Awards and Accolades


Hawaii Magazine
Reader's Choice Winner, Again! 

Excited to announce that for the Forth year in a row we have won the Reader's Choice Award for Best Bed & Breakfast. Congratulations to all the winners in this year's list. Year after year we are honored to receive the public's acknowledgement of our great staff and wonderful B&B. We pour our hearts into this place and are just thrilled (even after 20 years) when others say "well done!" Mahalo to everyone, most especially our staff, without whom, we could not exceed our guests expectations.
Best Bed & Breakfast in East Hawaii 2018!
Award from the Hawaii Tribune-Herald Newspaper!

The Palms Cliff House Inn won the honor of being named the Best Bed & Breakfast – East Hawaii by readers of the Hawaiian Tribune-Herald Newspaper for 2018. The Inn also won in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014,2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2005 as well as winning the Best Bed and Breakfast- North Hawaii by readers of North Hawaii Today. John and Michele Gamble share the honor with their hard working staff.

"We are able to be so successful because we have such wonderful and dedicated staff that share our dream for this very special place" said owner Michele Gamble.

Celebrating ten years in operation the Gambles fell this is the perfect pat on the back for a job well done by their neighbors and peers. "We all work so hard to provide a quality experience while still providing value for the guest" commented John Gamble, "The economy is really tight for everyone, and yet, we are still providing value for every dollar a guest spends with us."

"We are so thankful to the people of the Big Island for giving us this honor again this year. There are so many Bed and Breakfasts out there who are working hard and providing a quality experience, so we understand what a tremendous honor it is to be given this award by the people who live here" Michele said in conclusion.

Other Accolades

Three Perfect Days: Hawaii - Author JACQUELINE DETWILER

The largest of the Hawaiian Islands is the original home of King Kamehameha, the landing spot of the first Portuguese explorers and the island for which the chain is named. You could call it the island that started everything. (Just don't call it the Big Island.)

DAY ONE | By the time you reach John and Michele Gamble's breakfast table at the Palms Cliff House Inn (1), a rambling, many porched cliff side hacienda that appears to have been airlifted straight from Charleston, S.C., you've already begun to forget. You're sure you left your BlackBerry around here somewhere, but it seems that sometime between waking up to the crowing of the resident rooster and sipping a cup of creamy Kona coffee on your private waterfront lanai, you forgot to look for it. Breakfast this morning includes local lilikoi (passion fruit) juice, orange-cranberry muffins and fresh pineapple. Just when you think you're done, leaning back with a satisfied smile and taking deep breaths of air untouched by humans for more than 2,500 miles, John emerges from the kitchen with guava sweetbread French toast and mango-chicken sausage.

You tear yourself away from the inn's paradisiacal porch, explaining that — as much as you'd like to stay all day and watch the moody waves explode into sea spray against Hilo's rocky shore — you've got to go see a man about a volcano.

"One of the most beautifully decorated in the State"
 -Chicago Tribune

10 Best Inns & Lodges
- Outside Magazine

30 Great US Inns
-Travel+Leisure Magazine

20 Perfect Places to Stay
-Conde Nast Magazine

Most Romantic Places
-Travel+Leisure Magazine

Fodor's Choice 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
 - Fodor's Guide Book

Special Gem
-Hawaii Island Revealed Guide Book

Very Highly Recommended
-Frommer's Travel Guides

Honored in both in Song & Hula
-2004 Merrie Monarch Festival

-Conde Nast-Johansens

John & Michele Gamble

John & Michele Gamble

About the Owners:

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 years 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 OBon 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 local charitable event. Thankfully, our fantastic staff affords us that luxury. We give generously financially as well. Ours is not a wealthy Island, as such we recognize our responsibility to 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 currently celebrating our 19th anniversary of The Palms Cliff House Inn. To celebrate (and helped to 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.

Our Memberships

The Palms Cliff House Inn is very active in and a member in good standing in the following associations:

  • The Professional Association of Innkeepers International

  • The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

  • The Big Island Visitors Bureau

  • The Hawaii Island Bed And Breakfast Association (Michele is a past Board Member)

  • The Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association

  • Conde Nast - Johansens

 Hawaii’s Top 10 Lodgings Under $200
- Fodor's Travel

Best Hotels in Big Island
- Fodor's Travel


Our Merrie Monarch Moment

The lights were warm on my skin even as a shiver of excitement traveled down my spine. I took a deep breath trying to remain calm. Looking up, I smiled as my gaze settled on Uncle, Kumu Hula Ed Collier. He smiled back and nodded, signaling me it was time to begin. With my Husband's, hand tightly clasping mine, and followed by our two sons, We approached the steps leading up to the largest, and certainly most important, stage I could have ever hoped to stand on.

Each step up the stairs revealed more of the hundreds of spectators in the audience that surrounded us. My heart was racing as we reached the top step. John let go of my hand as we stepped away from each other to stand as escorts to the 22 graceful wahine of Halau O Na Pua Kukui as they followed us up the stairs to take the stage.

The musicians strummed the introduction and in unison the Ladies of Halau O Na Pua Kukui bowed to the Royal Court. A few more strums and the ladies turned and bowed to my husband, my two sons, and myself. My heart skipped, as it overflowed with emotion.

As I was embraced in their aloha my heart began to slow and my breathing calmed. As I watched them dance, the bright lights and hundreds of people in the audience faded away until all I could see was the beautiful hula, Ka Hale Niu O Ka Pali, telling a story of travel, struggle, friendship, and redemption in a place so special it had become a home. The Halau's Big Island home. Our home.

As they danced, I experienced what I can only describe as a perfect moment. For a few minutes, that stage, the only thing that existed in this world was love.

Years later I can still remember the experience, as though it happened only moments ago. The members of Halau O Na Pua Kukui are still an important part of our lives, having stayed with us many times, and sharing experiences together throughout the years. Many lives that have become intertwined.

This is why, at our Inn we say, E Ho'ea Mai He Malahini, A E He'i Mai He Hoaloha ~ Arrive as Guests, Leave as Friends. As we have shared our home with guests over the past ten years it has become impossible for us to separate guest from friend. They have become one and the same.