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The Onion House 'Architecture so full of life it seems to breathe.'

Bedrooms 3
Property type house
Minimum Stay 3 nights


About the property

3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, sleeps 6

Created for the McCormick Spice family, the Onion House is a unique architectural treasure with stunning visual aesthetics. It has been featured on MTV, Travel Channel, Learning Channel, Fine Living Channel, HGTV, Global Architecture Magazine, and Architectural Digest.

You will have the entire estate to yourselves. Swim and sunbathe in privacy, enjoying the 70' pool, gardens, and lily ponds. The terrace faces sunsets and Kailua Bay, providing the ideal setting for candlelight dinners. The translucent roof and walls of stained glass allow filtered sunlight throughout. The detached master suite features a private walled garden. A covered outdoor walkway leading to the master bedroom structure is flanked by lily ponds and the turquoise pool overlooking the sea.

With grounds of nearly an acre, five minutes from town or beach, this is the perfect base camp for exploring the Big Island.

Guestbook: Beth, Beth, how can we ever say thank you enough for the beautiful experience at the Onion House? Joe and I and my mother had the most relaxing and enjoyable time. I cannot think of anything that was missing. We did manage to get to a beach so Mom could put her feet in the ocean and one day we drove to Waimea so she could see the lava flows, We also managed to get to a coffee plantation. Other than that, the privacy and peacefulness at the house was the high point of the trip. The geckos, birds, flowers, fruits and plants along with the sound of water in the pool made for a paradise. We slept great, got up at dawn and just watched the place come alive. I cannot imagine ever going to a hotel again. Thank you again for being a part of this gift for my mom. Dawn

Hi Beth, Peter and I had a great time at the Onion House. It did so much for us as a couple and as hard working people. We have come back to Sonoma with new energy and vision as to how to enjoy life fully. We did alot of exploring this time on the big Island. We went out past Havi to the trail head that goes forever. We hiked down two mountains through two rivers and found bamboo forests and Jurassic Palms. We also went horse back riding near Waimea and had so much fun with the people and horses, it reminded me of being a child with my friends. We found a beautiful beach just north of the airport where we hiked along the lava flow and found fresh water spring fed pools in the lava to swim in after the ocean. We felt like Adam and Eve. The house was such a magical place to end our day and watch the sun go down. We loved swimming au natural in the pool and playing kids games. Thank you and your family and your Aunt's vision for creating a haven on earth.

Namaste, Michele & Peter

Dear Beth,

26 days in Hawaii and the Onion House was definitely one of the highlights of

our trip!

Thank you for letting us experience the Onion House for those two days. My

family never stopped grinning from ear to ear the entire time they were

staying there.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your Aunt and the history of the house. I

have been sharing the story and pictures of the house with my friends and

neighbors. Your Aunt is a character I won't soon forget.

The overwhelming feeling I had while staying there was one of thankfulness

that you restored the house and then let others experience it's unique charm.

Thank you, Beth, for everything.

Cindy Koziarz

More Details

Member since: 2004
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a few hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
April 21, 2017

About The Owner

Beth McCormick is a largely self-taught artist who has spent her life exploring the expressions of spirit in a variety of media. As a child she fell in love with unusual architecture, and later had the opportunity to purchase and renovate the Onion House, part of her family’s legacy, which has become a widely acclaimed example of Organic Architecture. Beth McCormick’s artwork has been collected internationally, and ranges from the natural splendor of feathered masks and shields, to landscapes and figures rendered in pastels and oils. The artwork and home have been chronicled in many television and print features, and her artwork has been shown in over 90 galleries nationwide and abroad. Her work is in many private collections, including the Michael Rosenberg Collection in London, and the Chris Hemmeter Collection in Hawaii. She also works to establish sustainability of the natural world through the Permaculture Foundation of Hawaii, of which she is a founding member.

The Owner purchased this house in 1984

Why The Owner chose Kona Coast

There's no place on earth like this. It's a wildly original form of architecture, distinct from any other structure, hand-built by architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg.

What makes this house unique

A unique part of Hawaiian history, the Onion House is a pivotal piece of my family's history, built by my favorite aunt, 'Auntie Dofeen.' I have the opportunity to share the home with guests from around the world, who bring friends and family to celebrate special moments in their lives.

Guestbook comments from the owner

This is the only place I want to stay in hawaii. I wanted to for years and now that I can you're booked (for the rest of this year.) So sad. But I will make it one day. Thank you.
Jun 2014
  • 1 of 9


Kailua-Kona House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
  • Housekeeper Optional
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 6
  • non smoking only
  • pets not allowed
Location Type:
  • Mountain View ...
  • Near The Ocean ...
  • Ocean View ...
  • Town ...
  • Village ...
  • Water View ...
  • Adventure
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Alarm Clock
  • Basic Soaps
  • Carport
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Filtered Water
  • Fireplace
  • Garage ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Laundry Soap
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Area
  • Local Activities Guide
  • Local Maps
  • Local Restaurant Guide
  • Paper Towels
  • Parking
  • Safe
  • Security System
  • Sofa Bed
  • Telephone
  • Toilet Paper
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet
  • Blender
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Freezer
  • Grill
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 6 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Master Bathroom - toilet , shower
    Main Bathroom - toilet , shower
    Outdoor feeling - outdoor shower
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • Master Bedroom - 1 king , Detached master suite has meditation garden
    Lilypond Bedroom - 1 double , 2 smaller bedrooms share a bath between
    Mauka Bedroom - 1 double
  • HGTV selected this as one of the World's 'Most Romantic Bedrooms.' A covered outdoor walkway leads past the lily pond and swimming pool to the separate master bedroom structure. A separate walled meditation garden leads off the master bedroom suite. Two smaller bedrooms, with a bath between them, are in the main structure.
  • Books
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Radio
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • VCR
  • Beach Chairs
  • Beach Towels
  • Deck / Patio
  • Lawn / Garden
  • Outdoor Entertainment Area
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Outdoor Grill Gas
  • Patio
  • Porch / Veranda
  • Small Cooler
  • Terrace
  • 6 garden chairs
  • unsuitable for elderly or infirm
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Pool / Spa:
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Private Pool
Onsite Services:
  • Concierge
  • Massage
  • bay/sound
  • botanical garden
  • caves
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • forests
  • library
  • live theater
  • marina
  • museums
  • pond
  • rain forests
  • reefs
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • volcano
  • water parks
  • waterfalls
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • luaus
  • paddle boating
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • whale watching
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • deepsea fishing
  • fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • jet skiing
  • mountain climbing
  • paragliding
  • pier fishing
  • roller blading
  • sailing
  • scuba diving or snorkeling
  • snorkeling
  • sound/bay fishing
  • spelunking
  • surf fishing
  • surfing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • wind-surfing
The estate offers privacy for swimming and sunbathing. You enter the detached master suite through a covered walkway traversing between the fragrant lily pond and the 70 foot swimming pool, overlooking the coastline. This is an excellent place to view the sunset, practice yoga, or slip into the water.


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(28 traveler reviews)

The Onion House 'Architecture so full of life it seems to breathe.'
average rating of 4.964286 based on 37 reviews
San Francisco, CA

I wish I could live there

  • 5 of 5

This place was amazing. Very peaceful, and very beautiful. If you have the chance, stay at the Onion House. My boyfriends father took seven of us around new years, there was plenty of room. I can't think of one thing that turned me off about this house. There are almost no real walls, its all beautiful stained glass and secure screens that seperate indoor from outdoor. Inside of course there are walls, it's private. My favorite thing, making breakfast in the morning and eating outside on the patio next to the pool. Having coffee and playing with the geckos, (they love scrambled eggs!). If you're going take me with you! To the owner: Thanking you for sharing such a great and special place! I'll remember it forever!

  • Submitted: Feb 18, 2007
  • Stayed: Dec 2006
  • Source: HomeAway
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Golden Birthday

  • 5 of 5

We were a group of 6, 3 couples, traveling to celebrate lifelong friendship and 50th birthdays. The property was amazing! We had 2 days where we cancelled our plans to go explore and just relax at the pool and enjoy the grounds. The staff was very helpful. We finally talked James (Maintenance) into having dinner with us. He gave the "inside skinny" on what to see and do. Jeanie (the housekeeper) called several times to make sure we had everything we needed and to impart some practical advice - get groceries at Costco! Beth (owner) stopped by to say hello and see if we had questions. We have done a lot of trips - but this was my favorite!

  • Submitted: Apr 2, 2017
  • Stayed: Mar 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Amazing !!!!!

  • 5 of 5

If you have the opportunity to come to Hawaii and want a totally unique, beautiful and peaceful experience - please, we urge you to book the Onion House. The only solid walls are lava rock with most all others being screen and stained glass. At times we felt like we were living in a shell, other times we were under a mushroom cap ! The pool was a delight and there is nothing better than floating while watching the sunset or floating under the stars at night. Truly awesome. In addition, the owner is a delight to work. We were attending out son's wedding and had questions from who is a good hair stylist to the best places to dine and car rentals. All questions were answered immediately and always with grace. The staff who care for the Onion House are extremely good. The home was immaculate when we arrived and so welcoming.

Truly a fantastic place to stay while you are enjoying Hawaii. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you to all who made our time spent in the Onion House so special.

  • Submitted: Jan 22, 2017
  • Stayed: Jan 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Lovely to have you and your family stay. Thank you for taking such good care of the Onion House. We love to have guests such as yourselves who really restate with this unique place. Very gratifying! Mahalo.
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Absolutely amazing!

  • 5 of 5

We spent 10 days at the Onion House and would have loved to spend 10 more! Everything about the house is beautiful and there are stunning views of the sunset from the master suite. We loved waking up to the sounds of different birds and really enjoyed listening to light rain fall against the roof a few evenings. So relaxing! We will definitely be back!

  • Submitted: Oct 31, 2016
  • Stayed: Oct 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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WOW!!! We all loved it!

  • 5 of 5

What a vacation experience! My husband and I (in our early 40s) and our two boys (age 12 and 13) had a blast at the Onion House and the island of Hawaii. It is hard to believe, but the house is even more beautiful than the pictures on the website. It really is. Walking through the house is truly like being a butterfly. The stained glass panels, the translucent roof, the views of the lush landscaping, the view of the sea, and the view of the AMAZING and HUGE (and deep) pool is spectacular. I won't repeat all the other reviewers comments here, but want to add a few things not mentioned. We rented a convertible and it was such a great choice- it's a great way to see Hawaii and worth the extra expense. We drove on every major highway around the island at least once. The Onion House is easy to access all the island has to offer in less than a day. We tended to get up fairly early, take a morning dip in the pool, and head out for adventures and were always back for the sunset and the night swimming we all loved. The pool is lighted to change colors and it is so beautiful at night. If you are wondering about traffic and distances, we left for Volcano National Park at 7:00 AM, did a 5 hour bike ride around the volcano from 9:45 until 2:45 (it was beautiful), drove through Hilo, drove across the saddle road and visited the Mauna Kea ranger station, and circled around back to the Onion House by 6:00 PM. It was a long day, but we covered so much of the island. Another day we went on a snorkeling tour through Fair Winds on the Hula Kai, which is only a 10 minute drive away, but saw more tropical fish than I could imagine. Another day we drove to Polulo Valley, hiked down (about 15 minutes down and 20 minutes up) and looked around the black sand beach and mountains, stopped at a fruit stand and had fresh coconut juice, swam at Hapuna Beach (hot but gorgeous), and made it back for a luau in Kailua! Another day we went to Waipio Valley and hiked down a ways (but it takes longer and is more steep than Polulu so we didn't go all the way down) went to Akaka Falls State Park, and went swimming at Beach 69 and still made it back for sunset. Another day we visited a couple heritage sites south of Kona and snorkeled at Two Step- HIGHLY RECOMMEND. It only costs $5 to park and it was the BEST snorkeling we did anywhere. The grounds around the house are great and we even played hide and seek in the trails! Kids will love it and adults will be blown away!!!

  • Submitted: Oct 4, 2016
  • Stayed: Sep 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Aloha, We love it when our guests are open to experience the Big Island in all its glorious diversity. Glad you enjoyed the Onion House as your 'base camp.' Love to have you return!
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Stunningly beautiful, natural beauty!

  • 5 of 5

The pictures of this home are not misleading. It is an amazing piece of architecture that is truly at one with nature. You will feel like you are camping in very high style. The birds and geckos are beautiful and the water features and 70' long pool are so serene. The walls are made of screen, stained glass, and lava rock. The landscaping is lush. It is like no other house in the world.

You will feel like you are staying in the home of a close friend - there's nothing cold or impersonal about it. There is a sense of spirituality and peace here unlike any other place I've been. The owner / previous guests have provided things for all to use: music, books, snorkeling gear, and toiletries. The kitchen is fully stocked with beautiful plates, utensils, linens reminiscent of the Orient, and basically everything you need to cook each meal if you so desired, including condiments! There are plenty of beach and bath towels, a washer and dryer, and all the conveniences of home.

From your first inquiry, Beth makes you feel so welcomed and I've found myself chatting with her via email over the course of the year - she's a wonderful listener with sound perspective - like a soul sister though we've never met in person! Jeanne, the caretaker, couldn't have been nicer. They consider you "Ohana" after you've enjoy the home and you will truly feel like family!

Beth's recommendations for everything were spot on. She created a page for all to read and follow, in my opinion, to make the most of your stay. She recommended us to use Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii and ride horses at Na'alapa Stables and we loved both adventures! She suggested a fishing excursion that we did not listen to and were sorry we didn' oldest said after the disappointing fishing experience, "We should have listened to Beth!" I laughed as he only knew her name from my saying (after the mantas, a few restaurants, Two Step, and the horses they so loved) "This was Beth's recommendation!" I don't feel as though she recommends any particular place without a reason, probably from repeated personal experiences. The restaurants, beaches, waterfalls, volcano - all were perfectly described.

This home is very private, but you are minutes from most places to see on the Kona coast and can drive to the other side for an excursion as well!

  • Submitted: Aug 19, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
10 Miles
KOA- Keahole-Kona Airport
Nearest Barpub
3 Miles
Nearest Golf
3 Miles
Keauhou Golf Course
Nearest Motorway
1 Miles
Kuakini and Queen Kaahumanu
Nearest Restaurant
1 Miles
La Bourgogne,Kona Inn,Sam Choy,Mi's,Daylight Mind
Nearest Beach
2 Miles
Magic Sands, Kahaluu Beach Park
Car: necessary

A mini-continent offering a taste of almost every climate on the planet, the Big Island of Hawaii is known for fountaining volcanoes, emerald cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and year-round sunny, warm beaches. Some of the best telescopes in the world are located on the snowy peak of Mauna Loa, while the reefs offer snorkeling, diving, whale-watching, and surfing in abundance. One of the most famous places in the world for swimming with wild dolphins, Kealakekua Bay and the City of Refuge offer a delightful introduction to the underwater realm. (Be respectful; let dolphins approach you if they want to interact.) The night dive with manta rays is one of the world's top-rated dives.

Other Activities: Swimming with wild dolphins, turtles, mantas. Exploring Hawaiian Sacred Sites


Rates & Availability

Kailua-Kona House Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
Winter 2017
Jan 2 2017 - Apr 30 2017
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
Summer, 2017
May 1 2017 - Aug 31 2017
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
Sept 2017
Sep 1 2017 - Sep 30 2017
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
Fall, 2017
Oct 1 2017 - Nov 14 2017
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
Nov- Dec 2017
Nov 15 2017 - Dec 23 2017
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
Holiday 2017
Dec 24 2017 - Jan 1 2018
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
Winter, 2018
Jan 2 2018 - Apr 30 2018
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
Summer, 2018
May 1 2018 - Aug 31 2018
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
Sept 2018
Sep 1 2018 - Sep 30 2018
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
Fall, 2018
Oct 1 2018 - Nov 14 2018
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
Nov-Dec 2018
Nov 15 2018 - Dec 23 2018
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
Holiday 2018
Dec 24 2018 - Jan 1 2019
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest
My Standard Rate
3 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add $25 per night, per additional guest

Additional information about rental rates

Refundable damage deposit $500
Cleaning fee per week $350 + Tax
Tax Rate 13.42%

More information, photos and video, plus my suggestions for restaurants, adventures, hikes, and snorkel spots, can be seen on the website:
Hawaii State Tax ID #- 099-218-6368-01

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.

Enter dates for accurate pricing


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