Each spring, the early morning rain showers arrive in Kauai. Around 4 or 5 am, before any of the guests at the Palmwood are awake, the rain comes in to soak the lush, green landscape and move along so that early risers are greeted with sunshine and rainbows.
"It’s like soundscape rain," says Mychael Henry, who’s up early enough to hear the rain – after all, he’s the social media and marketing manager and sometimes stand-in cook at the Palmwood, which is owned by his mother, "Aunty" Eddi. "You think you’re in a Sharper Image or something, listening to the rain, but it’s real life."
That’s the entire vibe of the Palmwood, in a nutshell – it’s actually real life. Whether you’re lounging in the picturesque red hammock by the palm trees, sipping a drink poolside, rinsing off in the private outdoor lava rock showers, or enjoying one of the fresh breakfasts Eddi is infamous for cooking up, it takes a pinch here and there to remember that it’s all real.
About ten years ago, after retiring from a career in mortgage banking, Eddi wanted to go into hospitality. She went to Kauai in search of a site for her idea, and she came across a house with beautiful bones, set way out on the northeastern side of the island, removed from the more developed areas to the south. "The layout worked really well for the project that she wanted to do," says Mychael, "and the land was pretty raw; it was just the house and jungle."
Eddi turned it into a simple, barebones bed and breakfast – four guests maximum, and she did all the cooking. "It was a super tiny operation," says Mychael, but there was a spark there, something that was really working and drawing people in, albeit just a few in the early days. Eddi was onto something, and Mychael – who has a background in hospitality – recognized that. "When I came on three and a half years ago, I just repackaged and rebranded what she already had in place."