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“Excellent property and location” 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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20% off our Best Rate
Ranked #92 of 270 Hotels in San Diego
Vancouver Island
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Excellent property and location”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2009

Like others I was freaked out by the reviews after winning this property on Priceline. We couldn't have been more pleased at how much better this property was than reviews said. We stayed in room 353 for 3 nights. Top floor, looked southwest - you cannot see the downtown skyline from this location but you have an excellent view of the harbour mouth with all the boat traffic. Beautiful property is showing its age but is clean and well maintained. The pool is particularly lovely. There was no airport noise in our room, only occasional aircraft noise from the NAS but not at night. With a modest investment and some fixing up, this property would easily be a 4 star. As it is, it is a great buy.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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890 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 (266)
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Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2009

Got the Kona Kai on Priceline for $61/night. I'd read all the reviews beforehand so wasn't sure what to expect. I'd been hoping to get Best Western Island Palm or Humphries Half Moon.

We arrived Fri April 10th. Check in was fairly fast with Jason at the front desk. The first room we got was a ground floor handicap access room just down the hair from front desk. On going in, the room wasn't bad as everything seemed clean and well laid out. We discovered however that the handle of the hot water faucet on the wash room sink was broken and fell right off when we tried to turn on the water to wash our hands. Then when I picked up the phone to call front desk to let them know, I discovered the phone wasn't working and had no dial tone. I went back out to Jason and front desk and he changed our room right away.

We moved to room 125. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as nice looking as the first room but as everything was working, we decided to stay in it. The lighting in this room was very very dim whereas the first room was very well lit. The bathroom was also outdated and had an old tub whereas the first room had a very newly renovated bathroom. Oh well, I guess it was a tradeoff but as long as everything was working, we were staying put.

Based on the reviews I read beforehand, I bought ear plugs with me. It was a good thing I did as the first and second night was noisy. There were kids upstairs running around past 11:00 pm. I wouldn't have been able to sleep without the ear plugs. Once Sunday night hit, everything quieted down and it was peacefully quiet.

Nice things about hotel:
1) It was central to everything we wanted to see. About 15 minutes to Cabrillo National Monument and 15 mins downtown. We rented a car from Alamo for $10/day so had no problem getting around.
2) Shelter Island is beautiful, peaceful and safe. It was beautiful to wake up, look out the window and see the water.
3) Housekeeping staff was very friendly. Greeted us each morning and cleaned our room well.
4) Front desk staff was very friendly and greeted us all the time.
5) Room had a fridge which was handy.
6) Free wifi internet access

Bad Things:
1) Parking is expensive and you don't really have a choice but to pay for their parking there ($15/night)
2) Our room lighting was poor and washroom needed upgrades
3) Really bad pillows here so if that's important, bring your own.
4) Hotel doesn't provide towels at the pool area. You have to bring your own or the room towel.

All in all, for the money I paid, I felt I got a fair deal. I would go back again.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Fort Irwin
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2009

Our stay at the Kona Kai was nothing but pleasure. Once we arrived we were taken in by the peaceful atmosphere and overall tranquility of Shelter Island. We arrived early after a long drive with a 16 month old baby,a teenager, and a desire to relax. The receptionist, Trudy, was amazing. Not only was she one of the friendliest staff members of any hotel we have stayed at, but she also upgraded our room and gave us helpful information on the surrounding area. We had no problem getting extras such as a microwave to heat up baby food. The room and the view were both beautiful, and the price can't be beat. As a military family, this is one weekend trip we greatly enjoyed. We will definatley stay here again.

Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2009

my wife recently fractured her back and i thought it would do her good to getaway. i went through AAA and found this place, the staff was outstanding---dennis,sergio and joseph were way ahead of there game. meet all of our needs didnt pay nothing for parking. the room and the view was outsatnding. i would go back to this hotel again, and again
we are very happy the way the staff treated us and made us fill right at home.

  • Stayed April 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2009

We went to the Kona Kai for a weekend get-away. We found Shelter Island and the Kona Kai easily using the Garmin.
Upon our arrival we were told there would be an additional $15 per night for parking! To me this is absolutely outrageous! This charge should either be included into the room price, or absorbed by the hotel. This is a hotel without parking!
Also, after dinner my wife wanted some water and ice. I covered the entire second floor of our building looking for an ice machine. Then I went downstairs to the lobby and asked about the location. I was told if I go down to room 115 and look for an exit that would be the ice machine. I gave them my special look and the receptonist took my ice bucket and went to the kitchen and got some ice for me. I thought that was nice, but I still didn't have the water. I went back looking for the ice machine. There was NO SIGN indicating that there may be ice and soda machines anywhere. Very poor service indeed!
After a while I found the machines. They were hidden outside by the pool. I was on the second floor and there were no services available on our floor and NO signs directing you to the services either.
The rooms were clean. The furniture in our room was well worn.
I will say this for the Kona Kai and it's location: it was a very quiet place.
The view of the city from our room was blocked by trees. So we got to look across the water at what appeared to be a military installation. Not too pretty.
We did enjoy watching the fishermen retrieving pots and speculating on what they were catching. We also enjoyed the sounds of the seals barking...
All in all, we had a good time despite the difficulties given us by the Kona Kai.
In case you're wondering I think that the extra $15 for parking is more than enough reason NOT to stay here. We were told that parking may be extra, but who would expect it to cost as much as a 1/2 tank of gas for one night?! Poor way to treat "guests" if you ask me! (after spending $200+ for a night in a mediocre room.)
Luckily we were smart enough not to eat there! Ruth's Chris Steak House is not far away and is good. There was a Japanese restaurant near the hotel that we noticed was packed with eaters and we wished we had tried them!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Chula Vista, CA
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2009

I wanted to have a nice weekend getaway with my boyfriend for Valentine's Day but we were on a bit of a budget and it wasn't easy finding a place. I found the Kona Kai on a travel site and decided to give it a try. I spoke with Peter and he was so helpful! He understood our situation and found the perfect room for us. He was very knowledgeable about the sites of San Diego. Peter told us a list of hotspots for dining and dancing. The room had a great view and service was exceptional. Check out was very easy and the employees were really friendly. Every time a friend asked about a hotel I tell them to check out the Kona Kai and ask for Peter because his customer service is one of a kind. He'll really fine tune your trip to fit it to your needs.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2009

My husband came down four days from chicago to visit me (Navy school) and we decided we wanted to have a little Valentine get away. From the website Kona Kai Resort and Spa seamed like the place to be at the time. My first impression was that it was really nice on the outside when i walked in i was a bit disapointing because the rooms were so small and a bit out dated. The sink was very small barely had any room for anything. The building is older so their was a lot of creaks and squiks at night which freaked me out. I am a fair person It was a clean hotel though when we got back to our room everyday the room had been cleaned. We had a King size bed and it was very confy and spacious. :) We made reservation for Valentines at the resteraunt at Kona Kai and it was very small and over priced the food was disgusting me and my husband even joked and said that we should of went to Jack in the box and we would of been more satisfied. I love fish but the salmon tasted as if it was days old and the salad was a cheap lettuce head and one small tomatoe and a two baby carrots. The only fairly descent food was the desert. we ended up paying over $150 for 4 pieces of lettuce one small tomatoe, two baby carrots and a little plastic cup with dressing, a under cooked a few days old salmon with a cup of over boiled rice, and a small little dessert which was the only half way descent food of the meal. I was furious because we could not eat the food it was so disgusting. We only ate desert. Later when i checked out they had charged me and extra $92.00 for some other persons room service and made me seam as though i was crazy who was trying to get a cheap discount. When the receptionist finally decided to do her job and investigate she realized that i was rite i never ordered that food it was another room. and told me that it had been put back on my card. Well I dropped my husband off at the airport and went home with a broken heart to come to realize that not only had she not given back my $92.00 she had charged it on my account plus kept the original balance. so she had charged me for some other persons meal twice. well i called and spoke to accounting which was a self centered unproffessional who called me a liar and said that the receptionist had not charged me. Well I told her that I had been charged for the meal seperate from my hotel bill because why would my bank show a individual charge of $92.00 all our room service was added to the total amount due. she was rude and not helpful she almost made me cry because she was set to not help me. I asked to speak to her manager and she pretty much told me their was not one else above her I was furious at this point because she was refusing me my right to speak to a manager. Finally she transfered me to the hotel manager that all of a sudden mysteriously she happened to have a manager. I got his voice mail and left a detailed message with all my phone numbers. In a process of about three days i left two to three messages a day and never not once recieved a phone call back. On the fourth day I looked at my account online and saw exactly was i suspected I was charged the original amount which included the extra $92.00 and an individual $92.00 charge. than I was refunded twice $92.00. so not only was i correct but i am still trying to get in contact with someone their to explain how badley i was treated and i have yet to recieve a phone call back. They are rood, inconciderate, mean, and a big rip off. One advice i would give the staff of Kona Kai would be smiling with your voice goes a long way, and not accusing the guest a paying guest at that we lert over $1000 their, of being a liar. Admitt to your mistake and the least I would expect would be an apology. Never again this was a horrible expeirience.

Oh yah And the heater kept breaking and everytime we would call the front desk they would get mad at us as though it was our fault that their electric system was old and kept making the heater blow out. The last time we called for some one to come and fix it the receptionist gave me an attitude and was like " their is an extra blanket in the closet"
" a nightmare!" endless horror stories of this place.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
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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
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
#18 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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