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“Center of Paradise”
Review of Pono Kai Resort

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Pono Kai Resort
Ranked #8 of 11 Hotels in Kapaa
Washington, United States
Level Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Center of Paradise”
Reviewed March 10, 2013

I read the reviews of some before actually going to the resort. Wow people is funny! This resort met and surpassed any and ALL expectations! First if you don't like CHICKENS, GO TO MAUI!!! The resort is walking distance to stores restaurants and it truly is a jump off in two directions for the best of KAUAI! The grounds were meticulously kept! Never a wait for a CLEAN barbeque grill! The pool was nice, adequate and the spa was fun, a lil crowded at times! nice saunas too! The front desk were ALOHA ALL THE WAY! "Morgan" in the adventure department booked our excursions. (You have got to ADD THE KAUAI PHOTO TOUR to your tours!) The rooms were clean, neat, well stocked in the kitchen. Is this place a 5 star private resort (NO) But who wants to hang with rich, I drive a BMW, snobs! This place was built several decades ago. Its ol school Hawaii! I'll be back, Miss the roosters "good morning" already!

Room Tip: B-103 on the beach BABY!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
6 Thank Rob B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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711 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (228)
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English first
Ontario, canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2013

Privately owned condo, on VRBO, well maintained, clean , comfortable, with modern decor. Oceanfront building, with unobstuctive views. The east coastline gets a lot of wind. We found it difficult to enjoy the lanai, for meals,etc, due to the coolness, and constant wind..... However it is winter season in hawaii...
The view would be better if there wasn't an ugly delapatated orange construction fence along the shoreline..... Which has been there for years.... The Kauai county dept has been working on retaining wall, do to erosion problems...at shoreline.... It needs to come down, and either post signs of danger, or construct a better looking barrier..... I am surprised the PONO KAI property managers dont complain about it....because it is ugly, and distracts from the view....access to the beach shore is not easy for the older folks.... As I watched many stumble down the eroded , exposed tree root embankment. The beach isn't great, very sloped.... Not a swimming beach, but a few people ventured in, including myself....on a calm day, as water can get pretty choppy.
A great asset to the PONO Kai is the easy assess to the walking/ biking coastal pathway!
The pool area is located out of the wind, and was nice , a lot of people complained about the pool being too cold, but it was tolerable. The grounds are well maintained, and clean . The front desk staff were always friendly and helpful. The Sunday, and Thursday 8 am. orientation at the pool , were very informative and entertaining, great 2 for 1 deals ..... If u were lucky to win!
We found the location conveint, to assess both north and south shores. Close to grocery stores.
Kapaa traffic can be a problem a certain times of the day.... So plan for that , when heading out.
We spent a month here, and enjoyed and explored the entire island....

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
11 Thank Chloee45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2013

I've been to Kauai many times over the years. I've stayed in Princeville (the rain coast) and Poipu (the sun coast), but for some reason, had never stayed in Kapaa (the east coast) until my last visit, when I spent 3 months at Pono Kai.

In my opinion, Kapaa is the best location on the island: it's central to everything - you can drive to Princeville or Poipu in about 40 minutes, whereas if you're in Princeville and want to drive to Poipu - or the reverse - you're looking at an hour and a half of driving. Princeville is too rainy and Poipu is too crowded. Weather in Kapaa is ideal and it doesn't have the over-built feel of Poipu.

Also, Kapaa is very convenient to most of the best beaches on the island.

As for Pono Kai itself, it's not a swanky resort. It was built in the 1970's, so it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of a chain resort. But it does have lovely, spacious, well-kept grounds, instead of the sort of resort hotels where everything is crammed together.

My personal feeling about vacations in Hawaii is that one need not pay for things one does not use, like huge swimming pools and over-priced restaurants. From that standpoint, Pono Kai is a great place to stay. It's reasonably priced (we've booked a two-bedroom ocean-front condo this coming April, at $178 per night, for a spacious unit that sleeps six). We'll have a fully-equipped kitchen, so we can cook most of our meals instead of paying sky-high prices in mediocre restaurants.

Yes, the units are a bit dated and the walls are a bit thin, but the units are clean and well-maintained, the staff is helpful and courteous.

Another plus is the fact that there is a Safeway supermarket nearby. Affordable food and decent produce is hard to come by on Kauai, so having that Safeway is a godsend.

Pono Kai is right on the beach and there is a bike path running along the ocean, so you can pedal your way to three of the nicest beaches on the island - Kealia, Donky Beach and Wailua.

To summarize, I've been all over Kauai and, having spent 3 months at Pono Kai, I wouldn't go anywhere else. If you absolutely insist on staying in a 4 or 5 star resort with all the amenities, this place isn't for you. But if you appreciate value and spacious accommodations in a great location, give it a try.

Room Tip: Specify ocean-front.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank kurtzken21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CondoRentalsHI, Condo Rental Agency at Pono Kai Resort, responded to this review, February 28, 2013
Thank you for your detailed review of the Pono Kai Resort. I am not sure if you stayed at one of the condos we manage at the Pono Kai, but appreciate your kind words about the resort and how it is your favorite place to stay on Kauai.

Mahalo,
Keith
Condominium Rentals Hawaii
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberta
Level Contributor
66 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2013

My view from A305 was outstanding, and the interior was very nice with updated kitchen as you stood and prepared food you have the most incrediable view of the ocean! Yes the walls are thin and you can hear your neighbors walking around( some people are more heavy footed than others) but I think most all places in Kauai are like that as really they have no need for insulation in the walls! The beach had a bit of ocean trash but if you walk further north you got away from it, and picking up the trash and putting it in the garbage bins was something alot of people did regularly, it would have been nice if the hotel staff emptied them more regularly! The pool and hot tub were great and a nice place to meet people from all over and very entertaining! I would go back (tried for next year but the condo I had is already booked.) We did have a problem with the WiFi one day but a call to the management company got it squared away quickly!

Room Tip: If you want ocean front buildings A,B,C and D are the ones you want.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank GrammaNan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lewes, Delaware
Level Contributor
37 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2013

My husband and I spent two weeks in early February at Pono Kai Resort in Kapaa on Kauai. The oceanfront resort is centrally located on Kauai, so Princeville and Hanalei Bay in the north or Poipu in the south were equally easy to visit. The condos at Pono Kai are comfortable, with full kitchens, living rooms, and lanais. The property is clean and well-maintained, with beautiful grounds and koi pond. We especially enjoyed the paved walking and biking path that ran between Pono Kai and the beach for five miles. We were able to walk to town for breakfast and dinner, and to enjoy small town beaches without getting in the car.

Room Tip: Oceanfront suites are best, of course, but we had previously stayed in a pool front suite that was a...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Marsha J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hydesville, CA
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2013

This resort appears to be a combination of user-owned/VRBO/Time Share/resort-managed units. We stayed in a seaside 2BR/2 BA/Loft unit with a full kitchen, which worked great for 3 couples. Access is good with paved paths and both stairs and elevator access to upper floors. Our unit didn't have clothes washing facilities; I thought we would use the on-site laundries, but never had to.

We never had a problem parking close to our unit, but I'd guess the resort was at about 50% capacity while we were there.

The grounds are very clean and well kept. There are garbage cans at the bottom of the stairs along with small recycle bins, and are cleaned regularly. The pool is small but inviting; the spa holds about 8-10 people without getting too crowded. There are men's and women's saunas. We didn't get a chance to use any of the various sports or spa facilities.

The location is very convenient to 'downtown' Kapa'a and good eating and shopping. The Ke Ala Hele Makalae trail runs right in front of the resort and offers easy access to the Eastside seashore. This is a great trail for walking, jogging or biking, and inexpensive bike rentals are available close to the resort.

Kapa'a itself is a relatively central location to take advantage of most of the island, and is more relaxed than areas North or South.

There are well-maintained Weber barbeques located throughout the resort, and are popular, so you may have to look around for an available grill during dinner hours (not overly inconvenient). There is an herb garden by the pool area should you need any fresh accompaniments for your steaks or sea foods

The weather during Presidents Day week was low to mid 70s for the most part and W I N D Y. The onshore breeze made it hard to keep the sliding door to the lanai open all the time; biking upwind all the way to the northern end of the Ke Ala Hele Makalae trail was hellish for this old fart (but the ride back was exquisite...). Overall the wind was more inconvenient than uncomfortable, however - we went whale watching out of Port Allen and got soaked without getting cold. The local brewery is a great place to dry off after the trip...

Giving this resort a 5 rating for overall attitude It's not perfect, but you're not paying for perfect here... If I ever make it back to Kaua'i (and my wife assures me this will happen) I will definitely consider Pono Kai again.

Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Jeff D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orinda, California
Level Contributor
513 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2013

This resort is in a great central location on Kauai. About 20 minutes from the airport, we always used it as the starting place for driving south and/or north to see Kauai. The condos are very good, spacious, but nothing elegant. Clean, on the water, but no beach per se. But just a very good value for families. A small pool, nice staff. It really is just a great value and walking distance to Kapaa town for shops and restaurants. Also located on the Kauai walkway which is a 3 mile paved sidewalk right on the ocean...a beautiful place for a morning or evening walk.

Room Tip: Ask for ocean view and first floor...then you can walk out the condo to the lanai...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Kesslane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pono Kai Resort

Property: Pono Kai Resort
Address: 4-1250 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746-1658
Location: United States > Hawaii > Kauai > Kapaa
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Kapaa
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Kapaa
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Kapaa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Pono Kai Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 217
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Pono Kai Hotel Kapaa
Pono Kai Kapaa
Pono Kai Resort Kauai/Kapaa

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