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“Beautiful Place!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kona Kai Resort & Marina

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Kona Kai Resort & Marina
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106   |  
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$50 Daily Resort Credit
Ranked #100 of 271 Hotels in San Diego
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Beautiful Place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2012

I wasn't looking for a luxury stay while in San Diego, just an affordable one. I travel with cats so when I first tried to book online via one of the 'discount hotel' websites, I realized I better call the actual place and find out if the cats would be ok. While inquiring, I spoke with Jessica at the Kona Kai who not only said 'sure, the cats are fine as long as we know ahead of time' but also informed me that she could get me a much better rate than the one I was about to purchase.

Of course I booked the room! When I showed up, I was delighted to find it located across the bay from downtown and to find the views spectacular on either side of the place! For less than I would have paid for little more than a bed sized room downtown, I got this beautiful spacious room complete with a balcony overlooking the beautiful harbor at Shelter Island!

The breakfast tickets were a plus as well! Real, sit down breakfast each day, with a decent selection to pick from and add on items available as well. I am an avid cyclist and was thrilled to find such great road biking on the island and to find it just a few short scenic miles to get to the downtown area or a few hilly, challenging miles to get to Ocean Beach! My legs are grateful for the location of this place!

Jessica and everyone else I encountered at the resort were wonderful to work with, very helpful, and I never had a bad encounter with any of them. In fact, I ended up extending my stay because I loved it there so much!

Room Tip: I was given a room that was not overlooking the parking lot, and that made the stay even better, be...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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796 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 (235)
Date | Rating
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English first
New York, NY
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2012

My wife and I stayed for three nights in February. The hotel is located at the end of Shelter Island, across the street from the San Diego Bay waterfront and a sidewalk / jogging path. The back of the hotel abuts a marina. Parking ($15 a night fee) is between the hotel and the street, and note that the outdoor seating area for many of the standard rooms face the parking lot. The grounds and plantings were well maintained.

Check-in was efficient and the room easy to find. Fortunately, our standard room was in the last building in the complex with a small outdoor seating area overlooking a grassy area, not the parking lot. Although there were a few nice touches, such as a tiled sink area, the room was fairly typical - did not stand out positively or negatively. Carpeting and furnishings were in good shape, although some of the wallpaper in the bathroom was beginning to peel. King bed was comfortable, but not very substantial so that any movement on the bed caused it to shake. The room had a mini-fridge but no coffee maker (a cup of coffee in the restaurant to go was $3). Free wifi worked well. Use of hotel gym was $10/day per person (better off driving 10 minutes to a real gym and spending $15). There was a small 'beach' area facing the marina on the back side of the property, but even if you could swim there, you wouldn't want to with such close proximity to boats and related pollution. If you want to swim in the bay, there is a public beach about a 10 minute walk away. The property does have a nice heated swimming pool with plenty of chaise lounges.

Staff was courteous and helpful. When we reported a burnt out lightbulb and squeaky door, they were fixed the same day.

In short, the Kona Kai is just another hotel by the water. Not a resort and not a lot of charm, but not a bad place to stay if you can get a good rate.

Room Tip: If you have a standard room, try to get one facing the marina instead of the parking lot.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
San Diego, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2012

I just recently got back from Afghanistan and i planned on surprising my girlfriend and also proposing. I had the best service at the front desk. I will probably plan on coming back over and over again and possibly plan my wedding here just because of four people who helped me out.Their names are Patrice, Mike, Tina, and Chrissie. These four wonderful people deserve a raise or at least a bonus because if it weren't for them i would have not been able to plan the best night of my life. Thank you!

Room Tip: Rooms are a great get away from the world. They feel inviting and safe.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pinon Hills, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2012

As the Reunion Chairman for the USS Will Rogers Veterans Association, a Navy submarine crew from the Cold War era, our stay was wonderful. It began with proper planning with helpful reservation staff. This included estimates on number of rooms, banquet facilities, entertainment, activities, transportation, limited mobility considerations, etc.
I never heard one employee use the word "no" or "I'm sorry." Our wishes were carried out and with a smile.
The scenery was magnificent with view of wonderful boats next to their private beach to the East and harbor view to the West side even including across the harbor to the Submarine Base and Coronado (North Island).
While our visit was one of a reunion for a bunch of submarine sailors, I would stay at the Kona Kai if it were just my own family. It is close to everything you could want within a 15-minute drive or less.
Try it; you'll like it. Tell 'em Ed sent you.

Room Tip: Grab a ground floor room facing East near the pool/grassy area. EZ access and nice private patio.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2012

Our room in the main building right above front lobby had an extra guest. The lights had a mind of their own, tv wanted to change channels & the dark swirling shadow couldn't be explained away. After 10 hours on the road we just wanted to go to sleep. Late check in found us with a grumpy front desk agent (it was only 10:30pm) a very average room (we are returning, local guests & booked a premium room) not the same layout, view, decor or design of the room we had stayed in during a past visit.

Check out found some confusion about parked vehicles, were told parking would be complementary, then charged for two cars in a near empty lot.

We chose to not move rooms as it was very late. We unplugged everything and that seemed to take care of the electrical "issues" lovely hotel, nice location.. rooms on the far side of the pool overlooking the luau area are far superior to rooms in the main building.

  • Stayed January 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
KATIEPIXIEDUST
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2012

I stayed here with my boyfriend for our anniversary. One thing I can say is that they do have wonderful views, one side is full of interesting yacts, and the other side has a nice view of the open water. At first my bf was really irritated that there were a million college kids, but they didn't make much noise & he eventually forgot about them. Our room was okay. Nothing special, except that you could hear some type of seal or sea lion from our balcony (which some people might find annoying but we happened to enjoy). They had a nice gym & bike rental area, and it was very relaxing to just stroll around the hotel, since it's right on the sand. The best part of the hotel, in our opinion, was the restaurant. We are the quiet type, so we were delighted to have dinner mostly to ourselves at the beautiful restraunt with the ocean view. We also got a free breakfast that was included in our stay in the morning (there was only a few other people that time as well). The food was great and the venue was high class.

It was pretty difficult to find our room at first, but the actual hotel, which is three stories, isn't that big. It seemed like there was some interesting places to eat down the street too. I would say, if you get a good deal on the room (no more than $100), and you live within an hour or two of SD, go for a night and enjoy yourself! More than one night is probably too much though.

Room Tip: We paid a little more for an unobstructed view, which means that their own plants aren't in the...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Medina
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2012

Long ago, in a very different life, I spent 2 glorious years aboard the USS Will Rogers, the ultimate Polaris submarine. It was in service from late 1966 [my era] to the early 1980s [it is now razor blades]. Last October a number of its alumni gathered in San Diego. We convened at the Kona Kai. From the point of view of the reunion the KK has it all: plenty of rooms at a reasonable price, great location with a view of the Submarine Base, meeting rooms, restaurants, and is close to the airport. From the point of view of the individual guest, the KK has seen better days. Specifically, the carpet of the first room to which I was assigned was soaking wet, sopping wet. Upon notifying the front desk of the problem we were immediately moved to a similar room with a dry carpet. The rest of the room was just fine. Comfortable beds, good shower, plenty of space, nice balcony with view of the marina. But, the entire property shows its age. And the restaurant is mediocre and pricey. The Kona Kai was fine for our purpose, but I would not go out of my way to stay there again. Worse yet, parking is NOT free.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
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Additional Information about Kona Kai Resort & Marina

Address: 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Diego
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#14 On the Beach Hotel in San Diego
#21 Spa Hotel in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Kona Kai Resort & Marina 3*
Number of rooms: 129
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
At the tip of Shelter Island, the southern California vibe emanates at our beachfront hotel in San Diego. Sun, surf and sea create the tropical essence of our beachfront hotel in San Diego. With a rich history steeped in the beat and bravura of Polynesian and Spanish Colonial, Kona Kai is a restyled creation of fresh, fun elegance punctuated by casual luxury. Perfect for an executive meeting, a surprise getaway or a romantic wedding, Kona Kai offers the right space for the right occasion. You'll find that space amidst quiet, private beaches, lush tropical gardens, astounding bay and marina views along San Diego's most magnificent stretch of waterfront. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kona Kai Hotel San Diego
Kona Kai Resort San Diego

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