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“Don't be fooled.” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden

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Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden
Ranked #1 of 17 Key Largo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Princeton, NJ
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Don't be fooled.”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 January 2009

Don't let the pictures fool you. The Kona Kai website makes it seem as if the place was a secluded sanctuary. It is but only if you wear blinders and earplugs. The property was tightly wedged between two other vacation properties. The cottages at Kona Kai were nice although some of the decor were out of place (dining room light fixture, cheap wardrobe in bedroom...). Certainly it was not worth the rates they demand. We woke up every morning to the chatter of guests at the property next door not to mention their car alarms and ignitions, and the endless vroom vroom of their motorcycles which were right outside our cottage window. This seemed to go on all day and into the evening. In fact, it would be difficult to find any peace and quiet all cottages outline the neighboring motels and are on KK pedestrian pathways so people are always walking by. Given the entire picture, I thought the place was extremely overpriced; I would not recommend it and have dissuaded several colleagues from staying there. We even cut our stay short since R&R was out of the question.

  • Liked — The promise of paradise.
  • Disliked — Noisy, cramped, and overrated.
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
Helpful?
7 Thank AndiamoSubito
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Owner-KonaKai-Resort, OWNER at Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden, responded to this review, 25 January 2009
“MsDove” and her [former] boyfriend had a lovers spat here at Kona Kai in November and terminated their reservation early. “MsDove” wanted a refund – none was forthcoming and this review is the result. Need we say more. . . ?
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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446 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (117)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level Contributor
60 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 186 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 July 2008

There is no question that this is a gorgeous and unique property - I am pretty sure there is nothing like it in Key Largo. We used almost everything - the kayak, the hammock, the pool, the ping-pong table, even the tennis courts. We definitely had a blast and enjoyed our time even though we were there only for one night. True, there is no restaurant on the property, but many are nearby, as well as a huge grocery store, which we used to stock the fridge with water, buy breakfast bars, and a bottle of wine, which we consumed while watching the sunset - resulting in photos similar to the ones on their website - absolutely gorgeous!

The only caveat: we were given the Guava room, which was wonderfully appointed and spotless. The only problem with the room was that it backs up to what I suppose was the maid's closet - so we were awakened at around 7 am to clanging and loud rustling around behind our heads. A noise machine may have remedied this, and we had to get up shortly after anyway. Then the sweeping began on the sidewalk outside our room, which seemed terrifically loud and as though it went on and on. Again, though, a noise machine and you probably wouldn't hear it. Overall it was a wonderful stay and I would stay there again, but with a noise machine.

  • Liked — The gorgeous grounds and ways to relax and play
  • Disliked — the noise in the morning based on room location
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank supremecourt25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Lauderdale
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2008

The Keys! I could not believe my boyfriend wanted to stay local since we live in Fort Lauderdale...we had not had a vacation in over a year and here we were. I had one month to book and find a luxurious, secluded spot in the Florida Keys.

It took me three weeks and many hours of browsing until I discovered the Kona Kai Resort. The moment we found it on the web we knew...I know we sound "corny" but let me tell you about the "Experience".

If you like attention to detail this is the place for you. If you like privacy...perfect.

We stayed for one week and felt as if we had the place to ourselves. Of course there were other couples, yet we felt so isolated.

The grounds were kept beautifully. The landscaping was constantly tended to. Even the lovely beach sand was "manicured".

We encountered local wildlife as well. Although we had a kitchen and dining room in our suite, we ate at the Tiki hut and watched the local creatures We encountered Dolphin twice, a manatee once and of course, the resident squirrels that loved to steal our nuts! There is also "Max" the gorgeous pup that belongs to the owners. He loves FOOD and people!

Accomodations were lovely...TV, DVD, CD players in rooms. There were also outdoor grills and a lovely Tennis court. The employees at Kona Kai were thoughtful and detail oriented. Anything my Fiance and I needed we were provided.

The pool was heated to the perfect temp. Towels were provided for the outdoor areas. Hammocks were amazing. Ping pong was fun if you could peel yourself from the hammocks.

If you feel like fishing...well, get on the kayaks and borrow a fishing pole. If you don't feel like that, try snorkeling. Swim by their floating dock...you migh see the resident parrot fish! He's huge!!!

The suite was perfect and we were within several mile markers of many attractions.

Spend the extra $ to have a wonderful and luxurious experience. We did and we are very greatful to have met the lovely people at the Kona Kai.

Before I forget... the sunsets viewed at Kona Kai were the most beautiful! Robi and I can not wait to go back.

  • Liked — Location and attention to detail. No KIDS!
  • Disliked — Nothing.
  • Stayed May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank FTL_Wine_Couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scotland
Level Contributor
40 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 May 2008

Could not fault this wonderful place - the location is stunning, the gardens beautiful and the jetty/beach/swimming idyllic. They also have complimentary kayaks. Friendly and attentive staff. The rooms are spread out thoughfully and are very highly equipped. The perfect place to unwind. Even a great restaurant and bar across the road. We arrived 24hrs late due to a missed flight; they were great about it and didn't charge for the missed night. Loved it.

  • Stayed May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Alastair99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Krakow, Poland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 May 2008

Our 1st time to Key Largo, booked hotel based on this website. The reason I say it is not a resort, is b/c there are no bars, restaurants, spa, golf course or gift shop---which defines a true "resort", given my experience of traveling. But what you will get is plenty of relaxing peace and quiet here. Staff all nice, rooms Very clean, grounds, pool area (heated pool), beach even gets raked, all clean and quiet-unless some noise from next door hotels, but the hotel itself is quiet. No restaurant or cont. breakfast offered here, but fridge in room with stores close by. Stayed in 3 different rooms, but not a suite with kitchen. Grills on property and a lot of people cooking food outside. Problems with squirrels which I hated b/c I just hate them-rats in fur coats! They only offered cleaning svc in the rooms every 3 days, so I had to take out our trash, go ask for clean towels, drop off dirty ones, ask for extra coffee, cream, sugar, soap, etc, etc. Word got back to the front desk that I thought this was not fair for the amt. of $$$ we were paying for a hotel---Not a Resort, so they are suppose to be changing the policy to "light touch" upon request, which is what it should be in the 1st place---After all, aren't we ALL suppose to be on Vacation??? Pool and hot tub are open at night and nice to sit in the hot tub and star gaze with a glass of wine. They have a small fridge at the pool with bottled water and a bowl of fruit for taking. All the rooms have books in them, ceiling fans, small tv, clock, but no phones, which I liked anyway. 1st night we stayed in a very nice queen room with a great shower with glass block-no shower curtain which was great, called the Kiwi room(which was my fav). The bed was comfortable, but the pillows-we requested foam, were all knotted up and seemed old. All the rooms are named, not numbered. We also stayed in a large king room called the Sugar Apple room with nice bathroom, and both had great working A/C as well. The king bed in the Sugar Apple was comfortable too, but again, the pillows-foam, were a bit lumpy and seemed old. We do not use feather pillows, so maybe they are nicer. Only draw back---for me was the light coming in the room at the Sugar Apple room from the bright parking lot lights, plus some uplighting surrounding the room. My husband loved the Sugar Apple room. The room has a nice private walk out small patio for morning coffee, a step up to the bathroom, small love seat, nice tile, and I cannot say enough about how clean the property is. Our last night we stayed in the Mango room-king bed, nice size room, but very small bathroom with tub/shower combo, which I don't care for. I enjoy a shower only in a hotel room and don't like it when the shower curtain blows on you. The king bed in the Mango room seemed to be old or worn out, and not as comfortable as the beds in the other rooms. It moved every time we did and made squeek noises with every move, so probably just needs to be replaced. The grounds have a nice tennis court, which we did not play. They have a nice bay front pier with chairs for sunning, and watching sunsets. We had lunch at Tug Boats and loved it, great food. Dinner at The Big Chill and it was excellent with very good prices. I had the Angel hair pasta with shrimp, garlic & olive oil sauce, and we counted 13 shrimp for $16.95, which came with nice size dinner salad. Dinner at Ballyhoo's was not at all good, as my scallops were gritty and the Key Lime pie was strange with some kind of whipped cream mixed in it. All in all, we would stay at the Kona Kai again, but in a King suite with a kitchen and grill outside. Note: Do Not forget to pack your bug spray, as sitting outside early morning or anytime after sunset, you will get bit. We asked for a late check-out, but was denied. We had a 5pm flight and would have been nice to take a swim or sit in the hot tub, then shower, and keep luggage in the room, till 12 or 1. With only 11 rooms getting cleaned every 3rd day, you would think that would have been possible. But, they did let us clean up in the small powder room inside the small lobby before leaving. If you have a late flight, maybe ask ahead of time when you make your resv. for a possible late checkout, as it never hurts to ask. Again, the hotel staff are all very nice and will help out anyway they can and give tips on everything you want to do, where to eat, etc.

  • Liked — clean rooms, pool/hot tub, nice beach on bayfront, free parking, nice staff
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank sun_e1954
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Owner-KonaKai-Resort, Owner at Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden, responded to this review, 18 August 2011
Dear sun_e1954:

Another detailed and thoughtful review. Thank you. We thought it would be worth mentioning that daily maid service is available upon request at no extra charge. The "3-day" service evolved over the years from requests by guests to not be disturbed by housekeeping - folks here are usually on vacation, not at a business trip. Sorry we were so busy that we could not give you a reservation where you did not have to change accommodations, but thanks for the comments on each of the rooms you enjoyed. Even with a staff of 9, we cannot always offer a late check-out; however, as you note, the powder room is available to change and freshen up. Lot's of upgrades since you were last here, so hope to see you again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northville, Michigan
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2008

The property and gallery were wonderful, however, this could never make up for the disappointing room. There was nothing good about the room (also viewed some other rooms and didn't see anything worth a change) - small, low ceiling, full mattress (advertised as queen), worn out bed linens, loud air conditioning, etc., etc...... Could not recommend this property to anyone. Extremely disappointing !!!!!!!!!

Stayed April 2008
Helpful?
4 Thank Tink_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shepperton
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 March 2008

It's all the superlatives you see in all the reviews....with two tiny exceptions. Paying the rate you do, I think you should have the accommodation serviced daily, even if it is only a "light" touch and I think some understanding could be made on check-out day if you have a long time til your flight. Irrespective you have to be out of the room at 11 am and if there's no one coming in that day I think some discretion could be applied. This single thing may have us look for somewhere that makes that accommodation in future.

  • Liked — The quality of every aspect of the facility
  • Disliked — Check-out time
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Celticcouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden

Property: Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden
Address: 97802 Overseas Hwy, MM 98, Key Largo, FL 33037-2229
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key Largo
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 17 B&Bs / Inns in Key Largo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Owned and operated by the same family since 1991 and a "Fodor’s Choice" selection since 2009, Kona Kai is a magical hideaway, teeming with the natural beauty of old Key Largo and hand polished into one of the most exclusive resorts in the Florida Keys. With all new accommodations in 2013, Kona Kai is reserved for adults. Offering highly praised personalized concierge service, Kona Kai is regularly recommended by leading travel publications and websites. SInce the 2011 addition of "The Botanic Gardens at Kona Kai," guests enjoy our gardens day and night; complimentary tours for all registered guests are offered by our staff ethnobotanist. Kona Kai is a classic Keys experience; the perfect alternative if you're seeking to avoid the crowds and formality of a big resort. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kona Kai Resort & Gallery Hotel Key Largo
Kona Kai Resort And Gallery
Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Garden Key Largo, Florida

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