Categorized | Business

Kamuela Inn undergoes renovation, with new ownership


There aren’t many secrets in Waimea, a close-knit community with multi-generational paniolo heritage and legendary hospitality.

Until now, one of its best-kept secrets may have been the iconic Kamuela Inn, tucked above a side street in a busy part of town.

Built by Muneo “Moon” Sameshima and family in 1961, the 30-room property was acquired in June by Tim Bostock and Melanie Holt, who plan a complete renovation.

“I’ve been surprised at the number of people in this town who say, ‘You know, I’ve never been up here,’” said Holt, who is also owner-operator of The Real Farm, a sustainable organic farm in Waikii.

Holt and Bostock, Artistic Director at Kahilu Theatre, see great potential in the Kamuela Inn property.

Assisting them with the new direction are Office Manager Edlyn Carvalho, who helped facilitate the ownership transition, and Hotel Manager Duane Puhi, most recently of Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company in Kawaihae.

“I can imagine a farm-to-table dinner experience with visiting chefs and food from our farm,” said Holt, “Plus cooking classes, special events for eco-tourists and all sorts of things like that.”

Behind the main building is an all-wood tea house, lovingly constructed by the Sameshima family to host art shows. An art collector herself, Holt would like to eventually support young artists in a similar format.

In front of the inn, a wide lawn under mature trees could become a picnic park with a cowboy style lean-to kitchen, or a gathering place for food trucks and farm stalls.

The easygoing environment seems natural for hikers, bicycling groups, yoga retreats and small conferences. And, after hosting numerous Kahilu Theatre artists over the last 30 years, Kamuela Inn is now an official sponsor of the 2015 ‘Ukulele Festival.

Renovation started with a fresh new look for the Breakfast Room, where continental breakfast is served daily.

Creative décor features cabinets crafted from upcycled wood palettes, ingeniously fitted with chicken wire doors and horseshoe pulls, in keeping with the paniolo theme.

Scheduled are a soft-goods overhaul, painting and building repairs, to be followed by new bedding, furniture and public space renovations.

Envisioning a grand opening next year as a boutique destination hotel, the Kamuela Inn looks forward to welcoming the next generation of guests who appreciate the rural ambiance and aura of quality in Waimea town.

“Tim and I feel like we moved into the best community in the world. We love Waimea,” said Holt. “We hope that this will be not just a place for people to stay, but one that draws the community together for special events; a place where everyone will come. Why wouldn’t you?”

Filled with upcountry charm, the Kamuela Inn is a cozy hideaway, comfortably set on a hillside just off Kawaihae Road in Waimea town (also called Kamuela).

With 30 rooms and suites conveniently located within 30 minutes of some of the island’s best beaches, golf and restaurants, Kamuela Inn’s affordable pricing and warm hospitality make it an excellent choice for individual travelers as well as families, small conferences and learning retreats.

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