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Hawaii's guest house.

Hawaii's guest houses

Smiling an "aloha' smile, your host, a long-time Island resident, meets you at the door. Your housing for the next few nights is the master suite. There are fresh orchids in a vase and an antique quilt on your bed. In the morning, you're invited to pick a just-ripe papaya from the garden, then eat it in a little garden gazebo. The price: $45 a night for two.

Five Hawaii-based agencies now offer visitor accommodations in a total of 500 homes, on all the islands except Lanai. Like many British bed-and-breakfasts, these are private homes. From the street, they look like others in their neighborhoods --no signs or special parking places.

An easygoing, meet-the-people experience. Hosts give you all the privacy you want but enjoy sharing special tips: where to find an uncrowded beach, rent a horse, go snorkeling. After a day or two, you begin to feel like one of the locals.

We stayed in one house listed by each agency and interviewed people who had stayed in others. The architecture ranges from Tudor to tract, but each has some special characteristic: panoramic view, grand piano, sunny deck, private beach, hiking trails out the back door.

Breakfast routines vary: we were given bacon and eggs to cook ourselves at one place; others served homemade muffins, fruit salads, and yogurt. Locations vary, too, from remote (an hour's drive from a major town) to suburban.

There are disadvantages to staying in private homes. Because the hosts have their regular lives as well, you'll have to coordinate arrival times--there's no 24-hour desk clerk. A few hosts will pick you up at the airport, and some houses are near bus stops. But usually a rental car is necessary; a good local map helps.

Because beach property is so expensive, only a few of the places listed are on a beach; some are a half-hour drive away.

Few rooms have a telephone, though most hosts will let you make local calls on theirs. Children are not always accepted. You may find rules on smoking, showers, and quiet hours. The lack of maid service may be too remindful of home.

Agencies thoroughly check out potential hosts to make sure they are friendly, their house clean and comfortable. Rechecks are made several times a year. The agencies make sure guests have somewhere to sit besides their bedroom, and that any shared bath is convenient.

The agencies check guests as well. When applying, you'll fill out a form asking your hobbies, interests, allergies, whether or not you smoke. You'll also be asked for a personal reference. A nonrefundable down payment (10 to 20 percent, on fees from $25 to $75 double occupancy per night), is the agency's commission. (You pay the rest to the host; most will take checks, but a few take only cash.)

If you're interested in a guest-home stay, send for agency brochures. In a follow-up letter, ask for the home you've decided on (with alternate choices)--or specify the location, size of bed, and bath arrangements you want, and state if you prefer self-serve or host-serve breakfast. Ask whether more than one room is rented out at a time.

The five agencies. Each offers homes on all the islands. Area code is 808; when calling, remember that Hawaii time is at least 2 hours earlier than Mainland time. Mail takes up to a week to arrive.

Bed and Breakfast Hawaii, Box 449, Kapaa, Kauai 96746. Evie Warner and Al Davis, 822-7771; 125 homes; membership and guidebook with list of homes, $11.

Bed and Breakfast Honolulu, 3242 Kaohinani, Dr., Honolulu, Oahu 96817. Gene Bridges, 595-6170; 75 homes; no printed list, but can recommend a suitable house by telephone or by mail.

Bed and Breakfast Maui Style, Box 886, Kihei, Maui 96753. Margaret Del Castillo, 879-2352, or Jeanne Rominger, 879-7865; 25 homes; write or phone for information.

Go Native . . . Hawaii, Ltd., 130 Puhili St., Hilo, Hawaii 96720, or Box 13115, Lansing, Mich. 48901. Fred Diamond, (517) 349-9598; 75 homes; free list.

Pacific-Hawaii Bed and Breakfast, 19 Kai Nani Place, Kailua, Oahu 96734. Doris Epp, 262-6026 or 263-4848; 200 homes, most in Kailua area; pamphlet listing homes, $2.

Photo: At a guest house on Oahu, they're enjoying freshly picked papaya in a back-yard "Polynesian hut.' Behind them rise the steep slopes of the Koolau Range

Photo: A warm greeting awaits at this quiet home, only a 10-minute drive from Waikiki

Photo: "Got three!' announces this guest at his host's back-yard chicken coop
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Hawaii's bed and breakfast hotels
Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1986
Words:749
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