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“Kama'aina (Hawai'i Resident) Guests Were Treated Poorly” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Koa Kea Hotel & Resort

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Koa Kea Hotel & Resort
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   2251 Poipu Road, Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756 (Koloa)   |  
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Romance Getaway
Ranked #1 of 6 hotels in Poipu
Island of Hawaii, Hawaii
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“Kama'aina (Hawai'i Resident) Guests Were Treated Poorly”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

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.

Room Tip: All guests will not have privacy in this hotel unless on top floors inside the room. There is no p...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (378)
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English first
Hove, UK
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

We enjoyed five days of comfort and tranquillity in this beautiful hotel, where the service was superb and the room was immaculate in terms of comfort, cleanliness and quality. As I-prefer members we were delighted to receive a complimentary upgrade to partial ocean view, and we had the package that included breakfast and 50 dollars food & drink credit each day. This really helped towards the (expensive) meal we had at Red Salt on our last evening, which was delicious. The entrees at breakfast were cooked to order and were wonderful (the lemon-pineapple soufflé pancakes were exquisite!), however we felt the continental buffet was rather limited, as was the lunchtime menu by the pool.
We appreciated NOT having to fight over sunbeds as in so many larger hotels, but the pool was very small and if there were more than three other couples it was quite difficult to actually swim without bumping into each other!
We would fully recommend a drive to Waimea Canyon - this was truly spectacular - and we also took a flight around the island through 'Wings over Kauai', which again provided amazing views of this stunning island.
Back to the hotel itself: we had no regrets over choosing this hotel - it was as luxurious and lovely as described in most of these reviews, and the service could not be topped - but it was very pricey and perhaps lacked some of the facilities you would expect in a luxury, 5* hotel. In future we would probably want a bit more for our money, but still a wonderful place!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

Pros:
Good service
Red Salt restaurant is excellent (though quite expensive) and the service was great
Very nice modern decor, in particular beautiful dual-head shower and nice, comfy bed
Top-notch toiletries
Kauai has a lot of amazing things to offer. We saw an endangered monk seal on an adjacent beach.

Cons:
Poipu is fairly crowded, and the hotel doesn't have any real frontage on the beach itself - there's a rocky area, so you have to go right or left to get to the beach.
There are no hotel lounge chairs, etc., available for the beach
They charge for snorkel and other basic beach equipment
The hotel offers massages, but there is not really a spa per se - i.e., no lounge/locker rooms, no sauna, etc. Definitely the least-nice spa I've been to at a nice resort. The quality of the massages did not seem on par with the caliber of the hotel. Also, at the end, the masseuse herself gave us the bill, showed us where to tip, and watched as we filled it out. My husband and I generally tip well but that seemed pretty tacky (perhaps this was because we had massages outside so did not see the receptionist again).

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 Francisco
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

We returned this year only to find the Koa Kea as wonderful as our last experience. The wonderful staff remembered us from our previous stay. That would be hard to believe since it had been a few years, but maybe it is because the way the whole staff is prepped before you arrive. All of our questions and needs were answered and handled sincerely and with an island smile! Service is top notch. What a rarity in today's world.
The Red Salt is probably one of the best restaurants on the south side of the island and shouldn't be missed. Tailored breakfast and special Sushi nights at the bar were my favorite relaxing times at the Koa Kea.
On this trip we took a road trip to the north side of the island and found it more hectic and commercial. If golf and busy beaches are your thing, the north side with their large resorts are for you. But if you want a relaxing vacation. Try a different side of paradise.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fremont, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

We stayed at Koa Kea in July 2013 for a week and had an amazing time! Each and every staff member made sure that our stay was perfect! They had the best customer service we've every experienced from the valet who each morning would bring our car to the front immediately and then ask if we needed any directions (and knew exactly where we were going on the day we asked for directions) to the housekeeping staff who come twice a day to clean the room and make sure that you have a full set of towels (which is perfect because after swimming at the beach, you'll be showering a few times a day). The concierge, Claudia, was super knowledgeable about all of the different activities on the island. She knew exactly what we were looking for and found us the best deals, and also made a dinner reservation at a different restaurant. We would definitely stay here again if we came back to Kauai. It's a quiet and romantic hotel with a beautiful beach nearby.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

Just returned from staying at the Koa Kea in Kauai. As most others have mentioned, this is a boutique hotel. We found the bed and customer service to be very good. If one is seeking a small, quiet hotel with very personable service, then you will be happy with the Koa Kea. Not sure why this hotel was rated as best on Kauai for 2012 and 2013 as the value isn't there.

Pros:
Valet service
Customer service in general is very good.
Bed and linens
Towels and toiletries are first class

Cons:
The pool is very small
No real beach to speak off in front of the hotel.
Rooms are on the small side
Onsite restaurant is very expensive
Room Rate is very expensive (on the same level as the Grand Hyatt).
Bottled water and coffee are provided sparingly.
Tucked behind/beside the Marriott and not easy to find

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 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.
Wenatchee, Washington
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

This was our first visit to Kauai.
We decided to stay here for the smaller size and the location. It was also our anniversary and we wanted a bit of a splurge. We loved our partial ocean view. We found the room very clean and relaxing. Their linens are quite fabulous. The pool is beautiful and just the right temperature. The staff is extremely friendly and sincere.
We would definitely return.

The Red Salt restaurant had great service and yummy food.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.

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Additional Information about Koa Kea Hotel & Resort

Address: 2251 Poipu Road, Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Kauai > Poipu > Koloa
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Poipu
#1 Romantic Hotel in Poipu
#1 Luxury Hotel in Poipu
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Poipu
#4 Family Hotel in Poipu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Koa Kea Hotel & Resort 4.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Koa Kea is a luxury boutique hotel with unmatched proximity to the ocean. Red Salt Restaurant and the Spa at Koa Kea are the newest additions to Poipu Beach, a great location for enjoying Kauai. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Koa Kea Hotel And Resort
Koa Kea Hotel Poipu
Koa Kea Resort
Koa Kea Hotel & Resort Kauai/Poipu

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