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Uncle Billy's Hilo Bay Hotel

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1965–1975, Uncle Billy Kimi with Jimmy Yap. 87 Banyan Dr.
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)

Uncle Billy's exudes Hawaiian hospitality, by successfully combining a Polynesian ambiance within the context of contemporary hotel expectations. Thatch, notched rafter tails, hanging shell lights, and lauhala (mats woven from the leaves of the pandanus tree) found throughout the hotel's public spaces evoke the sort of South Seas idyll long associated with Don the Beachcombers, Trader Vic's, and Kaiser Hawaiian Village (OA131). Rotating louvered shutters serve as the lobby's front wall. Two four-story wings extend behind the lobby to form a courtyard, and in this pleasant place a meandering lava-rock-lined koi pond traversed by a pair of bridges is shaded by umbrella trees. Lanai with Swiss chalet balustrades overlook this tropical garden.

This family-operated hotel was designed and constructed by its owner, contractor, and developer, Billy Kimi, with Jimmy Yap providing the structural engineering services. Kimi built this hotel in increments over a ten-year period following the 1960 tsunami which leveled this part of Hilo.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Uncle Billy's Hilo Bay Hotel", [Hilo, Hawaii], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Hawaii

Buildings of Hawaii, Don J. Hibbard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011, 261-261.

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