The Palms Cliff House Inn was built in 2000 and stands as a new landmark on the lush and vibrant east side of the Big Island of Hawaii.
The Inn overlooks Pohakumanu Bay. In Hawaiian, pohaku literally means rocks and manu means bird. The Koa'e Kea bird (also known as the White-tailed Tropic bird) which is almost all white with long graceful white streaming tail feathers, frequently seen over the bay soaring high, gliding in the trade winds looking for small fish to feed on. The Koa'e Kea are nests in the crevices of the surrounding rocky cliffs. Therefore, the name of the bay, Pohaku (rock), Manu (bird) refers to the Koa'e Kea that nest in the rock cliffs. Our location is the first area north of Hilo that has cliffs sutible for the birds to nest. When you enter the Inn, look to each side of the main doors. The White and black Kahili that stand guard at the entrance represent the Koa'e Kea of Pohakumanu Bay.
When we found this home in 1999 we fell in love with it right away. Can you believe it had been on the market for almost 4 months with no interest?
We felt that it would be a great location for us to realize our dream of operating an Inn. We spent the first year getting permits and building the guest wing. We opened our doors August 11, 2001 with the full support of our community and local government. The economy was pretty rough in 2001 and we were heralded for "taking a chance" on East Hawaii. That was three weeks before 9/11.
We woke that terrible morning with a phone call from our kids school principal telling us not to send the children to school, martial law had been declared in the state, all airports and harbors were closed and that the mainland was under a terrorist attract. We turned on the news just in time to see the towers fall. You see, with the time difference (six hours from the east coast) much of what happened that first day had already occurred.
As Inn keepers we dreaded our first terrible duty of waking guests with the news.
Living in a state that literally gets everything by boat or plane became a challenge those next 9 months. That's how long it took for people in general to become comfortable with traveling again and to renew visits to our fair state. It was a rough time, but we made it. I believe that was when we realized that we were in this for the "long haul" and that we were not just a fair weather business.
Needless to say, each day since has been a blessing. The longer we live here the more entrenched we become in our life here. John has experienced some truly remarkable things, having been on the sea trials for the Hokualaka'i - the Big Island's double hulled canoe, he sailed around South Point, and when he turned 50 he climbed to the summit of Mauna Kea - on foot!
Me, I have become immersed in the Hawaiian Culture, having learned (and continue to learn) at the side of some truly treasured Hawaiian Kapuna (elders). Auntie Nona Beamer embraced my willingness to learn and shared countless stories, memories, mele, and hula with me. I learned my Hawaiian feather-work from Mary Lou Kekuewa and her daughter Paulette Kahalepuna. I continued to study with Paulette after her mother passed. Sadly, Paulette has now passed too, but I am confident in the skills they taught me and the way in which they taught me to teach others to carry on their tradition.
We have many cultures to celebrate here on the Big Island of Hawaii. Summer is Bon Season, and if you are here, I hope you will join us at one of the many Bon dances held in the area. No need to dress up or know the dance steps. Come enjoy the community, good food, and fun atmosphere.
Our Inn allows us the opportunity to give back to our community as well. Sometimes we may be away from the Inn participating in or working for a laocal charitable event. Thankfully, our fantastic staff affords us that luxury. We give generously financiallyas well. Ours is not a wealthy Island, as such we recognize our responsibility ot give money as well as time, and are truly thankful that our guests are the ones who allow us to give so generously. We support the following organizations on an annual basis: Halau Na Pua O Kukui, Hospice of Hilo, Zonta of Hilo, Boys & Girls Club of Hilo, Big Island Volkswagen Club, Women's Express Networking Org., Big Island MS Charity Walk.
I still wake each morning and "pinch" myself to see if I am dreaming. Don't get me wrong, it is a lot of work. When guests comment on how young John and I are to have "retired" to the life of innkeepers, I just smile, knowing that my days are the longest I have ever worked at a job (5:00 am to 10:00pm - Really) but I would not change a thing! It is a dream come true, and I'd love to share it with you. So, won't you come for a visit?
We are thrilled to be celebrating the 16th Anniversary of The Palms Cliff House Inn. To celebrate (and to help stimulate the local economy) we have just finished an $80,000 renovation. We are proud to say that all the work was done by local small businesses, and they did a wonderful job of remodeling and refreshing the inn. Wont you come to see for yourself and join us for a special getaway.