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“Below Average Except for Location”
Review of Kona Reef Resort

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Kona Reef Resort
Certificate of Excellence
los angeles, ca
Level Contributor
34 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Below Average Except for Location”
Reviewed May 12, 2013

This condo was below average (and my standards aren’t too high). We stayed in a unit that was considered an ‘ocean view’, which was a full view of the beach below and about ¼ of the ocean. The beach below was used mainly by transients/homeless at night and families during the day, and is a very small-scale beach, with tons of lava rock that make it virtually unusable. The property itself seemed large – three buildings with three levels each, and four parking areas – two outside and two underground. There was a pool and hot tub, and a very tiny check-in/office area. We arrived after office hours (8:30-5:30) and used the lock box on our door; the instructions were easy to follow and there is a night patrol/security after hours who can help with late arrivals. The condo itself was dirty. The floors were filthy and left us with black feet (you need to always remove shoes inside most Hawaiian condos), and the general upkeep of the unit (at least the one we were in) was very poor. Fixtures were broken, plumbing was old, the bathroom needed repainting/upgrading, and the sleeper sofa was very well used – I covered it with blankets immediately so I wouldn’t have to actually sit on it. While the condo has everything you need – all appliances, dishes, linens, etc. it isn’t quality. It was a condo, but no better than a below-average hotel, truth be told. I wouldn’t stay here again. The upside is that the location is EXCELLENT! You are within 3 minutes’ walk of historic Kona-Kailua shopping and eateries and we had a lot in the immediate area to keep us occupied. The condos are also all individually owned, so you may happen upon one that is very well kept and clean – ours wasn’t. The complex was also undergoing reconstruction/repairs of several units while we were there, so there was a lot of early morning noise from workers who were hammering/drilling. The complex has elevators, but they only go to the second floor and not the third. Also, be advised that the condo complex charges for EVERYTHING, and that starting May 1st they are instituting a further $10 resort fee each night. They do not allow for late check-out without fees (the cost of another day), they charge for extra soap, extra towels/linens, and were very stingy with supplies, especially considering most people stay 7+ days. You’d be better off in a hotel than here, or at one of the other nearby hotel properties. Unless a kitchen is 100% important, select another place.

Room Tip: ocean front only, 2nd or 3rd floor
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
1 Thank reviewit24u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CRHHNL, General Manager at Kona Reef Resort, responded to this review, May 21, 2013
Aloha,
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us and please accept my apologies for any service deficiencies experienced during you recent visit. I’ve brought up the concerns mentioned with the appropriate staff members and can safely say that changes in procedures have been put in place. The Bath & Facial Soap, the Dish-washing Liquid and the initial box of Tide Laundry Detergent is free. Replacements are also free except for the Laundry Detergent. Concerns that are brought to our attention can be resolved for the benefit of all and I would like to thank you again for your willingness to bring them to our attention. Once again I’d like to offer my humble apologies.
Mahalo,
Albert Estabilo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
28 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed May 11, 2013

This is a great place to veg out, lounge by the pool, or use as a launchpad to explore the west side of the Big Island.

We exchanged our condo through Raintree Vacation Club to stay in this property. We were pleasantly surprised to discover it was right on the ocean and so close to downtown Kailua Kona. Even though I wasn't walking very comfortably during our visit, I was able to walk the 5-10 minutes to shopping and restaurants. Everything was clean except for the floor, which made my bare feet black after just a little while (perhaps a side effect of living on a volcanic island with limited fresh water supply). Our unit had A/C, which we used briefly in the evenings on 80-degree days. Despite a three-day vog alert, the air quality on the southwest part of the island was clear almost our entire stay. We were slightly disappointed that our unit's patio stared at a retaining wall instead of the ocean; since we weren't in the condo much anyway, that didn't reduce our enjoyment of the place.

RVC hosted a poolside informational meeting with continental breakfast Monday AM that featured several island activities and allowed us to make reservations for high-demand trips. Our favorites were a helicopter tour of the island (including the erupting Kilauea volcano), and a tour up Mauna Kea for stargazing under fantastically clear skies. If I'd been physically able, I would've gone snorkeling also. A terrific luau occurs just half a block down the street at the Royal Kona Resort, where you can also find a lovely open air bar hanging over the ocean.

Room Tip: Several ground floor rooms look at a retaining wall rather than the pool or the ocean. Most (all...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank SoggySister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
135 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Castle Kona Reef is next to the ocean, so had ocean view from the balconey of the unit we stayed in (E11 on second floor). The unit was not advertised with an ocean view, so was a pleasant surprise to find we had a view from the balconey and the sunsets were beautiful. We even saw whales one afternoon from the balconey. The unit was clean and had everything we needed in the kitchen. What was also nice is that the complex is just a short walk to downtown Kona-Kialua. Was great fun walking to and around the town. There are few really nice sandy beaches in the Kona-Kialua area, but the complex had a nice pool. There was a common area near the pool that had several grills; we used one several times and it was alway clean and ready for use. There was a air con unit in the living room area and only ceiling fan in the bedroom. Were were there the end of March - first of April and found that all we needed was the ceiling fan to sleep well at night. We were there for a week and cleaning was not part of the package, so had to sweep floors several times...with hindsight, should have paid a little more and gotten cleaning as part of the package.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank bdavisengr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Itasca, Illinois
Level Contributor
65 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2013

Even tho this property is directly on the ocean it's almost in the ocean!! Sitting on your ocean front balcony you can see whales, the tides, surfers and beautiful sunsets. Have dinner on the balcony and stay there for the evening sunsets, then take a two block walk into the town of Kialua-Kona for a cup of Bongo's coffee and dessert. There is no restaurant on the property but you can veg out and use the fully stocked kitchen or grill outdoors. The grill area is next to the nicely oriented pool. We're not looking for luxury here but more the really well situated low-cost Hawaiian experience. There are one and two bedroom units which are adequate in size and decor. A few large green turtles live on the lava rock at waterfront and appear frequently. Underground parking allowed us the freedom to come and go in just minutes. We love this place and return again in January when it's crawling with whales.

Room Tip: Check out an ocean front in the A's or D's
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Frances M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2013

The staff at Abbey Vacation Rentals were very professional and helpful. We chose a lower level ocean condo so that we could enjoy direct access to the ocean and enjoy beautiful views from our patio. Starting every day of our vacation watching the surfers while enjoying a Mimosa on our Lani was exactly what we hoped for. The unit was clean and very comfortable. Parking was included as most days we walked next door for tennis or down the hill to the local restaurants and shops. I would certainly come back as soon as I can!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JanOBryan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodbury, Minnesota
Level Contributor
25 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2013

The Castle Kona Reef was right on the water - but no beach on property - we knew that upfront. There was a grassy area between the building and the water that I actually prefer to sand. But the entry was rocky and constant surf. There was a beach adjacent which appeared to have some sandier gaps for entry. There was a lot of surfing and boogie boarding to watch right from our balcony. The resort is really geared toward adults with lots of rules about keeping kids under control, but there were kids present. Free enclosed parking relatively close to the unit.
The complex is at the end of the active part of Ali'i drive in Kona which is a main drag with lots of shops and restaurants. We did not use the retaurants as we cooked in the unit for most meals.

The condo (A14) was nice - with a room air conditioner in the living area - but not in the bedroom. Ceiling fans and keeping the bedroom door open made it work. The surf noise was constant and may be more than enough for some at night. The condo was well quipped with two beach chairs, a beach umbrella , a small cooler, and two boogie boards. The kitchen was well equipped, a little dated but very functional. Four gas grills available by the pool.

The only negative to the condo was the the carpet. The living room carpet felt dirty on bare feet- but did not look dirty and no bad odor. I am guessing years of salt spray from the open patio door, sunscreen, body oil, and age. Noticeable but tolerable. The bedroom carpet was in obvious need of cleaning - but tolerable.

Since our stay was only 4 nights there was no maid service.

I think the proximity to the main drag might make units on the busy road side of the complex undesirable. But in our ocean front room all we heard was surf, no neighbors, no babies, no traffic.

Room Tip: Spend the money and get an ocean front room.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank BensonWdby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NY, NY
Level Contributor
515 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 217 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2013

This property is a condo complex which does not have uniform standards across all units. Walking around and peeking in doors it was clear that many of the units were much more recently updated than ours. And so if when booking you have some way of choosing your unit - ideally with pictures - many of our comments will not apply.

First the good. The location is AMAZING! You are on the ocean in Kailua-Kona right next to a beach (though not a bathing beach). We saw sea turtles from our room and were blessed with constant sea breezes. You are not IN the noisiness of downtown Kona but the restaurants and shopping of downtown are a ridiculously short walk away (particularly if you walk along Kahakaii Rd). And all of the wonders of Kona - snorkeling, surfing, coffee, etc. are a very short drive away.

The common areas are in pretty good shape and the pool and spa were very pleasant - we used them pretty much every day and they were never too crowded. The staff in the front were very helpful - though they are only there until 5:00PM.

One bad thing we experienced which is true of all the 1BR units is that there is no A/C in the bedroom. This is a problem because there are only a few small windows in the bedroom which open out to the 'hallways' of the property. So you CAN cool down the bedroom by opening your bedroom windows, opening the sliding doors to the balcony, closing the door of your unit and opening up the door between the LR and the BR - thus forcing the ocean breezes to go through the bedroom. However, this means you have little privacy from the other guests walking by and no privacy from anyone in the LR.

Another problem which varies depending on the unit is the hallway lighting. Some units have their door at the end of a dark hallway with only a narrowly focused light to relieve the gloom - focused nowhere near the lock. This was annoying every night, but particularly so the first one. Check in is only from 3:00PM to 5:00PM - so if you get there later you will have to go through a lock box system...in the dark...without any real ability to see the numbers on the dial.

The other bad things were unique to our unit. First and foremost, it was filthy dirty - particularly the carpet. Walking around in the unit in bare feet - normal behavior in Hawaii and requested by the owner - resulted in black feet. The screen door was also very difficult to open and close. We bought and applied some WD-40 which helped enough to allow us to get in and out...but the screen door really needed to be replaced. Another problem was that the hot water heater was very tiny with no visible means of turning it hotter. There just wasn't enough hot water for four people to take a shower. And the tub stopper was broken meaning that sharing bath water was out of the question. And of course, neither dishes nor laundry could be washed any time close to shower time.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Leo M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kona Reef Resort

Property: Kona Reef Resort
Address: 75-5888 Alii Dr, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI 96740-1312
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Kailua-Kona
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 35 Specialty Lodging in Kailua-Kona
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Kona Reef Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 130
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kona Reef is an oceanfront condominium resort adjacent to a sandy beach park in historic Kailua-Kona and near quaint shops and restaurants. One- and two-bedroom suites offer full-kitchens, FREE WiFi, and ocean or garden views. Amenities include an oceanfront swimming pool, jet spa, and a cabana with barbecue area. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Castle Kona Reef Hotel Kailua-Kona
Castle Kona Reef Kailua
Kona Reef Resort Hawaii/Kailua-Kona

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