Hawaii Island Retreat
What We Love
- Meals and body care products made from organic fruits and veggies grown on-site
- Spa treatments grounded in Hawaiian healing traditions
- The property’s intimate size and homey feel
- A dedication to sustainability that's evident in every detail
What To Know
- Definitely for those who want to disconnect; this is an early-to-bed type of place and rooms are TV and phone-free
- You’ll need a car to reach restaurants and attractions
- Nature is the star of the show
- A $28 resort fee, per night, will be collected at the Jetsetter checkout
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
The 16-room, eco-friendly Hawaii Island Retreat is off the beaten path — literally. Visitors have to drive down an unpaved road to reach the hideaway. But the payoff? Fifty acres of lush gardens and groves perched above a rocky cove that was once a favored stomping ground of King Kamehameha, Hawaii’s most famous ruler. The nine individually decorated rooms — decked out with sustainably harvested tiger wood, tropical prints and colonial-style furniture — are housed in the retreat’s bilevel main villa.
Bed & Bath
Rooms are designed to help guests embrace a green lifestyle. Open plans provide natural ventilation (no AC needed), low-flow toilets and showers conserve water and the resort runs solely on wind and solar power. Rooms have balconies or gardens with views of the ocean, valley or the lush estate, bringing you even closer to nature. The decor helps reorient your focus on the stunning surroundings.
The Retreat’s 50-acre estate doubles as a working farm, and much of what’s grown is used in the kitchen and spa. (Lotions are made from goat milk, exfoliants include kukui nuts and sunburn-soothers feature fresh-cut aloe vera.) Days here are meant to be spent among nature, with hikes past ancient rock formations, yoga classes at the ocean-view pavilion and spa services grounded in traditional healing techniques and ingredients, including one of the most authentic lomilomi experiences in Hawaii. Or you can help the gardener harvest vegetables for morning frittatas, learn how to make yogurt from the farm’s goat milk and take healthy-cooking classes. Afterwards, unwind with a dip in the saltwater infinity pool.
In the Area
The North Kohala region might be one of the Big Island’s sleepier districts, but it’s home to some of its most stunning scenery and important cultural sites. Cut out of the Kohala Mountain, the Pololu Valley is a verdant stretch of ocean-view land. Hike one of the steep paths down to the valley’s mouth, which is capped by a lovely black sand beach. Hawaii’s famed King Kamehameha was born in the Kohala region, and you can hike to his birthplace, which is located near the ruins of the Mookini Heiau, a sacred religious site dating back to 480 A.D. The charming town of Hawi is also worth a visit for its eclectic art galleries and cutesy cafés.
How to Get There
This is a lovely property in a beautiful location. The amenities and facility are first rate, but for reasons I’ll describe below, it was not the right place for us and we cut our stay here short.
We had made a reservation for 5 nights under the impression that, while it would be on the quiet side, there would be other guests to interact with, workshops or classes to attend, and an on-demand restaurant to dine in. These expectations were not realized. When we arrived we were informed that we were the only guests registered that night and that only one other couple was registered during our stay.
After much consideration we decided that the unexpected solitude was not for us and decided to leave after one night. The owner told us that the property is meant to be a quiet place and that even if there had been other guests it would not have been a social environment. She suggested that we had false expectations. That may in fact have been true, but there is a big difference between a place that has a quiet “vibe" with other people around versus being one of two couples on a large property where you might not see another guest for days. After some negotiation, the owner agreed to only charge us for a two night minimum stay instead of the 5 nights we had booked.
Our expectations were wrong about this property. The other couple told us they loved the idea of being the only ones there. It seems that a lot of the bookings at his property come from groups and we can see how this would be a wonderful spot for a group event. But still, we feel it is incumbent on a resort to inform you that you may be the only ones staying there, especially when it is in such a remote location. Also, don’t expect meals, classes or activities to be available spontaneously. It seems that everything has to be booked and arranged ahead of time.
Horrendous and disappointing.
We rented the entire facility for 4 days of events including my daughter’s wedding for 130 people. Let me start by saying that the proprietor here (Jeanne) went a long way towards RUINING the entire process for my wife and I. Her (in my opinion, phony) aloha spirit when you meet her is quickly replaced by a very inhospitable and bordering on rude attitude for the rest of the process preparing and executing the rehearsal, wedding day, and post-wedding day brunch. In my opinion, she did not demonstrate the skills of a person in hospitality. The ONLY THING that saved the weekend was our wedding planner and the fact that the grounds are picturesque.
I want to be very accurate in my appraisal of the weekend. The food that was provided for breakfast in the morning and the brunch was good. We had the wedding food catered by another company. The grounds are beautiful. The rooms were fine but very warm due to the lack of A/C so it made getting ready for a wedding difficult since we were all sweating profusely by the time of the events. Our bungalow was filthy in places, bugs everywhere.
The real problem was the lead-up for months to the events. I’m not sure what we would have done without our wedding planner (Hannah) who literally saved the day. The owner was so incredibly uncooperative...it was hard to fathom. On multiple occasions she told us things that she did not follow through on or downright lied. Some examples: She sent us a diagram of the grounds which included a space for tent erection that she had listed as 100 feet wide...in truth it was less than 25 feet wide. When we originally toured the facility, she told us we could use the “yoga room” for a variety of uses including a “back up” if it were to rain...then she reneged on that promise. (The yoga room, which is one of the better spaces in the facility, had drapes up the entire weekend even though we rented the whole facility). The selection of the beer and wine from long distance became an ongoing ridiculous process whereby the owner INSISTED that I provide her the wines that I wanted and she would see if she could get them... why not provide a list for me to choose from that she has available you ask?? God only knows. After $300 of wine purchases and multiple trips to my local wine store to try to select wines that she MIGHT have...the process became almost unbearable when she said to me on the phone, “look if you don’t want beer and wine at this wedding, it’s ok with me”. Really?? She insisted that she was going to “pass through” the wine and beer at her cost but then refused to show me the invoice of what her cost was...and that she was including “fees” but would not tell me what those fees represented.
I have been involved in countless large and small events in my career. I have been involved in bringing hundreds of people to destination-events in the past. NEVER have I run into someone who literally put hurdles up at every turn to make things more difficult. In spite of this woman, we were able to have a nice event due to the picturesque grounds and OUR diligence. Good luck to anyone who chooses this facility.
Hawaii Island Retreat was a beautiful relaxing destination. I was there for a retreat and the food that was served was beyond amazing. Fresh, clean, and healthy every meal. They even make their own honey. :) It is off the main road, and all you hear at night are the waves crashing on the shore. It was clean and the staff were freindly.