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30 November, 2008

Cedar House Bed & Breakfast

Located above the town of Captain Cook, this was the place that I selected after my usual many hours of internet investigations. I read a million websites, and check all the reviews, and base decisions, on price, how the place looks, nad especially what people say about it. I don't like to select places that have really mixed reviews, even though they might be completely fine. One place I'd been considering was called the Rainbow Plantation. It seemed tempting, and the location was very good. But half the reviews were very positive, and half the reviews were very negative. People described things like outdoor bathroom facilities that had a different assortment of creatures in them every day, and extremely loud farm noises all night long, rendering it impossible to sleep. Now, it is entirely possible that these reviews were written by extremely uptight people who have no idea what it means to go on a tropical vacation, and they should have been staying at the King Kamehameha Resort a few miles up the road. But you never know. And when all you have got is reviews, and there are a lot of them, you kind of have to pick the place that does not have bad reviews. And Cedar House had all positive reviews.

So, we drove 25-30 minutes from the airport (bypassing Kailua-Kona proper) and heading toward Captain Cook. Then we took a left (mauka, our inland toward the mountain, I think is the proper term, as opposed to makai, which is toward the beach, but I might be completely wrong about one or both of those terms) and headed up up up to approximately 2000 feet of elevation, on a tiny one-lane road, through coffee plantations. Eventually winding up to Bamboo Road, where Cedar House is located.

We were greeted at the 10pm hour by one of our hosts, a Korean woman, who looks to be about 45 years old. She is the aunt of the other host, "Mark", with whom I did all of the reservation communications. Neither Mark nor his aunt speak enough English to have a comfortable conversation with us, and making reservations was (though not as sketchy as I feared) still a bit challenging. Not sure if, when we arrived, if they would actually be expecting us. But they are both extremely nice. It appears that they are either newly owning, or newly managing (most likely the latter?) the Cedar House, because all the information on the internet seemed to indicate an older Caucasian couple, and Mark indicated that he'd only moved to Kona a few months ago.

The Cedar House is a very big, beautiful cedar house, amidst 4 acres of their coffee plantation, and palm trees, with a view (from high above) of the ocean. There are, I believe, 4 guest rooms (one of which is a cottage), and our room is very large with a king size bed plus an additional bed that we don't even need. There are sliding glass doors with a view out in the direction of the ocean. Two old cats live here, and it is not clear to me if they came with the management, or with the house, but I guessing the latter.

One of the things that I most enjoy about a bed and breakfast, especially a tropical one, is the breakfast. Unfortunately, it's a little bit lacking here. They're trying, but I am not sure they really get it that people would like to have something memorable. It's not bad, but just not too inspiring. Would like to have more fruit, and all they seem to have is some papaya and apple.

Still, being up here, above it all, is beautiful, and I am not sure I regret it. I do regret the fact that our room seems to be directly below their television room, where they are watching movies or whatnot until fairly late. And also not sure I am thrilled with the fact that they don't seem to include replacing towels, or toilet paper, in the standard procedures. But like I said, I am just not sure if they "get it".

So, here's a case where reading the reviews can tell you something, but not everything. The reviews that I had read may very well have reflected the kind of service that the previous managers were providing for this establishment, and now there are new caretakers, and things are not up to that same notch. I might still recommend it, but maybe not for first time visitors to the Big Island who want to a) be wowed, or b) have a host who could talk to them about the many things to do here on the island. The communication barrier at this point is probably prohibitive.

Still, to end on a positive note, it's very nice, and quite secluded.

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