Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

1 Crater Rim Drive, pahoa, hi

(808) 759-9625

Status: Historical Hotel



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Although the current main hotel building was built in 1941 – with huge additions made in 1958 through 1961 – the first building – a shack for selling snacks to tourists – dates back to the 1840’s. The oldest structure on the property still standing dates back to 1877 and is now an art gallery.

This spot near the Kilauea crater has been used by the aboriginal population for thousands of years. It’s elevation coupled with the northeast trade winds generally blow the poisonous gases out to sea in the other direction keeping this area as a safe place to get close to the crater. Kilauea’s eruptions are usually not explosive – although they can be – adding another layer of safety not usually seen so close to an active volcano.

In 1846 the first structure – made of grass and native wood – to call itself a hotel was built on the land. This building was also the first to use the name Volcano House.

In 1866 the proper wood frame building was constructed with 4 bedrooms, a parlor and a dining room was built. Mark Twain even stayed at this hotel.

In 1877 a new hotel with 6 rooms – the oldest building still standing – was built here. Under new owners it was expanded in 1891 to have 2 storeys and 12 guest rooms as well as a larger dining hall and an observation tower.

Until 1940 the 1891 building was expanded again and again under a few different owners until it housed 112 rooms with the old 1877 building now separate from the main building and used as employee dormitory.

On February 11, 1940 this hotel was burned to the ground; from a kitchen fire not from any volcanic activity.

In 1941 the core of the modern hotel that stands now was opened. It underwent massive renovations from 1958 to 1961 expanding it considerably.

From 1977 to 1986 the hotel was owned by Sheraton Hotels; then until 2008 it was owned by the Ken Direction Corporation.

In 2008 the hotel was evacuated multiple times due to sulphur dioxide eruptions from the volcano.

In 2010 and 2013 underwent renovations for seismic safety as well as updates to both the hotel and restaurant.

Between May and October 2018 the hotel was closed due to earthquakes and explosive volcanic eruptions.


Paranormal Activity

This property, due to it’s proximity to an active volcano, belongs to Pele; the fire and volcano Goddess. She is often seen in the guise of a white dog by lucky guests as they approach the hotel.

She is also seen wandering the property and in the hotel as a beautiful Aboriginal Hawaiian woman in Native dress.

There is also the Pele Curse: no one can remove any rock or sand from the volcano or island or they will suffer very bad luck. Many laugh this legend off, but hundreds of visitors mail back rocks and sand every year in an attempt to escape their sudden terrible luck.

Ignore Pele’s Curse at your own peril.

The hotel is also haunted by an elderly woman who is seen both in the hotel rooms and walking the hallways.