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Koa Kea Hotel & Resort
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Reviews (2,289)
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Reviewed 12 September 2011

We were greatly disappointed with the overall experience although there were some good moments. The poor rating is primarily based on our expectation of this being a resort as their name suggests.
OVERVIEW: We spent 10 days nights on 2 islands including 5 nights at this property celebrating our 30th Anniversary. The other nights were spent in Maui at the Hyatt and Four Seasons which are reviewed separately
First, this is not a Resort, it is barley a Hotel with minimal services or activities of any nature.
There is one restaurant, no shops, no music, no beach or pool service, no "Hawaiiana" of any sense, not even a Lei greeting. The "torch lighting ceremony" consisted of a maintenance man walking around with a lighter. It is trying to be hip, cool, sleek, understated and minimalist but it is not a resort. It would work fine in West Hollywood or NY but not so much in Kauai.
Rooms: We upgraded to a deluxe oceanfront which was a saving grace and along with the restaurant was the best part of the experience. The room was close to the waters edge with a magnificent view. However the A/C was noisy.
Pool: Small, warm and very quiet for the most part. However the chairs were so uncomfortable we decided to walk to the Sheraton (5-10 minute walk) and rented a Cabana with padded chairs and shade. The pool area would have been adequate had the chairs not been hard as rocks.
When we mentioned this to the G.M. he claimed he was aware but the pads were "cost prohibitive", even citing the exact price of each pad and chair.
Shade is also a bit of an issue, when we asked for assistance to move an umbrella from the pool to the adjacent grassy lawn we were told no because the wheels of the umbrella cracks the fancy stone deck of the pool. Like most things here, it is "form over substance".
Beach: Absolutely no beach presence/assistance. You can rent small chairs and a small umbrella at the pool desk and schlep it together with your towels down to the beach. Mind you, these are not loungers or full umbrellas but the stuff you may keep in your car.
Food; The Red Salt Rest. serving all the meals had some of the best food we have eaten recently anywhere including L.A. This was a plus particularly the wait staff all of whom were outstanding including Laura, Brian, Meagan and Michael-for those left off sorry you were all great as was the F&B manager Paul who compiled a great menu for dinner and an even better wine list.
Service: There was very, very little pro-active service. There was a staff all of whom were friendly and helpful when called upon.
Conclusion: We really wanted to like this place but at the price point could not justify a good review. I think they are searching for an identity but if you are looking for a full service resort you will not find it here. You will find a quite reserved couple oriented crowd. Since we were traveling w/o our children we too were looking for an adult experience. However, we did find children the entire time we were there. Because it is o/w very quiet even one child splashing and yelling in the pool breaks the tranquility. I was surprised to learn the GM had invited friends traveling with a child. I thought they were going for the couple oriented vibe.
Finally: As a resort I would give it 1 star, as a Hotel 2 stars, and as a Motel 3 stars-after much discussion we settled on 2 stars.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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19  Thank alwyscllct
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2011

We enjoyed our stay at the Koa Kea Hotel in Poipu. As many reviewers have noted, it was a good place to stay on our honeymoon with mainly couples and a more intimate feel than the Hyatt or Marriott. The restaurant, Red Salt, is fantastic and the valets are very friendly and accommodating

However, there were some customer service issues that I wouldn't expect given the price of the room. On Wednesday of our stay, the hotel decided to cut down two large palm trees in the pool area with very loud chainsaws that created a ton of noise and filled the pool with bark shavings for nearly 3 hours. When I asked management when this landscaping would be done, I was rudely informed that "there was no good time to do it and that the pool was fully accessible (which I disagree with given the trees were five feet away from the pool) and I could just go down to ocean." Staying at such a small, expensive hotel, I expect better customer service than this. I understand landscaping must be done but if it inconveniences your guests, an apology or advance warning would be appreciated. Also, the walls seem to be very thin. The couple next door to us had a baby traveling with them and we often heard the baby during the night. Housekeeping sometimes didn’t come till 4:00 in the afternoon which was also a little annoying.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank emily9883
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2011

We looked at every hotel on the island before booking the Koa Kea- and I think we made the right choice. The Koa Kea has the perfect blend of low-key luxury, attentive service, and great location. We later visited some friends at the St. Regis, and while luxurious, I prefer the Koa Kea.

The mai tais are awesome- and potent. And- do yourself a favor and get the eggs benedict on your first morning. You may get them every morning thereafter!

I didn't enjoy dinner or sashimi at the Red Salt (the on-location restaurant) as much as the breakfast, but my wife did.

The staff was super friendly and attentive without being overly "present," and the valets in particular seem to know everything about the island.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank kellepa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 September 2011

My husband and I stayed at the Koa Kea for the first three nights of our honeymoon and we loved it! It is a small resort (around 100 rooms) and caters pretty exclusively to adults, which is nice (I think we saw just one child the whole time we were there). The rooms are lovely, the beds comfortable, the bathrooms huge, and the toiletries L'occitane. They had a chilled bottle of champagne waiting for us when we arrived which was really nice. You can't really lie out on the beach at the Koa Kea (their coastline is rocky), but they more than make up for it with their lounge chairs overlooking the ocean and their fantastic pool.
We didn't eat dinner at Red Salt, but we heard it was delicious. We did eat breakfast there everyone morning, at the buffet is good. We had sushi in the lounge twice, and it was extremely good, as are the cocktails. We also did a couples massage and highly recommend the spa. The Koa Kea went out of their way to make us feel at home!
While there we had dinner at Donderos (highly recommended), Tidepools (highly recommended and very romantic) and the Beach House (terrible service)

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Erin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 September 2011

Sorry for the late review.

Found Koa Kea on Luxury Link and glad we did. From the time of booking, I found how great the staff was going to be through emails. I had lots of questions about the hotel and what they had to offer. My primary contact was Pearl S., her reponses were always insightful and prompt even with a six hour time difference. She booked us on a helicopter tour that actually lands at the "Jurasicc Park" waterfalls! Having taken a similar tour years ago this was a real treat. She also had a beautiful lei waitng for my girlfriend on arrival.

The rest of the staff is wonderful, always ready to say "yes", special thanks to Allen and Jade, they were great. We finally met Pearl in person and she was even more charming and helpful with all our questions.

The property is small, but you can walk to other properties on the beach path. You can even walk over to Poipu Beach using the path rather than driving, it's just as fast. The beaches in front of the hotel are small, especially at high tide, but, relaxe, enjoy, your in paradise. Check out the beaches at night to witness a million stars!

The Red Salt Restaurant is excellent, from the bar food to dinner food was worth the price (try the waygu steak!). We had the continental breakfast plan, but it was so much more. It included a hot entree as well as the buffet, excellent. The F&B Supervisor was very helpful, sorry can't remember her name. Good drinks and sandwiches at the pool bar.

Other options; A shopping center within walking distance has lots of choices from Puka Dog to Roy's. On Poipu Beach Brennecke's Broiler, good comfort food and cold beer and Italian at Casa Di Amici, the food was good, but service more than scattered the night we were there. The Hyatt is up the road and worth a visit. In Lihue JJ Broiler is great for lunch.

Room service was efficient and all requests honored.There is a coin laundry in each wing of the hotel. As most reviews have noted the staff at valet is very friendly and you were always greeted by name.

Overall we had a great stay, it's a wonderful property, no kids! We will go back.

Only negative, renting the beach chairs at $8.00 for 24 hours, we were about 1/2 hour late and were changed for another 24 hours. At the daily rte the hotel charges the chairs should be included.

Mahalo.

Room Tip: Take the helicopter excursion through the hotel, you will love it! The canyon, the Napali coast from the air, AMAZING!
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank irishcurse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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