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“Disappointing”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Hanalei Bay Resort

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Hanalei Bay Resort
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Princeville
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
San Diego, CA
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
Reviewed September 1, 2006

Hanalei Bay Resort is not the worst place to stay in Kauai, but it is nowhere near the best. And, depending on the purpose of your visit, that makes a big difference.

The resort is blessed by a magnificent location. The grounds are generally nice, even if they are overgrown and in need of some care. There are apparently some excellent rooms and our room (although at the farthest reaches of the resort's SE corner) was comfortable. But the negatives far outweigh the positives. There are almost no beach towels provided for guests. The tennis courts are becoming run-down and there is no tennis pro on site to take care of them (the lower tennis courts, nearer the beach, are in poor shape). The jacuzzi is often overcrowded and lukewarm. At night, the bar is crowded (not surprising given the size of the resort) and difficult to get into. The staff was constantly rude to us and the concierge was unhelpful (I asked to make a tee time at Princeville's Prince golf course and she suggested I look up the number and call myself).

HBR's parking lot is way tooo small: guests were forced to park illegally, in the driveway or behind other cars every night of our visit. One guest complained to the front desk and was told she would have to park down the street and walk back to the resort in the dark. As a number of others have mentioned, the beach is located at the base of the cliff, requiring a 5-10 minute walk through the jungle. This might be worth the effort if you were walking to, say, Kihei or Lumahai Beach, but the Princeville beach is unspectacular by Hawaiian standards, small and rocky, murky and generally unswimmable. The only chairs on the beach are provided for guests of the Princeville Resort, meaning you had to bring yours on the walk down, and will have to take it back up as well (unless you can get a ride from the one HBR shuttle, which I saw once). The sunset view from the beach is nice, looking out past Bali Hai, but you can't linger long because you have to walk back up the hill to the HBR and there are no lights on the trail.

The HBR seems to have found a niche serving customers who don't want to pay $3-4,000 to stay at the Princeville Resort for a week but want to experience the beauty of Kauai's North Shore. But you should still get what you pay for, and the fact remains that the HBR is not cheap. Quite simply, they do almost nothing well. You might get a decent room and love the view, but there are better options for the money. For example, after three disappointing days, we moved to the Kiahuna Plantation in Poipu, with a great staff, great beach, ample amenities and facilities and universally happy guests. That saved our vacation.

  • Liked — checking out
  • Disliked — the run-down condition of the property
  • Tips/Secrets — don't take a chance that your stay will be good....not reliable
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
13 Thank bruingirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (469)
Date | Rating
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  • German first
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English first
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2006

We opended our drapes our first morning and were awe struck by the gorgeaous view of the lush terrain which was surrounded by the waterfalls on th mountains. The eyes must feed the soul from time to time and this counted as one of those times. The condo was very clean and nicely furnished and decorated. Everything we needed was provided including spices, coolers, beach towels, paper goods...thank you for your consideration to the traveler. Hanalei bay resort provided excellent service with great food from the restaurant and entertainment in the bar. The conceirge was well informed of the safest and most reputable activites companies. We will definately recommend family and friends and will stay in one of Jim Dornfelds' condos again. Jim, thank you for caring about your customers needs!

  • Liked — clean and well furnished
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Tips/Secrets — beautiful area
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank NikeFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level Contributor
28 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed August 22, 2006

We rented an owner-owned condo (#1305) and really enjoyed both the condo and resort. The lagoon pool is wonderful and the views can't be beat. The front desk personnel were also quite helpful, contrary to previous reviews. The resort is not ultra-luxe or trendy but just a nice place.

Helpful?
5 Thank K12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed August 21, 2006

View * * * * *
Room * * * *
Resort * *

I separated out my review in order to be as objective as possible. Depending on what you’re looking for Hanalei Bay may be just right for you. I agree with other reviewers that you should book through a private owner. I would not book a room through the resort, as there is great variation within the condo locations, views and conditions.

We were originally planning on staying at Princeville until we found out not all the rooms had a lanai. For this active trip (lots of golf) we decided the view and lanai were more important than lots of resort amenities. We booked a privately owned unit #9306 through Pacific Realty for 1/2 the cost of Princeville and were not disappointed with the room or the spectacular view. Words cannot describe how gorgeous and intimate the view was.

While the room and view were great, the resort is definitely lacking in areas that might make a difference to some. They are:

Beach – the beach is a long and steep trek from the resort. Prepare for a hike! There is absolutely nothing set up for Hanalei Bay guests so if you want to sit on the beach you have to rent a chair (note: not a lounger) from the pool hut at Hanalei and carry it to the beach. You can partake of the Princeville bar and restaurant but not the loungers and no alcohol is allowed past the Princeville line. Makes you feel very second class, and I actually felt sorrier for the Princeville guests that they had to look at the mishmash of Hanalei chairs and paraphernalia on the beautiful beach. Because of the hike and lack of beach amenities we only went to the beach twice.

Pool – The pool is beautiful with waterfalls and has a great view, and we never had a problem finding a chair. However, if you want to sip a Mai Tai by the pool think again. No alcohol license for the pool. We think this saved us big $$$ on our bar tab, but it was something we definitely missed.

Food- Bali Hai is great for breakfast (poi pancakes, macadamia waffles, loco moco all great), but for dinner we felt you can get better elsewhere. Try Postcards Café in Hanalei or Café Hanalei next door at Princeville for superior food and ambiance for the same cost. Happy Talk Lounge is nice for lunch (fish sandwich great), but the dinner service is severely lacking. Drinks are somewhat limited to the ones on the menu as the bartenders are not well versed in other mixed drinks.

Activities – in a word, there are none. Not a big deal for us, but if you have kids this may be an issue for you.

Again, we had a great vacation and our room was fantastic. We discussed wheather an extra $2-3K was worth it to stay at the Princeville and for this trip we decided no it wasn't. However, if we were to return to Kauai someday we both agreed we'd stay at the Princeville even without a lanai.

  • Liked — Amazing Views from #9306
  • Disliked — Lack of typical resort ammenities
  • Tips/Secrets — Book through a private owner and make sure your expectations are right
  • Stayed July 2006
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank debcurrie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2006

My 21-year-old daughter and I just arrived home after a week at the HBR, and loved our stay on Kauai. We can't wait to return.

Yes, I had read several accounts of the resort before arriving, taking into consideration the positives and negatives, and was intent on keeping an open mind.

So here is our take:

Pools: beautiful!
But is it necessary for staff to power-wash the tennis courts and vegetation, creating a hellacious racket, especially after it's just rained? Kind of puts a damper on the blissful aspect of the poolside experience (and on that note: fellow travelers..can't you be away from your cell-phones for even an hour or two at the pool or beach?!!!!) Naturally, the grounds have to be maintained, but hasn't someone somewhere come-up with a noiseless power tool yet? I can't imagine trying to have a "relaxing" poolside massage with that particular noise as the soundtrack.

Towels: after reading the complaints about lack of towels, we just kept ours, drying them on the lanai (no, not from the railing) and changing them only every couple of days. Never had a problem getting fresh ones when needed. Many fine resorts are now asking people to be environmentally conscious and change towels in the bathroom every few days, instead of every day. So, unless you're beach towel has taken a real beating...

Food: In the Bali Hai restaurant, the breakfast was wonderful. Service left a bit to be desired...yes, we're fine with Hawaiin time; it's neglectful and indifferent service we don't like.

In the lounge: food was okay, but the service we had on the night we arrived was TERRIBLE. We were directed to the lounge because the dining room had a wedding going on. We had to ask for water three times, then had to chase the server down for a drink , and again for another round. It wasn't THAT busy. Maybe our server thought that because we were women we wouldn't drink that much or tip that well. In the latter case, she was right.

The music in the lounge is an essential and lovely touch.

Beds: we read the horror stories about the fold-out couches. And though we requested two beds, we got the fold-out couch. Essentially, you get what you pay for. It wasn't the best sleep in the world, but it wasn't the worst, either. Our lanai mountain view made up for it. We had a kitchen, which we were very happy about. And an enourmous bathroom. The air-conditioner worked beautifully, but we rarely used it, preferring the ceiling fan and tropical breezes.

Staff: the atmosphere in the hotel was inconsistent...some of the staff were truly warm, friendly, and helpful...some seemed indifferent, a bit anxious, or even sullen...why is that? I don't believe it's a personality thing, but would suggest that there may be some disorganization in the organization.

The North Shore: is "da best." The beaches are exquisite and the town of Hanalei has a funky charm, with good restaurants and shopping. The natural, unspoiled beauty and lushness is rare and magnificent.

At the HBR, the welcome breakfast Wed. morning was rather lame...we were hoping to "win" some 2-for-1s, as was indicated to us by the bubbly concierge, but only one tour operator showed up to give a very brief presentation. Go on Sat. or Sun.

Last word: It would be very nice if there was a shuttle service to Port Allen, Wailea, the town of Kapaa, etc. It is essential to have a car if you want to really experience the island, but I wasn't thrilled with the long drive back at night from our boat cruise and luau, and the cabs were prohibitively expensive.

Overall, however, these are minor quibbles. We loved the Hanalei experience, and found the resort to be very relaxing, and thankfully free of the sterility of some of the other upscale resorts on the island.

  • Liked — The pools and waterfalls; the beautiful beaches nearby
  • Disliked — The fold-out sofa bed; mediocre or bad service in the lounge and dining room
  • Tips/Secrets — Book above 3rd floor; pay more and get a good bed!
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
12 Thank LLW2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Easton, PA
1 review
Reviewed August 18, 2006

We found theHanalei Bay Resort and the #1557-58 Condo to be excellent accomodations and a wonderful staff. The mountain view was breathtaking(we loved waking up to "our mountain",) the two connecting rooms were well appointed with all amenities at, what we felt, was a very reasonable price!
The resort itself is absolutely beautiful! The grounds, tennis courts, free form grotto-like pool with waterfalls and hottub, the staff available to advise you on activities and shuttle you from place to place as needed and, of course, Kauai'i's beaches and natural surroundings created, for us, an unsurpassed sense of relaxation and serenity.

Thank you Jim!

Donna and Doug Pollard

Stayed August 2006
Helpful?
Thank pollardd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2006

We stayed in Unit 8232 at the Hanalei Bay Resort in July. We had an incredible visit. The unit is beautifully furnished, and the view from the second floor porch of Hanalei Bay, Bali Hai and the mountains with waterfalls was spectacular. We also enjoyed the proximity to Haena and the Kalalau trail along the Na Pali coast. The Hanalei Bay Resort's pool was a big hit with our two boys, and we had a great breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. All in all a wonderful stay.

  • Liked — Spectacular view and location
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank SJDrummer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hanalei Bay Resort

Property: Hanalei Bay Resort
Address: 5380 Honoiki Road, Princeville, Kauai, HI 96722-5109
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Kauai > Princeville
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Princeville
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hanalei Bay Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 134
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hanalei Bay Hotel Princeville
Hanalei Bay Princeville
Hanalei Bay Resort Princeville, Kauai

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