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“Don't shoot the messenger” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hale Ko'olau

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Hale Ko'olau
Devils Tower, Wyoming
Level Contributor
61 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Don't shoot the messenger”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2014

We were very excited to book this property and based on the many excellent reviews we had high expectations. Upon arrival it was apparent that things were not quite as expected or in one case as advertised.

We booked through VRBO, there were many photos of the property, and one pic in particular of the building we were staying in that was taken from the beach area looking in. The photo showed a pretty sandy beach all the way up to the sea wall and directly in front of the lanai. (as listed: the beach is 20 feet from your door) That part is partially true but because the photo was obviously years old since the time that photo was taken there was no longer sand on the beach...just large rocks that had been washing up to the seawall for god knows how long. No beach...

Minor problem, we'll deal with it.

Upon arrival and before we could even get settled we were in the kitchen and asked to sign a number of papers, agreements, contracts or whatever they called them. Because we were late afternoon arrivals the person had to come back to met us and she was obviously in a hurry to go somewhere else. BTW if your plane is late they charge you a fee for a late check in. Having just experienced a long flight we initialed and signed the documents...one of which stated that we approved of the cleaning crews work (there were a few ladies names on the paper as the maids) Also there was another agreement that stated if we "stained" the sheets we were to pay for new ones and other little stipulations like that which we signed off on.

That was done and their person left. We started to get into the house and exploring the 3 bedrooms and the bathroom. The bathroom was an eye opener, the top of the tile hadn't been cleaned in possibly months or longer and there was a black sticky residue on it. I actually took a sponge to it to see if if could be removed and sure enough...with some elbow grease it started to come clean. The linen closet doors looked like a dust catching filter or device. There were other things like dried food on the half wall in the kitchen which my wife cleaned up later, stained and frayed curtains, windows that were broken, didn't lock our even close properly.

By now my wife is talking me into leaving, she calls the representative's cell phone who doesn't get back to her until the next afternoon. I explain to my wife that there are no cancellations as per their contract, in fact there are extra or penalty charges for just about everything. $4.00 Coin Laundry in your room, toilet paper $1.00 per roll, if you want to use one of the room safes they hit for something $5.00 per day. Oh the best one...remember that we signed an agreement stating that if we were to "stain" the sheets we would pay to have them replaced? Well upon inspection in the master bedroom we see...you guessed it. Stained sheets! How convenient...

Long story short; we did some cleaning to make the apartment comfortable for us, and we made the best of it. There is little to do on their property so we visited beaches and other areas during the day and returned back in the evening.

The day before leaving we get an email with instructions of our responsibilities which include CLEANING DISHES, GLASSES AND SILVERWARE! Now I know who their cleaning people are, it's their guests because those items were about the only things that were clean when we arrived.

Our trip continued on to Kaui where we rented a cliff house suite above the Marriott. The bi-level unit was modern, clean, completely equipped with everything we would need including a complete cabinet of sundries. Brand new clothes washer and drier (free or course with soap and dryer sheets) And the kitchen itself would have made Guy Fieri proud. We had two private balconies with incredible views and full access to the Marriott facilities and we spent a little less than we did for the Hale Ko'olau property.

Obviously we were not happy with the facility however, I would with a clear conscious recommend Hale Ko'olau if the prices were significantly lower and they stepped up and monitored their cleaning/maintenance program better. The location is ok if you don't want a beach.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank stik6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hale_koolau_llc, Owner at Hale Ko'olau, responded to this review, February 21, 2014
Aloha and thank you for your review. Yes, as previously noted, the beach in front of our property took a beating this year due to the highest surf in more than a decade to hit the islands and the subsequent erosion. Many beachfront homes lost a lot more than sand...some lost structures and swimming pools. We got lucky. Sorry, but there is nothing that can be done about mother nature.

I'm sorry you feel that recovering some of the costs of labor (overtime at time and a half) for late arrivals is a bad thing and that $2.99/day for a safe rental is bad or $4.00 for a load of laundry is bad. Things are very expensive in Hawaii and we have to recover the costs for those optional items in order to provide them and keep our rates affordable. Also, I want to point out that our rental agreement clearly states these homes are self catering and will come with 3 rolls of TP per bathroom. As a convenience we do have extra at our onsite office for an extra charge of $1.00. This is because we have to pay for someone to go into town, purchase, and bring back items for the rentals. There is a cost associated with that. In a 3 bathroom house that means you had 9 rolls of TP for a less than one week stay. Its none of my business, but if you need that much time in the bathroom perhaps you should see a doctor. At any rate, there are convenience stores and grocery stores which sell these items a short walk from our properties.

I also find it interesting that you objected to our Clean Guarantee and other arrival paperwork and then complain about the cleanliness of the rental. That was your opportunity to inspect and point out anything you were unsatisfied with and then request additional cleaning. To sign it without review and then later complain really shows the type of traveler you are.

Finally, we are direct level beachfront on O'ahu where you can go out and snorkel, swim, kayak right out front. O'ahu is arguably one of the most expensive of the Hawaiian islands and certainly the most visited. How you can possibly compare pricing to a cliff-side condo duplex on another island is beyond me. Our prices are extremely competitive in comparison with other direct beachfront properties in our market. I also noted that in your review you indicate you rented a "suite" yet at Hale Koolau you rented a stand-alone 3 bedroom home...that is quite a difference in facilities.

I've checked with our onsite manager, Otilani, about your claims and she said that you never bothered to contact her. Our PBX system has a voicemail feature which emails all voicemail to our management staff as well as myself and I also never received a voicemail from you. We also have an onsite office which is open 10am to 6pm daily and you could have stopped in. We can only respond/assist if you contact us.

I'm sorry you felt that our property was not up to your standards, however as our extremely high rantings show, we do meet or exceed the expectations of most of our guests.
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160 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Fairbanks, Alaska
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 11, 2014

We just got back a few days ago and this was not quite what we were hoping for. We have 3 kids and we thought this was right on the beach (while it is beach front) its literally a rocky shore and no place to play. The staff was REALLY nice and helpful but the place was dank, and run down a bit, NO PRIVACY!!! There were people walking through and around our place, I felt like we needed to keep the blinds closed for fear of someone peeking on us. We also thought the house was a free standing house but we had people above us, and it was loud, and trying to keep kids quiet was hard. While I liked Hauula I would not go back to this place and probably not recommend it.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Melanie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hale_koolau_llc, Owner at Hale Ko'olau, responded to this review, February 12, 2014
Mahalo for your review. We know Hale Ko'olau isn't for every traveler, however I am concerned about the claim that you didn't know this was a duplex home. We're very clear about that in our advertising and in the rental agreement. This is why a family of 5 can rent a direct beachfront 3 bedroom in Hawaii for under $250/night, the same price as a double occupancy hotel room (see other reviews). As for the beach, it is true that we suffered beach erosion this past few months and, considering we've had the largest swells to hit the state in more than a decade that is understandable. Some beach houses have almost been washed into the ocean, so we fared very well at Hale Koolau. For those reading this review & response, please be aware that beach erosion is something that can happen at anytime and anywhere...whether it be in Waikiki, Kailua, or North Shore. The big difference is that unlike Waikiki the City won't bring in dump trucks of new sand if ours gets washed out, LOL. Also, unlike Waikiki, we don't have high rises or traffic. This guest gave us a very low score on "location". Read our other reviews and see that our location is what most of our past guests love about us. When you consider where you want to stay on your Hawaii vacation don't just base your decision on price, consider if you want to be in the country (Hauula) or in more of a traditional resort setting. If you prefer the country I think you'll love what we have to offer.
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Hauula, Hawaii
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2014

My husband and I came two years ago with friends and stayed in the big house on the end and had a great experience. We couldn't wait to come back and bring our 11 year old. (We are here as I write this). The staff was so helpful when booking from long distance, the emails back and forth were helpful and so friendly it felt like coming to visit a relative! (Did I mention a discount for repeat guests?) The accomodations this time are just as nice and being able to sit and watch the waves is totaly relaxing. What else can you say about being in paradise? Will definately stay here again.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank salon51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hale_koolau_llc, Owner at Hale Ko'olau, responded to this review, February 3, 2014
Aloha & mahalo for your wonderful review. We're so happy you enjoyed your first visit and decided to share the experience with your son this time. We try really hard to make Hale Koolau a family friendly destination and are glad to see its appreciated.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
63 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2014

I had the awesome opportunity to stay here for 10 days. It was my first real trip to Hawaii, and I wanted to be far from Waikiki.

Hale Ko'olau provided this distance and an incredible time and luxurious setting in which to relax and see Hawaii. The "Cousins" did not disappoint as the views are incredible and the tranquility was unlike anything I had experienced.

The house was furnished as described and was situated ideally on the shore--the sound of the waves all day and night was soothing for the soul. Getting to see the sunrise every morning was awesome--never have I ever seen a purple/violet sunrise. The bbq was perfect to cook at while soaking up the eyecandy of the seascape. The house is located within walking distance of a local grocery store/pharmacy. There is fresh local produce sold at the grocery!

Being so close to the Valley of The Temples was ideal for finding further peace & tranquility.
Being so close to the Polynesian Cultural Center was perfect after learning all day.
Being so close to the Waimea Valley is a relief after hiking and nature gazing all day. It is a short drive (all drives are short on Oahu) to Pearl Harbor or Kewalo Basin Harbor for scuba excursions.

Be aware that if you don't prefer upstairs neighbors, you should request a studio or single floor unit. There is Wi-Fi available. Cable TV is available, but I didn't watch--no time with all that beautiful nature surrounding you! There was a full kitchen, an iron, an ironing board, and who needs a hairdryer--you're on vacation...act like it!

The "Cousins" were always friendly, constantly kept up the yard with cleaning, and always had a smile and friendly approach and were more than helpful!

Thank you David & Cousins!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jive T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hale_koolau_llc, Owner at Hale Ko'olau, responded to this review, February 3, 2014
Aloha & mahalo for your kind review. We agree with you that Hale Koolau is ideally located to visit all the wonderful attractions on O'ahu, but more importantly, to experience the natural beauty of our island. Thank you for pointing this out. We are not a fancy 5-star luxury resort and we don't pretend to be either. We're hard working, down-to-earth, average people like the vast majority of our guests.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rancho Cordova, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 31, 2014

We just returned form our second stay at Hale Ko'olau and have made reservations for a third visit already. Stayed in Hauula Balcony this time. WARNING!!! You are not gonna want to leave. This place is simply the best for sunrises and moonrises! Hot tubs, PERFECT! Quiet, PERFECT! Huge waves so close on the other side of the island, we just wanted to get back to Hale Ko'olau. Official HOME AWAY FROM HOME. ....also, I'm almost 60 and I paddleboarded! YEAH Hale Ko'olau!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank HolllyK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hale_koolau_llc, Owner at Hale Ko'olau, responded to this review, February 1, 2014
Aloha and mahalo for your review. We're so happy you consider Hale Koolau to be your home away from home and look forward to welcoming you home again. The Hauula Lanai is an awesome rental and one of my personal favorites too. We're happy you enjoyed it as well as our onsite amenities. Paddle boarding is so much fun on our bay. Were you able to stand the whole time or did you take a splash? My favorite time to paddle board is during summer months from June through October when the bay is very calm. You can see down 20 feet through the water into the reefs...and the view of the Ko'olau mountains from out on the water is truly remarkable. Looking back on those ancient, green mountains with nothing but the sound of the ocean around you and not a single high-rise building or sign of modern life in view is such a wonderful escape.
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Dublin, California
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2014

Where do I begin? I just finished reading some reviews of the wonderful Hale Ko'olau, and I must say that anything under 5 stars is just plain inaccurate! I think some of these folks were looking for a 5 star hotel experience in a setting that provides..THANK GOD…something entirely different!

Let me explain. Hawaii for most of us, is not about "stuffy" luxury, it's about luxury in the form of comfort and relaxation and fun. That's what we wanted! In fact, we spent our first night in Waikiki at a hotel for $260 per night. It was a nice hotel with a partial ocean view. But we were far from the ocean because we were on the 11th floor. Our room was muggy, stinky and loud! For $260 per night! We couldn't wait to get out of Waikiki and get to the much slower paced, family friendly, North Shore.

When we drove up to Hale Ko'olau, it was tucked away behind lush foliage…a little tricky to find with it's narrow driveways and the traffic moves quickly, so to slow down and turn into the driveway was an adventure. HOWEVER…this is the absolute only negative! And how in the world are our hosts suppost to fix that? They can't…but if you let that bug you to the point that it messes with your ability to enjoy the rest…well, then, you got yourself a problem.

We stayed in the Molokai Studio. Just my hubby and I for our 20th wedding anniversary. It was quiet, clean and private. If you keep the kitchen window closed you will not hear the traffic outside, if you keep the back door cracked open, you WILL hear the ocean. We thoroughly enjoyed the stone BBQ, the clean and inviting Hot Tub right out our door, drinking coffee in the morning on the beach as we watched the sunrise. It was soooooo relaxing and romantic!

My husband is a contractor and he was noting how difficult it must be to maintain a home in all of the salt air and with storms coming and going throughout the year. He said that he could tell that they maintain Hale Ko'olau well, because it is such a large property with minimum wear and tear. What some people see as flaws is really just evidence that you are truly enjoying an ocean front property. It's not run down…its beachy!

We were able to explore the WHOLE island conveniently from our location! There are many, wonderful restaurants nearby, including the amazing Papa Ole's!! Yummo! My husband and I would get their big plate of Teryaki Chicken, Rice and Salad for under $20!

The equipement that Hale Ko'olau offers is used but in solid condition. We rented snorkle gear for $4.99 per day! What??!! Thats crazy! We had so much fun taking our snorkle gear to different locations all over the North Shore.

The staff are wonderful! So friendly and helpful. They have big hearts and are super attentive, while at the same time, staying out of your business and leaving you alone. We never felt like our privacy was comprimised, even while sitting outside barbecuing or in the hot tub. Yet, we always felt well taken care of.

Remember how I said we paid $260 per night in Waikiki? Well, we paid about $100 per night for Molokai which was much, much nicer AND had a kitchen, AND had the beach 50 ft from our door, AND had privacy!

We came to Hale Ko'olau relax, to have a comfortable, safe place to stay after a day of exploring the Island. Taking a day trip to Pearl Harbor was no big deal, the Polynesian Center is 5 minutes up the road, as well as the luxurious Turtle Bay Resort which we had full access to.

We were not disapointed and as long as you understand that you are on an island with foliage and salt air and cloudy, rainy days as well as sunny days, you will not be disapointed either with Hale Ko'olau. If you are looking for spa packages and room service, you probably should stay with EVERYONE else in Waikiki. I'd rather be relaxing in the island breeze with the local folks.

PS. We're coming back in October 2014 with our friends! Can't wait to share Hale Ko'olau and the beautiful Oahu with them!

Room Tip: Stay within your budget. Every room has beach and hot tub access….but if its in your budget to stay...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank cforabba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hale_koolau_llc, Owner at Hale Ko'olau, responded to this review, January 30, 2014
Aloha and mahalo nui loa for your amazing review. We're so happy you appreciated our location and service. We really do try very hard to create a unique and affordable beachfront experience in a real Hawaiian town. Thank you so much for pointing out the differences between Hale Koolau and a typical resort, especially the value. Hopefully your review will help assist other travelers looking for our type of experience to discover Hale Koolau.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Snohomish, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 17, 2014

For Christmas 2013, we stayed at the Hale Lanikena house for 11 great nights. Plenty of room for my wife and I, our 2 adult (sort of!) kids, and our mothers. On the water with a hot tub right out the back door. I woke up with a cup of coffee and my guitar and experienced a perfect way to start the day in paradise. The price was fair and the accomodations were clean and up to date. The kitchen was equiped well enough for our needs and staff was very helpful. Parking was a bit tight and getting out of the drive was a little scary a few times, however when I ask the grounds keeper to cut back some bushes (which he did right away) getting out was a lot easier. I'll stay there again if we go back to Oahu. John C. from Seattle.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JohnfromSeattle2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hale_koolau_llc, Owner at Hale Ko'olau, responded to this review, January 19, 2014
Aloha. We're so happy you had a fun and memorable Christmas vacation at Hale Koolau in our Hale Lanikeha home. In 2014 we are going to make considerable improvements to all our properties and, especially, the parking areas. While we will not be cutting out trees (we don't want to pave paradise to put up a parking lot) we will do what we can to make it easier to navigate our driveways. Mahalo for your feedback and kind review.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hale Ko'olau

Property: Hale Ko'olau
Address: 54-223 Kamehameha Hwy, PO Box 223, Hauula, Oahu, HI 96717-9522
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Hauula
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Hauula
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hale Ko'olau Hawaii Vacation Rentals on the North Shore of Oahu is a family owned & operated business rated "excellent" on TripAdvisor and ranked the #1 specialty lodging in our area. Our oceanfront & beachfront vacation rental homes are located next door to one another in Honolulu, Hawaii in the small fishing town of Hauula on Oahu's North Shore near the Polynesian Cultural Center, Turtle Bay, Sacred Falls, Sunset Beach, Pipeline, Kualoa Ranch and many other wonderful Oahu attractions. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Hale Ko`Olau Hotel Hauula
Hale Ko'Olau Hauula, Hawaii - Oahu

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