Welcoming the Flying Buddha to Kulaniapia Falls

This last year has been very special for Kulaniapia, both in terms of the amazing experiences we have shared with our guests, and how the Kulaniapia family has grown up.

As I approach the time in life where we look to the next generation for inspiration, I have been thinking hard about what that means for Kulaniapia. After much soul searching, I realized that selling the property, while potentially very lucrative, would leave a hole in my sense of self, and offer no guarantee that my life’s work will remain accessible to those I created it for – namely, all of you.

Over the last 10 years, we have developed an incredible management team, each starting out as an hourly employee, and growing with years of experience. The team has taken on more and more operational responsibilities over the last year, and you can see the results. During this time, the Inn became TripAdvisor’s top ranked B&B in Hilo, and remains so today.

We have also taken on a partner, half my age, who has become one of my best friends. They found the Inn as a guest over a year ago, and never really left. The vision this property inspires in each of us is one in the same, and so much more attainable as a team. They have also helped helped us restructure the company to provide profit sharing for our employees, and the ability to make further investments, while we remain full partners in all decisions. It has been a lot of work, but I now rest easy at night knowing that Kulaniapia is no longer dependent on me alone, and I can focus on the ways I can uniquely contribute in the future.

I wanted to share one of our first collaborations, which started when our new partner suddenly found themselves needing a home for a 2000 lb Buddha statue with significant sentimental value, then located in California. I actually wonder how things might have turned out different if this need didn’t arise before we decided to team up… Anyway, after being crated, shipped across an ocean, and stored for a while longer next door, we finally figured out how to get it down to the bamboo garden – and what a day it was!

There are going to be many more stories to tell at Kulaniapia, and we are going to use this blog to keep you up to date. Rather than tell all of the stories myself, I have invited the team to tell our stories, and develop characters that make our stories more fun and engaging, and allow them to share more of themselves than they might otherwise online. We hope you enjoy hearing from the Flying Buddha and the rest of the characters at Kulaniapia as we embark on the next leg of our journey together.

- Lenny Sutton

Christophe Bisciglia