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“Amazing Staff Attitude - Best Place to stay on Kauai” 4 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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4th Night Free
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Poipu
San Anselmo, CA
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
“Amazing Staff Attitude - Best Place to stay on Kauai”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2009

My wife and I just returned from a 7-night stay at Koa Kea. After touring the island, I don't believe there's a better place to stay for couples without kids. It's peaceful, refined, very comfortable, and the staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome and taken care of.

Arrival was a little challenging due to the fact that there is only one sign pointing to the hotel on Poipu Road, and it faces away from the direction that you'll be driving if you're coming from the airport. Look for the signs for the Marriott Waiohai and Kiahuna Plantation east entrance, and turn into that entrance. Drive all the way down the road, past the Marriott, veer right, and you'll see Koa Kea, which has no sign.

I signed up for free membership for the Preferred Hotels guest benefits program (iprefer.com), which gave me the same rates as offered on the Koa Kea website and also included a complimentary upgrade (if available). While they should have offered it to me upon check-in, I had to ask for it, and they graciously accommodated us. We went from a "Partial Ocean View" to an "Ocean View," saving $80/night. Don't confuse Ocean View with Oceanfront however; there are few oceanfront rooms, and they're much more expensive. However, we had a nice room on the third floor, and could see the ocean if we looked left a bit.

Our room was relatively small but exceptionally well-appointed. The king bed had a soft featherbed and nice linens. The bathroom offered L'Occitane toiletries and had a terrific, large marble shower with two shower heads, one of them a rainshower head mounted on the ceiling. There was no bathtub. The room also included an espresso machine (the "pod" type), a 42-inch plasma TV, iPod dock, excellent air conditioning, and a nice, small balcony overlooking the grounds between the U-shaped building. A refrigerator was provided, but there was no honor bar; instead, you could order small liquor bottles from the hotel (for $12 each) to stock it yourself. There is also a small gift shop in the lobby with snacks and cold drinks.

The best aspect of Koa Kea is the staff. Every person who works there--and I mean EVERY person--is friendly and eager to please. The economic conditions on the island have created a situation where the General Manager could pretty much handpick individuals based on their attitude, and he has clearly done that.

Best aspects of Koa Kea:

-- Attitude. Sometimes the quality of service didn't match the enthusiasm, but I will always remember the staff here having the best attitude of any hotel I've stayed in.
-- Basically child-free. How nice to sit by a pool in Hawaii and not have screaming kids everywhere.
-- Great pool - with lots of beachchairs (although they were pretty uncomfortably hard)
-- Great location - Poipu
-- Quiet - no thumping music by the pool or inside.
-- Beautiful view
-- Well-kept grounds
-- Exceptionally well-appointed rooms
-- Excellent food at Red Salt - if you don't mind the expense. The food is creative and delicious. We didn't do room service, but what a treat to have this kind of quality of food offered through room service.
-- Free use of hotel internet. We didn't have a computer for access in the room, but they let us use computers in their office -for free!

I considered giving this hotel 5 stars, but there were a number of factors that you should be aware of if considering Koa Kea. This may be nitpicking, but I figure that you can dismiss these if they won't bother you. Others may find it helpful:

-- There is no beach directly in front of most of the hotel. The best beach is just to the west, in front of the Plantation Gardens hotel. There's some snorkeling in front of the western part of the hotel's "U" shape, but be careful about low tide. I got scraped up pretty good.

-- No concierge. Given that it's a small hotel with an extremely capable and personable front desk staff, there isn't a dedicated concierge. Front desk staff will make reservations for you, but the lack of a single point of contact can cause some confusion as you try to follow-up.

-- Expensive. I thought that the oceanview room was worth the $369/night (plus tax) we paid. I would have been upset to pay that for the partial oceanview. The restaurant, Red Salt, is as expensive as the best hotels on the island but lacks ambiance, and our server--while again enthusiastic and pleasant--was not up to the standards that one would expect at this type of restaurant. Dinner, with decent wine, ran the two of us over $220. Breakfast, while excellent, is $25/person. Likewise, our Pina Coladas at the bar by the pool were $13 each.

-- Housekeeping sometimes did not arrive until 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon. We came back to the hotel after we'd had a full day at the beach, and our room hadn't been made up. On two of our seven nights, I had to call the front desk to ask them to have housekeeping clean our room. Not a major deal, but something that we didn't expect to happen at a hotel that is so service-oriented.

-- Room was relatively small. Koa Kea used to be a budget inn on the beach. While the owners have done an exceptional job of updating it and making it into a fine luxury inn, they kept the bones basically the same.

-- Outside bar closes early. The hotel clearly has decided to offer peace and serenity, so the outside bar by the pool closes in the early evening. It would have been really nice to have had cocktails out there in the evening. The bar inside simply doesn't offer any ambiance.

We dropped by a couple of the other hotels on Kauai, including the Hyatt (which feels gigantic), Waimea Cottages, and the Hanalei Colony Resort. I felt like we made the right decision staying at the Koa Kea. However, the Princeville St. Regis Resort is about to reopen after a renovation, and the beaches on the north shore seemed significantly better to me than those on Poipu. The weather on the north shore wasn't as nice (in fact, it was downright awful the days we were up there), but that's probably the only other hotel I would consider on Kauai.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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1,419 reviews from our community

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  • 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
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1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2009

From nickle and dimeing you with having to purchase coffee after your first day to not cleaning your room until mid-afternoon, this hotel has way too high an opinion of itself. There are no dimmers on any lights and when you want to sneak into the bathroom in the middle of the night you have to either turn on all the bathroom lights including a fan that sounds like an airplane engine or turn on a six light fixture right above the side of the bed in the bedroom. There is no signage to the hotel other than the sign on the road, so if you are staying here once you turn off the road you have no idea where to go.
There is a heavy duvet on the bed. European style- no sheet, just the duvet cover. We are in Hawaii- not Switzerland! We were so hot we had to turn the air conditioning down to 65, just to sleep. Later I learned we could have asked for a change of linen to sheet and light blanket. The staff is less than accomodating. When I made a special request of the kitchen I was told the chefs were too busy to prepare something to take off premise- a simple sauce for fish! Considering the restaurant has not had more than 10 diners in it since we got here I wonder what they are so busy doing. The least expensive rooms start in the $400"s and go to $800. Check out the Sheraton or Grand Hyatt on Kauai.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2009

We just returned from 5 nights at the Koa Kea and can't wait to go back.

The staff was amazingly sweet. Everyone was so friendly and helpful throughout our stay. They even have snorkel rentals on site which is incredibly convenient.

The room was fantastic. Clean, modern and comfortable. Large bathroom with a huge shower and L'Occitane bath products. And iced Fiji water nightly.

The restaurant and bar were great. I loved my ono but we were all eyeing our friend's steak which looked amazing. And Rootbeer floats for dessert, wow!

The location couldn't be better. The beach in front of the hotel was a great surfing spot and just over to the west, there was fantastic snorkeling. We even saw a giant turtle there. The hotel pool and hot tub were also great. Perfect for relaxing with a Pina Colada after a day at the beach.

I love the Koa Kea and am planning to return as soon as I can.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Hunt Valley, Maryland
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2009

We recently stayed at this hotel and found everything to our liking. Friendly and accommodating staff, lovely rooms (luxury bath and shower), beautiful pool and grounds and good food. The gorgeous ocean view was unobstructed, yet beach access was just steps away. This is not the case with other properties in the area. The location was very convienent to most everything. Adult oriented (only saw one, well behaved, child the entire time). Very peaceful and relaxing!

Tip - The front desk has pre-printed cards with directions to several of the most popular sites to see. Also, try the Pineapple Souffle Pancakes for breakfast!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2009

***here is the back story as to why i had to knock of a star for this hotel.... if you don't care skip to the bottom***

i had booked with this hotel well in advance for an ocean view room and when i got there i loved the room... the only problem was that i had set up for there to be some things done in the room before we arrived...and a few of them were NOT...

i had set up for there to be flower petals and a small arrangement of flowers with a card and a bottle of wine for me and my hunnie for our first night in hawaii.... well at least some of the things had gotten done... the flower petals were in the room and the small arrangement of flowers were there too.... but no card and no wine.... things i had already been charged for.... i let it go trying to not make a huge fuss in front of my hunnie.... but i was less than happy see as i had called and confirmed with the them the night before that all these things would be taken care of upon our arrival.... but oh well...

a few mins later one of the staff knocked on the door with the card that was supposed to be with the flowers.... not much of a suprise at this point.... but still no wine... we went to dinner at the hotels resturant Red Salt (great by the way) and i was able to sneek away and alert the managment of the problem. the man at the front desk was very attentive to the problem and assured me that it would be taken care of...

the next after noon about 1o'clock i got a call in my room from the manager and i asked to meet him in the lobby... he asked me who told me about the bottle of wine that i had requested and then told me that he infact DID NOT anything at all like what i had requested....not what i wanted to hear.... but i did have a great wine at dinner and asked if i could get that instead.. (as i had already been charged) he assured me that everything would be taken care off and that the wine would be in my room that night when we got back from our activites.....

when we got back to the room there was the wine that i had waited so long to see! by this time tho the romantic feel that i was going for had kinda worn off and it was almost to late to get back the magic that i was going for on day one.... oh well

***if you skipped down to the bottom stop here***

all and all the staff did everything they could to fix the mistake and the people were just so friendly i couldn't help but let it go! the rooms are great! right on the ocean! they have a beautiful pool area! the spa is wonderful! if you get sunburned do the sun kissed facial and or the sun kissed wrap! both are great! i saw a turtle at the hotels beach! so cool! and really really if the hotel makes any mistake they really do bend over backwards to fix it!! you wont leave unhappy! i know because i lived it!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2009

Koa Kea is a great hotel and I truly enjoyed my stay here. I asked for a quiet room, and my room was very quiet (except that the feral roosters woke me up one morning, but the hotel can't do anything about that). The whole place is very elegant, classy, clean, and well decorated. It's not at all touristy. The pool/courtyard/bar area is very pretty and relaxing. The rooms are comfortable and the beds are very soft (but might be too soft for some people). And the free internet is a nice perk.

The staff is very friendly and very helpful, as others have noted. However, I felt they often went overboard, to the point of being annoying. For example, when I checked in I had been traveling for two days and just wanted to take a shower and a nap. But the front desk clerk who checked me in insisted on taking me on a tour of the hotel, introducing me to various staff members, and arranging a boat tour for me. Honestly, it was too much. He should have listened to me when I told him I just wanted to go to my room. Also, I wish they would get rid of the valet-only parking and let me park the car myself. I'm sure some people love being doted on and having everything done for them, but not me.

Another point about the staff is that, although they were very nice, they often weren't able to answer basic questions about the island. For example, I asked the valet how long it would take to drive to Hanalei, and he didn't know so he guessed, but was way off. Also, I asked the front desk clerk where to buy Hawaiian-made souvenirs, and she suggested Walmart and Kmart. Not what I had in mind! (All their souvenirs are made in China.)

Finally, I read such great things about the restaurant, so I ate breakfast there the first morning. It was disappointing. The eggs benedict had a nice flavor, but the $28 price tag was supposed to include a buffet. The buffet was weak -- some measly, sad pieces of fruit that looked like they were left over drink garnishes from the night before; mass-produced pastry; little boxes of cereal; yogurt from the grocery store; and kool-aid-like "juice." For $28, I expect a nice selection of fruit, especially in Hawaii(!), and real juice. Honestly, I've seen better buffets at Days Inn. Also, the waitress was not good. She left a pot of coffee so she wouldn't have to come back...and didn't come back, not even to clear my plates, which kept stacking up. My experience at the restaurant was so bad that I didn't go back. Instead, I ate at Kalaheo Coffee, which was one of the few good recommendations from the front desk clerk.

All that said, it is still a very nice hotel and way better than the nearby touristy resorts.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Manhattan Beach, California
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2009

Wow! We just finished 4 nights at the Koa Kea, two adults and two young kids (11.9). Everything was great, particularly the staff. It's great to see the same folks everyday, Jamie, Paul, Jim, Dean, Robb, Paris, Alan , Greg and on and on. The property sits right on the beach with great views, a bunch of grass (including in the parking lot) and is like a sanctuary amongst much bigger and busier properties nearby.
The rooms are great, especially the beds, and we were provided with adjoining rooms. The expresso coffeemaker, the complimentary iced water bottles each night, wonderful robes and good sized balconies were great features.
Oh yes, the pool was perfect size, not too big and not too small. The hot tub was even better, a great size and elevated so you could see the waves breaking. The pool bar was also great with excellent pool food, drinks and three HD TVs which let us watch the PGA golf tournement while downing mai tai"s!
The Red Salt restaurant was a hit with everyone, which with young kids is not easy to accomplish. Breakfast fantastic, especially the pancakes and omletttes. Dinner was also excellent, primarily wonderful seafood though the steak was perfect as well. The wine list was FUN and Paul picked us out a couple bottles of a wonder 2003 syrah from Paso Robles, fantastic, So often wine lists are full of high priced "names", the Koa Kea's list was very reasonable and thoughtfully created, somwthing for everyone.
A special thanks to Paul for taking us into the wine room and the kitchen!!

Sad to be leaving today but looking forward to making next years reservation on the way out. Oh yes, they also gave us a late checkout of 6pm so we get a full last day of relaxation. Thanks for a great vacation!!!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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
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 Top resorts Hotel in Poipu
#1 Romantic Hotel in Poipu
#1 Luxury Hotel in Poipu
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Poipu
#3 Family Hotel in Poipu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Koa Kea Hotel & Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 121
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 Poipu
Koa Kea Hotel And Resort
Koa Kea Resort
Koa Kea Hotel & Resort Kauai/Poipu

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