Volcano House – Volcano National Park, Hawaii

Halemaumau Crater

The glow from Halemaumau Crater may be viewed from Volcano House.

By Cam Tran, KITV 4, Hawaii

One of the oldest hotels in Hawaii just underwent a major facelift. The Volcano House at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park recently completed a multimillion dollar renovation.

Sitting on the rim of the Kilauea caldera, the Volcano House offers breathtaking views of theHalemaumau Crater.

“It’s a little intimidating that were on the edge of a volcano, but it’s beautiful,” said visitor Ron Olson.

“How do you describe a volcano? I didn’t think I’d ever see one. For one, sitting on the edge of one. It’s pretty cool,” said visitor Debbie Remple.

The renovated Volcano House is wonderfully a far cry from you childhood roadway hotel.

The renovated Volcano House is wonderfully a far cry from you childhood roadway hotel.

The historic volcano house opened in 1846 as a grass house. It was replaced by a wooden structure in 1877. The building was later repurposed to house the volcanic art gallery.

A Victorian-style house became the new hotel, but a fire in 1940 destroyed it. A new Volcano House was built in 1941 overlooking the Halemaumau Crater and is where the hotel remains today.

“Volcano House closed in 2008 and it underwent seismic upgrades and fire system upgrades and a complete cosmetic remold of the whole property,” said David MacIlwraith, Volcano House general manager

The hotel reopened in 2013 and that’s when MacIlwraith took over the reigns as general manager. Though modern and new, the hotel tries to maintain its historic feel.

For example, the concrete floors in the lobby are from the 1940s and the original ohia columns give it an island flair. The upgrades come with a nod to the past..

“Since it is a historic structure, we had to be very respectful of the room,” said MacIlwraith.

The hotel goes green serving rain catchment water in each of the rooms and adorning them with local flowers. And one modern feature is deliberately left out.

“It’s a not TV hotel. You are here to experience the park and there’s no TV in the rooms so we are very proud of that fact,” said MacIlwraith.

View of H Crater from Volcano House lanai.

View of Halemaumau Crater from Volcano House lanai.

Instead, MacIlwraith suggests you pull back the curtains to find your entertainment. Many of the rooms at the Volcano House open directly to a green space where you can take in the color of the sunset and the steam coming from Halemaumau. The hotel sits just three miles away from the crater’s center.

Other warmth comes from the heart of the hotel. A fireplace with Madam Pele’s image carved in stone attracts many visitors considering the cooler temperatures this high in elevation.

The Rim restaurant caters to people tired and hungry after a day on the trails. Here, 95 percent of the produce and protein served in the restaurant is sourced from the Big Island.

“We source from Johnson Farms. They have five acres. They grow just for us. They deliver four times a week. We source our fish from Hilo Fish. They source from local fisherman. Our beef comes from Big Island Beef on the Big Island,” said MacIlwraith.

In fact, the produce shipments come in almost every day — from leafy greens, to avocados to tomatoes.

The menus at the restaurant change according to what’s available fresh that day.

“That’s the part about this I like the most. I’d rather eat something that is local than something you can get anywhere and this is really, really good!” said Remple.

And next to the restaurant is a cozy glass sitting room that allows visitors to soak in the majestic sights.

From the food to the feel, it strives to be a peaceful place where you can appreciate Hawaii’s unique beauty.