How to Choose the Best Hotel, Schwartzography Style

By: Smith Schwartz |

For as much as we’re on the road, we really don’t stay in hotels all too often. We usually try to make our trip as much like ‘home’ as we possibly can. But since we took a little time off while we were in Hawaii, we did a few shorter stints at hotels around the islands.


Hotels aren’t always worth the price of admission and are kind of a hassle for us. So, in order to get the best bang for our buck, my theory is to either reserve the cheapest room at a nice resort (and enjoy the amenities), or get the nicest room at a less expensive hotel (and feel like a big shot). You can tell by the caution tape and faded paint above, we chose the latter for this portion of our time in Hilo, a small town on the east side of ‘The Big Island’ of Hawaii.


I had reserved an oceanfront room, (and had shelled out a few extra bucks for the privilege) so I was hoping for a good view. But I have to say, after noticing the cracked, faded exterior paint and a few broken light fixtures, I was worried we’d been duped. While checking in, I saw the sign behind the counter telling me I had to pay a dollar to microwave any outside food. Nothing makes me feel more like a big shot.


I really hate to say it, but I was totally right. Pretty much the entire hotel was sketchy as it could possibly be, but our room was great. The furnishings weren’t fancy but simple, clean and crisp.


The hotel may have been super weird, but that view was worth every penny. Naniloa Volcano Resort is certainly the most affordable oceanfront view in all of Hawaii. We fell asleep each night to the sound of waves lapping the shore and woke up each morning to a soft sunrise over the water. It’s always easy to fall asleep quickly when you know your random theories have been proven to be true, once again.