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“Great View and Wonderful Staff” 4 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
Orland Park, Illinois
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great View and Wonderful Staff”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

The Kona Kai is under new managment and they are working to improve the property. The pool is clean and well cared for, plenty of room with a hot tub. Security was good with many staff members moving around the building and grounds. Noble House are the new owners and they are working on all aspects of resort operation, don't know the last managment company but it had let things go downhill. I would stay at the Kona Kai again and would tell friends that its all about location, location, location.

Room Tip: Second floor harbor side.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hugh H, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, October 20, 2013
Thank you for your review! I’m so glad you’ve noticed some of our recent improvements to the property. Please stay tuned for more exciting changes in the near future. Thanks again!
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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
Nuneaton, England, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

I only stayed for one night before flying out of San Diego.

After a three week road trip around the west coast, this was a great place to end. A lovely pool, nice walk along bay. An excellent restaurant with good service.

A lovely hotel- I would definitely stay again when I'm next in San Diego

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hugh H, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, October 20, 2013
Thank you for being our guest! We hope you enjoyed your West Coast excursion, and we look forward to hosting you again soon.
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Yucaipa
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2013

We are at the Kona Kai Resort as I write this! 9/14/13 We came for our 23rd wedding anniversary and this is our first time here. It will also be our last time here!! What other people have said about the bad smells, mold/mildew and renovated rooms is nothing but the truth! When I called to inquire about reservations I was told the rooms were all remodeled in July so I thought the bad reviews I read on here must have been prior to the remodel.

We have a room on the 2nd floor overlooking the marina. The moment we walked into our room the smell was/is horrendous!! I sprayed room deodorant a few times but can not get rid of the smell at all. There is mold/mildew all over the tub and tile in the bathroom. All the bedding smells really bad. The A/C has a horrible mold smell. We are keeping the patio door open at all times to keep the room somewhat aired out but the engine and fuel smell from the marina is unbearable at times. There are 7 patched holes on the wall in the room and the wall has wallpaper. They just put spackle over the holes (I thought the rooms were remodeled in July? That's only 2 months ago)! The bedding smells terrible which I'm assuming is from the mold and mildew in the room! The patio furniture is very old and worn and filthy dirty!

This morning when we woke up we were sitting on the patio enjoying the cool air when the very strong and overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke filled our patio! We had to go inside and shut the patio door. After 15 minutes I opened the door again and the smell was so bad I called the front desk to complain. I was told this is a no smoking property and what room number is it! I told her had to be either the room above us or below us but I suspected it was below us because the guy was smoking on the grass the night before. The girl at the front desk said she can't call and talk to those rooms unless I knew exactly where it was coming from and apologized! I asked her if I was supposed to put up with it and she said sorry! By this time it had been 30 minutes and there still was such a strong cigarette smell. I got furious by this time because we were waiting for our breakfast we ordered to be delivered and we wanted to eat on the patio. I called back and got a male from the front desk and I sternly told him they are still smoking and that I looked over the balcony and I can see the man sitting there with his cigarette. The front desk said they tried calling their room and no one answers. I screamed at him and told him the guy is smoking right now. Several minutes later the front desk called our room and said they walked to the room below us and told him he is not allowed to smoke or he will get a hefty fine and finally we could enjoy our patio again! The man is still smoking and as I write this he is out there smoking, he is just further out by the sand which is still Kona Kai property so obviously no one pays attention around here. And now I have to endure dirty looks from him and his family while we are on our property so it appears the front desk told them we complained!! Nice!!

This is very disappointing for us, especially since we were expecting a nice resort room that was remodeled 2 months ago! We will never stay here again. If there is any advice I can give others who are considering the Kona Kai Resort, I will say be sure and believe what you are reading on this web site. Not just the good reviews. This is my first time ever doing a review and we are not picky people or high maintenance types.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Hugh H, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, October 20, 2013
Thank you for posting. Please accept my apologies that your visit did not go as planned. I'm so sorry to hear about the issues you faced in your room and with your neighbors. I understand how frustrating this situation must have been. Room cleanliness and quality of service are our top priorities, and I'm disappointed that we missed the mark on this occasion. I'm most disappointed that our team's efforts to repair the situation fell short of your expectations. If possible, I would really appreciate a moment of your time to further discuss your experience. I can be reached at 619-819-8141 or hhedin@sdkonakai.com.
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Nashville, Tennessee
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2013

My husband and I were in much need of a vacation this year, but were determined to pay all cash (as opposed to using credit cards), so I hawked deals for four months looking for that perfect hotel that would fit our budget. I finally found Kona Kai Resort on expedia for a steal! (8 nights and a rental car with trip insurance and rental car insurance for around $909, but I digress!!) I am somewhat familiar with San Diego, but had never stayed on Shelter Island so I didn't know what to expect. All I can say is WOW for Kona Kai Resort.

Upon arrival (we had an early flight and got here at 10a Pacific Time), Skylar at the front desk got us into a room (we've had to wait until a 3 or 4p checkin time before) right away and even offered a wonderful upgrade at no charge! Our room was on the 3rd floor overlooking the pool, the bay, and Kona Kai's own private beach. It was absolutely stunning.

The customer service at the resort is above and beyond anything my husband and I have ever experienced. I wish I knew everyone's name so I could include them in here. We never once passed a staff member without them smiling and either introducing themselves or striking up a conversation. We travel a lot and this just doesn't happen anymore. The staff here really appears to value their job and their clients. Whatever management is doing, is working!

The pool is amazing and has a lap area for people who want to swim laps. The restaurant is absolutely gorgeous and the food is top notch. There's always some social event going on in the lobby if you choose to go, but you don't have to. You can be as social or private as you want to be here! We were a little hesitant about not staying right on Pacific Beach (where we spend most of our time), but Kona Kai was well worth the short little drive to the beach (about 10-15 minutes). And that's the thing...it's central to everything really: beaches, the zoo, downtown, even Coronado. We never had to drive too far for anything.

I could go on and on and on about this place, but see for yourself! Book a room there, you won't be sorry! Thanks to all the staff that made this such a special stay for us. We have finally found our "regular spot" and will be back next September!

  • Stayed September 2013, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hugh H, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, October 20, 2013
Thank you! You’ve highlighted some of the primary reasons why guests continue to join us year after year: top-notch service, fantastic views, and tasty food. I’m glad you found the resort’s central location to be so convenient, as well! We look forward to welcoming you back.
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NEW YORK CITY , NEW YORK
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

From Christina in Reservations to Skylar at check-out and all the staff in between , they couldn't have been more pleasant and helpful ! We came to the Kona Kai for three days to get out of Palm Springs with our Westie puppy and what a wonderful little mini vacation it was ! The lobby is stunning and very welcoming and the room we had was amazing , 160 I believe ! It was on the ground floor so we had direct access to the beach and the views of the marina were breathtaking ! Was wonderful to have coffee on the outdoor patio of our room every morning before heading to breakfast ! Love the fire-pits for the evening S'mores ! We had breakfast all three days out on the deck , the service was wonderful and the food terrific ! Loved walking the dog along the water on the green space in front of the hotel and she loved trying to catch the birds ! We felt the Kona was centrally located to everything we wanted to see , weather it was Little Italy or the Gas-lamp district , and just a few minutes to Hillcrest . On the way home we were planning our next trip back . Thank's to all of you who make this place so much fun !

  • Stayed September 2013, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hugh H, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, October 20, 2013
Wow! Thank you for your review and for taking the time to recognize the wonderful Kona Kai team. If there is anything we can do to make your next stay even more enjoyable, please let us know. We hope you (and your four-legged friend) can join us again soon!
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Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013

In August my family stayed at the Kona Kai. We were returning visitors. Upon check in I had stated that after my last stay at this property I wouldnt want to ever stay anywhere else when visiting San Diego! We visit every summer. I was then told that I should be very happy to see the rennovation that had been made since our last stay. I was very excited to see the improvments and but disappointed when I saw room number 1.

Our first room had a view of some work trailers in the parking lot. We couldnt even see the bay across the street because of all of the trailer that were situated in the parking lot. We went out on the balcony and noticed that there was severe damage to the door frame. At first glance my thought was that someone had pried the door open. My husband then pointed out that in fact, it was severe termite damage. Gross! Also, the lighting outside did not work and the air conditioning unit was very loud. Due to the termites in the room we didnt habg around to see anymore.

Room number 2 had a better view and the ac was not as loud. However, when we entered this room we could not get the tv to work and the water in the sink would not go down. Also, there were gross rust stains in the shower that I thought was blood. That tub needs to be refinshed! It was after midnight at this point and we were exhausted. We were not about to move again so my husband went under the sink and fixed it himself. He then figured out that the tv had a disconnected wire and he got that working. The shower, while nasty looking turned out to be rust so we just dealt with it.

Last year we had breakfast included in our package. This year we did not. Also, last year they offered a breakfast buffet which they no longer offer. The food and service was good but it ended up costing close to $50 for a small breakfast (with tax and tip) for 2 adults and 1 small child. The food was way over priced. After day one we opted to have breakast on our balcony. The view was just as nice.

When we booked our stay we booked the "Beat the Heat promotion". If you book a promotional package make sure you are actually getting what you paid for. Unpon check in, I realized that the package was not listed. This would have meant being charged for parking and not receiving the daily resort credit. Also, we had to go down the next dayn and ask for the childrens gift bag that was not given to us upon check in. Then when we checked out I realized that our daily credit of $25 per day had not been applied and I had an additional $100 on my bill. Good thing I was checking.

Despite the mistakes and the room changes/problems I am still giving Kona Kai a very good review because the vies are amazing and the staff is very friendly. I also like the activities provided by the hotel and for the location, the price is pretty good. Other hotels on shelter island were much priced much higher.

Would I return? Yes, we will probably give them another chance but hopefully it will be better next time otherwise we may have to try another Shelter Island hotel.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hugh H, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, October 20, 2013
Thank you for your comprehensive review. We really appreciate the feedback as we are always looking for ways to improve. Please accept my apologies for the issues you faced in your room and with your bill. Room cleanliness and quality of service are consistently at the top of our list, and I'm disappointed that we dropped the ball during your stay. I’m so happy you’ve decided to give us another chance to provide a typical Kona Kai experience. We look forward to your return!
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San Diego, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

Nice getaway spot; we wanted to stay there for the location and the fact it is NOT a big resort or convention facility. Quiet, comfortable, accommodating. Lobby and guest room (we were on 3rd floor in the 350s) were updated (not totally renovated), but still clean and charming. Our room had a Bay/marina view, and our building did have an elevator although some did not. We enjoyed the pool area, however it was a windy Saturday and the shade umbrellas kept blowing over (need to be secured or have heavier bases so we could have protection from the sun.)
Skylar was our front desk contact. She was friendly, professional and full of information! Highly recommend asking for her if she is on duty. We could have found a cheaper room elsewhere, but this is exactly the getaway we were looking for. Wish we had time to try the spa and restaurant. We did visit the bar and it was nice.

Room Tip: Rooms overlooking the Bay are great--we had a view of the Marina and boats, as well as the Point Lom...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Hugh H, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, October 20, 2013
Thank you for joining us at Kona Kai Resort! I’ll be sure to pass on the kudos to Skylar--- she’s one of our best. Please visit our website for our best available rates, live music schedule, and renovation updates. We can’t wait to have you back!
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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:
#15 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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