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“A Nice Place to Visit, but...”
Review of Kalani

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Ranked #1 of 11 Speciality Lodging in Pahoa
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 16 January 2005

My partner and I recently returned from a weeklong stay at Kalani. I had done a lot of research beforehand, including a careful reading of the reviews posted here, and decided the potential benefits outweighed the risks. On the whole, I think I was right...with a few exceptions.

Our treehouse room was just as I had expected...lots of jungle atmosphere, a few bugs and geckos, and a front-row seat for a rather nasty winter storm. When the wind started blowing from the south, the rain soaked the bed and made for a rather interesting night! It was sort of a cross between camping and Club Med.

The facilities and staff were also about as I had expected. Good healthy food, for those of us who are used to eating organic, meatless meals. The folks who work there are generally competent and cheery, with a few surly exceptions. I had a marvellous massage from David! The pool is lovely; the jacuzzi could be better, but that's a minor beef.

My major complaiint is with the organized activities. As others before me have noted, the Director is a charming, spirited man who unfortunately seems to have no head for the practicalities of the job. We went along on an adventure, and I was seriously hurt...in fact, I was almost killed. I'm not a baby, and I am used to a certain level of risk while out in the wild. However, I would have liked more emergency preparation, such as a full first aid kit at the ready. Also, after my mishap the outing continued for several hours while I bled and ached; no one did more than offer me band-aids, and I had to take myself to the clinic in Pahoa the next day for a tetanus shot and antibiotics for my infected foot.

We did love the island, the setting of the Retreat, the yoga classes, and many of the people we met. Would I return? That's a good question I can't answer quite yet!

19  Thank j32063
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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A TripAdvisor Member
chicago, illinois
Reviewed 2 August 2004

I have just returned from a wonderful week at Kalani Oceanside Retreat. The food was fantastic, the people kind, helpful and enlightening.

My lomi lomi massage was fabulous. I must say that I felt my entire experience at Kalani was most rejuvenating.

10  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Los Angeles, CA
Reviewed 19 May 2004

I signed up for the "Naked in Hawaii" week and the experience was not as advertised. Everyone who signed up thought that Kalani would be a gay naked haven for the entire week. Several spoke directly with the founder and spiritual leader of Kalani, Richard Koob, and were told outright the place would be all nude that week. Technically he was telling the truth; what he didn't tell us was we would be sharing the place with several other non-nude groups including a group of mormon teenagers! We were never really comfortable anywhere on the premises but we made a valiant stand at the poolside where we were often met with wide-eyed stares from the kids. What were they thinking when they scheduled this?

Also, a participant from another group, the Trance-Dancers, went mad one night and broke into a room occupied by 2 women, chased them out, and then took a shower. The staff did nothing more than coax him out of their room. Later that same night he broke into another guest's room and assaulted the occupant who I saw bleeding profusely from a gash in his face. The police were called and the madman was escorted away. Richard was very nonchalant about the matter and essentially shruuged his shoulders and said "oh well!"

I would never stay at Kalani again. There are many other fabulous places to stay in the Puna area, including Absolutely Paradise.

48  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2004

Kalani Oceanside Eco-Resort is located in one of the most beautiful and unspoiled areas on the Big Island. The setting is awesome; acres of lush fauna, a few miles from the lava flows at Kalapana, on a small meandering road with tree tunnels, the setting for Kalani is the quintessential tropical paradise.

It is a unique resort, very dissimilar from the mega resorts over in Kona/Kailua and Waikaloa. Most of the staff at Kalani work at the resort for room and board and come from all over the world. There is a very large swimming pool, a couple of jacuzzis, a watsu pool, volley ball court, tennis courts, meditation temples, massage areas, daily yoga, a hammock to lounge on and lush grounds filled with plumarias and orchids, among other beautiful foliage. Close by there is a clothing optional black sand beach, lava flows worthy of exploring, black sand beaches, hidden sea coves, great snorkeling nearby, lava tubes, steam vents, state parks and truly spectacular drives through the countryside. The closest town with a bank and gas is Pahoa, a rugged and colorful town, 11 miles up-country.

Food at the resort is delicious and filling. Entres are mostly fish and fowl prepared with local organic fruits and inventive sauces. You will not walk away hungry from the meals. A conch shell is blown signaling that "dinner's ready". The food is served cafeteria style and the dining hall is an open covered room with windows looking out over the vast property. At each meal, the dining area becomes the central gathering place of all of the guests and it is a wonderful opportunity to meet and get to know diverse mix of guests. You may dine next to a Buddhist, a gay or lesbian couple, an artist, a backpacker, a teacher, a family visiting the Islands for the first time, a vegan and local people as well as international visitors.

The accommodations are rustic but functional. We reserved a cottage but were upgraded to the "tree house". There are a variety of accommodations, from cottages to dormitory style rooms, and even covered tent areas. There's no air-conditioning (you really don't need it with the tradewinds), and no televisions, telephones or internet access in your room, however the evening stars, the orchestra of crickets, geckos and toads and the roar of the ocean across the road are entertainment enough. Unfortunately, being in the jungle, there are also "critters" that take a little getting used to. We had a cockroach the length of a coke can in our room one night, as well as a family of geckos (that were quite cute and welcomed). Though the critters are everywhere on the island I would have preferred not to have had them in our room. Kalani does provide a can of Raid to help with unwanted pests.

The downside of Kalani is the lack of organization and delivery of what is promised on it’s retreats. We were at a gay men's retreat planned and escorted by the owner of Kalani and many of the advertised activities never materialized or were shared with outside groups that held no interest in our group. There were many inexcusable incidents of neglect that the management let go unresolved, including some safety issues that ended up with one of our group members getting hurt and left a few other guests scared and unhappy. When I spoke to the owner with our dissatisfaction he responded that this is Hawaii and we needed to "live the Hawaiian way and go with the flow". Well after hearing that I contemplated paying for the retreat the "old Hawaiian way" with shells! I have never received this type of treatment at other larger and comparably priced resorts and I am one who rarely complains unless service is really awful.

All in all, Kalani could be an exceptional place to unwind and discover the wonders of the Big Island. Presently the owner doesn't understand that you must deliver what is advertised in order for guests to be satisfied. I loved the property, the food, the pool and the location. I hope that the staff at Kalani responds to the comment cards they left in our rooms because the potential for an exceptional and unique experience is definitely there. During our week, many repeat customers voiced to management that they would not return again. Hopefully they will take heart and immediately fix their problems.

49  Thank SailAwayCruises
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
New York, NY
Reviewed 29 December 2003

There are many things to love about this place: a beautiful setting, great food and fun people. Kalani is located in a quiet corner of the island (Puna) and you can hear the sound of the waves smashing against the lava sea cliffs just across from the main entrance. This place attracts a very eclectic clientele, which I think adds to the fun. I went last year and signed up for a weeklong men-only workshop. It was advertised as men-only but I found out they interpret men-only rather loosely. The rates charged are very reasonable considering the quoted price includes all meals served on the premises or as bag lunches taken on the adventures.The workshop included trips to many interesting parts of the island but Kalani doesn t have any transportation of its own so they rely on guest s rental cars to ferry folks around. As I said, the program was advertised as a men-only event but a female guest of the lodge joined us on many outings without our consent. Apparently the management decided to piggyback her on our trips and still collect the fee from her.This place bills itself as an Eco-Resort but they just finished bulldozing many acres of Hawaiian rainforest to build condos! I m not sure how this development will help maintain natural habitat in Hawaii.The staff consists mainly of young kids there as resident volunteers who commit to a 3-month stay and work 30 hours a week. They have to pay $900 for the privilege of working at Kalani for 3 months! All the kids seemed to be having a good time though and had a very positive attitude with the guests.All in all I had a good time at Kalani and would visit the place again.

23  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2016 via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: October 2016
Thank Hatama8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2016
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  • Stayed: May 2015, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Thank yuu-may100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kalani

Address: 12-6860 Kalapana Kapoho Beach Rd, Box 4500, Pahoa, Island of Hawaii, HI 96778-8019
Region: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Pahoa
Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 Speciality Lodging in Pahoa
Price Range: £56 - £149 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Kalani 2.5*
Number of rooms: 65
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kalani is the largest retreat center in the state of Hawaii, nestled on the yoga coast in one of Hawaii's largest conservation areas for over 35 years. We feature more than 40 classes a week, including our renowned yoga and meditation programming, Hawaiian culture classes, and dance (hula, modern, and aerial.)Our location on the Big Island of Hawaii is 5 minutes from Kehena Beach, a clothing-optional black sand beach where wild-spinner dolphins frequently swim; 15 miles from spectacular lava-viewing; and nestled in luscious rainforest, which helps feed our organic kitchens with abundant fruit and vegetables. Kalani is known as a power spot - Shiva Rea calls Kalani "one of the most potent and nurturing retreat centers in the world." Kalani is a 501(c)(3) charity. Your stay here will support the preservation of Hawaiian culture, transformation, and within the poorest district in Hawaii. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kalani Oceanside Retreat Pahoa
Kalani Oceanside Retreat Hotel Pahoa
Kalani Hawaii/Pahoa

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