HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
A Suite Deal
A unique condominium in Hilo is coming up for sale, and in the interests of full disclosure you should know that it’s not only my listing but my own. It’s the pied-à-terre that I use when I want to stay overnight in Hilo, rather than drive home sixty miles to Waimea.
It was built in the early 1970s as the “honeymoon suite” of a Polynesian-style resort hotel: a low-rise complex of two- and three-story buildings, nestled within a group of little ponds, close to where the Wailoa River meets Hilo Bay. Every room boasts a wide lanai, and faces either the swimming pool, a landscaped pond, or a view of Mauna Kea. Travel writers liked the location, which is only a few minutes’ drive from downtown Hilo in one direction and a nine-hole golf course in another. They were delighted, too, by its tropical landscaping that flowed smoothly into Hilo’s biggest park, which is right next door. But as a hotel it did not succeed financially, because it had to compete with much larger, self-contained resorts on the other side of the island.
So the hotel underwent a condo-conversion in the 1990s, and – now called Waiakea Villas – it has been a popular residence address ever since. The original rooms are now studios or one-bedroom apartments, the largest being my two-story honeymoon suite, which has one big bedroom and one-and-a-half baths.
What you notice first are the cathedral ceilings and the double-height windows that frame a grove of mature palm trees. The main floor has a full kitchen open to the dining area across a breakfast-bar, and a wide lanai that overlooks one of the larger ponds, lively with colorful koi fish and water fowl.
The living area has plenty of room for entertaining, and I’ve kept the original furniture because the wide chairs and sofa are so comfortable: they fairly cry out to be sprawled upon. But lest you think this is an old-fashioned place, cable TV and wi-fi connections bring the apartment into the 21st century.
Upstairs, overlooking the living room, the bedroom is also big. Even with its king-size bed, there’s plenty of sitting-room space, plus a second wide lanai.
The master bath has a shower and tub, of course, but its best feature, certainly for honeymooners (or second-honeymooners!) is a Japanese-style hot-tub for soaking in, called a furo.
At 937 square feet, this condominium is big enough to be a full-time residence; but because the condo has hotel/resort zoning, the owner can legally rent it out to long-term or short-term vacationers. The asking price is $175,000; and the monthly homeowners’ fee of $906 covers the common-area maintenance, the basic utilities – electricity, water and gas – and the use of the pool. There’s a coin-op laundry in the building, and plenty of free parking.
There aren’t many townhouse-style condominiums in Hilo, and none that are so convenient. So if you’d like to know more about this one, let me know, and I’ll send you the full specs.
Click here for the virtual tour: