Hawaii's oldest hotel—and the only one in Volcanoes National Park—is committed to sustainable practices and promoting local Hawaiian culture and history through its locally sourced restaurants, artisan-crafted decor, and eco-focused guest programs. First built in 1846, Volcano House overlooks the Halemaumau Crater at the summit of Kilauea, boasting what's considered Hawaii's most unique hotel location. Guest rooms have simple, rustic-chic decor, rain forest or volcano views, and free Wi-Fi. The main lodge also houses the panoramic The Rim restaurant and adjacent Uncle George's Lounge. The main attraction, though, is exploring the rain forests, lavascapes, and diverse ecosystems of the park, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve.
Rooms inside this uniquely located hotel are rustic and brigh. Room options in their 33 rooms include rooms with views of the caldera, views of the park plants, some rooms with private lanais. Everything is simple and straightforward, made for basic comfort after a long day of hiking. You’re paying to sleep in a really awesome location with this hotel.
In addition to the hotel rooms, guests can go three miles further into the park to Namakanipaio Campground and rent a cabin, a tent setup, or just a campsite within a beautiful eucalyptus grove.
If you love camping, the Rent a Tent camping option through Volcano House is a really great choice. The price is great ($65/day) and includes set up and take down, an 8 inch memory foam mattress with hotel linens, lantern, cooler, and two camping chairs. Enjoy camping in a unique environment without having to pack all of your gear on the plane.
Bathrooms are very standard, no frills, with shower needs in reusable containers
The reception desk is simple and no nonsense, with a quick and easy check in.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There are no TVs in the rooms to help encourage guests to enjoy the natural beauty of this space. If you really need an entertainment fix, you can check out an iPad at the front desk.
On-site dining can be found at Rim, a favorite among visitors and locals. The restaurant serves breakfast (a buffet), lunch, and dinner with intermissions between each. The big dinner draw at this restaurant is the incredible view of the volcano glow. Try to get to dinner right before sunset, with plenty of time to see it in the dark – and be sure to make a reservation. If you’re a fan of fish, the local catch specials are almost always impeccably cooked and sauced.
There is also an in-room dining option that allows guests to order specialty pizzas and juices that lasts from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
There are two very nice gift shops in the hotel/restaurant. You may not want to do all of your souvenir shopping here, but there are plenty of nice items for special people (and yourself).
Uncle George’s Lounge in the hotel has a selection of beers, wine by the glass (including local options), and signature cocktails. Guests can watch sports on the small lounge’s television and enjoy light bites. The lounge is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
You will need a car to explore Volcano and the rest of the island, unless you are planning to exclusively visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In that case, a pricey cab or ride share ride to and from Hilo airport would probably be less expensive than renting a car.
Kilauea Lodge Restaurant (5-minute drive) is a great choice for a higher end, full course meal. The cocktails and wine menu have a little something for everyone, and their European-inspired fare will have you ready for a relaxing evening. A great spot for grab and go breakfast or lunch is Eagles Lighthouse Café (5-minute drive) for both standard lighter fare and more Hawaiian leaning dishes like a fried rice breakfast bowl.
Go to Lava Lounge at the Kilauea Military Camp (4-minute drive) for no nonsense cocktails at great prices, as well as occasional live music. For a little more upbeat, but still laid back night life with live music, mostly Kona Brewery beers on tap and a standard bar full of liquor, Hilo Town Tavern (45-minute drive) is your best bet for rubbing elbows with locals at this semi-dive bar that has live music, sports on a few screens, and a couple of pool tables.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Though not a posh hotel, this accommodation has you sleeping within viewing distance of an active volcano. That kind of opportunity just doesn’t come around that often.