For a very unique and memorable experience, the Dragonfly Ranch Healing Arts Center is well worth visiting whilst on Big Island. A gigantic ‘treehouse’ nestled on the hillside of Honaunau Bay - just a short drive to Puuhonau o Honaunau Historical Park – this organic hideaway offers an accommodation experience like no other.
The place had been described to me by a friend as a ‘funky, alternate and interesting abode.’ I had taken the long and winding drive from Hilo to Honaunau, stopping along the way to see the sights. By the time I reached the tiny settlement of Honaunau it was well after dark, and I was ready to relax with a hot tea and a warm shower.
As I stepped out of the car and walked up the stone steps, I was greeted vivaciously by Barbara, the larger-than-life owner of Dragonfly Ranch. Her warm eyes and soft, open face spoke immediately to me of her genuine and passionate demeanor. She welcomed me excitedly and made me feel right at home. Barbara is a local character with a big heart – she is on a heartfelt mission to assist people with their health and wellbeing. As well as providing comfortable yet unconventional lodgings, she makes available a variety of healing modalities such as massage, flower essences, infrared sauna, nutritional supplements as well as an ‘afternoon with Barbara’ session that is tailored to suit the needs of the individual. With over 40 years of experience in the wellness industry, Barbara has a wealth of knowledge about many aspects of healing and wellbeing.
I opted to stay two nights in the Dolphin Room, the least expensive room. It has a large king-size bed, plenty of room to hang clothing and a table to sit and write. The outside bathroom adjoining the room was convenient and clean. The five suites and rooms each have a private entrance and bathroom. The Honeymoon Suite, Lomilomi Suite, The Writers Studio and the Dolphin and Dragonfly rooms are themed accordingly.
There are plenty of places and open spaces to relax and lounge about. Hammocks, large couches and a huge deck with views to Kealakekua Bay offer the opportunity for relaxation. There are interesting people to meet at Dragonfly and the place is a local hub for a variety of events and gatherings. It is very much an alive and buzzing community space – there is always something going on – but there is the option to choose privacy if you are feeling more like relaxing than socializing. However, walls are a little thin and should you choose the Dolphin Room it is not ideal for late snoozers as it adjoins the main kitchen where breakfast is offered.
The included breakfast buffet is delightfully fresh and tasty. Locally-sourced organic fruits, homemade breads, quinoa, coffee and a variety of herbal teas are on offer. Barbara has extensive organic vegetable gardens and will cook a delicious vegetarian meal in the evening on demand, and she asks for a donation of $30 or more.
Barbara and her friendly team are always on hand to answer questions and provide information about local activities. Dragonfly Ranch is the sort of place to stay if you want to experience a ‘home away from home’ – with a difference. It is definitely a unique experience – not the usual run-of-the-mill B&B. The community vibe is not for everyone, and the ‘in-house’ rooms feel a little too close to the adjoining rooms. The suites are a little more private.
Dragonfly is a place that exudes eccentricity and – dare I say– is a little kooky. Not for everyone, but for the open-minded it is definitely a worthwhile experience. If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary that will leave a lasting impression and perhaps even impart a little bit of healing and self-awareness, (if not at least an new perspective on things) Dragonfly is one of those places you will be talking about to everyone you meet, long after your visit to Big Island.