South Kona Hideaway, Captain Cook, Big Island, HI
Tina Snapp and Keri Jones, Owners
Think of the South Kona Hideaway as a tropical escape without the crowds, traffic and high cost of Hawaii’s busier islands. The Big Island is relaxed and comparatively un-touristy, and the coastal region around the city of Kona is an exercise in stunning extremes: barren lava fields and coffee plantations on one side of the highway, the sparkling Pacific on the other.
“The big draw to this area is the great outdoors and aloha spirit” paired with fiery sunsets over the ocean, says Tina Snapp, a semi-retired nurse who bought the South Kona Hideaway with her partner Keri Jones, a veterinarian who owns South Kona Vet Services, in 2013. South Kona is a rural area in the middle of the Kona coffee belt, and the hideaway is tucked between farms with spectacular views over the water.
Each of the South Kona Hideaway’s two units, the Lookout and the Lanai, sleeps up to four people and offers all of the comforts of an actual apartment: full kitchen, living room, bedroom and lanai with a grill. Snapp delivers a continental breakfast with insanely fresh Hawaiian fruit the night before, so you can sleep in without missing the meal. The couple also provides all the gear you could want to hit the beach, from snorkels and fins to boogie boards and beach chairs.
“We even have coats for guests who want to venture to the summit of Mauna Kea, 14,000 feet up,” Snapp says. If that seems too demanding, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a 90-minute drive away on the main highway and shouldn’t be missed.
The two rental apartments may be located in a gorgeous setting, but there was a lot of work to be done at the start. “It was a mass of weeds and jungle when we got it, so we continue to improve on the sustainability, planting fruit trees,” Snapp says. “We have updated the Lookout unit with new floors and paint. We just went through a big renovation.”
The couple also has a farm where they grow their own coffee and fruit, which they serve at the Hideaway as well as at the local farmers’ market. “I make a killer muffin that comes from fruit and avocado from the farm,” Snapp says.
Snapp and Jones would argue they’ve found their own corner of paradise. “We got the first marriage license for a gay couple in our little town,” Snapp says, “and the clerk could not have been happier to issue it to us.” The couple says the island’s inclusive spirit is evident in the way “people are judged by who they are as people. We enjoy sharing our home, and it is joyful for us when people have a great vacation and enjoy our island.”