On our third stay since 2007, we found Pono Kai just about the same -- location is very convenient, unit good but not great, and front desk staff as diffident as ever. The grounds seemed even more well-maintained than before, and it was amazing to see what a thorough cleaning the BBQ below our balcony got every morning from the staff (good, because it got a lot of use). If you manage to get a unit off the highway (our timeshare gets us nearer the ocean), the complex is very quiet; it even seems there were many fewer roosters this time!
A plus this time is that they have taken down the ugly orange fence along the cliff over the beach. At the north end of the complex, there is beach, and we found it very nice for swimming - nice sandy bottom, and this trip there was little wind and wave chop, so the little waves were nice to float on.
A big minus is the internet service available in the room. It costs $19.95 per month (or for the week I used) through ShakaNet. I ended up calling their customer support 3 times in six days due to inability to get on or to being repeatedly dropped off -- and all I was doing was checking email, reading a home newspaper and checking restaurant reviews/hours online. On the first call, the agent noted that their software kept changing my password back to PASSWORD. "It does that sometimes," he said (and I could feel the shrug). I got no explanation for the other problems. It was extremely frustrating to have to manually log in every morning AND every single time my iPad went to sleep. And even when it worked, it was very slow. I mentioned it to the front desk -- and this time I got to SEE the shrug!
A traffic tip: Learn to use the Kapaa bypass. You can pick it up only a couple of blocks north (and toward the mountains) of Pono Kai, and it dumps out at the Coconut Marketplace after a very rural and scenic drive.