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“Pono Kai is a great spot!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Pono Kai Resort

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Pono Kai Resort
Ranked #8 of 11 Hotels in Kapaa
San Clemente, California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Pono Kai is a great spot!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 February 2012

Pono Kai is a lovely location. Yes, it is a little dated but that is all part of the charm of the facility. If you expect the Ritz Carlton, go somewhere else. This is not for you. Our 1 bedroom unit is spotless with new carpet, drapes, vinyl flooring and paint and NO bugs. The furniture is slightly used. The grounds are immaculate, the front desk personnel are friendly and courteous. We find the roosters quite entertaining and can see the whales jumping from our lanai. It is very quiet at night. The bedroom can be quite warm during the day but cools off quickly when the sun sets and you can let in the trade wind breezes. I suppose it could be a problem during summer but this time of year – no problem. Kapaa does not have the feel of Poipu or Princeville, but is a very local crowd – part of the reason we chose to stay here. WE exchanged our HGVC points for RCI in order to book this facility. We called two weeks ahead and requested ocean view, third floor.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LookingForSeaGlass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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691 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (224)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Saratoga Springs, New York
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 January 2012

We stayed at Pono Kai in the beginning of January this year, and we loved it. It is not fancy and some of the furnishing/amenities in the condo itself were a little older and worn at times but we did not have any problems with cleanliness, ants, or our a/c.

The pool and hot tub were great, and all of the grounds were really well maintained. They even have nice Weber gas grills around the property for guests to use, as well as an herb garden where you can go to get fresh herbs to use for cooking. We didn't really have to deal much with the front desk so I can't speak to that, the activities desk was fine to deal with. We had told them we found a cheaper rate for one of the activities online and they were happy to match that price.

The resort is located pretty centrally on the island which made getting around pretty easy. We loved walking along the walking path along Kappa, we would do it in the early am and sometimes we would do it again in the evening to hit up a happy hour someplace in town. The beach is right at the hotel, the water there is clean and calm enough for swimming. The beach itself is the town beach and can be a little dirty, but all things are relative. It is right near the public boat launch so there is a lot of rope, and parts of buoys there but nothing compared to dirty beaches in the Northeast (which is where we are from), no broken bottles or anything like that. The sand right by the water is clean and we never had a problem finding a clean area of sand to set up camp in.

So, overall we had no problems. The place is nothing fancy, but it is comfortable, in a good location, and has great grounds.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Mara L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minnesota
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 January 2012

My husband and I stayed at Pono Kai for 7 days with some friends who had a 2 week timeshare there. This was our first time in Kauai and it was an overall fantastic experience! Here are my thoughts Pono Kai Resort.

The unit:

We were in a one bedroom, ground level, ocean view room. Since we were with our friends, my husband and I slept on the pull-out couch, which was about as comfortable as a pull-out couch can be. Not the end of the world, but the best bed I've ever slept on. It seemed a little better when we just put the mattress on the floor.

The rest of the unit itself was very sufficient and functional. Kitchen was nicely set up, all appliances were working, although the fridge was set too cold and froze some of our produce. The hot water, AC, dishwasher and the rest all worked. Everything was decently clean and there were no bugs or ants. They did spray for them while we were there, but that seemed to be routine. The bathroom was spacious and sufficient as well, but not overly fancy. The bathtub has seen better days however, and the hot-cold water functions seemed backward to me. Basically, If you're looking for a Hilton or Marriot, this is not the place for you. If you don't need fancy things to make your vacation, then you will be very comfortable here.

The Grounds:

The resort is apparently set on a former pineapple plantation, but I couldn't tell. That said, it was nicely kept with fantastic palm trees everywhere and a very lovely koi pond. There are gas grills available in several locations and a "herb garden" with fresh herbs to use. The paths are nice and well maintained as well. I never used the pool or the hot tub, but our friends used and enjoyed the hot tub several times. I noticed a few times that palm branches fell from the wind, and they were always picked up right away. There are the usual chickens wandering the grounds (and EVERYWHERE else on the island), which was entertaining and also some shy cats and kittens.

The Location:

This is my most favorite part, and what I would come back for in an instant. For starters, we were right. on. the. ocean. We faced the east, so we'd wake up to a beautiful sunrise over the ocean every morning. The beach off the property was damaged significantly in the hurricane in 1992, so it is not a large beach and not super conducive to swimming, especially in winter when the current is strong. It is great however for walking or just sitting near and I was even able to find some fun shells when the tide was low. Another nice thing is how this resort is located within walking distance of half the town. There are tons of fantastic little shops, local restaurants, coffee shops, fruit stands, an ABC store and more. All within a couple blocks or less. Not only that, but there is an AMAZING 6.8 mile paved trail on the edge of the resort property that follows the ocean. It is well maintained and nice and wide to accommodate all the foot traffic. It takes you through parks, past fantastic beaches and great scenic overlooks. There is a bike rental place or two in town, and it'd be worth renting the bikes if you're into that. I am a inline skating addict and I brought my own skates with, and I am so glad I did. It was just beautiful for skating or even just a walk. Several times I saw whales while out, as well as a pod of dolphins and a monk seal that was sunning itself on the rocks. Just an awesome way to explore the area.

Overall, if you are looking for a more home-town feel and want to be in the middle of real life in Kapa'a then you will like this resort. If you're looking for more of a fancier feel, then this isn't your place. We greatly enjoyed it and look forward to returning.

One other quick note, we were here WITHOUT our young children and I would not recommend this resort at all for families with young children. There was pretty much nothing for little kids here. Pre-teens or teens would probably be fine, but nobody in the under 8 crowd. They'd be bored out of their minds

Room Tip: Would totally recommend rooms on ground level- makes for easy access to everything and the lovely wa...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Izzi3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
36 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 January 2012

Two-bedroom (loft) unit, sleeps six, one bathroom, MBR in loft, full kitchen, private lanai, third floor of three storey building.
Front desk was helpful.
Concierge services were great. Hint – attend as many of the orientation sessions as you like. Two-for-one giveaways are awarded to participants and as we learned, if your number is called for an adventure you don’t want, don’t claim it and hang in the draw for one you do want. Good value for some of the in-demand adventures and the concierge staff take great pride in the long standing good relationships that they have with tour operators.
Housekeeping very friendly, accommodating and focused on customer satisfaction. Clean towels every two days, with full housekeeping once a week or on request.
Grounds keeping - good.
Herb garden in the pool area. Whoever thought of this idea should be given the Employee of the Month parking spot! It is a great green idea and gives travellers that option of picking fresh herbs for those nights where BBQ and dining-in is the meal plan of choice. This is one of those ‘best practices’ ideas that all Resorts should adopt. A few containers and a bit of ground area is all you need to start.
We requested an ocean front/view unit. Pono Kai replied, no guarantees, but would do what they could. We were delighted when they came through for us. Our condo was in Building A, right on the beach front, with expansive views of the ocean, and the sounds of ocean waves crashing on shore. Buildings A, B and C would all provide the same option. One drawback is that, as we were reminded, we tend to come to Hawaii when our weather is bad, not necessarily when their weather is good, and on some nights, the night winds sounded like a tsunami was crashing through the patio doors. All and all, we were very happy with the unit but wonder what our impression would have been if we had been assigned a unit in the interior of the property.
The unit itself was good, maybe a bit tired. If the sofa in the living room was in my house, it would be replaced before we had company. It may not be five-star, but you would be hard-pressed to find better location that provides easy walking to good restaurants, stores and interesting local vendors. The stores (art, glass, clothing, souvenirs, soaps) provided many interesting stopping points in our daily walks and meanderings.
If it were my resort the three things that I would do immediately:
1. Sign the place! The whole island suffers from ‘let’s not tell anyone where anything is syndrome’ and Pono Kai buys in to that philosophy. It still astounds me that countries/locations/destinations who promote themselves as a tourist destination have no signage strategies in place. Pono Kai needs signs to tell guests – who arrive at all times in day and night – where to find the elevator (lobby, pool, laundry etc). Hauling luggage up dark stairs in the middle of the night and finding the elevator two days later is not a good guest experience.
2. Think like a guest. Not all guests are coming from the same time-zone. Ask the guest on check-in if they want to attend the morning orientation session with the concierge. If the answer is yes, ask them if they want a wake-up call. If they say yes, then by all means, make that 7:30am wake up call to their unit, if not, let them sleep.
3. Clean the furniture, if it can’t be cleaned and brought up to standard, then replace it.if it is stained and worn out, your guests won’t want to sit in it (I didn't sit on the sofa - too grungy).

Did I say three things? I meant four. Along with that signage strategy, I would implement an annual ‘Rooster Round-up’. I know that a lot of jokes are made about the number of chickens and roosters who roam freely around the islands and I know the story about the state having a bird protection policy in place before the last hurricane ripping open the cages of the prized fighter roosters and not meaning for this policy to protect the chickens – but let’s get serious!
Policies are made by – people –and when the policies don’t work or do what they intended, then it is time for those same people to change the policy. And this is one policy that needs to be changed. Yes, I know there could be slump in the graphic design industry as designers would have to design T-shirts with something other than a rooster on it, but enough already. These birds are noisy, dirty and over-prolific in the ‘making baby chicks’ department. Change the policy, hold a Rooster Round-up once a year with prizes, or import some good old Canadian foxes to address the problem. Heck, try all three ;-)

Room Tip: Buildings A, B, C, - we asked for ocean view. Although they advised no promises, they came through a...
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank SiriusSam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stansbury Park, UT
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 January 2012

We booked this unit sight unseen through our vacation club. When we arrived, we found a 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit with a loft (3rd bed) awaiting us. The unit we had (307b) backed on the ocean. It was an incredible view and it was awesome to just wake up, step out on the lanai and see whales jumping. The grounds were very good and staff was friendly. I will say that the service was slow. We only had maid service once in the week we were there. We're not sure if that's standard or not. Not sure how price for normal bookings would be but for us, it was better than expected. The location was great too. Right inside Kapa'a near the Safeway. There are a lot of buildings on the ground. You'll want a-d to make sure you get ocean view.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank bwolsen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pono Kai Resort

Property: Pono Kai Resort
Address: 4-1250 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746-1658
Region: United States > Hawaii > Kauai > Kapaa
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Kapaa
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Kapaa
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Kapaa
Price range (per night): ₹ 11,261 - ₹ 17,612
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Pono Kai Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 217
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Pono Kai Hotel Kapaa
Pono Kai Kapaa
Pono Kai Resort Kauai/Kapaa

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