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Fodor's Expert Review Grand Naniloa

93 Banyan Dr, Hilo, HI 96720 See on Map

The former historic Hilo Naniloa Hotel received a $30 million renovation recently and is now the Grand Naniloa Doubletree by Hilton. Its 320 guest rooms and suites are sleek, chic, and most offer lovely views of Hilo Bay and/or Mauna Kea. The hotel has a hula theme that runs throughout, and it offers many of the amenities you’d expect at a Doubletree hotel. Highlights include a restaurant and bar loved by locals and visitors, live music on the weekends, live hula on Mondays, and one of the best music venues on the entire island. A partnership with Kapohokine Adventures also ensures that guests have easy access to planning their perfect Big Island adventure outings.

The price between an ocean view room and the junior suite is typically not much (it depends on the time you’re booking), and you get a lot more room. If you want the view, go ahead and spring for the larger room if you can – you’ll get almost double the amount of space.

room

Basic rooms are fairly small, ranging from 298 to 369 sq ft, but then double in size to 742 sq ft for the junior suite, but the décor is very stylish and sleek. Rooms vary by the different types of views that they offer, including ocean and bay views.

YOU SHOULD KNOW The air conditioning in the room can be very loud, which might be an issue if you’re a light sleeper.

bathroom

Bathrooms vary based on the room, with some featuring tub/shower combos.

lobby

Vibrant and chic, with large, architectural art pieces, bay views, and comfy furniture, this lobby area encourages lounging, as does the Hula Lounge Lobby Bar.

pool

The pool isn’t particularly large, but the views of the bay from the pool are nice, and it’s right next to the bar, so that’s always helpful.

gym

The gym includes a variety of equipment in a large space with beautiful bay views.

dining

Find creative-casual fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Hula Hulas, and enjoy beautiful bay views as you arrive. Order the whole oven roasted fish (locally caught, of course) if you want to turn heads at dinner, but the whole menu is filled with unique dishes that highlight local flavors, including a gnocchi made with purple sweet potatoes.

drinking

The bar at Hula Hula’s is beautiful, set within but a bit separate from the restaurant with a variety of seating including high tops, poolside, and a lounge corner. Happy hour runs from 2 to 6 p.m. – be sure to try the deviled eggs when you check out the pupu menu, and stop by for some live music to go along with your cocktails. In addition to the restaurant bar, the Hula Lounge Lobby Bar is open from 5 to 10 p.m. daily

LOCATION

Getting Around

The hotel is easily accessible from the airport via ride share or cab, but you’ll need a car to get around the island.

Restaurants

Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill (8-minute drive) is a fun, higher end restaurant set inside a former bank (the old vault is still there) with seafood specialties, Hawaiian favorites, and an excellent happy hour. You’ll find a laid back, but dressier dinner that features local flavors and a great sushi menu at Hilo Bay Café (10-minute walk), overlooking the ocean.

Bars

Find a seat on the patio at Pineapple’s (7-minute drive) for nice cocktails made with fresh, local ingredients. Yes, they even have a cocktail served to you INSIDE a pineapple. Coqui’s Hideaway (3-minute drive) has a fun sports bar that hosts live music, free pupus during happy hour, and a game room.

WHY WE LIKE IT

There aren’t many options for higher end hotels on the east side of the island, and Grand Naniloa is one of the nicest places you’ll find outside of a boutique hotel or B&B. The bay views are nice, the décor is chic, and the bar and restaurant are fantastic.

QUICK FACTS

HOTEL INFO

Phones: (808) 969-3333

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