Fodor's Expert Review Hilo Hawaiian Hotel

71 Banyan Dr., Hilo, Hawaii, 96720, USA See on Map

This landmark hotel has large bay-front rooms offering spectacular views of Mauna Kea and Coconut Island on Hilo Bay. Street-side rooms overlook the golf course. Most accommodations have private lanai, and revamped kitchenettes are available in the Banyan and Ocean suites. Custom-made furniture in every room evokes a feeling of Hawaiiana. More bay views are on tap in the Queen's Court dining room, while at the Waioli Lounge & Cafe, you can get a grab-and-go lunch or enjoy cocktails and appetizers. Free Wi-Fi access is available in the lobby.

YOU SHOULD KNOW The price difference between the Standard room and the Deluxe Ocean View room is only $30, and guaranteeing a view of Hilo Bay and the east Hawaii sunrises is definitely worth the upgrade.


A recent update to the hotel ensures that guests are surrounded by new carpets, linens, and furniture. Décor is warm and not fussy and most rooms have a private lanai and some have bay views. Rooms range from standard to one bedroom suites and all have a refrigerator in the room and air conditioning.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Ask for a room away from the garden if you’re a light sleeper – there are a ton of loud frogs in the garden areas that can make it tough to sleep.


The bathrooms have also recently received a makeover to give them a more luxurious feel.


The partially open-air lobby is really laid back with cozy tropical furniture throughout. It’s an expansive space that allows for and encourages guest lounging and meeting to begin the day’s activities.


The swimming pool is basically just a pool surrounded by lounge chairs and concrete – it would seem fairly uninviting if it didn’t have a lovely bay view.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Though you may see some locals playing in the water near coconut island, we recommend sticking to the beaches that stretch south along the shoreline.


The Queen’s Court Restaurant has also been newly renovated to help accentuate the beautiful bay views that come with floor to ceiling windows. There you’ll find a daily breakfast buffet and a la carte menu, seafood and brunch buffets on the weekends, and an a la carte dinner menu served Monday through Friday. Find a small lunch menu at Wai’oli Lounge from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. They also serve a little bit more extensive menu for dinner.


Wai’oli Lounge is your specialty cocktail spot inside the hotel, where you’ll find happy hour with beloved local musician Lito Arkangel every Thursday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. There’s also beer, wine, and more local live music on Friday and Saturday evening.


Getting Around

To get to and from your hotel, a rideshare or cab from the hotel will do, but you’ll need a car to explore the island.


For a laid back, but a bit dressier dinner that features local flavors and a great sushi menu walk to Hilo Bay Café (8-minute walk) along the winding paths of Queen Liliuokalani Gardens. Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill (7-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.


There aren’t many places on the east side of the island that will give you that sit by the ocean with an umbrella drink in your hand vibe, but Hula Hula’s (2-minute walk) inside the Grand Naniloa Hotel is definitely one of them. For cocktails made with fresh, local ingredients, stop by Pineapple’s (6-minute drive) for pupus on their patio. Yes, they even have a cocktail served to you INSIDE a pineapple.


This moderately priced hotel with great views is in a prime location in town with restaurants in all price ranges within walking distance. The recent renovations also help to make this one of the nicer hotels in the Hilo area.


Near the beach


Phones: 808-935–9361;800-272–5275-interisland;800-367–5004-from mainland

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