Having your preconceived notions of a destination destroyed and completely hit out of the ball park is one of the joys of visiting a new place for the first time. As long as the place isn’t completely the opposite of what you expect! So, yes, there are active volcanoes in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You will have a chance to see the current “eruptions”. (Currently just the smoke and night-time glow from the lava lake in Kilauea Caldera, but sometimes also lava flows.) Plus the devastation wreaked by previous eruptions, such as lava tubes and craters. But a visit to this national park on the island of Hawaii, also known as the “Big Island“, offers a number of surprises.
Note: This hotel doesn’t not allow pets. The author was a guest of the Volcano Village Lodge.
Firstly, the higher altitude up on the volcanoes means that it’s far cooler than down on the beaches. It can be positively chilly at night during the cooler months of the year. Make sure you pack a warm sweater! Also, when I think of volcanoes, I generally think of desolate, rocky landscapes. Yes, this is the case where recent eruptions have occurred in the park. But the rest of the landscape is covered by lush green rainforest, which is also gradually growing back over the sites of older eruptions. Finally, who would associate a romantic getaway with visiting volcanoes? Okay, I’m not advocating you take your wedding photos in front of an eruption, like I spotted in one old b&w photo at the park’s museum. But it’s definitely an ideal destination to re-kindle your romance, especially if you book into the Volcano Village Lodge.
The Volcano Village Lodge is a boutique accommodation option hidden away in the rainforest just outside of the village of Volcano, less than 10 minutes drive from the National Park entrance. There are five individual lodges nestled amongst the trees and ferns, the ideal destination for relaxation and tranquility. My lodge for the night was Haleakala, one of the newest lodges in the collection (along with its mirror-image, Mauna Kea). It’s an octagonal pavilion hand-crated from the finest, sustainable Redwood and White cedar, with open-beam ceilings and large expanses of windows. The lodges are situated such that that outlook from the windows is generally private. There’s no need to shut the blinds. Meaning that you can wake up to the green glow of the forest around you, feeling like you are the only guests!
Each of the lodges come with all the creature comforts that you would expect, and then some welcome luxury inclusions. There’s a queen-size Mahogany bed with plush bedding in the centre of our room. An additional sofa for lazy reading or converting into a second bed. An ensuite bathroom with a heated towel rail. And a dining table and fridge with plentiful supplies for breakfast (frittata to heat in the microwave, a fruit platter, cereals, tea and coffee). Plus there’s some tempting snacks for the evening (chocolates, popcorn, hot chocolate and a bottle of fruit wine).
While there’s no TV reception (and the mobile reception can be marginal), there’s a TV and DVD player, along with a DVD library at the reception, and a good wi-fi connection. But best of all there’s also your own gas fireplace, making the room toasty warm in minutes, no matter how chilly outside. It’s all too tempting to just snuggle up with your companion in front of the fire, watching a DVD and having a glass of wine…
But firstly, don’t miss out on the chance to head over to Kilauea Crater inside the park and witness the night-time glow of its lava lake. Head there either at sunset or later as the crowds subside. The best viewing point is from the Jaggar Museum, which is open until 8pm each night. Plus, if you are in need of dinner (after some vigorous hiking, of course), stop off at one of the options in the village. My choice was the Thai Thai Restaurant. Ignore the reviews complaining about a long wait, it’s recently had a large expansion and you should be able to nab a table straightaway. My pick was the Thai Thai Curry. Although unless your appetite runs to volcanic degrees of heat, stick to the mild option.
Finally, upon returning to the lodge, I recommend heading for the hot tub. While the Hale Manaluna Lodge has its own private jacuzzi, there’s also an outdoor hot tub, and my husband and I had it completely to ourselves. Grab the plush bathrobes from your room for the short walk over. Then enjoy the serenity of the garden setting and the relaxing warm water, for some blissful one-on-one time with your companion, free from all distractions.
Next morning, while enjoying breakfast and a cup of tea or coffee on your private lanai, you’ll be wanting to never leave…
Click here to book a stay on the Volcano Village Lodge website.
Note: The author was a guest of the Volcano Village Lodge.
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