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Hawaii: Historic Volcano House on the Big Island set to reopen

August 15, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • One of the camper cabins at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
One of the camper cabins at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. (Jay Robinson / National…)

Author Mark Twain slept here -- in 1866.

"The surprise of finding a good hotel at such as outlandish spot startled me, considerably more than the volcano did," Twain wrote. He was describing the dramatic setting of the Volcano House, a 19th-century hotel that started life as a grass shack overlooking the Kilauea caldera on the island of Hawaii.

Now Volcano House and 10 camping cabins in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that have been closed since 2010 will partly reopen Saturday. The National Park Service announced Tuesday that it had signed a 15-year contract with the Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Co. to renovate and refurbish the lodgings that include the 32-room hotel and the cabins at Namakanaipalo Campground.

As part of the soft reopening, a few of the cabins will be available to visitors at a cost of $55 a night. The rest, plus rooms at the hotel, will reopen in phases over the next 12 months. Starting Saturday, Volcano House will be open to visitors daily from 7:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for limited food and supplies until renovations are complete. The upgrades are estimated to cost $2.5 million to $3 million.

Volcano House, which has changed and expanded over the years, was listed with the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The most current version dates to 1941 and has a stone hearth where a fire often burned as a tribute to the goddess of fire and volcanoes, Pele.

Contact: Namakanipaio Campground, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, (808) 756-9625

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