by Deborah Gushman
“A charming Bed & Breakfast”—that’s how the travel guides describe Hilo’s historic Shipman House. But what a bed—and what a breakfast! The century-old Victorian mansion of a prominent sugar family has been lovingly restored by owners Barbara Ann and Gary Andersen. (Barbara, a Shipman great-granddaughter, is a gifted storyteller who enjoys sharing anecdotes about her colorful ancestors.) The house’s luminous hardwood floors were once trodden by the likes of Jack London and Queen Lili‘uokalani, and the piano played by Hawaii’s last queen is still on display.
photos by MACARIO
The immense guest rooms are airy and spacious, with Hawaiian-quilted bedspreads and lush, verdant views of the musical Wailuku River and the sparkling sea beyond. Unexpected perks abound: If you happen to be staying at the Shipman House on a Thursday afternoon, for example, you will be invited to join an exuberant hula class, held outside on the sweetly breezy lanai. And this same gracious veranda is where you’ll begin your days with a breakfast fit for ... well, a queen—starting with a huge, artistically arranged platter of whatever tropical fruits happen to be in season, most of which come from the Shipman House’s own vast garden.
Appreciative guests from all over the world return to Shipman House again and again, and no wonder: Staying there guarantees you’ll have a royal good time.