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“Kickin' Back in the Northern Keys”

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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
richmond
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Kickin' Back in the Northern Keys”
Reviewed January 24, 2006

I found this little gem online. Once again, Tripadvisor was right on the money. Our group of 4 was very much in need of relaxation and rest. We found them and more at the Kona Kai. From our first welcoming hello, we began to decompress! Our rooms were well appointed, comfortable and very clean. Although on Route 1, the Kona Kai is tucked back on the bay and protected by manicured grounds that are cared for daily by diligent and very friendly caretakers. The highlight is the pristine and private beach and gorgeous vistas of the bay. The pool is well maintained and very inviting, but our favorite pastime besides hanging out was kyaking compliments of our hosts! Give Tracey, the General Manager a call. With only 11 rooms, you need to book in advance.

Stayed January 2006
Helpful?
7 Thank bavon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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460 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (123)
Date | Rating
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English first
Wakefield, RI
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed August 5, 2005

We wanted to stay at Kona Kai when we first arrived in Key Largo but, their office had closed (at 7PM I think?) and we didn't get there until 8 or so. We ended up at Amy's Amoray Dive Resort (blah! but the only place we could find with a room) and were headed to Key West the next day but we did stop the next morning and book our last 2 days back in Key Largo at Kona Kai after looking at quite a few other places in the area.
When we booked, the woman at the desk was so helpful, gave us a map of Key West (our destination for the 2 days until we came back to Key Largo) and was great at suggesting places to stay and, offered to call and check availability for us. We declined because we wanted to look for ourselves first but, she gave us so many pointers, it made the trip to Key West so much easier.
Key West is a hard place to leave but, we had an easier time knowing we were staying in such a pretty place back in Key Largo.
I wish I had gotten names because everyone was so great and I'd love to recommend them by name. The lady that checked us in was incredible! She helped us find a boat to rent in John Pennecamp Park for the next day and showed us around the grounds , pointing out things we never would have noticed on our own.
I loved that the room is only cleaned if you ask (who needs sheets changed everyday?) and it was easy enough to get clean towels. The bed was so comfortable, the bathroom beautiful with glass block tiles used for shower walls and very nice toiletries.
I think we may have had the smallest room in the place and it was still plenty big for 2 people with a nice futon couch in addition to the bed. We were in the guava room. All rooms have fruit names, not numbers but it's so small, it's not like you'd forget your room.
The pool was beautiful but, they are very proud that the pool is one of the only CHILLED pools in the area! I came to Florida for the heat so, I didn't like the pool much but most people there did. They have a hot tub right next to the pool, provide lots of big towels poolside and also a mini fridge stocked with cold water and fresh fruit for the guests.
The best parts were the beautifully landscaped grounds (complete with several tamed squirrels) and the dock area. They allow guests to bring boats and jet skis as long as the draft is not more them 20 inches. There are so many boat rental places in the area, next time we'll stay longer and rent a boat for a couple of days. They have kayaks and a paddle boat (with cup holders!) for guests use and the dock is loaded with lounge chairs and tables & chairs. I didn't realize how many people were there (it seems so quiet!) until everyone came out to the dock with their evening cocktails, to watch the sunset. There was plenty of room for everyone and it was a beautiful place to watch the sunset.
The only downers were the chilled pool and I wish they'd provide breakfast but, they do have coffee makers & mini fridges in the rooms and there are plenty of great breakfast places in the area like Harriet's & Hideout.
We'll be back.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank SheilaMc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
18 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed May 31, 2005

We stayed here twice, on the way down to and back up from Key West. It's such a beautiful setting, the pool is spotless and refreshing for a dip which is just as well - the sea is more like a warm bath. Not great for swimming but loads of marine life and the kayaks are fun for an hour or so of easy paddling. The cottages are immaculate - bright, airy, roomy and great toiletries and shower. There's free bottled water, apples and oranges and the staff are so willing to help. There are cheeky squirrels everywhere (bring cashews!), herons and lizards and the signs tell you it's manatee country - but of course we didn't see one.

The room was $211 which for Memorial Day weekend, and compared to everything else, seemed OK. It was definitely worth it for the sheer relaxation and a hammock based view of a gorgeous sunset. The one thing from other reviews that I would agree with is that a DIY breakfast would be a bonus, as the resort is a bit isolated unless you drive. At night there's a restaurant nearby (Ballyhoo's) which was OK food, huge jam jars of soft drinks and an easy walk (mind the cars!). Overall we truly recommend Kona Kai - it's gorgeous and I guarantee you'll feel better for a stay here.

  • Stayed May 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank sammyk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Island, NY
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2005

My wife and I have been visiting the Florida Keys annually for the last few years, and much prefer the upper Keys (Largo & Islamorada) to Key West. This said, we have been exploring for the perfect getaway. Well, we will search no more, Kona Kai Resort is the perfect spot. The grounds are spectacular - lovingly maintained by the courteous staff, and our room (Mango) was just perfect. The staff is there for any and all requests, but not overbearing or intimidating. The pool and jacuzzi were wonderful, and the nightly view of the sunset was the greatest!
We enjoyed our stay so much that before leaving we rebooked for the same week next year. This is not your run-of-the-mill cookie cutter motel, but is unique in every way, and to our minds, worth every penny! We can't wait for next March to go back and again enjoy our little piece of paradise.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank oldandtired1950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bedminster, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2005

One of the most beautiful, relaxing, places I've stayed. Carribean/Keys decor in a tropical oasis all it's own. Friendly, accomodating staff doesn't evn do them justice. An intimate hideaway. It has to be one of the most well groomed grounds with a private white sand beach pier. All this but as comfortable as a sweet hoemtown. Definately aplace to return to !

  • Stayed February 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank bajablue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 3, 2005

We have traveled many places and this was one of the more pristine resorts we have found thoughout our journies. If this resort provided extras for their guests in exchange for the price of the room, this place may not have a "slower season."

$400 + dollars is outrageous for this spot off a busy, ugly highway. Too much money and time is spent on keeping the landscaping spotless, and too little time and attention is spent on providing amenities such as charcoal, a lite breakfast, daily housekeeping, outdoor music, activities, phones, games, etc. And be prepared, you can not walk to anything from this resort without risking being rundown by speeding cars and trucks.

I don't think this is a good example of getting what you paid for. This resort is in the wrong place...move it to Palm Beach and the price and service (or lack thereof) would be acceptable. I understand the property prices are expensive in the Keys but don't make you customers over subsidize the investment!

  • Stayed January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wading River NY
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2005

From the moment we walked into this wonderful hideaway it was heaven.
The staff is wonderful. Tracy was so helpful with where to eat and what to visit in Key West. The rooms and grounds are immaculate.
Thanks for a wonderful time. We will be back.

Helpful?
3 Thank maryken12
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 And Gallery
Kona Kai Resort & Gallery Hotel Key Largo

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