"While Hana is typically known for its multicolored beaches, its twisty road and jungle scenery, Ekena is just as much an attraction as any of these things. It is a gem of a house set high on a hill just outside of Hana, and its main features include a huge deck with unsurpassed views of the Hana jungle and ocean beyond, unbelievable grounds with endless tropical plants and trees (including a particularly beautiful patch of Rainbow Eucalyptus trees), and two large bedroom suites on opposite ends of the house for total privacy between groups or couples. I found every moment in Ekena to be immensely peaceful and relaxing, and the ever-changing weather - including spontaneous torrential rainfall - just added to the charm. One of the highlights was sipping a glass of wine on a crystal clear night out on the patio while watching the moon rise behind a group of the trees to the east. It was a magical moment in a magical place.
While staying in Hana we visited Hamoa Beach (a beautiful jungle beach), Luana Spa (great massages in a traditional Hale on a cliff) and 'Ohe'o Gulch (a tourist trap, but a must-see nonetheless), kayaked and snorkeled in a coral reef in Hana Bay, and had numerous wonderful home cooked meals thanks to Ekena's full kitchen and dining area. I didn't get the chance to meet Gaylord, but I talked with his wife Robyn several times and she was great to chat with about the house, their history and Hana in general. You get the distinct feeling at Ekena, and in Hana in general, that life is much simpler, slower, and in many ways more fulfilling than it is in the congested big cities and suburbs where most of us come from.
There were only a couple VERY minor negatives, and I want to stress that these did not detract from our experience at all, but I thought they would be helpful to note for future guests. Because you're high on a hill, sound travels farther than you might think, and some nights we heard several dogs barking rather energetically from down below. It really wasn't a big deal but it did jolt us out of our "Ekena trance" from time to time. Also, be prepared for possible insects like cockroaches and spiders in the rooms. This is to be expected in a jungle habitat so we were prepared heading in, but that didn't stop our teenage daughter from having a mini heart attack when she saw a giant (but harmless) cane spider in her room one night. Again, nothing worth truly worrying about.
Ekena is a truly incredible place and highly recommended."
Guest: Steve E.
Date of Stay: April 2015
Review Submitted: April 9, 2015