Professional pilot in younger days, professor and writer in mid-life, a happy macadamia nut and coffee farmer now. Love hosting guests from afar as it feels like traveling without having to pack bags !
Such a nice review, SungSim. Thank you. It was a pleasure hosting you and your family. Seems to me that you made the most out of your time in the Kona area, and that always makes us feel good. By the way, really neat kids you folks have. Very nice job in raising them. Sending very best wishes from Captain Cook, Kurt
Thanks, Donald, for your kind review. It certainly was a pleasure hosting you and your daughter. I have only one regret -- that we never got around to giving you the plant tour I promised. We send our best wishes in all that you do and hope that someday, somewhere, we'll meet again. Warm aloha, Kurt and Kana
Aloha Pia and Raffael,
Thank you for your kind review. It was a pleasure hosting you. Thanks also for the chance to explain the tax situation in Hawaii. People staying less than 30 days in Hawaii, whether at a hotel, inn, B&B, or any other place where they pay for the stay are required by state law to pay taxes presently set at 13.41%. It's ugly, I know, and we can only hope that the funds are used for good purpose, like maintaining and improving the roads, county and state parks, etc. While Hawaii's rate is high, it is in line with taxes paid in most European countries where value added taxes and city taxes are added to the bill, and slightly less than taxes in many of the U.S. states.
But you are absolutely right, this tax is something that potential guests should know about prior to making a booking. In the case of this agency, they do not indicate at the top of the page (where price is shown) if tax is included in the price quote or not, despite my suggestion that they do. To find this information one must dig into the website to find the answer or, alternatively, send the prospective host a message to ask if there are any additional fees.
Although a host's favorite booking is a direct booking, I like AirB&B because the comission paid to them by hosts is considerably less than the other major agencies and because they've almost always been quite helpful in answering questions and making useful suggestions. I also like them because they generally offer relatively good value for travelers and provide access to a different kind of experience for travelers where they have access to a more personalized and informative experience relative to staying in a hotel. In the end, happy travelers make happy hosts. Still, taxes due is something that should be made quite clear, in advance, to guests. Best wishes, Kurt
Thank you for your review-- for your kind words about the fantastic view and my attempts to help you with your plans. Sharing the aloha spirit is something we relish. In response to “something bad” I have a few comments and a suggestion. The room you selected is quite large relative to bedrooms at other B&B’s. However, I believe that any room, no matter how large, would feel small when occupied by four adult men. We often have families of four (sometimes even five) stay in the room and there has never been an objection to the size. Quite the contrary, folks seem to be grateful for having booked the room. Had you asked me prior to your booking (which Air B&B makes quite easy) about suitability for four grown men (I didn’t know until after you arrived) I would likely have encouraged you to stay elsewhere and take two rooms. About using the house dining room, I believe there must have been some problem with communication (your English and/or my Korean). Guests are always welcome to use the dining room, always, although most of the guests who take the room you took use their own dining table on their private balcony. Had we understood that you wanted to use the public dining room you certainly would have been welcome to. As far as my family and I living in the same (very large) house, this is the norm for bed and breakfasts in the U.S. and Europe. For most people this is advantageous—it allows the hosts to better see to the needs of guests, to answer questions, to make suggestions, and, simply interact. We are, I believe, very contentious about not infringing on the privacy of our guests despite living in the same house. About missing your first night’s sunset, again I’m somewhat confused. With a 2PM arrival into Kona Airport, checking in before your sunset quest was entirely doable as we are only a 25 minute drive from the airport. When guests have a late night arrival into the Kona Airport we are fine with waiting up for them to check in. No problem, as flight times are well beyond their control. We understand that and it is perfectly acceptable. My suggestion that you check in prior to driving up Mauna Kea was merely a suggestion and one that you could have easily refused. I believe that most people who choose to stay at a B&B do so in order to have a better feel for local living, to get more personal insights about what to see and do, and yes, to save some money relative to the cost of a hotel room. I can say with confidence that the vast majority of our guests have been pleased with the decision regarding accommodation they have made-- this makes us feel good. On the other hand, some people are indeed better off staying at a hotel. I believe booking a couple of hotel rooms in light of your groups composition, and where you would find 24 hour front desk service (in light of your desired late night check in and subsequent 4AM check out), would have served your needs better. That aside, we sincerely hope that your experiences on the Big Island will provide lasting good memories. Best wishes, Kurt