Hale Mar is, in deed, a beautiful house and lives up to the pictures you see. The house is clean, spacious and right at the ocean. We especially liked the bedroom, which overlooks the ocean and has a great bed and mattress; plus plenty of space to do yoga when it's raining. It's beautiful and very tasteful. The amenities are plenty, including an office and a printer. Good Wifi. Peaceful and quiet. You can see turtles in the ocean right by the property. Starry nights. Spacious.
The pool is also great. Just the right size to be able to swim laps and the hot tub is located nicely with an ocean view. Great to be outside during the day. At night, there were a lot of mosquitos so we ended up eating outside only once or twice. We liked the geckos a lot and did not mind the singing frogs at all.
Unfortunately, Hawaiian Paradise Park is far away from anything. It's about a 30 minute drive to HIlo (Hilo is a really nice town), 15 minutes to Pahoa (not as nice), and 20 minutes to the next yoga studio (Yoga Oasis by Pahoa), 15 minutes to the next store.
The ocean view houses at Hawaiian Paradise Park are all very nice but I am not so sure about the rest of the "park" where you'll find anything from houses that resemble containers and wooden boxes to your standard ranch style house. It's a bit of an odd place, all streets go straight from the main road to the ocean. You are looking at about 4 miles of a very straight road that goes up and down (think San Francisco) from the next bigger road to Hale Mar. It's a boring drive and we got tired of it quickly.
We had tons of rain, which is expected on the Hilo side, but we did not think that we would actually get bored sitting at Hale Mar, as there really is nothing to do apart from swimming and chilling. And we were already pretty chilled.
Cooking was a dubious pleasure as there is not a single sharp knife in the house. We ended up buying a knife. You can't drink the water so have to make sure you have purchased water there at all times, or it's back on the road.
The dishwasher did not clean properly, even after we bought rinse aid. For some reason, all cutlery had a strange smell when it came out of the drawers and we ended up washing everything off before using it. As we love cooking, this was quite inconvenient. I would definitely not call it a gourmet kitchen. We ended up getting take out a few times and going out for dinner...each time a minimum of a 20 minute to 30 minute drive...not what we like to do on vacation.
On the upside, you are fairly close to the volcano (40-45 minutes) which is a wonderful place to easily explore for two days. There are hikes, museums and galleries. Seeing the active crater is an amazing experience. We also flew over the volcano with a helicopter which I can highly recommend; especially if it is the only way to see active lava; as it was for us.
My husband and I had already stayed in Kailua-Kona for 3 weeks, where we rented a house and loved it 100%. It was our mistake to think we would like staying in the rainy area, so very remotely, for another 3 weeks, when really we missed the sun and being close to activities. I think we literally saw anything you can see in the Pune/Hilo area and enjoyed all of it tremendously (beaches, hikes, hidden spots, lava walks) but after 1.5 weeks we had seen it all. You also can't swim in the ocean anywhere close to the house.
We asked the owner if we could leave a week early, realizing that this was asked a lot, but as we had booked for so long and paid thousands of dollars, we were hoping for some willingness to cooperate; obviously expecting a loss on our end. We'd have been happy to be offered to leave just a few days early and get our money back. But the owners declined. Which they had all right to. We ended up booking ourselves into a hotel on the Kona side for 3 nights, just to get out and see some sun; and get access to a swimable beach.
I think that if you only stayed for a week or two, and your plan is to hang around the house and garden to just chill, Hale Mar is a wonderful place. If you want it as your base to see the area, it's too remote for my taste (as I live in California and have a long commute, so don't want this on my vacation).
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