fruit, and even food for a dinner (spaghetti) in the cupboard! Everything you needed for the beach was also provided – towels, beach hats, chairs, mats, boogie boards, and snorkel gear.
In addition, she offers a free laptop and wifi for you to use, a bathrobe and slippers, a cooler for the beach and ice pack, and even sun screen.
You could easily tell the love that was put into the cottages. I was especially impressed with the amount of information provided on Hawaii. Don’t bother with a guide book as Annette will have all the info and maps you would ever need; maps and pictures of beaches and other sites.
Plus I really appreciated the notes left all over the cottage with instructions. Little notes on the beach towels informing me to not use the bathroom towels at the beach. Or a note about using the ice for the cooler or how to use the cable box and the washer/dryer. I found the notes endearing and clearly a sign that a lot of love and work was put into all of the details of the cottage and your stay there.
She even had a quilt project for those who liked to sew. A quilt square was started with a traditional Hawaii design and she allowed guests to contribute by quilting on the square. Even though I don’t sew, I love the idea of the traveler’s quilt project.
Hale Plumeria – from $125/night + tax (double occupancy) – seasonal / 13.25% tax
Hale Kea – from $160/night + tax (double occupancy) – seasonal / 13.25% tax
Would I recommend it:
If you want a central place to stay in the North of the Big Island that feels like ‘home’, then I recommend Aloha Vacation Cottages. The price was competitive and you get an abundance of extra amenities that make it really stand out. It is clearly evident all of the work and thought they’ve put into the cottages. I just wish I had more time to spend there. I greatly appreciated all of the information provided about the nearby attractions and island. Plus – stocked cupboards = BLISS!
This was a quality place to stay with owners who were amazing hosts.
“Hawaii is about warmth on different levels: it starts with the first “Aloha” you are greeted with upon landing. The ground beneath you is warm. The sun is warm. The ocean’s warmth is inviting. The people are special. Hawaii offered me a warm, soft place to land when I first arrived. It’s what draws people here and brings them back. It’s what makes it easy for me to call home. It’s infectious. Be aware. Hawaii is now your “home away from home”– Annette
Aloha Vacation Cottages Website: www.alohacottages.net
Hale Kea Cottage
Hale Plumeria Cottage
Inquire about Availability: www.alohacottages.net/Order.html
Disclosure: Aloha Vacation Cottages hosted my stay with them. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own – as you know how I love to speak my mind!
By Single Travel Trips January 12, 2012 - 1:21 pm
Thanks for the great info about Aloha Vacation Cottages. We take a group of solo travelers to the Big Island every year and we always have a great time. The Big Island is fascinating and the people there are so charming! We stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Kohala Coast, which is pretty close to where you stayed.
By Sherry January 23, 2012 - 2:07 am
You should definitely check them out – it’s not a resort – but it’s better!
By Brock - Backpack With Brock January 23, 2012 - 1:40 pm
The traveler’s quilt is such a unique idea! It’s a great way to make your mark on what might be just a roof and a bed otherwise.