We stayed for four days early in July. Kama'aina are treated as third class guests. Note that management offers gratuitous responses and empty apologies without recompense. Guest satisfaction is not guaranteed. There is a strict economic caste system at this hotel. You have to buy good service and decent rooms above the Hawaii resident rates.
The hotel bills itself as a "4.5 Star" resort, but the rat poison station just outside our patio door belies that fact, as well as other deficiencies.
Service swarmed us upon arrival, and demanded our keys when I asked to hold them myself to present to the valet when we needed to get our car.
We then got a 15 minute time-share condominium style sales-pitch from the porter who showed us to our terrible room. Wearily we politely listened to his spiel. He never asked if we would like to know about all the ways we could spend money at their establishment. He just took 15 minutes to inform us about all the things we didn't care about.
We complained immediately about pedestrians looking into our open curtains from the public walkway just outside the patio door, the junky garden, rat poison traps on our patio, etc. The manager said if we wanted something better we could have to pay for it. The hotel was very quiet with less than 1/3 occupancy, yet we did not rate getting an acceptable room "because you are getting the kama'aina discount".
The second day, after complaining about a loud drunkard cursing for over two hours at the pool bar without reproach from management (big spender?), the hotel condescended to move us to the other side of the resort away from the public walkway, but looking at an equally junky garden, bordered by a chain link fence with twisted and torn green slats. We also enjoyed a similar rat bait station set just outside our door in a corner. This room was an improvement though, away from the scrutiny of the public.
The neighbors in the adjacent room woke us up early the next morning talking loudly from their patio, just outside our door with no privacy screen. 4.5-Star?
There is no privacy at this resort unless you are in your room with the curtains closed.
Why did they not give us a decent room in the first place I will never know. The hotel was quiet and there were plenty of better rooms on the upper floor, obviously empty, in darkness at night... If the hotel is almost empty why not give first-time guest a better class of room? It cost the hotel nothing and insures guest satisfaction. We got the bums rush.
The room coffee and complimentary coffee in the lobby tasted like it was brewed using old socks as the filter. They said it was Hawaii coffee, but it was 2-Star Hotel quality. Most people would not know the difference since bad coffee is the norm on the mainland. Definitely not 4.5-Star resort coffee.
The staff who were locals did an excellent job; the "twenty somethings" imported from the mainland were clueless about what 4.5-Star service is. When you say "Thank You" they reply "No problem" instead of "You're welcome".
The local staff said "E Komo Mai Brah", (you are most welcome my brother). That made us feel at home. The imported staff would argue with me when I complained about something, rationalizing, rather than responding is a positive way. Kids.
With those grumbles aside, this is the best resort in Poipu and with a different management attitude, and some landscaping, and hiding the rat poison stations, the Koa Kea could perhaps become more friendly to kama'aina and other "budget" guests.
The ocean front is beautiful beyond compare and guests can walk through the front of adjacent resorts to access literally miles of Kauai White Sand Beaches.
Brennecke's Beach Grill is with walking distance and provides a good quality, fair price menu of local food if you want to "eat out", with shave ice available downstairs for a truly local experience.
The pool is VERY relaxing and is purified with healing salt water. The spa is over-chlorinated and ruined a pair of my designer resort swimwear shorts from chlorine bleaching.
This is more of a smoochy lovey-dovey place for couples and is not very family friendly in our opinion. They will tolerate you though!
They provided us with a free bottle of champagne for the occasion of our visit, but we do not drink. After retrieving the unopened bottle they did offer to bring us another gratuity, not even a piece of cake to celebrate the occasion. Booze or nothing. Bummer.
The pillow top feather mattress covers are super soft and squishy if you like that kind of mattress. Mine was lumpy and WAY to soft for my firm-mattress tastes, so had it removed. Fixed!
Hope you have a better time when you visit, and that the Koa Kea responds with simple improvements, like telling drunken pool bar patrons to please not curse or talk loudly in front of the children, or other guests. Nobody was managing the store.
"Greedy, Greedy, Hale Hale Hale, No Mo' Aloha fo' da kama'aina. Da boss when make pili'kia, but the peopo workin' dea get PLENTY Aloha. Shoots! Malama Pono, A Hui Ho.