The hotel’s employees welcome guests with a genuine sense of pride in their property. // © 2015 Castle Resorts & Hotels
Feature image (above): Hilo Hawaiian Hotel is managed by Castle Resorts & Hotels. // © 2015 Castle Resorts & Hotels
When Linda Nako, sales manager for Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, talks about the property and its staff, she likens it to a small family.
“From managers to housekeepers, our employees really enjoy working here year after year,” Nako said. “We respect each other, and our guests can feel that.”
Most of Hilo Hawaiian’s managers hail from Hawaii, according to Nako. In fact, the hotel’s general manager, Daryle Kitamori, started working there as a busboy.
Managed by Castle Resorts & Hotels, the recently renovated property, which dates back to 1975, exudes a mellow mood.
“We’re perfect for people who want to be active during the day and then want a relaxing place to return to in the evening,” Nako said.
A solid three-star hotel, Hilo Hawaiian features updated accommodations with a comfortable island ambiance, from wood furnishings to carpeting with a subtle wave design. The 268 guestrooms also come with contemporary amenities such as 42-inch flat-screen televisions.
The hotel’s main restaurant, Queen’s Court, was renovated four years ago. Through its sweeping windows, today’s diners can savor panoramas of Hilo Bay and Mauna Kea volcano. A similar view awaits at the hotel’s more casual Waioli Lounge, a fun hangout for snacks, light meals, espresso drinks and cocktails.
Hilo Hawaiian’s surroundings add to the relaxed guest experience. Located on circular Banyan Drive, the hotel is within walking distance of lush gardens, historic banyan trees and Coconut Island, an ancient Hawaiian sanctuary accessed by a nearby pedestrian bridge.
The hotel’s laid-back hospitality is a perfect fit for its namesake town. While Hilo is Hawaii’s third-largest city, it’s a community with homespun appeal, Nako says.
“Hilo is a great place for interacting with locals, whether at our popular farmers’ market or in one of our unique shops and restaurants,” she said. “Our downtown is filled with diversity in a small area.”
Nako describes Hilo Hawaiian’s demographics as “mostly seniors and families, rather than people who want nightlife.” Adventurous travelers and what Nako calls “lifetime learners” enjoy its proximity to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, just a 45-minute drive away.
Other neighboring attractions include Imiloa, a center of Hawaiian astronomy and culture; Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, a 17-acre oasis with waterfalls, streams, ocean views and more than 2,000 plant species; and Panaewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens, with 12 acres of exotic flora and fauna.
When guests aren’t exploring the destination, they can swim in Hilo Hawaiian’s freshwater pool, play tennis or nine holes of golf or walk to nearby Onekahakaha Beach before planning the next day’s activities.
Travel agents can get a firsthand look at Hilo Hawaiian during fam trips with wholesalers and Big Island Visitors Bureau. The hotel also offers reduced rates to agents traveling on their own.