Our Thursday was all about our move towards Hilo, located on the other side of the Big Island. We got ready, packed our stuff, and we left our timeshare, Kona Coast Resort, by 10am. Those three nights flew by quickly, and we really enjoyed our relaxed stay.
Holy Donuts, Batman!
We made a couple of pit stops, first, it was a quick stop at Holy Donuts, well-known for their creative donut masterpieces. We met Adriana, and she gave us a tour of all the donut flavors they offered. Everything looked so delicious. I did keep my choices simple – a plain malasada, and lilikoi filled malasada. While it wasn’t served hot, it still tasted very fresh, and that filling….sigh…I love lilikoi, a mixture sweet and tangy taste. So fresh!
After leaving Holy Donuts, we filled up our tank over at Costco, and then we went to Pine Tree, another locals’ restaurant. We ordered Loco Moco, Chicken Katsu, and Teriyaki Beef. It was my first Loco Moco on this visit, and I thought the meat (the burger) was a little over cooked. It wasn’t juicy anymore. Other than that, the rest of the family enjoyed their Teri Beef and Katsu.
If there was one thing we didn’t do 14 years ago during our visit at the Big Island, it was the fact that we never had the chance to visit Hilo and the volcano. To get to the other side of the island meant we’d have cut through the island. There’s a long and short way, of course we opted for the shorter way. From our resort in Kona, it was about a 2-hour drive to get over to Hilo, so it wasn’t exactly a short trip.
Free hotel nights in Grand Naniloa Hilo
We left Pine Tree close to 12 noon, and arrived at our next stop, the Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo – DoubleTree Hilton. We booked four nights at this hotel. We chose not to get a condo or an AirBNB this time since we had the points and didn’t want to shell out any cash. As always, we used our points, and this time it was with American Express Hilton card. Average price per night for this hotel for this weekend was over $230 per night (standard room). We used 40,000 Hilton Honors points, and were upgraded to a Bayview room, not exactly the biggest of rooms, but it was an upgrade nonetheless. I gladly accepted the free upgrade.
Upon arriving on Banyan Drive, it was hard not to notice all these Banyan trees, it was a sight to see. I could only imagine how long these trees have been standing here. Once I got to the front desk, I was greeted by two receptionists who provided us with welcome water package, a box of chocolate covered macadamias. Since we were Hilton Gold members, we also received complimentary breakfast passes. Oh how could I forget, the welcome cookies!
After checking in, I quickly drove to Suisan Fish Market, and picked up their special of the day – Marlin Poke.For the rest of the afternoon, we just hung around the hotel, and the pool area. That two-hour drive got me a bit tired.
Dinner at Verna’s Drive In
For our dinner, we kept it very simple, very local and headed over to Verna’s Drive In. We had Korean Fried Chicken, Kalua pig and cabbage, and chili burger. This is what I love about Hawaii. No need to break the bank in order to have a good meal. We brought the food back to our hotel and ate them outside. That was our Thursday on the Big Island.