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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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2,939 - 2,944 of 3,326 reviews
Reviewed February 25, 2004

Spent three nights, 19-22 February, at the Royal Kona. I booked my vacation via Pleasant Hawaiian, and upon arrival was told I had been upgraded from a garden/mountain view to a partial ocean view room. Fine by me! I was very pleased with the light, tropical feel of the open-air lobby and the Windjammer Lounge. I'm a vegetarian, so I didn't partake of the luau. I spent time more wisely by dining at some of the good restaurants (Cassandra's Greek Taverna, Thai Rin) located a short walk north of the property. Enjoyed a couple of the Happy Hour Mai Tai drink specials ($4). I originally booked a garden/mountain view room, which I sort of feared would have too good a view of the vast parking lot; upon check-in, however, the good news was that I had been upgraded to a partial ocean view. Bravo! The hotel's public areas and rooms have a certain dated feel -- not necessarily in a bad way. I was rather fond of the feeling I had that Charo or Merv Griffin would pop up in the lounge at any moment. My room was perfectly pleasant if uninspired. A little bit of wear on the wood on the sitting chairs; otherwise, quite acceptable and clean. And the beds were comfortable. I don't rent cars when I vacation, as I find driving too stressful under any occasion -- this is a great place to stay without a car. The activities desk is convenient for booking circle-island tours and other outings.

2  Thank Safari37383
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2004

We went to the luau at the Royal Kona Resort last month and it was very nice. The location is right on the ocean which makes a great backdrop. They have some nice crafts available for sale, but they don't push them at you as some other luaus do. The food is pretty good in quality and selection. The show is well done and fun. If you are considering a luau in the Kona area, this would be a good one to attend and they are even giving a discount to celebrate their 36th anniversary.

3  Thank Hawaii04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2004

We recently returned from a stay at the Royal Kona Resort, Jan 18-23. I
was a bit aprehensive after reading some of the reviews in here. Our
stay was just lovely. We stayed in the Beach building, 2nd floor, and
saw none of the signs of wear others have complained about. Our room
was fine. Some of the furniture was a bit worn and the bathroom
fixtures were showing their age , but not to the point of being dirty
or disgusting. The room was clean, did not smell the least bit musty,
no stains on the ceiling, no peeling wall paper, and no old worn
carpet. Bed was comfortable, sheets were clean, fresh towels were given
every day. Even though I had hung up out old ones to be re-used. No
critters crawling about.

From what I can gather from the wide range of opinions on the rooms, there must be a great deal of difference in quality from room to room. If you are not satisfied, then request to be moved to another room, or possibly another building. The staff was nothing but friendly and helpful to us.

The food was average. Pretty much basic hotel food. Nothing to write
home about, but not going to make you sick either. Some of it was a bit
over priced. We only ate a few meals there, because part of the fun of
being on vacation is to eat out. Many tour groups booked into the Royal
Kona Resort include breakfast and (sometimes dinner) coupons, so for
those people the price wouldn't be an issue. The Macadamia Nut pancakes
for breakfast were absolutly heavenly!

I stayed at the property back in the early 80's when it was the Hilton.
Yes, it was a much nicer property back then. Age is showing, but so is
the fact that Kona is not "THE" place to go anymore on the Big island.
Bigger and better and fancier resorts have been built up the coast in
Waikoloa. Kona's glory days are a thing of the past, much like Hilo's.

The Royal Kona Resort is a fine place to stay if your intent is to use
it as a base of operations while you tour the island. It is affordably
priced and within easy walking distance to shopping and dining. If you
are looking for a 5 star resort to stay at and be pampered, then go up
to Waikoloa.

  • Stayed: January 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank LasVegasPatti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2004

I am off to the big island again next weekend and will be staying at the Royal Kona again. Yes, it has seen better days but the rooms are spacious, front desk is good, and if you check out the rest of the downtown hotels you will see that this is most likely your best bet.
The rest of the hotels are worse!ha

1  Thank Adventure28606
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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