Enter the magnificent Royal Palm lined drive and experience Big Island history in the former Ola’a Sugar Plantation estate.
The buildings are authentic Victorian and about 130 years old. They have been tastefully restored to their old glory and equipped with all modern amenities.
They are surrounded by about ten acres of luscious botanical gardens, meadows, orchards, and tropical rain forests, preserving its unique ambiance.
Three aspects make this property unique:
Location, ambiance and history.
There are no similar places on the Island to compare it to.
Keaau, on the east of the Big Island,, meaning the area of water springs.
We are conveniently urban, yet secluded within our privacy.
We are on safe county water and dependable grid electricity and WiFi.
We are always on paved roads and only a minute away from the next supermarket and restaurants in Keaau shopping center. We are 10 to 15 minutes from downtown Hilo and central to all visitor sites, most of them less than an hour away.
We are in proximity to Hawaii Volcano National Park,
and the coastal waterfalls.
In the midst of our botanical exuberance and wildlife you connect with the charm of a simpler life, as it used to be on the Island a century ago. A rare opportunity to experience country living as its best.
Glamping enthusiasts can be one with nature without the hassle of generators, catchment water, and miles and miles of distance to the next grocery store.
The land, originally owned by King William Charles Lunalilo (1835-1874), was purchased by the Shipman family.
In 1902 the first manager of the Ola sugar plantation planted the Banyan tree near the cottage. It is now considered the biggest on the Island.
The Main House, nineteenth century Queen Anne architecture, has been used in many photography sessions for movies, recordings, magazines, books and commercials.
A 1950’s photo is shown in the book “The Hawaiians”.
Films recorded on the property include: Four Frightened People (Claudette Colbert)-Diamond Head (Charlton Heston)-The Hawaiians (Charlton Heston - Geraldine Chaplin)-Hawaii Five O-Hawaiian Eye-Big Hawaii (Cliff Potts)-Danger In Paradise (Cliff Potts & Ina Bolin).
At times it was also the home of Herbert Shipman, who was known to have saved the nene bird from extinction (Hawaii's State bird). He also played an important role in bringing the orchid Industry to Hawaii. His passion for exotic plants is still noticeable to the present day, as there are shrubs and trees and grasses on the property, not seen anywhere else. His orchard planting shed is still admired by botanical experts. His orchard planting shed is still admired by botanical experts.
Herbert also used to hold parties for all the prominent people of his time, who came visit the Island. The Roosevelt's, Rockefeller, movie stars, and the legendary Amelia Earhart are known to have graced the residence with their presence.
(Ref. Emmett Cahill 'The Shipmans of East Hawaii')
After the plantation closed and sold the residence in the early 1980’s, it fell in disrepair until the present owners acquired it and worked for several years to restore it to its original beauty.
But the history dates back beyond the plantation era to ancient Hawaiian legends and fairy tales.
The most known is of the mythical Princess La'ieikawaii, hiding in the place known as Paliuli.
The Hawaiian movie Choreographer Henry Pa, recounts in an interview: "When I was involved in the movie, "Bird of Paradise," my grandmother Grace Kealiiaua Pa told me to go to the island of Hawaiʻi, to Olaʻa, at Keʻeau. I was to sit beneath a certain tree, which was the birthplace of my grandfather and his former home. There I was to gaze out at the water and look for two stones, one of which was Hiʻiaka-ika-poli-o-Pele, and the other was Lohiau. I was to meditate on the task before me. By doing this, I would receive the strength and inspiration that I needed to choreograph the dance scene for this movie."