Hawaii Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel closing Feb. 1 By Shane Nelson / January 11, 2016 Share 1 -- The 150-room Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel will close Feb. 1 after more than five decades of operation on the east coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The property’s land lease with the state of Hawaii expires in March. “We have spent more than simply money in attorney’s fees, appraisal evaluations, business plans,” Aaron Whiting, the hotel manager and Uncle Billy’s grandson, said in a statement. “Not to mention keeping an aging property in service beyond its functional capacity. We have exhausted our emotional reserves.” A popular fixture of the Hilo community, Uncle Billy’s also figured prominently in the town’s annual Merrie Monarch celebration, Hawaii’s most revered hula festival. The hotel closure will impact 27 employees, but reservations were suspended last fall, “so there are very few commitments beyond Feb. 1,” according to property officials. Uncle Billy's Kona Bay Hotel in Kailua-Kona, on the Big Island’s west coast, will be unaffected by the Hilo closure, however, and continue to operate without interruption.