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“Pono Kai does good” 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 #8 of 12 Hotels in Kapaa
tacoma,washington
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Pono Kai does good”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2008

I had done a exchange of our timeshare and had done a little looking around the reviews. I was worried about the Pono Kai,
as we were assigned and not given the option of other places.
(exchanges were tight at that moment in time).
My worries were unfounded. The Pono Kai has a beautiful grounds. The 2 bedroom we had was not as swanky as our Florida or Vega timeshares, but there was good square footage, it was clean and quiet. With 4 adults, the 2 full baths were a real plus. We had air conditioning and fans. The chickens crowing did not bother us. We had a full kitchen to use. And the cleaning ladies-changed out our towels 5 out of 7 days. (more than most timeshares).
It is an older facility, but they have tryed to upgrade and it was just fine. The beach is not right out the front of the property, it is a small rock drop-off. But sand beach is a 2-3 minute stroll just north or south of the property. Pono Kai is easy to find and has lots of little shops and eateries just a block away.
If you are looking for top drawer and someone to wait on you--go somewhere else.
If you are looking for comfy, quiet, and easy-- go to Pono Kai.

  • Liked — easy to reach location, quiet
  • Disliked — cold pool, undersized toaster
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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473 reviews from our community

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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 (140)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Forest Grove, Oregon
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2008

We are with Interval International timeshare, and exchanged to Pono Kai from our five star resort in Vermont, the Trapp Family Lodge. Pono Kai's facilities are nowhere near what Trapp's is, but about the same as your better than average Best Western Motel with kitchenette. The rooms were clean and comfortable, and the location right next to the beach, and in Kapaa which is basically half way around the island from north to south, was an advantage. The staff was helpful and courteous during our stay. There's a great walking / biking /running path right next to the resort that runs for miles along the coast.

The big disappointment was the kind of dishonesty with the supposed 2 for 1 on tours etc. They stage a continental breakfast for free (when will I ever learn that these are NOT free at timeshares), and under the guise of an island orientation, hold drawings to allow you to WIN 2 for one tickets on various tours and activities. DON'T DO IT!!! We "won" a 2 for one on North Coast tours, which consisted of driving around the island, pointing out beaches and going to the lighthouse at Princetown, a way overpriced lunch, and a boat ride up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto. We'd never been to Kaui before and thought this would be a good way to find out about the island. Our tour guide, Steve, was great, BUT the tour is simply not worth the price. It cost our family of 6 nearly $700!!! The resort takes a hidden deposit which is NOT applied to the cost of the tour, so we had $150 in charges when we returned home that we knew nothing about. Invest in a good map of the island, and ask some questions, and you'll be able to do as much as we did by renting a car and exploring on your own. Maps mark supposedly hidden places like Secret Beach up in Princetown, and Lydgate Park.
There's a great family place to snorkel at Lydgate Park, ample parking, and very safe - they've dropped boulders in the ocean to form a tidal pool, no more than 5 ft deep, with lots of tropical fish to see, and virtually no risk from the tides, which can be problematic elsewhere unless you're a great swimmer. The resort is out to gyp you with the 2 for ones and continental breakfast, so stay away - they even called on the phone and woke my wife up to come to it.
So avoid the tours, and enjoy your stay.

I will put in a plug for Coconut Coasters, a bike rental place near Pono Kai. They rent great bikes for reasonable prices, and biking can be a lot of fun to get around if you're into it.

I also did Silver Creek Ranch horseback ride. I'm an experienced rider and own my own horses. My recommendation: skip it, unless you just want the novelty of being on a horse. The ride goes to a pretty but small waterfall, where the water is ice cold and the mosquitos are fierce - not the ideal swimming hole.
The scenery is nice for a ride, but at $50 - $120, you're paying a lot to see it from the back of a horse. Experienced riders will be bored, they only walk, and the horses know the route like they know their stalls. They almost don't WANT to be steered, though of course I could make them. And if, like me, you get paired with people on the ride that haven't been on a horse over once or twice, you spend most of your time waiting for them to get their horse under control and moving in the right direction, instead of grazing their way to the falls and back.

  • Liked — proximity to beach
  • Disliked — Ripoff continental breakfast and hooking you up with overpriced tours / activities -bring your own snorkel gear from the States
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hillsboro, Oregon
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2008

We stayed in a Vacation Internationale condo at Pono Kai, F-106, in October 2008. We were very pleasantly surprised to find that our one-bedroom unit had a great view of the ocean. It would have been slightly better to be on the 2nd or 3rd floor, but it was nice to be able to walk straight out our sliding-glass door onto the grass, and then out to the beach.
A drawback to being on the first floor was that the drapes were semi-sheer and not lined, so we felt that after dark anyone walking by outside could see into our living room area.

I loved getting up before the sun every morning, and watching it rise from our lanai. Being from the west coast, I’ve seen lots of sunsets over the ocean, but had never seen the sun rise over the ocean, so it was wonderful to see.

I had read reviews here about noise from people on the floor above. We didn’t notice much noise the first 5 days we stayed; I know there were people staying there, but they must have been quiet. Then the last 2 days we got a loud family upstairs. They seemed to wear shoes all the time, and not just flip flops or sneakers, but shoes with heels. They must have still been on another time-zone, because they were up and talking before 5:00 a.m. each day.

The kitchen was less well-equipped than other condos we’ve stayed in. Appliances all worked fine and were newer, but cabinets (white laminate with wood trim) and counters (white tile) were probably from the 80’s. There were only 3 basic small appliances: blender, toaster, coffee maker. There was a smallish TV in the living room, with a DVD player; a larger TV in the bedroom (which seemed backwards to me). There was wired internet access, which cost about $41 (including tax) for 7 days. There was an air conditioner in the living room, along with ceiling fans in living and bedroom. The stacking washer/dryer was in the bathroom. It made the bathroom hot and steamy, but was definitely nice to have. The patio had a round table and four chairs, made of wicker-looking resin. It would have been nice to have a lounge chair, though.

The grounds were very nicely kept. Pool was very clean. Not large, but not too small. Hot tub comfortably held 8 people. The staff we encountered were civil, but not overly friendly, smiling or helpful. Basically just there to do their jobs, which was okay.

There is a paved walking/biking path that runs along the edge between the property and beach. It’s about 8 feet wide, and ends just south of Pono Kai, on the other side of a bridge over a canal. It goes quite a ways north, for about 5 miles.

There were some chicken and roosters on the grounds, and they did crow in the mornings, but it wasn’t obnoxiously loud. More obvious were the cats that were plentiful. Skinny and stray, they were brave and would come inside if we left the patio & screen doors both open.

The beach view was slightly marred by a bright orange mesh “fence” that ran the length of the shore along Pono Kai. There has been erosion, and the warning signs indicated “sand holes” so I’m sure they are posting the signs and fence to avoid liability and warn guests not to go on the sand there. But walking just to the north end of Pono Kai provided sandy beach access. There was plenty of shade from palm trees, and it was very nice to sit on the grass or sand and watch the ocean. I saw quite a few people bobbing around in the ocean; not really swimming, but just playing in the waves. Supposedly it’s not a good swimming beach, but on calm days the waves were gentle.

There are quite a few restaurants and shops within a few blocks, including an ABC variety store and a couple coffee shops. A little longer walk to Safeway.

Overall I give Pono Kai a big “thumbs up” and look forward to staying there again.

  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2008

My in-laws gave my wife and I their timeshare for Christmas. I did not have much time to make the decision (about 20 minutes) as to the property of choice.

Once I was informed of the property that we would be staying, I started google searches. I found this site and began to read all of the postings. I have to say that I was extremely worried about this property after reading all of the negative postings.

Once we finally arrive, we were pleasantly surprised at this resort. The pictures on the various website does this property no justice.

The two bedroom/two bath was nicely furnished and beachfront. We found this property to be centrally located and convenient to everything we needed. I did find it interesting that the air conditioning system had a timer on it. Not a big deal at all.

We were constantly on the go and out of the unit everyday. It was true that the beds are really, really hard. We would wake every morning with sore shoulders. We did not do much cooking but did find there to be enough cooking utensils to prepare a nice meal.

We stayed in building C which offered a direct front ocean view.

We both have travelled extensively and stayed in 5 star resorts. While the Pono Kai is no 5 star, we both would definitely stay there again.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Hard beds
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Germany
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2008

My husband and I just came back from a wonderful and relaxing vacation in Hawaii. Kauai itself is a dream-island . . . lushciously green, great beaches, friendly locals. We stayed at Pono Kai in Kaapa for a week. The Resort is located by beach, common grounds are well maintained, pool, his/hers sauna, tennis/basketball courts, BBQ grills are avaiable. Very nice resort. We stayed in 1 bedroom unit, with an ocean view -- just perfect. The unit is well furnished, kitchen is fully equipped, housekeeping service is very good. The appartment units are all made out of wood and not sufficient insolation. Although the occupants are very careful and considerate of the noise level, we were awaken by a loud snore next door a few times and they hear us too.

Check-in and Check-out was fast and efficient. The activity concierge is excellent, full of information and nice acitivities lined-out. Most of the staff have the hawaiin attitude, very friendly and warm and so helpful, except for one lady at the front-desk whom we found cold and unfriendly as we check-out.

Kaapa is an old town with convinient shopping and restaurants at every corner. Lydgate Park beach is great for snorkling.

  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
Utah
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2008

I traded my timeshare through RCI and I was a little nervous staying at the Pona Kai after reading reviews. I called the resort to see if I could request a top floor unit. They informed me that I had a partial kitchen and the only building I could be in was K. I called RCI and was able to up grade to a full kitchen 2 bedroom unit. RCI asssured me everything would be fine and to call if there was a problem and they would take care of it. When we arrived at the resort they put us in a top floor oceanview unit. It was wonderfull. Unit E302. I'm so glad that we changed buildings and got a top floor. The floor creeked every step we took. The unit was very large, it was clean, everything worked, no bugs. The view was great. We were very pleased. It is an older resort. Be sure to request a top floor unit. The grounds were very nice and the service was excellent. The location is good, central and Kapaa is a great little town. The path along the ocean was really nice. We love Kauai and will be back.. I would stay at the Pona Kai again only booked through RCI, still a little leary about those other reviews.

  • Liked — Central location, oceanview
  • Disliked — creeky floors
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
las vegas
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2008

Im a timeshare owner here at this resort, I've been coming to the Pono Kai Resort for the past 7 years and every year that I come my vacation has always been wonderful. The staff are always friendly and helpful. Front desk personel to see if in need of help can be Bernadette and Ryan who's always willing and able to help with island information and recommendations.

I highly recommend the Pono Kai Resort, its my home away from home.

  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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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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 Family Hotel in Kapaa
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Kapaa
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Kapaa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Pono Kai Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 217
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Also Known As:
Pono Kai Hotel Kapaa
Pono Kai Kapaa
Pono Kai Resort Kauai/Kapaa

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