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“We loved the Kona Kai as well as Brenda and Lenny” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kona Kai Motel

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Kona Kai Motel
3.0 of 5 Motel   |   1539 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island, FL 33957   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #15 of 27 Hotels in Sanibel Island
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
“We loved the Kona Kai as well as Brenda and Lenny”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2012

i was aghast at the review I read by Nana G when I went online today to book my annual stay at the Kona Kai. My family and I have been vacationing on Sanibel/Captive for the past 20 years. We had always stayed at the larger resorts but a couple years ago decided to try the Kona Kai at the suggestion of a friend. We were greeted very warmly by Brenda and Lenny upon our arrival and found out they had just recently taken over as the managers of the resort. They were always available to us with any questions we had, as a matter of fact the Brenda and Lenny I've come to know over the past two years would have driven me to the hospital if I fell ill. The rooms and property are always very well kept and the "sail" over the corner of the pool makes for a nice shaded area during the hot sunny afternoons. I have recommended the Kona Kai to many friends and business associates.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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282 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (31)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Maple Park, IL
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2012

WOW. What a wonderful place to stay. It's in a central location of Sanibel with everything within biking distance and several things within walking distance. Brenda & Lenny ? I can't say enough nice things about them. Two of the nicest people I've ever met. The room was great. Very quaint, quiet and romantic. Though not directly on the beach, we rented bikes from Billy's just down the street and it was a short ride to the beach. This was a great place to stay and I would highly recommend it and I'm pretty picky about where I stay. Thank you Brenda & Lenny for a fabulous stay ! I hope to visit you again soon !!

Room Tip: We stayed pool side and it was perfect.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Boston
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2012

Our experience was pretty much opposite that of Anne F.'s family. We were driving from Ft. Myers to the Ocala area to visit relatives and decided to spend a couple of nights on Sanibel. We had visited Sanibel several years back and loved the nature and beaches there. The Kona Kai was available and within our price range ( high season - $179. base per night). We were renting bikes, so it not being close to the beach was not a drawback. I booked online and corresponded with Brenda. All was fine. Upon our arrival Saturday afternoon, we found the office empty. We used the office tel. # to call for the front desk person. A few minutes later, a man arrived. He was not very hospitable but showed us to our room. It was the first room near the road. There were two beds, a mini refrigerator and a coffee maker. Some plastic dishes and silverware completed the room. The large bathroom had a tiled shower and small sink at one end and a toilet along the wall. The room looked clean and newly renovated in a d.i.y. way. It shared a small deck with the office and another room. I asked his name and he said, "Lenny." He offered no information about the pool, the use of the outside area or about anything, really. He did show us a spot to park our bikes. (Billy's Bike Rentals are conveniently across the road from Kona Kai.) We thought that it was just a busy day, and didn't think too much about the lack of hospitality. We left to enjoy a quiet ride away from the busy main road of Sanibel. (Traffic here is heavy, stop and go, especially in the day. Bike traffic is also quite heavy on the bike trail.) Noise from the road was not a problem for sleeping, though and the beds were comfortable. The next morning, I was ill. I sent my husband for an early bike ride and called my doctor at home. He stressed that I needed to get to the nearest hospital emergency room. I went next door to the office to get directions. Again, no one was in, so I used the office telelphone #. Lenny answered and seemed reluctant to answer my query. After I pressed him, he gave me directions to the hospital over the phone. The hospital (Health Park) was only 5 miles away in Ft. Myers and easy to find. I was admitted and had to stay but my husband returned for the second night to Kona Kai. He never did meet Brenda, or see Lenny again. When he checked out, he had to use the office phone. Even though my husband needed to stay an additional night, he chose not to return to Kona Kai. He stayed at the La Quinta in Ft. Myers instead. I realize that this review has a personal issue that goes beyond the usual motel experience. But I am a pretty seasoned traveler and worked in the travel and tourism industry. I would have been quite content with the location of the Kona Kai, the Hawaiian style surroundings, and our room, but the lack of personal contact and any hospitality made for an unsatisfactory experience for me. Hope the Kona Kai takes this as a wake-up call to improve their customer service.

Room Tip: Try to get a room deeper into the property away from the road and parking lot.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxted, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2012

My husband, myself and our 4 year-old son come to Sanibel every year for our holiday. In the past we have always stayed at one of the bigger beach resorts. This year we needed to save money and chose the Kona Kai. It was the best decision we could have made. We had the most fabulous holiday ever thanks to the incredible warmth and care provided by Brenda and Lenny, the motel managers. They helped us with everything we needed -- nothing was too much trouble. My little boy fell in love with them both and they quickly became "Aunti Brenda and Uncle Lenny". The motel itself is very clean and well maintained. The pool was crystal clear; the BBQ areas perfect for an evening cookout. A hidden secret about the Kona Kai is the Sanibel River that runs past the property. This is a perfectly peaceful spot to experience a bit of 'old Florida' -- sitting under the pines in the evening watching the birds -- and alligators! The Kona Kai is not 'on the beach' but any beach we wanted to go to was only a short bike ride away. The motel is central and convenient to everything. We walked to Jerry's for breakfast and biked everywhere else. We LOVED this place and plan to return next year.

Room Tip: We syaed in Number 10 which had 2 queen beds and a kitchenette. Perfect for a small family.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
W.Sussex
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2012

We stayed a couple of nights here and found it an oasis after the zoo of Fort Meyers. Much money has been spent and the result is excellent. The rooms are close together and the balconies are shared but this was not a problem. Having the first caffeine-dose early morning sitting on the verandah was a wonderfully tranquil, peaceful experience. Our preference was definitely for the rooms deep into the property away from the road. Next door to us was a suite which would be better for a family. Lenny and Brenda answered all our questions and were very helpful.

Room Tip: Ask for a room away from the road.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2012

We drove onto the Island with no reservations and thought we'd wing it! I had seen Kona Kai online before we went out to Fla. I stopped in and spoke with Brenda and explained our situation. Not only did she set us up with a nice, newly renovated room, which was very comfortable and had great water pressure in the shower, she told us of places to eat and where to go. I had never been to Sanibel Island but I would return, this time with reservations. This motel is in a great location and very comfortable and affordable. I'd recommend this motel for sure!!!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2012

My husband and I recently returned from a 4-day stay at the Kona Kai. A Sanibel resident on a Tripadvisor forum suggested it as a budget option, and it really worked out for us. In reflecting upon our stay at the Kona Kai, here are a few of our thoughts.

We stayed there as a couple and went with the basic motel room. The basic room is quite small, and as others on here have mentioned, don't expect luxuries. It came equipped with a queen-sized bed, a decent-sized fridge (that kept things inside very cold), and a nice microwave. The Kona Kai doesn't provide shampoo, conditioner, or lotion, but the room did come with 2 little soaps. As others have mentioned, there is no hair dryer in the room, nor do they provide maid service. So, expect that your bed will not be made when you return to the room, the garbage emptied, or the towels changed.

With all of this said, there really are a lot of positives about staying here as long as you don't mind not having luxuries, i.e. - making your own bed, taking out your trash (there's a dumpster nearby), etc. The Kona Kai has free and super fast wi-fi, and cable TV. There is A/C in the basic motel rooms. It's a little loud and it runs constantly, but it keeps the room cool (so what more can you ask for?). Further, the owners Brenda and Lenny are wonderful (as other reviewers have also pointed out). They really make this place great. Whenever I asked for more garbage bags or toilet paper or new towels or even directions to something, they cheerfully helped me get what I needed. In addition, in the office area, they have piles of clean beach towels that guests can take and then exchange. Although we didn't use it, they have a nice BBQ setup (with a really nice gas grill) for guests to use. There is also a nice pool there, and the grounds are really beautiful. Even with our little basic hotel room, we had a little deck area with a table and some chairs which was perfect for going through our shells each day. More importantly, they had a hose available for cleaning off shoes, etc., after a day at the beach!

We came to Sanibel with the goal of spending a lot of time on the Sanibel beaches looking for shells. Although the Kona Kai isn't beach front property, we didn't have a problem driving to the nearby beaches to find parking. The Kona Kai is closer to Lighthouse Beach and that side of the island than Bowman's Beach or Blind Pass, but even then, we didn't find it too difficult to drive to Bowman's or Blind Pass, so long as we did so early in the morning. Be warned -- the traffic on Periwinkle Way (in front of the Kona Kai) can get pretty backed up during the day so if you're headed towards Santiva, early morning trips are easiest.

Bottom line -- if you're looking for a clean, basic place that won't break the bank, or you can't rent a condo because your Sanibel trip is for less than a week (and we learned that most condos only rent for 1 week or longer), the Kona Kai is great. While we hope to come back and rent a condo next time (because we want to stay on Sanibel longer), I wouldn't hesitate to come back and stay at the Kona Kai for a shorter trip.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kona Kai Motel

Address: 1539 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island, FL 33957
Location: United States > Florida > Southwest Gulf Coast > Sanibel Island
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 27 Hotels in Sanibel Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Kona Kai Motel 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our inn borders the Sanibel river for our guests who love to fish or kayak. We are located directly on the bike path and are close to shopping, restaurants and attractions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kona Kai Hotel Sanibel Island
Kona Kai Sanibel Island

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