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“Nice Stay but Hostess Has a Strong Personality”
Review of Ka Hale Mala

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Ka Hale Mala
Ranked #3 of 4 Kaunakakai B&B and Inns
Reviewed April 21, 2009

My husband and I just returned from our 9 night honeymoon stay at Ka Hale Mala Bed and Breakfast. We had breakfast two of the mornings and made our own the other seven mornings. We generally enjoyed our stay, and wanted to give our impressions.

First, the neutrals: There are two people who run the bed and breakfast: Cheryl, and Jack, her husband, who is quite infirm and besides the first day, we didn’t see him at all. There are two cats that live upstairs but we never saw them except at breakfast. The accommodations are functional and adequate, but definitely not modern or fancy.

Next, the positives: The unit is very spacious and private. The nice tropical plants all around the living quarters give a sense of tranquility. There is a full kitchen with dishes and silverware that made it nice to cook for ourselves so we didn’t have to eat out all the time. There is a television (not that we watched it much), high speed wireless internet that my computer connected to effortlessly, a nice selection of books to read, patio furniture and a clothes line for drying wet clothes. Cheryl, the hostess, did a light cleaning of the place every day and even washed and put away our dishes for us. The breakfasts were tasty and filling. She was helpful with planning where to go and how to get places on Molokai, and it is obvious that she considers herself an “expert”. That brings me to the main point of the negatives…

Now, the negatives: There really is only one main complaint we had about this place. We chose not to have breakfast every morning at first for personal / dietary reasons, but eventually did have breakfast with Cheryl twice. Now, I say “with Cheryl” because that’s exactly what we got both times. She made breakfast, told us about it, then sat down and drank her coffee and talked “at” us, not with us, the entire time we ate. She has a very strong personality and likes to give her opinion about all things Molokai related. She is a teacher and we both did often feel we were being lectured about Hawaii politics, etc. I found it hard to enjoy the breakfast and relax because we couldn’t get a word in edge-wise, even to ask for another napkin or more bread. We really felt like she was not putting our privacy and comforts first above all. (And we’re not high-maintenance or picky people.) We were a little worried that we saw her cats roaming the kitchen counters, but we never had cat hair in our food (that we knew of).

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank abamadl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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24 - 30 of 33 reviews

Reviewed February 7, 2009

This BnB ist a great place to stay in Molokai. Cheryl is a wonderful host, an excellent cook and an interesting person to talk to. She knows a lot about life in Hawaii, and we had very long talks during breakfast. Jack is a very nice man as well. We really enjoyed their hospitality.
The ground floor flat in which guests stay is spacious and clean, and it is in a quiet neighbourhood.
We will recommend it to our friends.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ZurichSwissmiss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2008

This was my first time at a bed and breakfast, but it was an eye- opener. Overall, I enjoyed my stay, but I will opt for unhosted stays in the future.

The breakfasts were good, but unimaginative. The main dish each of the three days was a bake, with bread on the bottom, fruit on that, sauce on that. It was a different bread and fruit each day, but bread and fruit every day.

The hosts are very nice, very supportive, and very helpful. However, do you know that guy that is never wrong? That's the hostess. She is never wrong. I was a little put off at first, because she disagreed with every observation I had about the islands. I learned to ignore it and keep my observations to myself. Also, she will try to plan your stay for you. They want you to see each aspect of the island. This is fine is that is what you want to do, but if you want to kick back on the beach, make it clear that is all you came to do. Do listen to their advice about restaurants and beaches - they directed us to this little joint that had the best food we had all week long, and some great snorkeling.

Another reviewer wrote about the scorpions. I did not see one. I saw only one small centipede, and that was outside. Exercise common sense - don't leave doors or windows open without screens and you'll be fine. I also never found a cat hair in my food, and we were never served leftovers.

All in all, I like the Garden house and the hosts; however, my expectations and personality did not mesh with their sense of hospitality and personality. They are good people, I just prefer more independent and less directed vacations.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Jago1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2008

I want to respond to Surfqueen's very negative views on this B&B. We just spent two nights there. And we would have stayed longer except that it was already booked. Our experience was very positive. Allow me to respond to each of the main concerns:

(1) A pair of cats do live in the upper unit, with Cheryl & Jack. But they're kep inside. We didn't have cat hair in any of our food.

(2) We were only there for two breakfasts. But they were different - not just repeats. And we found them filling and enjoyable. Cheryl also provided us with mango several time.

(3) We talked to Jack three or four times during our stay. He introduced himself upon our arrival, and he wished us a good trip as we left. Altho Cheryl gets far more involved with the guests, Jack does make the occasional appearance.

(4) We didn't see any scorpions. Cheryl cautioned us to close the sliding glass doors at night, since the door screens aren't "critter tight."

(5) This house is on a middle class cul-de-sac with about eight other houses. It's about 200 feet from the island's "main road." But there's very little traffic on Molokai, and it's slow speed. The traffic sound is almost nil. The house is surrounded by trees and tall plants, so it's very private. There's an empty hillside behind the house, and the two neighboring houses aren't particularly close. (The one on the bedroom side is owned by elderly retirees who are only there a few weeks per year.) Some of the neighbors may have been arguing one or two nights when Surfqueen stayed there. And even we heard one of the neighbors revving up his Harley one morning before he drove off. Otherwise, it was extremely quiet. We slept very well (except for the island-wide rooster calls).

I've stayed in over 120 B&B's in Europe and America. What makes Ka Hale Mala so unique is Cheryl's devoted involvement with her guests. She's the only host who has ever met me at the airport. When you arrive at her house, she gives you a one hour verbal introduction to the island, along with marking up a map that she gives you. She's a teacher at the local college and has a broad background. She's very involved in local cultural and political efforts. If you want complete isolation from your host family, then this B&B may not be your best fit. But if you relish anything from modest to intense interaction with your hosts, this is your place. The first morning, we lingered at breakfast for three hours, learning an amazing amount about the true flavor and background of Molokai (which is an astounding place, if you're hoping to find the best remaining example of "real Hawaii"). We spent almost as much time the next morning, until Cheryl had to leave. While she certainly has her opinions, she's very well read. She's practical and objective. She was also very helpful and flexible regarding our logistics for swimming trips and our transition to our next B&B. Her unit is plenty spacious. While not luxurious, it's pleasantly appointed and clean

By the way, if you're wondering where to stay on Molokai, I'd really recommend Kaunakakai. It's got the most people and most stores. Nearly everything happens here. The central location also minimizes your driving time to other destinations. You may wish to lodge on the eastern, northern or especially western end of the road system. But there are fewer lodging choices. And you'll be doing much more driving. Until spring 2008, the western end was a fairly good alternative. But since The Ranch closed, as well as the western golf course and western gas station, the west end has gotten somewhat sleepy.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Island_Wave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2007

My husband & I spent a week at Ka Hale Mala last month, and look forward to returning. It was our 5th time staying with Jack & Cheryl, who are very warm and hospitable. We love Moloka'i, and we wouldn't want to stay anywhere else but Ka Hale Mala.
The accommodations (the ground floor of their home) are clean, roomy & comfortable, with a full kitchen. The location is handy, close to the beach and to Kaunakakai.
The full breakfasts are a highlight, with fresh fruit from the large garden, home-baked breads, and a variety of creative hot dishes.
Cheryl is a wealth of information about things to do on the island, and about local history & politics. She goes out of her way to ensure that her guests have a wonderful experience on Moloka'i, based on their specific interests.
We recommend Ka Hale Mala VERY HIGHLY!

Stayed: June 2007
7  Thank Foonts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2006

My fiance and I stayed here for several days in August and had a wonderful time. I must admit that I was very worried because we booked with them several months ahead with little knowledge of the place. A couple weeks before heading over my fiance sent me a link to a review(on this site) of the place. I was worried. Really worried.
I am happy to report that everything went very well. It was great, actually. I went in with worries based on the review, but I think I have a better understanding of why the other reviewer posted what they did.
First of all, Cheryl(the woman who runs the B&B) met us at the airport and we followed her back. It's a good idea to get a look at some of the landmarks around the area where you turn off the main road. Especially if you are coming back after dark as we did often.
My fiance and I arrived at dusk and needed to go back out to get a few supplies. There are two shops in town and we needed to hurry over to get some stuff "just in case". In the B&B you have a full kitchen and a fridge, so we got some drinks and food(although we didn't cook much). The B&B is quite spacious. Cheryl and Jack live upstairs and we had the run of the whole lower floor. You walk into a spacious living room, which we never used. There is a TV, I believe, but we were never in the house except at night and in the morning. The kitchen is adjoining and is quite spacious. There was a nice big table and glass doors that you can open. We sat around the table at night and had drinks as we let the breeze in. It was great. The bedroom was also rather big. We put the two single beds together to make a big bed. There are windows that look out into what were the woods, I believe. There was a neighbor on one side that had moved, but you couldn't see the property and couldn't hear anything.
The one worry I had was scorpions, after reading the review. I was really more afraid of centipedes, having been bit before, but I never saw either. The number one, common-sense rule is simple...don't leave windows open at night for long periods. The house is set wonderfully back in the woods and all woods have critters. Centipedes and scorpions abound in Hawaii. But I never saw anything. Not even one centipede. And I was looking. The one thing that happened that did scare the hell out of me was when a frond fell from a tree at night and landed out in the woods somewhere. It was our first night and I wasn't sleeping well for fear of scorpions. Needless to say, subsequent nights were a lot more restful.
I must totally disagree with the person about the food. The first night, as we were going to the store, Cheryl called down from the lanai to ask us what time we want breakfast. I said 7ish. She said she needed to know an exact time so she would have the meal ready. And it was ready exactly on time. And hot and wonderful. Since it has been 3 months since I was there, I don't remember exactly what we had at breakfast, but I certainly remember the fruit being fresh, the cooked stuff being wonderful and fresh and hot. Not a single leftover in sight.
The one thing I agree with on the other review is that Cheryl's cat, Snowball, has some free-floating fur. Snowball is a long-haired white cat and is the most adorable cat I have ever seen. I personally am a dog person who has had to endure many cats with varying degrees of affection and I must admit that I absolutely adore Snowball. He roams the lanai during breakfast and we paid him a lot of attention as we ate. I did see a white hair here and there, but nothing more than I would expect from having a cat around. A funny sidenote--one night I heard the pitter-patter of Snowball running about up above--I don't remember people sounds, but I do remember hearing Snowball go skittering once or twice. Very cute cat, though.
As for hospitality, Cheryl was wonderful. I never met Jack, but heard his name come up in many of the talks we had at breakfast. I never asked any questions, and it ain't my bidness, but I didn't get to meet him. We quite enjoyed our conversations with Cheryl. She is active in local Hawaiian issues and is full of information. Most of our breakfasts were at 7, but we got talking about things I found interesting and didn't leave until after 9 or 10. It was great. When my fiance and I head back, we're going to stay with Cheryl, Jack, and Snowball.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank JohnJohnsonIII
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2006

I certainly utilize Trip Advisors when planning my trips in an effort to be a well informed traveler. Input from fellow travelers is critical. This experience is exactly why I must write a review for others to see. I felt compelled to write a review on this B&B.

We read several comments from various sites when considering this B&B last year. We were a bit hesitant because we did not find many reviews on Ka Hale Mala (other than what was posted on their website). I now understand why. The hosts were fine (supposedly there were two but we only saw one the entire three days we were there even though the other one was there - odd). We did not understand why their website raved about the breakfast so much. We found it difficult to pick the cat hair out of the sugar bowl each morning. In addition, we basically were served the same breakfast each morning, essentially leftovers (yes, with cat hair too). We certainly needed the coffee in the morning because we did not sleep at night. We realized what the host meant when asked at check-in if we had seen any of the island pests so far...we nicknamed the place..."the scorpion house". I kid you not; we were afraid to turn the lights off and go to sleep at night. We killed several scorpions crawling on the walls and floors during our stay - and they're not small! Furthermore, the place was not the quiet retreat noted on their website. The B&B is in a neighborhood setting – at the end of a cul-de-sac. We heard neighbors arguing at night and we were a bit uneasy. We consider ourselves rather low maintenance guests but I can certainly say we would not recommend this B&B.

Overall the island of Molokai was nice. I would certainly recommend the Molokai Mule Ride. It is worth the trip – you may want to consider the day trip – “fly in” option from Lanai or Maui (we had great experience at both islands). If we had it to do all over again, that is exactly what we would do.

  • Stayed: July 2005
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25  Thank surfqueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ka Hale Mala

Address: 7 Kamakana Pl, P.O. Box 1582, Kaunakakai, Molokai, HI 96748-5006
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Molokai > Kaunakakai
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Kaunakakai
Price Range: $70 - $80 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 1
Also Known As:
Ka Hale Mala Molokai, Hawaii

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