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“One Stop Resort-Almost” 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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Ranked #100 of 271 Hotels in San Diego
Santa Barbara, CA
Top Contributor
115 reviews 115 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“One Stop Resort-Almost”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2014

This resort is a complex of hotel, resort, convention center, marina, beach resort, waterfront hotel, holiday retreat, big pool, private beach, free parking, VERY friendly, well trained staff and a bit on the upscale side of decor and design. The wallpaper going up the second floor stairs ( no elevator) looked like bookcases of CD's and contrasted horribly with the garish carpeting. We stayed in the main part of the resort, on the second floor facing the bay east of our small, but nice patio consisting of 2 chairs; but a small table would have been nice. I am not sure how old this resort is; but the section we were in was showing its age, especially in the bathroom. The sink was fractured and poorly repaired, there was a long crack across the floor tiles and 3 drywall anchors remained exposed in the wall next to the sink where something had been installed & removed. The room was a bit small; but nicely furnished and featured one of the most comfortable beds ever. The restaurant has been upgraded; but the menu is limited and more typical of a back country resort versus a big city resort. With over 4000 eating places within 20 minutes or so, they could do a much better job in the restaurant department.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
Rommel G, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, August 2, 2014
Thank you for being a guest of our resort and for taking the time to lend us your thoughtful feedback and suggestions. We are happy to hear that our dedicated team created a nice experience for you as we continuously aim for every guest to enjoy themselves at our resort. Please be aware we are currently scheduled to start renovating our guest bathrooms in December. Also, there is a parking charge to park at our property. We apologize for any misunderstanding about this charge. We hope you will be able to visit us soon again and welcome your return!

Kindest regards,

Rommel Gonzalez
Hotel Manager
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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
Corona, CA
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014

OMG this place was NOT what you expected after going on their website. The only good thing about it was the view and that's where it ended. At check in the front desk staff was deplorable. Very unhelpful. The room was tiny and the bathroom was closet size. Oh and you have to hold the toilet knob down for about a minute in order for it to flush properly. The air conditioner unit was wall mounted and as you can see from the picture attached there was a huge gap between the unit and the wall so basically anything could have crawled in to the room! The bed and pillows were too soft for my taste. The direct TV was out more than it worked and wi-fi was non existent! One other good thing was check out with Cashe. Friendly young man. I wish he would have done our check in. We will not be staying here again. Not worth the over $230 per night.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Rommel G, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, August 2, 2014
While we are pleased you were able to enjoy some aspects of your visit, including your experience with Cashe, we are disappointed to learn that we fell short of the mark for you in a few areas. I hope you will reach out to me and afford me the opportunity to discuss your stay.

Warm regards,

Rommel Gonzalez
Hotel Manager
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New York City, New York
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2014

First the location: the best end of Shelter Island, The best strip of land in San Diego. Then the buildings, a series of well planned three floor buildings interconnected, good sized rooms, well equipped, and a lovely central area with swimming pool and kiosk bar. It all has great potential. Then come the human factor:
1) to go from room to pool, and from pool to restaurant, and from restaurant to beach and so on, you need to use your card through low level gates which are clearly a terrible nuisance for customers but would pose no issue to any burglar or ill intentioned . I even had to keep it open for a waiter who was trying to go through with service dishes, and was begging for help. The excuse of the club Vs hotel customers etc is a joke.
2) prices for additional services, like the use of the cabanas, are another joke, the cabana costs more than the room!
3) the AT&T internet is a joke, it works at sort of 55kb/h (yes I said hour) when you are so unlucky to connect. Better stay off and enjoy the view.
4) breakfast choice is a joke as well, there is a list with 7 items no more, and you pay 8$ for 2 croissants. Maybe providing an isle with free choice like any basic 3 star hotel make?
5) the best joke, the pool towel. If you want pool towel they provide it, but they give you a magnetic card for each towel (?) and keep a deposit of 15$ each which they of course then forget to remove from your bill...

So all in all it's a great place, but the amateurs who runs it should give a try to any 3/4 star hotel in Europe or even The Hilton in San Diego, before even trying. It's a real pity, because the location is unique, and you even have the 1992 America's Cup sailing boat winner moored in front of the hotel, such a beauty! For customers, if you go there, be prepared to focus on the beauty of the place and forget the service complexity , until the fix it....

  • Stayed July 2014
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Rommel G, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, July 27, 2014
While we are glad to have welcomed you to our resort, we are disheartened to hear that so many aspects of your visit fell short of our goal in creating a pleasant stay for our guests. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your experiences further and hope that you will reach out to me.

Warm regards,

Rommel Gonzalez
Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mesa, Arizona
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2014

I haven't been to San Diego in some time and made plans to go over the 4th of July. I have been to the Kona Kai once before years ago and decided to stay again because of the location on Shelter Island and the service! To my surprise as I walked through the front doors and the place was beautifully remodeled. The rooms were very comfortable with great views of down town SD. I especially want to thank Jessica Calderon at the front desk for the five star treatment. She recommended we rent bikes from next door and explore the island. We ended up riding about 6mi. to mission beach! What a great ride. This is a women who takes their job seriously and makes sure the guest's stay is totally satisfied. I can't wait to visit again over the 4th next year!!! Cheers....

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Rommel G, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, July 27, 2014
We are so pleased to have had you and your family as our guests and to have learned that you had so many great experiences at our resort! Our team strives to create memorable visits and we are glad to hear that they, especially Jessica, achieved this for you. Thank you for your feedback and we hope you will be able to visit us again soon!

Kindest regards,

Rommel Gonzalez
Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Springs, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014

I booked a stay at Kona Kai after viewing the website and its freshly redecorated lobby and rooms. After a little more research I discovered that the hotel was under construction. Luckily my stay was 2 weeks after the 4th of July re opening of the pool and restaurant. Do not let other bad reviews deter you. I will say that the rooms appear not to have been remodeled only "refreshed" as the web site says. While I'm sure some rooms were completely refreshed, ours was only partially. It had new wall paper and carpet as well as tufted headboard and new lamps. But the other furniture and decor was left over and didn't match the new funky beach vibe or the pics on the web site. We originally booked a Jr Suite as we were staying for a long bday weekend and have a small dog, so we thought we wanted a larger room. Upon checking in we learned that the only jr suite available was overlooking the pool which has loud music until 5 pm. We wanted the quieter bay side and only standard rooms were left so we took one on the second floor. The room was quite large with a king bed and a balcony overlooking the park/promenade (there are picnic tables and BBQ areas so its quite nice and also for walking the dog!) and the bay. it was perfect! There can be a little street noise but mostly cars looping around at the end of shelter island. Funny that there are no pictures of the bathrooms on the web site. That is because (at least ours) was not "refreshed." It was small and dated and could definitely have used a touch up. It did have cool blue tropical tile, but the wall paper was outdated. It was clean though. The tub and surround must have been power washed because it didn't look dingy. We ate at the restaurant Vessel which was actually very good for a hotel! The food was well prepared and the service was very good. There was a wedding on the beach which was nice, but there was also live music in the bar/restaurant. Competing music at the same time was a little annoying. (probably more so for the wedding if they could hear it). Overall we found the staff to be friendly and accommodating. I really would like to give this hotel 3 1/2 stars but that is not an option. If they were to update all the furnishings and the bathrooms I would give 4 stars. I would definitely stay here again either way. It is a good value and I think a great location.

Room Tip: rooms on the bay are more quiet
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Rommel G, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, July 23, 2014
We are glad to have welcomed you to our resort and to learn that you enjoyed your visit so well. Our team is dedicated to creating a memorable experience for our guests as we strive to offer the finest in hospitality. As for our renovation, we are thrilled to showcase our new pool and dining areas. The renovation for our spa and fitness center is scheduled to be completed in September and the guest bathrooms in November and December. Thank you again for your feedback and we hope you will be able to join us again soon!

Warm regards,

Rommel Gonzalez
Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coto de Caza, California
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

Wife and I stayed at the Kona Kai for a few nights during Easter 2014. We had an upstairs king room with a balcony overlooking the marina. The room was clean and quite. The bed was great. Plenty of free parking within foot steps of our room.

Room Tip: All rooms seemed good. Either oriented towards the marina or the park along the peninsula. Some clo...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Rommel G, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, July 17, 2014
We are glad to have welcomed you to our resort and we appreciate you taking the time to lend us your feedback. We are pleased you had a comfortable stay and hope to see you soon to enjoy visiting our property again. Please be aware we just completed the renovation for our pool and dining areas and it would be a pleasure to showcase these offerings to you. As for parking, please be aware there is a parking charge to park a vehicle at our property. We apologize if there was any miscommunication regarding this charge. Thank you again for your review!

Kindest regards,

Rommel Gonzalez
Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

Lot's of activities for the family, friends or couple. If you have a boat on a trailer, and you need a place to stay that has a marina, this is the place to go on Shelter Island San Diego. The municipal boat launch ramp is just down the block.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Rommel G, Manager at Kona Kai Resort & Marina, responded to this review, July 12, 2014
We couldn’t agree more! We are very excited about our renovated pool area with our new Tiki Bar and cabanas as well as our newly updated restaurant and bar. There is much to do here at our beautiful resort, Shelter Island and San Diego, including the accommodation of our guests with boats. Thank you for your feedback and we hope you are able to enjoy our facilities again soon! Please reach out to us the next time you are in the area.

Warm regards,

Rommel Gonzalez
Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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