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“Beautiful Ocean Front a Little Oversold” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pono Kai Resort

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Pono Kai Resort
2.5 of 5 Resort   |   4-1250 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 12 hotels in Kapaa
Paris
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Beautiful Ocean Front a Little Oversold”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2013

This si a conveniently located condo resort on ocean front Kapa'a. Built in the '70s but well kept. You'll be overrun with telephone calls and solicitations by management for various "adventures" for which they get a 20% commission but once you let them know you are not interested, they leave you alone. Pay for internet service in the room @ $7/2hrs, $10/day or $20/week. Try to get the upper (3rd) floor ocean front units for a beautiful ocean presence in your room.

Room Tip: Ocean front Buildings A, B. C or D, third floor.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
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422 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (118)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
portland oregon
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013

We stayed at Pono Kai five nights during the last week in April. After reading Trip Advisor reviews, we were concerned about noise, so requested an ocean front, upper floor unit. Since we were guests at a friends' timeshare, only a first-floor, ocean view was available. But, as it turned out, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

The condo was spacious, clean, and well equipped. Beds were comfortable, especially the wall bed in the living room. Sound does carry and noise could definitely be a problem, but we found Pono Kai to be mostly quiet, especially after 10PM. The front desk staff were wonderful---helpful, friendly, conscientious and fun to talk to. Maintenance staff are constantly working the grounds, and buildings, and our requests were handled professionally and competently. There are nice touches, such as the Koi Pond near the reception, iced POG (passion-orange-guava) in the lobby during the afternoon, and the fresh herb garden.

The location is next to the ocean and walking/biking path, and close to shopping. The staff recommended Cost U Less, and we found the prices only a little higher than we pay at home in the Pacific NW. There is a funky thrift store right across the street, and in town we found a wonderful clothing store called Tropical Tantrum. Pono Kai is a good base for exploring the North coast, and is very close to the Wailua River. All in all we enjoyed our stay and plan to return when we visit Kauai again.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Ashley, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013

We have stayed at the Pono Kai several times in past years. The location of the property is perfect, it's centrally located making it easy to get to either side of the island. The grounds are beautiful and very well maintained. There are plenty activities right at the resort; putting green, bocce ball, tennis, basketball, volleyball, shuffleboard, croquet, pool, hot tub, sauna & herb garden. There is a beautiful coy pond and the resort is right along a 4+ mile bike/walking path the runs ocean side the entire path. There is only 1 negative to the resort, the walls and floors are very thin. The biggest downside to this is if you're not on the top floor and there are people in the room above you, you can hear them walking around, which in itself isn't a problem, unless you're trying to sleep. Aside from that, this is a great place. The activities desk is awesome! It's within walking distance to several restaurants & shops. Make sure to try Ono Family Restaurant, Olympic Cafe and don't miss Sushi Bushido!

Room Tip: Try to get a 3rd floor room if possible.
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  • Stayed April 2013, 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bend, Oregon
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

The unit was clean and bug-free. Thank God there was a plunger in the room. I needed it every day. The air conditioning has an infernal control system that shuts down most days at midnight and is a real problem to re-start. When it works, it's fine. Most pool lounge chairs are white plastic and could double as torture devices for any position but laying on your back. They DESPERATELY need pads. DESPERATELY. It's close to Old Kapaa Town shops.

About 7 days into our 12 night stay, the Neighbors From Hell moved in above us and made our time in the unit VERY frustrating. When I went upstairs to inform them of their rudeness, the guy said that nothing would change and I should never knock on their door again. That night, Pono Kai moved us to another Vacation Internationale unit for the last three nights. At an extra $53 for 'extra' maid service. If Pono Kai had been built better, perhaps this would not have been a vacation-ruining experience. But it was. I won't be staying at Pono Kai again unless I'm guaranteed a top floor unit.

Room Tip: Insist on the top floor of whatever building you are in or stay elsewhere.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
CondoRentalsHI, Condo Rental Agency at Pono Kai Resort, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
I am sorry to hear that you had noisy neighbors in the condo above you, and I can understand your desire to swap to a different condo. In the future, you may want to let the front desk know of these disturbing guests since they have the ability to manage those guests through warning, fines, and even removal from the property. It sounds like you rented your condo through a timeshare or vacation rental company called Vacation Internationale, so I am not sure as to what their room-move policies are. I know that our condo management company will move a guest (for no additional charges) to another suitable room if there are noise or construction complaints.

We hope you do give the Pono Kai Resort another try on a future trip to Kauai.
Mahalo,
Keith
Condominium Rentals Hawaii
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

We went with friends on their timeshare to Pono Kai. It was our first time in Kauai. I agree with other reviewers that this resort would not have been as "perfect" if we hadn't been oceanside. Many of the units do not have ocean views. However, we had a room with a small balcony facing the ocean. It was perfect for watching the sunrise each morning. The room had two bedrooms and baths (one bedroom had an ensuite bathroom), kitchen, small dining area and living room. The beach is just yards away. It is not a large beach and a little sloped, but was just right for us. Gentle ocean waves. There is a bike/walking path that runs parallel to the resort alongside the ocean. The pool isn't huge, but was adequate. Pono Kai is not what I would call a luxury resort, there are not many amenities, but we were happy with it. The grounds are well maintained and the koi pool is beautiful. The staff is super friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: Get an oceanview unit.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

We stayed at the Pono Kai in January this year, and absolutely loved it! We had a 1 bedroom suite in the G building, facing the ocean. The suite was very large with a good kitchen and a nice bathroom. The whole building had been recently renovated, and it was a very nice place to stay. There is an 11 KM walking/biking path that runs alongside the ocean, just steps from the Pono Kai. Be careful swimming there in the winter, as the currents can be strong. It's safer to swim on the south shore, and fortunatley, Kauai is small enought to drive anywhere you need to be and get there in an hour or less. Definitely rent a car when visiting Kauai. If it's raining on the east shore, it's probably sunny on the south and the west side, and it's a short drive to all the beaches.

Room Tip: Ask for the G building if you want to see the ocean. There are other buildings that actually are ri...
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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
    • 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.
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

This resort might have been top of the line 20 years ago but now it is a bit run-down. The kindness of the front desk staff is still there, though. They are lovely and will allow for early check-in and late check-out if available. There is also a hospitality room for you to take a shower or store your food in the fridge until your flight even after your check-out. The apartments are spacious; the master bedroom must be 35 sq meters. We had 5 people in our party and it was big enough for us with one sleeping on the pull-out couch in the living room.

The weather is not the greatest on the east coast in March so we did not get to use the pool or swim in the ocean as much as we would have liked to but there were plenty of opportunities in walking distance to pass the time shopping. There are also supermarkets so one can save a lot of money cooking in the apartment's full kitchen.

The concierge pushes their expensive tourist excursions. The cultural activities to do can be found for free at the Coconut Marketplace Cultural Center where the owners arrange free shows throughout the island. During the celebration festivities of their prince bw March 16 and 30, they have grandiose events at the Hyatt and other resorts for donations. You can also get the free community newspaper or the Sunday paper for information. There is also a flyer for music events and concerts. I was upset that the concierge guy did not even mention it. It is understandable: his job is to make his commission and not to serve the costumers. Ask him if you go to this resort about these things. He does know that they exist.

Also, do a luau without the buffet dinner at the Smith family's estate for $15. With the buffet they are easily $80 and over. The one the concierge recommends is over a hundred with tax. I think that most activities you can arrange for yourself on the internet or over the phone. Do not be afraid to bargain. Shop around before you commit.

Also, be aware that traffic is horrible in Kaua'i since there is only a single road and since 2010 they have not been able to finish construction on it.

Room Tip: Try to stay away from apartments/rooms close to the road as there is a considerable level of noise a...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CondoRentalsHI, Condo Rental Agency at Pono Kai Resort, responded to this review, April 1, 2013
Thank you for your review of the Pono Kai Resort. I am not sure if you stayed in one of the condos we manage there, but I am glad you found the rooms to be large and comfortable. The one bedroom units are 740 square feet and the two bedrooms are over 1400 square feet! It sounds like you also have some great tips on things to see and do while on Kauai. We hope to see you again at the Pono Kai in the future.

Mahalo,
Keith
Condominium Rentals Hawaii
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pono Kai Resort

Address: 4-1250 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746
Location: United States > Hawaii > Kauai > Kapaa
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Kapaa
#6 Family Hotel in Kapaa
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Kapaa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Pono Kai Resort 2.5*
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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