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“Great hotel--and even better for the price”

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Aston Islander on the Beach
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Kapaa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 11, 2005

I was a little nervous about staying here because the rate seemed too good to be true, but it completely exceeded our expectations. We stayed for 5 nights--Nov 1-6... cost was $125/night (actually $156, but 5th night was free).

We stayed in the Niihau building, which is one of two that are just feet from the sand... I assume it is these 2 buildings that are considered the "oceanfront" rooms. Note that all the buildings are narrow (one room "thick"), so no rooms face away from the water... the doors for entering the rooms are on the opposite side while the sliding doors and terraces face the beach. The other buildings seem fine, but I can only highly recommend the oceanfront rooms, because that's all we experienced first-hand.

We were on the second floor, which seemed nice because we weren't as shy about leaving the sliding doors open during the night... but the ground level rooms looked like they could be nice for walking straight out onto the beach.

The lobby has free wireless internet (as well as kiosks for a small fee). It's possible that some of the buildings near it have rooms that can reach the signal, but the oceanfront rooms could not. The lobby has comfy chairs to sit in, but it's outdoors, so you may need some mosquito repellant during some parts of the day.

The grounds are very simple--no extravagant landscaping--but very well maintained. The trees were continually dropping flowers, and yet it seemed like they must have been cleaning them up more than once a day. The grass was well-groomed.

The poolside bar was still closed when we were there. It sounded like it would still be a while before they opened due to regulatory constraints (construction is complete--they just aren't allowed to open yet). All construction has been completed, so no need to worry about that.

The restaurant nearby is closed. The Coconut Marketplace behind the hotel is unremarkable... nice to have some shops right nearby, but they all seem to be carbon copies of each other, selling the same touristy gimmicks. You won't spend much time there.

"Downtown" Kapaa is right nearby too (perhaps just outside of what you'd want to walk), and that was very nice. They have a couple of full-fledged supermarkets, starbucks, and some great smaller restaurants, including the Olympic Cafe, which we highly recommend for breakfast (it's an open air cafe on the second story of a building right near the main intersection).

Our strategy was to stay on the east side of the island so we could scuttle up to the north side and the south side at will. This approach worked well.

We only stayed at the Islander, but we explored a few other places:
- we had brunch at the Princeville one morning; we found the hotel to be pretty, but kind of sleepy... we weren't impressed
- we fell in love with the Hyatt in Poipu; the lobby is designed to frame the ocean view, and it worked perfectly; in the evening (around 6:30p on a saturday), they had a little mini luau on the terrace facing the water that we just happened to be sitting at when the music started--we recommend you stage such a "coincidence" on purpose while you're there; can't speak of the rooms though

Activities:
- the Kauai guide we had said the Smith's luau was the best on the island; we found it to be okay but miss-able
- the guide also recommended an ultralight flight; while it was good, it was not as good as...
- the helicopter tour on Inter-Island was awesome! This was the one without doors, which we loved, but is definitely for more adventurous folks. We got to sit in the front seat, which appeared to be better since you can see out the front (even though one of us had to sit in the middle next to the pilot). Our pilot was not very friendly (even covered his face when I took a photo of the copter), but it didn't detract from a great trip.

  • Stayed: November 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
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18  Thank dlopez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,512 - 1,518 of 1,778 reviews

Reviewed November 3, 2005

We stayed at 3 hotels on Kauai and this was the only awful one. Not clean. Tiny rooms with cold stone floors, not at all comfy. It may be on the beach but what they don't tell you is that the beach is unsafe for swimming and not nice for sitting out, either. There is a microwave & dishes but no way to wash them, and we heard several others complaining to the front desk about dirty rooms. We didn't complain because it didn't seem to be doing the others any good. The parking lot was being painted & they expected us to park in a nearby shopping center, no apologies. The restaurant is closed. And so forth. We'd recommend spending a little more and going someplace nicer. We had just stayed at the Castle Kiahuna Plantation and compared to that this place is a total dive. Surf on over to that site and choose that hotel instead! It's much, much nicer.

3  Thank ScissorsAndPens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2005

We stayed here for our first week of our honeymoon. We were very impressed!! The rooms are recently updated: VERY comfortable beds, tiled floors, stainless steel refrigerator in partial kitchen rooms, marble countertops, etc. The rates are very reasonable for what you get!
The pool and the hot tub area was also very nice. There were not a lot of children at this resort which made it very relaxing; the pool area was always quiet.
The personnel were very nice and accomodating.
I would definetly like to go back someday.

  • Stayed: October 2005
    • Value
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5  Thank ms6238
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2005

We spent only 2 nights at this lovely resort (October 15 & 16) - wish we had planned more time here. The room was surprisingly elegant - all newly remodeled with beautiful furnishings. The location is great. The room was very clean, although I did see bugs out on the balcony. Our only complaint was having to carry our luggage up 3 flights of stairs. We enjoyed watching the moonlight over the ocean from our lanai. This place is a great value for the cost.

6  Thank MiyuMama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2005

Aston Islander on the beach - We traveled in August of 2005 - The Hotel room and location were FANTASTIC. We had a little refrigerator in our room which was empty so we could put yogurt and water bottles inside and whatever else one may want to - and a little wet bar next to it (no alcohol) - The place was CLEAN - the little wet bar and bathroom had granite counter tops and the room floor was tile. Which is much nicer than carpeting for hotel floors obviously since they can actually be cleaned! The beach was very nice. It had all these scary signs about drowning so it took my husband and I a couple days to scrounge up the courage to venture in but the waves (at least in early August) were not too strong to enjoy - I felt that in PoiPou sometimes the waves were too strong to enjoy - for example. We are just body surfers - we just go in and play in the water - so the average swimmer - but both in reasonable good shape - not triathlon runners by any means but we typically will hike a couple times a week. Point being a little active - if you are unsure of your comfort level, try the ocean early on your trip so if you feel comfortable you can enjoy it from day one. The signs scared us so we waited for days but also remember their waves are seasonal - so approach cautiously and ask other swimmers before going in.
All in all - my husband and I think perhaps they are offering good deals to this hotel now so they can boost their old image and after that - it will be a few years before we can afford it (we expect them to raise their prices)
There was no bar or food being served when we were there - There is a relatively small pool and spa in the center of the complex. The location is really fantastic because you are in the center of the island off the main highway - If you want to go to the extreme north - 1.5 hours of the main highway - if you want to go to the extreme south of the main highway- 1.5 hours. So it makes it much nicer for sightseeing and more practical.

THE ACTIVITIES - we were traveling through Pleasant Hawain Holidays - I was extremely disappointed in the activities I booked through them. VERY! I have been to Kuai before and done some of these tours before. The company that we used to go on the caravan, snorkel, lunch boat trip sucked! Sucked! Sucked! First - they were late. It was a family show - Wife met us at the docs, husband shows up with boat LATE - Wife explains before we get on that her husband is a "stern man but he will loosen up as the trip goes on" - he never did crack one smile on the whole tour - no fluctuation of his voice. He was a burned out tour guide and when you are out traveling the last thing you need is a tour guide you speaks to the people like he's bored out of his mind, done this too many times, and most importantly does not seem to like tourists - or in fact resents sharing his Island with them (despite the fact that we tourists are one of the primary economies of the island). The son - not sure how old he was - As we were returning from the excursion the waters got a bit rough - the son just ran around the boat groping a girl – pretending to try to help her not fall over – I mean seriously crossing the line of where he put his hands and he “assisted” her. I know if I have a daughter one day and I saw this happening, I would likely throw that kid overboard – but then again – my kid would likely have kicked him somewhere to make sure he didn’t have kids – the <b>first</b> time he grabbed her ----. So I suppose by the fact that she did not protest, she must have been ok with it. Bottom line – I believe the boat may have the been Catamaran Kahanu – it was the one that Pleasant Holidays was pushing – 36 foot catamaran - GO WITH ONE OF THE BIG OUTFITS FOR THIS. HoloHolo or Captain Andy’s – I went with one of them years before and was not disappointed. I was thoroughly disappointed with this one – the “staff” which only consisted of the three mentioned above – were quite a disappointment.
The ATV tour – was also – a huge joke – and also it was the one that Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays pushed. Perhaps there are better ones out there – but the one we took we had to stay in a single file line. So if there is ONE slow person - the whole group will travel at a snails pace the ENTIRE TIME. And I can assure – there WILL ALWAYS BE ONE SLOW PERSON in a group of 15 or 20. So – overall – it was a disappointment.
I booked one trip outside of the Pleasant Hawaiian desk. THAT TRIP ROCKED! It had the standards I was expecting – Normal guides – polite, knowledgeable enough, and they even smiled like normal people. It was the Kayak, hike to a waterfall trip and swim at it if you want to – lunch served. I found the company in my tour book – The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed – I had a few with me - but this one came in the handiest in the end. I can’t remember the place I went with but I called a couple in there – one place was rude on the phone – and one place was polite – I went with the place that polite – they even let me bargain in a cash price – and Walla – FINALLY – a tour without a disappointment. They were located in the North end of Kapaa – last kayak tour place on your ocean side – but I apologize I don’t have a record of who they were – They were in the book though.
Bottom line –
Hotel – Fantastic!
Book to take and read - The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed – We used this for many little hikes – or places to go and see – and they all were great!
The tours that Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays are pushing – GET AWAY from them – open up your book (above) and use that for your tours – also try bargaining your tour prices for cash.

10  Thank LosAngelesJudy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2005

Stayed there for 4 nights...just got back this morning. Fab time! I will admit I was still worried about this property even with all the good reviews...Hawaii in general is such a hit or miss when it comes to accommodations . For those of you going in the future..it is located right behind The Coconut Marketplace. All the rooms were refurbished and the parking lot had just been repaved. They were starting on the lines of the parking lot on Oct 19th. All building are 3 stories, no elevator. There is a valet cart..and I did see one of the staff helping another guest with bags. I got a garden view with two double beds. Flat screen tv, armoire with 12 hangers, iron, ironing board, room safe(fee), alarm clock, dvd player, mini cd stereo, mini fridge, coffe maker, 2 mugs, shampoo, lotion, bar soap, shower cap, hair dryer(weak, but plug it in and it doubles as a night light), table and two chairs, and table and two chairs on the lanai. Air conditioning has a quiet and dry setting which was great. No dampness, no mustiness, and most important NO COCKROACHES!! The rooms were a pretty good size. The floors were not carpeted (it was travertine tile) which is good and bad....makes cleanup easier..no ground in dirt, sand, etc. The bad part is if you are staying on the 1st or 2nd floor your neighbors above can get annoying. I started out in a 2nd floor interior room(with a microwave which I read garden view rooms do not have). You could hear the people above opening and closing the drawers to the dresser and also their footsteps and very, very occasionally their voices. I requested a 3rd floor room the very next morning. I got it and the bonus was that I got a corner unit. No microwave this time. Very quiet, no complaints. You will hear noise from the faucets and showers from other rooms. I would agree with the earlier post that some of the staff were not interested in helping guests. In my case it was just one particular staff member that I got that impression from on more than one occassion. Otherwise, they were all very friendly and helpful. The cleaning staff does a pretty good job, however they do not change sheets everyday, they just make the bed and give you fresh towels. Fine by me as I take a shower at the end of everyday anyway and I was not staying for a long time. I did notice that they did not do any sweeping/vacuuming/mopping either, which was strange especially at a beachfront hotel. I had to call to have them do that or mop or whatever and requested that they do that everyday. I did see some dirt and dust piled up in the corners and on the edges of the base boards. The hardware in the tub/shower could have used a good scrubbing. Very minor, minor gripes (I'm a clean freak). These little things might become an issue as time goes on. The bar at the pool was not open yet. The pool and hot tub are very small. Beach is not swimmable, swimmable beach few minutes away. No restaurant on the grounds. Plenty of shops and eating at The Coconut Marketplace (most close at 8pm) right in front. More a few min down the road. Ample parking, overflow parking at the Marketplace. Requested late check out the morming of my departure as my flight was not till 9pm. They did mention that there were people arriving that day but that it would not be a problem to switch them to another room. They gave me till 4pm at no charge. Just a warning...the electronic room keys automatically erase at 12 pm which is the normal check out time. I just had to go and have them redo my key to get back in, no biggie. Overall I would highly recomment this hotel.

  • Stayed: October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
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5  Thank MustTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Escanaba, Michigan
12
Reviewed October 17, 2005

My husband and I traveled for our 25th Anniversary, we went to 3 islands, Oaui, Kauai and the Big Island. Kauai was our favorite, the most beautiful and friendly of any island I've ever been to. For the Islander on the Beach, we did the upgrade to a oceanview room, and it was wonderful. This property had just gone through major renovations, which were complete when we were there. It is a quiet little jewel. The location was perfect, you can walk across the parking lot to the Coconut Marketplace. The beach was walk-able and clean. Pool area was not real large, but not large crowds to deal with. I am a travel agent, and I will send my clients here in a heartbeat. It's great to know I can feel confident in selling this resort. Book it while you can, I'm sure it will be getting higher ratings and go up in price.

  • Stayed: June 2005
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2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aston Islander on the Beach

Address: 440 Aleka Place, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Kauai > Kapaa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Kapaa
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Kapaa
#6 Family Hotel in Kapaa
Price Range: $185 - $1,256 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Aston Islander on the Beach 2.5*
Number of rooms: 131
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sitting on six acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, Aston Islander on the Beach features a sparkling pool with a poolside bar, lush gardens for strolling, and a beautiful beachfront location - popular for viewing Hawaiian monk seals. Enjoy the convenience of the adjacent Coconut Marketplace's 60 boutiques and restaurants. It's impressive oceanfront and plantation-style charm make this relaxing resort the most enticing retreat on Kauai. Please note: The hotel collects a daily amenity fee which includes DVD movies and Playstation 3 game rentals, Airport Shuttle service (must call hotel direct at least 24-72 hours in advance to make arrangements), a voucher for a refreshing Mango Lemonade OR Imua Coffee per paying adult, per one time per stay, daily newspaper, daily coffee and tea, in-room safe, WiFi internet, and local & toll-free calls. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aston Islander On The Beach Hotel Kapaa
Aston Hotel Kapaa
Best Western Kapaa
Resortquest Islander Beach Kauai
Islander Beach Kauai
Aston Islander On The Beach Kauai/Kapaa

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