The Idyllic ʻĪao Valley Inn is Right Off the Beaten Path
For a quiet getaway, escape to this tropical inn.
Perched above 37 acres of Hawaiʻi’s tropical flora and fauna, as well as a cascading waterfall, the ʻĪao Valley Inn is a serene retreat into Maui’s lush valley. Surrounded by the island’s natural beauty and away from the busy resorts, guests can find peaceful privacy at the family-run bed and breakfast.
With a sprawling estate that parallels the nature of Hāna but without the long, winding drive, the B&B is a hidden gem on ʻĪao Valley Road. While feeling secluded in a tropical jungle, the inn is just a short distance from the island’s lively towns, sandy beaches and exciting activities. From the heart of Wailuku, it’s just a two-minute drive to the inn and another two minutes to ʻĪao Valley State Park.
Arriving at the B&B, guests feel immediately at peace among the mountains and trees. Driving through the gates, the green valley comes into view and the overhanging trees shake in the breeze. Once entering, all guests are greeted with a warm welcome from Kahu, the playful three-year-old German shepherd on the property.
In 2013, Tamara Horcajo and her husband, Bob, transformed their family home into a charming inn before the Horcajos acquired the county B&B permits in 2013—and the ʻĪao Valley Inn was established. The B&B has two guest suites, which are connected to the Horcajo’s house. Each suite has a private outdoor entrance and covered lānai (veranda). Guests can enjoy breakfast on their private patio or relax in the cool breeze during the afternoons. On the lawn, a row of lounge chairs provides exceptional views of the valley, but it’s an even better spot to stargaze.
The beauty of Valley Isle extends into the two guest rooms, the Orchid and Palms, which are both for singles and two guests. Thoughtfully designed, the modern suites remain cozy with charming island décor and artwork as well as refreshing natural light. Each suite has a king-size bed, walk-in closet, television and is fitted with small kitchen amenities. Although it isn’t necessary most months of the year, the rooms also have air conditioning.
In the morning, rooms are equipped with a Keurig for coffee and tea, as well as orange juice. The Horcajos also provide fresh fruit and banana bread from the eminent Four Sister’s Bakery in Wailuku. Grocery stores and local restaurants are near the B&B. In the evening Giannotto’s Pizzeria also delivers.
Along with the Orchid and Palms suites, the Horcajos welcome singles and groups up to four to their detached cottage and gazebo. With enchanting views of the Wailuku River, the private cottage includes a full kitchen and a king-size bed, while the octagonal gazebo features a double bed. Regardless of the room or suite, guests can fall asleep to the soothing Wailuku River and to the sound of the breeze in the trees. While staying at the B&B is a retreat into paradise, there is still strong WiFi throughout the property thankfully.
Now approaching a decade of operating, the ʻĪao Valley Inn has welcomed new visitors to the island as well as many returning guests. The calming nature of the B&B attracts visitors searching for an experience outside the typical beach resort—and often entices guests to return.
Tamara Horcajo says she has seen many familiar faces return to her B&B throughout the years. She even recalls a proposal on the property, that led the couple to return for their honeymoon. This year, a novelist residing in the cottage made his third stay at the inn, but it would have likely been his fourth had it not been for Covid.
The ʻĪao Valley Inn closed for eight months in 2020 but safely began operating when travel to the Islands reopened. With the small size of the B&B, the number of guests on the property is limited. Guests are also required to meet the pre-travel testing requirements.
A few years ago, the B&B implemented a four-night minimum, but Horcajo says guests typically stay six to eight nights. “After COVID people don’t want to hop around,” she says. “And we like that. We also like the idea of getting to know our guests.”
Horcajo kindly checks in with her guests in the morning, talks story and provides insider recommendations. In the evening, guests look forward to recounting their excursions to Horcajo. Once night falls, Horcajo will even point out the constellations in the clear night sky. It’s the genuine aloha spirit at the ʻĪao Valley Inn that makes it feel like a home away from home. After a stay, it’s difficult to leave the B&B, but that’s the reason so many guests return.
For more information, visit the ʻĪao Valley Inn website.