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“Quiet & Tropical Oasis”

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Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden
Ranked #1 of 17 Key Largo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Quiet & Tropical Oasis”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

We really needed some R&R away from the cold and busy schedules. Having never been to the Keys, we didn't know what to expect. I kept coming back to Kona Kai's listing and realized we really wanted the guarantee that a crying child or late night noise would not upset our relaxation and Kona Kai came through with flying colors. Also, important to me were well groomed grounds and the beautiful, labeled plants and the plant tour was one of my hi-lights. We stayed 4 nights per their recommendation and that was enough time to unwind and enjoy the quiet, tropical surroundings and sunsets. We stayed in the gardenview King bedroom and the coffeemaker, wine bottle opener, refrigerator were all we needed because I was not cooking on my vacation! The bed was average comfort and no wifi in the rooms had us tethering our components to my phone for internet.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank K P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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452 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (118)
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English first
Woodstock NY
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 1, 2013

As with life, travel is all about professionalism and your expectations and the Kona Kai Resort certainly did not meet either, as the room that we had booked in advance had the tiniest most unsanitary bathroom that I had ever had the misfortune of paying for; it was also sold to us as a quiet, renovated and deluxe accommodation, and yet it was none of these things. The tub/shower was stained all over with some kind of thick compound, dead bugs were squashed on the walls, tiles and grout were cracked and stained, and the faucet was loose and leaking-YUCK! I would suspect that anyone would be disappointed to find such substandard conditions. The entire room was also much smaller than anticipated, although the furniture was new and the bed was clean and comfortable. It was also sold to us as a private, quiet location-hardly possible when It was right across from the pool with a spa that is open late. Hmmm. And even if you did not mind the noise, you could not even open the windows, as they too were old and non-functional. At $350 per night for a double room, this was certainly not our kind of place and certainly not yours, I suspect even in the funky keys. So travelers, be warned. Stay away from the Mango Room and question the management when you call to book. Learn from our mistake. This is at best a two star accommodation and more like a motel then anything. As a world traveler and owner of two lodging accommodations in NY, I would frankly have been embarrassed to have even sold this room, let alone to someone who had booked in advance to celebrate a special event. It was too late to leave upon arrival, as the office was closed, so we were stuck for the night. The next morning however, the manager of the hotel did indeed handle the situation beautifully and promptly admitted that she could indeed understand that these conditions were not suitable. In fact she seemed quite experienced and rehearsed at stating this. I dare say we were perhaps not the first people to have been disappointed, and certainly not the last until they change their policy of misrepresentation. We did indeed get refunded our money promptly, but somethings can not be bought; who wants a four night birthday celebration to start like this. It is just such a waste of time and energy. The hotel did not make any arrangements for us to help us move to another place, and it was high season. THANKFULLY I was prepared and the CHEECA LODGE extended a discount to us as well as an upgrade to a suite in the hopes of salvaging my birthday celebration, which they certainly did. So THANK YOU to CHEECA LODGE and a "never again" to the Kona Kai Resort. Travelers be warned.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank bohotraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Owner-KonaKai-Resort, Owner at Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden, responded to this review, April 4, 2013
The most difficult part of any business is managing your customer’s expectations. Based on the majority of our Trip Advisor reviews, we tend to do pretty well at this. Unfortunately, this was not the case with bohotraveler and we regret her special birthday vacation did not start out as she envisioned.

Compliments to our staff who handled this delicate situation with the utmost professionalism. We regret bohotraveler did not see Denise’s effort to remedy the situation as sincere. Furthermore, it was unfortunate we were unable to offer a Kona Kai solution, like the room move or upgrade bohotraveler asked for, but we were completely sold out.

We do thank bohotraveler for encouraging others to call us for clarification about Kona Kai. We are happy to answer any questions regarding our accommodations, amenities, or any review. We welcome the opportunity to better understand your expectations to be sure that situations like bohotraveler do not happen to you or to us, as it not a pleasant situation for either party.

While we are not a 200+ room, 5 star luxury resort like Cheeca Lodge and Spa, (offering valet parking, room service, on-site spa, two restaurants and bars) we are delighted bohotraveler found what she was seeking. We are happy she found her perfect paradise in the Florida Keys and left on a positive note, having celebrated her birthday exactly as she envisioned. We are thrilled to be part of the fabulous Florida Keys, a destination that offers a wide variety of lodging and many different flavors of “paradise.”
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
31 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 30, 2013

Selected this hotel based on other Trip Advisor reviews, and we were not disappointed. While we only stayed here one night, we enjoyed the lovely garden on the grounds, with many of the plants labeled. Our one bedroom unit with a small kitchen and living/dining area was very clean with comfortable furnishings in excellent condition. We actually were given an upgraded room that was bigger than we had reserved with no extra charge (not sure why, but didn't complain). The small beachfront area was man made, but that's typically for the area. It had a ping-pong table, and seating that could be placed in the shade or sun, plus hammocks. We enjoyed the free kayaks (only a few but we didn't have competition for them), and the pool and spa. There were towels available poolside, and a small refrigerator had bottled water and fresh fruit for free! Yes, it's on the pricey side, but if you can afford it, it's worth it.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank CRPhoenix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maple Grove
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2013

This was our first visit to the Keys. We had all kinds of sightseeing planned. Once we arrived at the resort and spent a day in the hammocks, pool, and sun; we hardly ever left! Everyone has been asking about our trip and I always reply, "It was the most beautiful and relaxing trip I could ever imagine." The resort is exquisite, and the attention to detail is evident everywhere you turn. From the moment you turn into the beautifully paved parking lot you are greeted by a sense of serenity, peace and calm. In the midst of the busyness of life, it was exactly what we needed!

Room Tip: Basic rooms have a coffee pot and very small refrigerator. They have upgraded rooms that have a full...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Erickawalz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2013

Taking a road trip on the spur of the moment we had no planned itinerary. Not knowing what to expect, we booked a room shortly before checkin at 3:00. As we drove up to the entrance I fully anticipated the typical Keys lodge. What a great surprise! It's a private, secluded mini oasis in a tourist town with a small botanical garden, pool & orchid house, a private beach and wine is served in the art gallery before having dinner off site. Ambiance is abundant and the staff is incredibly welcoming. I will stay again and again, the Kona Kai slighlty reminds me of the One and Only Ocean Club... without ever leaving the states! It's a great find for anyone who wants to unwind because internet and telephone are only accessible outside of the rooms near the art gallery. Don't worry, it's just steps away from your room!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rocco E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Owner-KonaKai-Resort, Owner at Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden, responded to this review, March 25, 2013
Well, we're not actually a "Private Island Paradise," but as Rocco E points out, neither are we a "typical Keys lodge." As Rocco E writes, we're more like a "secluded mini-oasis" with ambiance and most all the amenities. Kona Kai is a great place to relax and unwind, while our tropical ethno-botanic gardens unique and enlightening. Our everyday goal is to please all our guests; we're thrilled Rocco and others have recently chosen to share their Kona Kai experience with future guests. We'll be doing our best to earn your accolades as well. Thank you one and all.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2013

We stayed at the Kona Kai March 12 - 20th 2013 for 8 nights. This was our very first trip to the Keys and after reading the reviews on Trip Advisor we decided to give this place a shot.

We originally planned to spend half of our trip in Key Largo and the last part of our trip in Key West. We initially departed Kona Kai on Saturday March 16th and sadly didn't know when we would be back to the Kona Kai. After arriving in Key West and determining the craziness of Key West wasn't for us, we called the Kona Kai and asked if we could return. We were even given a hint by the staff at the Kona Kai on how to get out of our resort reservation in Key West to avoid having to pay cancellation fees! Luckily, our same room was available and we turned right around and made our way back to the Kona Kai that same night. Getting back to the Kona Kai was a huge sigh of relief.

We stayed in the Star Fruit room which has a kitchen, separate bedroom with King Size bed and pullout bed in the main living area. It was very nice and quiet.

This is the place to stay if you are looking for peace and quiet. My mom and I couldn't believe how it seemed like the resort was ours alone - very few people around and the majority of people that were there sharing the resort with us were very friendly and quiet...minus one couple over the weekend that was a little rambunctious in the pool but this was by no means the fault of the staff at the Kona Kai.

The garden tour with Rick is great - be sure you take the time to see it!

We are already planning a return trip to Key Largo and won't stay anywhere else other than the Kona Kai. With the friendly and very attentive staff, property, cleanliness, attention to detail, the botanic gardens, sunsets and the 6pm BYOG (complimentary wine) in the gallery...we can't imagine there is a better place to stay in Key Largo!

The Kona Kai makes you never want to leave and we hated leaving to return the snowy tundra of the upper midwest.

This was an amazing place to stay and we can't wait to return!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank coffeegeekmn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Owner-KonaKai-Resort, Owner at Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden, responded to this review, March 25, 2013
Dear coffeegeekm: Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed and descriptive review. Our staff works hard to earn the positive comments posted by you and others. Descriptive comments such as yours (along with the great photos you posted) mean a lot to us and to future guests who, like you, rely on the veracity of Trip Advisor reviews when making their travel selections. We'll look forward to your return and we'll strive to live up to the expectations you've set for us. Thanks!
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Oak Lawn, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 21, 2013

My wife and I went for a couple of days last weekend (March 15-16) to "get away from it all!" That's exactly what happens here. It is beautiful! My wife, who is very picky when it comes to accomadations, said it was one of the nicest places she has ever stayed. That is saying alot coming from her! Everyone is so helpful and they make you feel like your home.
Great food that is close by too! Harriette's for breakfast and key lime muffins! Mrs. mac's for everything. Category 3 for burgers! Cafe Largo for pasta and excellent Long Island Ice teas! Go to bar behind Cafe Largo for a nightcap on the water!
Highly recommend this for couples who want to get away to peace and quiet! Beautiful sunsets!

Room Tip: All rooms are close to the water so just a matter of how much you need to see it and if you need a k...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
1 Thank MarkKlutcharch
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, Gallery & Botanic Garden

Property: Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden
Address: 97802 Overseas Hwy, MM 98, Key Largo, FL 33037-2229
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key Largo
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 17 B&Bs / Inns in Key Largo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Owned and operated by the same family since 1991 and a "Fodor’s Choice" selection since 2009, Kona Kai is a magical hideaway, teeming with the natural beauty of old Key Largo and hand polished into one of the most exclusive resorts in the Florida Keys. With all new accommodations in 2013, Kona Kai is reserved for adults. Offering highly praised personalized concierge service, Kona Kai is regularly recommended by leading travel publications and websites. SInce the 2011 addition of "The Botanic Gardens at Kona Kai," guests enjoy our gardens day and night; complimentary tours for all registered guests are offered by our staff ethnobotanist. Kona Kai is a classic Keys experience; the perfect alternative if you're seeking to avoid the crowds and formality of a big resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kona Kai Resort & Gallery Hotel Key Largo
Kona Kai Resort And Gallery

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