We are with Interval International timeshare, and exchanged to Pono Kai from our five star resort in Vermont, the Trapp Family Lodge. Pono Kai's facilities are nowhere near what Trapp's is, but about the same as your better than average Best Western Motel with kitchenette. The rooms were clean and comfortable, and the location right next to the beach, and in Kapaa which is basically half way around the island from north to south, was an advantage. The staff was helpful and courteous during our stay. There's a great walking / biking /running path right next to the resort that runs for miles along the coast.
The big disappointment was the kind of dishonesty with the supposed 2 for 1 on tours etc. They stage a continental breakfast for free (when will I ever learn that these are NOT free at timeshares), and under the guise of an island orientation, hold drawings to allow you to WIN 2 for one tickets on various tours and activities. DON'T DO IT!!! We "won" a 2 for one on North Coast tours, which consisted of driving around the island, pointing out beaches and going to the lighthouse at Princetown, a way overpriced lunch, and a boat ride up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto. We'd never been to Kaui before and thought this would be a good way to find out about the island. Our tour guide, Steve, was great, BUT the tour is simply not worth the price. It cost our family of 6 nearly $700!!! The resort takes a hidden deposit which is NOT applied to the cost of the tour, so we had $150 in charges when we returned home that we knew nothing about. Invest in a good map of the island, and ask some questions, and you'll be able to do as much as we did by renting a car and exploring on your own. Maps mark supposedly hidden places like Secret Beach up in Princetown, and Lydgate Park.
There's a great family place to snorkel at Lydgate Park, ample parking, and very safe - they've dropped boulders in the ocean to form a tidal pool, no more than 5 ft deep, with lots of tropical fish to see, and virtually no risk from the tides, which can be problematic elsewhere unless you're a great swimmer. The resort is out to gyp you with the 2 for ones and continental breakfast, so stay away - they even called on the phone and woke my wife up to come to it.
So avoid the tours, and enjoy your stay.
I will put in a plug for Coconut Coasters, a bike rental place near Pono Kai. They rent great bikes for reasonable prices, and biking can be a lot of fun to get around if you're into it.
I also did Silver Creek Ranch horseback ride. I'm an experienced rider and own my own horses. My recommendation: skip it, unless you just want the novelty of being on a horse. The ride goes to a pretty but small waterfall, where the water is ice cold and the mosquitos are fierce - not the ideal swimming hole.
The scenery is nice for a ride, but at $50 - $120, you're paying a lot to see it from the back of a horse. Experienced riders will be bored, they only walk, and the horses know the route like they know their stalls. They almost don't WANT to be steered, though of course I could make them. And if, like me, you get paired with people on the ride that haven't been on a horse over once or twice, you spend most of your time waiting for them to get their horse under control and moving in the right direction, instead of grazing their way to the falls and back.
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- Also Known As:
- Pono Kai Hotel Kapaa
- Pono Kai Kapaa
- Pono Kai Resort Kauai/Kapaa