In this post, I wrote about how night viewing of Halemaumau Crater from the Jaggar Museum is a must see when visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This isn’t the only place to get a great view of the crater at night. Michelle and I were fortunate to stay at the famous Volcano House. This unique lodge is the only one of its kind within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The lodge is located on the edge of Kilauea Volcano, and offers a stunning viewing area of Halemaumau Crater.
If high-end resort fare is what you’re looking for, then the Volcano House might not be your cup of tea (if this is the case, then you should drive to Kona to find what you’re looking for). Instead, the Volcano House harkens back to earlier, much simpler times. The original Volcano House was built in 1846. Since then, it has been restored and now features 33 historic guest rooms, intimate dining at The Rim, a full bar, and a unique hotel lanai with a crater viewing room.
Our reservations were made online, weeks in advance. We checked-in after 9pm, after a long drive from Hilo. The check-in was quick and easy, and the staff member that helped us was very friendly. She also mentioned a few free activities that we could take advantage of during our stay, one of which we did end up doing.
The Volcano House offers three room options for guests: Standard, Volcano Crater View, Deluxe Volcano Crater View. We opted for the Volcano Crater View room, because ultimately, we wanted to stay in a room that offered great views of the crater. The only advantage that the Deluxe room has over the Crater View is the increased space and the addition of a comfort chair. The Crater View room is designed for 1-2 people (max 4), whereas the Deluxe room is designed for 1-2 people (max 3).
In my opinion, it’s definitely worth it to spend the extra bucks for the Volcano Crater View room. Why? The volcano view, of course. The first thing that I did when we entered our room, was run to the double glass window adjacent to the bed. I quickly opened the oak colored drapes to reveal the view that I had been expecting. Halemamau Crater, in all of its smoky red and orange glory was there, seemingly within our reach. Michelle could probably attest to the fact that I was very excited. In fact, we had just arrived when I exclaimed that I already wanted to visit the Volcano House again.
After quickly unpacking, I decided check out the famous Volcano House lava viewing room. This large room, located about a short minute from our room, is designed for the sole purpose of observing and gawking at the bright red and orange glow of Halemaumau Crater. As you enter the room, you’ll notice that the wall facing the crater is made of glass panes allowing for an unobstructed view of the crater. It was about 9:30pm and I had the room to myself. I would forgo the fancy padded wooden chairs and quickly step outside. It was a bit chilly, but I didn’t pay much attention to that. In front of me was an active volcano, that was steaming, and boiling. I was impressed.
The Volcano Crater View room that we stayed in had a very cozy vibe. It’s kind of like staying at Grandma’s house, if you know what I mean. Next to our king size bed was a fireplace, though, faux logs filled the space. Directly in front of the bed was a little desk area, complete with rattan chair. The table was a bit uncomfortable, and was likely designed during a time when laptops were uncommon tools. To the left of the desk was a small walk-in closet that also housed the safe deposit box, which had enough space to fit a laptop computer and other miscellaneous items.
The bathroom was not that large. There was a standard sink, toilet, and stand-in shower. My one complaint with the bathroom area was that there was a lack of room for toiletries. Instead, we had to balance the toiletries over the sink, and hope that it didn’t fall into the sink, or worse, on the bathroom floor.
The one obvious piece missing from the room, and typically standard in other hotel rooms? A television. That’s okay, though. With an active volcano just outside of our room, we had enough entertainment to keep us occupied throughout the night.
The room comes stocked with a standard coffee maker and a glass bottle of Volcano House water. Body soap, shampoo, and conditioner is also included. I should note, though, that with the hotel reading materials was the mention of even more amenities that are available at the front desk. It was a long list that included things like razors, toothbrushes, etc.
The Volcano House offers complimentary access to the Internet.
Unbeatable. If you want to stay INSIDE of Volcanoes National Park then there is no other place to do so (unless you’d like to camp in a tent, then there are a few options available).
The Rim is the Volcano House’s newly refurbished restaurant. We dined there for both breakfast and dinner.
Two Things We Loved:
- Location is key at the Volcano House. And like I mentioned above, the location is unbeatable. You’ll be a two-minute walk from the Visitor Center and only a hop and a skip away from amazing hiking trails, many of which you can walk directly to.
- The hotel lanai and viewing room was probably my favorite part of the lodge. You have the option to stay inside, where it is warm and cozy, next to the fireplace, while you watch Halemaumau Crater. Or, you can choose to step outside for an unobstructed, and, for the most part, private view of the crater.
Two Things We Didn’t Like:
- Lack of dining options. Of course, we can’t fault the Volcano House for not having multiple restaurants. If it’s fine dining fare that you’re looking for, then you’re probably best served at one of the Kona resorts. That said, we both very much enjoyed breakfast and dinner at The Rim, the lodge’s lone restaurant. We do wish, however, that there were a few more options for snacks and lunch.
- Very thin walls make for some interesting noises at night.
We paid the kamaaina (state resident) rate of $218 per night for three nights in the Volcano Crater View Room. A daily tax of $29.24 was added. No fees were charged. A deposit of 1 (one) night on a major credit card is required to guarantee all reservations. The non-kamaaina rate for this room is $335 per night with a daily tax charge of $44.95. That said, this view makes the price well worth it:
Volcano House Hotel
1 Crater Rim Drive
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718
Hotel Contact: 808-756-9625