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All reviewsprivate lagoonalii towermai tai bardon the beachcombercorner kingocean frontmain towerthe big islandsalt water lagoonan ocean view roomshops and restaurantson the rocksan older hotelopen airwaves crashingparking feeour honeymoon
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Reviewed January 26, 2004

After just returning 1/16-1/25, I have traveled extensively, and like to refer to this site when researching destinations. I was nervous about this hotel, based on reviews, but it was an organized trip I was invited on, rather than one I would have booked myself.

First of all, the hotel is in a good central location, and the hotel used to be a Hilton, once upon a time. You can still see evidences of days where this was once a beautiful property, but in the main building, I don't think they've make an improvement or an update since 1975. One of the discrepancies in the reviews, were how downtrodden the rooms and hotel was, while others gave sparkling reviews. This is due to the fact that there are different buildings on the property. The beach building is MUCH nicer and doesn't show the wear and tear that the main building is showing. We arrived to an overbooked hotel, but after much "negotiation" we were placed in a corner room in the main building -- 405. While the view was spectacular, the room was horrifying. The hallway out of the elevator had peeling paint, peeling wallpaper, stained and torn carpet. Open the door to the room? Peeling paint, mirrors that were cracked and stained with age and wear, and a deplorable porch -- peeling carpet with industry runner carpets thrown over holes, and planters that had fallen in due to the fact the wooden boards built to hold the beautiful plants, were old split wood, untreated, that had cracked and broken, and just fell into the holes.
I've been in 3rd world countries where this might be expected or customary, but this is Hawaii, certainly not acceptable, in terms of accomodations. If you go, I would demand that you stay in the beach building, and do not allow them to place you in the main building. I've never stayed in such a property so in need of significant improvements in my life. You must be realistic, this is a budget hotel, you will not find the Ritz, and they do work to keep it clean, but the conditions are still not acceptable. Also noted, do not eat in the restaurant on the property. Terribly overpriced, and nothing short of disgusting.
Kailua Kona has wonderful restaurants nearby; Jameson's, Huggo's, and Cassandras. So please, do not waste your vacation trying out the hotel food -- they should be embarrased to serve that food to guests.
Although, other members of the group indicated they had great breakfast buffet for 12.95/pp. Enjoy your vacation, expect simple accomodations, bed and a place to shower, but expect no more. If honeymooning, please try to find another hotel -- you'd be heartbroken with an establishment such as this. They are in desperate need of investors who could return a beautiful property back to it's glory days. Without some SIGNIFICANT TLC, this hotel doesn't have much life left in it. What a shame.

7  Thank middyj2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2004

Just returned from a 10 night stay on the Big Island. We spent 5 nights at the Royal Kona and agree that it's a great location. However, on our first night we discovered roaches in our room and had to fight with management to get changed to another building as other guests at the "resort" were "more understanding of the problem". To be fair, we were eventually moved to the main building (much, much nicer than the other two) and given a room a partial ocean view (beautiful!).

All in all, the Royal Kona gets top stars for location and proximity to the happenings in Kona town and that's about it. However, if you want a true resort and have a car consider staying down the road at the Ohana Kehoue (sp?) Beach Resort which is a beautiful and seemingly newly renovated property with a wider range of amenities for the same amount of money.

3  Thank Boojie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2004

I picked Royal Kona Resort off of Expedia for me, my 17 yr. old daughter and her girlfriend. We found our stay there pleasant overall.
The Royal Kona had a great little lagoon/beach area where you could lay out, and since the hotel sits right on the ocean, you can go out and see the waves crash whenever you want. At night, you can sit out on your balcony and listen to the drums of the luau below. When I attended, we did see them unearth the pig and later it was served shredded on a platter. Delicious. I had never been to Hawaii so I was excited just to be there. We booked all of our excursions (Horseback riding, surfing lessons, snorkeling) over the phone from our room and they all came off without a hitch. The hotel itself was probably grand in it's day, but it now shows signs of aging, however, our rooms were cleaned everyday and we always had plenty of fresh towels, bathmats, etc. The complimentary kona coffee that is provided in the room is fantastic (don't recall if they charged for extras). The hotel is also within walking distance if you like night life or shopping. Daytime, the ocean is right across the street from most eating establishments so there is always a view. The maid service was friendly ( I locked myself out of our room and they were very helpful), the restaruant staff was nice, the front desk, so/so. Our room was decorated comfortably but the carpet must have just been cleaned since it was still slightly damp. It was very humid (locals said it was more so than usual) and so our room did have a muskieness to it , but luckily, I had broght incense. The bathroom didn't have a fan and with three consecutive showers it was a bit uncomfortable. I never saw a bug however. For the location, price, and a hotel that you spend very little time in anyway (we were there six days and everyday we we're gone), overall Royal Kona was good enough for me. Note: For a white sandy beach from the Royal Kona there are a few to the south, but north a half hour is "Hapuna" state beach.
Gorgeous sunsets and glassy warm water only about 5 feet deep. You can hit that on the way back from horseback riding in Waipio Valley. Waipio Valley is a paradise.

  • Stayed: January 2005
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8  Thank FrequentFlier29959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2003

I was rather apprehensive about staying at the Royal Kona Resort after reading the reviews on here. It turned out to be a great deal in a perfect location. My family stayed in three rooms (main building) for a little over a week over Christmas, 2003. We reserved the rooms (ocean view) with a rental car and breakfast. The hotel is a little bit run down, but in a charming way. It was clearly a grand property when it was in its prime. The only bothersome aspect is the slightly humid smell that greets you in the hotel hallways once you are on your way to your room- but after a day, I didn't even notice it. The rooms we were given were large and comfortable. The bathroom was old, but functional - nothing very luxurious about it. The breakfast, which you can opt to include with your room, is a good deal (it will run you $14 or so if you don't!) It is buffet style and has lots of great things to eat.
Tons of fresh fruit, eggs, croissants, waffles, bacon, sausages, and a couple of days there were even omelette stations and sushi! As everything is open concept (outdoors are indoors) the birds do actually fly around in the dining room but they were never bothersome and never came too close by. The staff were always warm and friendly, though during busy times, it was easier to go to the front desk than to call down. The pool is very clean and perched just above the crashing waves of the ocean so you can swim in the pool and watch the ocean as you tan. There is also a saltwater lagoon with lots of marine life-- bring your goggles- or rent equipment from the stand next to the hotel. When we first started looking for a place to stay, the Hilton Waikoloa Village was the only place I would consider, but the location and price for this place outweighed the outrageous prices charged by the Hilton over the holidays. I even met several people who had been staying at the Hilton, which is an (expensive) village in itself but quite removed from the life and activities of Kona, they kept saying how wonderful it was to be close to the action, away from line-ups (they were explaining that you have to line up for nearly everything at the Hilton) and enjoying the good life at a lower price. The one thing that really struck me is that although the hotel was fully booked, it never felt crowded- in fact, it felt as though very few people were there.
Probably because it is perfectly situated to see the town and the rest of the island. The rental car we included in our hotel rate allowed us to visit the Big Island when we felt like it and the location of the hotel was wonderful for journeys on foot. Everything is nearby- I would recommend Rio's Restaurant for incredible seafood and the farmer's market just a few blocks away for great fruit and tacky-fabulous souvenirs. I wouldn't recommend this place to the squeamish or to crazily compulsive neat freaks (birds in the dining room) but I would definitely recommend this hotel for someone looking for a pied-à-terre on the Big Island. We will definitely be going back on our next visit to Hawaii.

9  Thank OttawaTravelGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2003

This was a relatively inexpensive hotel that served us well as a home base to explore Kona. I agree that the rooms were small, had older furniture, and that the views were incredible. It is NOT a five star luxury hotel, but it doesn't claim to be. The food was okay, the birds were a problem at breakfast, but overall, it was a GREAT value and was an extremely affordable way to see Hawaii. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice place to stay with a smaller budget. If you are looking for luxury, spend the $$ and stay at the Four Seasons instead. Otherwise, this was a great place to stay for not a lot of $$.

  • Stayed: June 2005
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5  Thank Relax36677
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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