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Reviewed 18 March 2018

We stayed at the Dolphin Suite, which we picked because it was on the second floor, had great views. We had our own bathroom and private lanai, and didn't mind sharing the kitchen facilities. We were very comfortable, had adequate screens to avoid insects. We also had more than enough hot water. There was also a fast internet connection. Although we prepared some simple meals in the kitchen area we ate them on our lanai. There were other guests at the property but we didn't hear them, and only ran into them sometimes.

There is no room service - this is not like a hotel but more like the situation with an AirBnb where they only clean up after your stay, which was fine with us since we wanted to be left alone. There is a caretaker if there are any issues and he was very helpful. There are no keys for any of the accommodations but this was a secluded property and we felt quite safe.

There has been a recent change in ownership and they are currently trying to improve the landscaping but we personally felt that the natural look really added to the atmosphere and hope that they don't make it too groomed like some of the resorts.

Room Tip: We took the Dolphin Suite - second floor - 180 deg views. Very happy with this choice.
  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
1  Thank Leah L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2018

I used to only write reviews for 5+ star properties. After my most recent trip, I changed that policy to writing reviews only if they are helpful to both the property owner and potential renters. Since I wasn’t able to find accurate reviews for this property, I hope this will serve anyone considering the Pali Temple for their Hawaiian getaway. I also hope this feedback will be helpful to the owner as they work to improve this property.

We planned this trip last minute during the high season. Our priorities were a private unit with a kitchen and close proximity to the ocean. There wasn't much available and this property satisfied all three expectations. Here were some of the things we liked about this property.

- The view. Although they would benefit from grooming the vegetation.
- We could hear the distant ocean both day and night.
- The property was quiet. Some nights we heard voices, but there was no loud music, parties, or other distractions.
- Private seclusion. We couldn’t see anyone from the unit.
- The property was smoke free.
- The option to text our arrival time and report issues.
- The caretaker was pleasant and quick to respond to issues. Especially considering that he appeared to be doing it all on his own.

There were also some things that could use improvement. First and foremost, my husband and I felt there was a lack of transparency. There was conflicting information on the various listings: VRBO, Airbnb, Trip Advisor, and their website. After receiving the welcome packet and spending time at the property, I feel like the image they portray on the internet is misleading. They have a beautiful website. Based on what we saw, this was the place we were most excited about. Based on our experience, this is the property we were most disappointed in.

Thanks to aggregators like Home to Go and Tripping, we were able to see all the listings for this property. Based on what Whale Spirit Sanctuary reported to VRBO, Airbnb, Trip Advisor, and their website, we believed that the property had the following amenities: washer, dryer, Wi-Fi, and other less critical amenities. After we paid in full, we received a welcome packet that informed us that these things were not available.

In addition to feeling like we were misinformed, we felt the property was not well maintained. There were holes in screens which lead to mosquito bites and cockroaches indoors. The roof leaked and we ran out of hot water. The caretaker addressed the roof and hot water apologetically, but for $165 a night, we feel they should be more buttoned up.

We paid an $85 cleaning fee but felt that the unit was not clean. There was dirt and dust under the furniture and cobwebs on the ceiling. The extra blanket smelled musty. And one bath towel for seven nights was a bit extreme.

Our main concern with the property was the value. We both felt that it was very overpriced for what we got. My husband called it a fixer-upper, charging boutique pricing.

When we arrived at our unit, there was a binder with details on the property. In the binder, there was a letter explaining that they were fixing it up. In my opinion, this information should have been presented up front, on their website. My main complaint is that they should charge for the current condition, not what it will be someday. I might have been okay if it was $80 per night, but $165 was not acceptable for what we got.

I take responsibility in that I should have trusted my instincts. I did not have a good feeling about this property after contacting the owner. For example, the website listed the unit for $145/nt, or $914/ week. When I received the reply, I was quoted $165/nt, or $1040/week. I questioned the pricing and sent a screenshot from moments earlier. The owner replied that they could not honor the price because someone paid that last week and didn't complain. They implied that my computer wasn’t working correctly. I build websites and I know how they work. Information can be changed in an instant.

Here are a few more things you should know:
- The property is pretty far from Kona so it’s not a great base for exploring the Kona coast. Conversely, that’s what makes it great if you want to sit in one place and relax.
- The bathroom is not in the unit.
- There are no locks on the unit if you are concerned about your personal items.
- The drive in is STEEP! I don’t think I would have been comfortable driving our rental car in or out of there. Luckily there is no obstacle that gets in my husband's way.
- The lighting in from the parking is poor. If you’re arriving at night, bring a headlamp.

  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Holly S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 September 2017

Heaven!! Such a special place that was much needed after a busy year. The food, view, location was top notch!! I was able to swim with dolphins 4 times and the weather was awesome. This place is the only place I'll stay when I come back!!

Room Tip: Best view ever!!
  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank Jana B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2014

The sanctuary is an eclectic location, with a beautiful view over the Kealekua bay. It consists of several cottages which vary widely in the degree of comfort and view. What I appreciated were the numerous statues of Hindu deities and Buddhas, placed amongst the flowering trees and shrubs. Birdsong waking you up every morning. Reasonable prices. If you have a slightly alternative bent, and like nature, you will like this place.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank kaioatey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2012

What a special place to stay in and indeed a sanctuary!
I have fully enjoyed every minute here and loved the relaxed and spiritual hosts!!
When you go to visit Hawaii - no other place to stay for me - the dolphins are just a walk - steep!!! - away and there are so many and they are just breathtaking.
Saw the whales migrate from the lanaii - what a treat!

Room Tip: they are all great
  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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6  Thank henrietteberndt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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