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“A sweet spot”

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Koa Kea Hotel & Resort
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Poipu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 February 2014

Great hotel, wonderful food overall, and amazing sushi/sashimi. We had 5 days out of 7 of rain, so their inventive cocktails were thoroughly enjoyed often. Staff was friendly and attentive. Mellow, low key atmosphere with high end results. The only suggestion we would make it to staff breakfast better. We had to wait each morning unless you were there at opening, and the staff they did have, ran around like crazy people. It wasn't their fault, just a booked hotel and understaffed restaurant. We only noticed this in the morning. Loved Claudia as the concierge, Shannon in the lounge, Nancy in morning restaurant and pool bar, all the housekeeping was very attentive and pleasant, engineering was right on, and the valet staff make our rainy getaway a joy. Also, since we did have a lot of rainy days the fact that their bed was better than home made it very comfortable. Great pool/beach area also. We will be back!

Room Tip: We only got a partial ocean view due to a last minute booking, but since it rained 5 out of 7 days w...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank jnt1212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 February 2014

Koa Kea lives up to the reviews at Trip Advisor and elsewhere. Everyone on the staff seems committed to making your stay enjoyable. We did not encounter one grumpy staff member and many were a pure pleasure to deal with. The smaller size of the hotel is a distinct advantage, as the staff knows you by name and everything is a short walk away. From our room to the ocean was perhaps 200 yards. The restaurant, lounge, and pool were all just steps from our room.

I recommend one of the packages. Our package included daily breakfast, which included a hot entree, and also a separate $75 food/beverage credit which we frequently used on cocktails and food by the pool.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank jacklamber59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2014

I cannot think of a single negative, never been to a hotel with so much attention to detail. Go,there again tomorrow if I could. Great beach, great staff, great breakfast. Unbelievable attention to detail

Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Annelies F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2014

This is a respectable lodging facility with good customer service. After having stayed there I can understand why this hotel consistently receives the many positive reviews made by others. However, to be frank, I would not rate it as a 5-star establishment. Instead, I would categorize it as a good 4-star property. Located on the southeast coast of Kauai it is a 30-minute drive from Lihue Airport. Finding this hotel may be a challenge for first-time visitors because of its low profile and “hidden” location, sandwiched between other, larger, hotel properties, combined with poor directional signage. However, once you pass through the portal (lobby entrance) you enter a tranquil oasis of sedate elegance, comfort and luxury. The appearance, decor and airiness of the lobby collectively impart a sensation of serenity and you immediately begin to unwind. The hotel has a prime, waterfront location on Poipu Beach – technically Kiahuna Beach. Customer service, quality and the overall setting is what defines the place. The hotel’s website is informative and I recommend that prospective customers check it out including the photo gallery even if you subsequently book through a third-party agency. The resort itself is not very large – which is a good thing. I believe the appropriate term used to describe a lodging facility such as this today is “boutique” hotel. The Koa Kea Hotel & Resort consists of five three-story buildings constructed in a u-shaped pattern around the periphery of the property with about half the rooms directly facing the enclosed, interior grounds while most of the other rooms face outward toward the circumjacent properties on each side. Some of the inward-facing rooms in the two buildings closest to the beach will proffer views of the ocean but, at an angle and the field of view will vary depending on location. At the seaward ends of these two particular buildings will be the ocean front rooms and suites which provide unobstructed, 180-degree views of the ocean. Congruous to a fortress, this configuration shields the central grounds from the surrounding urban area and creates an intimate setting. One thing to note is that the exterior appearance of the buildings is fairly nondescript and the architectural style is unremarkable. In fact, it could be construed as “motel-like” which probably reflects the hotel’s origins. Travelers to Poipu Beach/Koloa prior to 1992 may remember this property as the site of the budget-oriented Poipu Beach Hotel. The central grounds consist of the pool, jacuzzi, pool-side bar, sunbathing/lounging deck and gardens. Additionally, there is a nice, flat, grassy area situated seaward of the pool area, between the two buildings comprising the ends of the “u-shaped” complex, which is ideal for sunbathing and watching the awesome sunsets. Several guests will drag their chaise longues onto this sward; the only downside being that there is no shade available so you may have to moderate the time spent there or utilize good sunburn protection. Though this resort is situated right on the shore the beach abutting the property is quite small and more suitable for wading and taking a quick dip to cool off. There is a waterfront promenade running along the shoreline linking the various hotel properties that exist on either side of this hotel and guests can utilize the beaches either to the east or west to do more actual swimming. While the section of beach directly in front of this hotel is not very wide the sand itself has a fine granular quality and is soft and comfortable to walk on (though it can be hot). Unfortunately, the near-shore waters are not very deep and the sea bed consists of a fair amount of coral and rock interspersed with pockets of sand – hence, the reason that it is not good for swimming. Moreover, there are reefs and rocks just offshore that further complicate matters. However, guests interested in snorkeling may derive enjoyment from checking out the underwater scenery. Also, you may be fortunate enough to have a chance encounter with Hawaiian monk seals and/or large sea turtles or observe whales playing offshore. However, we actually spent most of our time at the poolside. The rooms at the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort are modern, comfortable and appropriately decorated with quality fixtures and furniture. All rooms will have either a small balcony or patio depending on the floor level. We were in an Ocean View King Room on the second floor of Building #3 (a.k.a. Ekolu Bldg.) which provided a view of the entire central grounds and pool area as well as the ocean (but at an angle). Housekeeping service was good. The only disappointment with the room was the size – I would not call it spacious though it was of adequate square footage. In contrast, the bathroom was relatively spacious and employed a muted décor involving beige-colored marble, equipped with quality fixtures and well-stocked with a variety of amenities including the L’Occitane brand of toiletry products. Most importantly, it was clean and well-maintained; and, remained so throughout our stay. The one downside to the bathroom was no bathtub – just a shower with bench – which may not be that desirable for women and/or couples seeking a romantic setting. Apparently, most of the rooms are equipped this way. Overall, the hotel staff is courteous and attentive and they seem genuinely concerned with the welfare and comfort of their guests. Not only do they make an effort to be helpful but, they also make you feel welcome. Some people may deem the experience as one of pampering but, I will not go that far. The reason I say this is because the staff did not exude the level of innate graciousness that I/we have experienced at several other high-end hotels found elsewhere in the world. To be fair, this attribute is hard to come by on a pervasive scale in the United States because many American workers are not culturally trained to project graciousness, which to a certain extent is either an inbred trait or rigorously learned behavior. Instead, I/we will say that the staff is sociable, courteous and responsive. I do believe that they are trying to provide a five-star experience for their guests as best as they know how. The front-desk personnel and concierge are competent and very willing to assist you. They have the ability to arrange a myriad of tours and activities but the prices on some excursions can be high. One nice feature of this hotel is the valet parking which is mandatory and included in the rate/resort fee. Anytime you need your car just call the valet ahead of time and they will have it waiting for you. Moreover, when you come back it is nice to just pull up to the “front door” (so to speak), get out, and then let somebody else deal with it. The pool attendants and staff working in the pool bar did their job but they were not the warmest bunch. They need to focus a bit more on being attentive to their guests’ needs. The quality of food and service rendered by the on-site restaurant (Red Salt) is generally decent though, occasionally, it can be “hit or miss.” Some people may find the menu prices high but, the fact is that they are typical for a restaurant located within an upscale hotel property. I had lunch on three occasions and it was usually good though they did have to re-do my order one day following a screw-up. Unfortunately, the one night that I ate dinner at the Red Salt Restaurant, my pasta entrée was neither delicate nor very flavorful. This restaurant is also the only option for guests wanting to have breakfast on site within the hotel. They proffer both a buffet breakfast and a la carte (menu) breakfast service. The buffet breakfast is good and I would highly recommend getting a room rate or package that includes it – just to eliminate the need and inconvenience of having to go elsewhere to have breakfast (if you eat breakfast). While the diversity of culinary offerings and options are somewhat limited (compared to other high-end resorts), the quality is good and there are enough items to satisfy your palate and fill your stomach. Some people may prefer to call it a “glorified” continental breakfast but, regardless of what you call it, it is still good – the tropical fruit selections alone are worth it. Moreover, guests opting for the buffet breakfast can also order items off the a la carte menu - including the lemon-pineapple soufflé pancakes which were delicious and awesome to look at. We did utilize the on-site spa and the quality of treatment(s) and service(s) rendered was excellent but, of course, you will pay for it. The last factor that makes the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort a desirable lodging option is the class of clientele it normally attracts as guests. Most of our fellow guests appeared to be couples seeking a low-key getaway consisting of quiet, relaxation and intimacy or privacy. Resultantly, they were well-behaved and more mature in nature (though not necessarily old in age). Reading seemed to be a popular pastime of several guests. There were very few families and/or children present during our stay. This made our stay extremely enjoyable because the hotel did not feel crowded, there were no boisterous or loud guests, there were no parties or kids running around, and there were no disruptive antics, incidents or other obnoxious behavior on the part of guests that could detract from the peaceful and relaxing environment of this hotel. For people seeking a respite from the “real” world this hotel is a great place to escape to. After all this positive commentary one may naturally ask – what are the negatives? Overall, there are none per se. But, there are a few things you may wish to consider. They are subjective in nature and may be inconsequential for some. Though called a resort and located on the waterfront, this hotel does not offer a lot of on-site recreational amenities and the water sports equipment provided is limited. Secondly, depending on the requirements one may have when choosing a room, the overall configuration of the buildings and types of rooms at this hotel combined with the view aspect may be important factors to ponder when selecting the room category. While you may not be able to control exactly which room you are assigned in a given category, it may be helpful to know in advance the location of the various types of rooms so that you can make an informed decision. Unfortunately, if one has never been to this hotel before it is extremely difficult to have an idea of the room layout and know which rooms are desirable versus undesirable. It would be nice if the hotel’s website provided information on the location of the various room categories but it does not. For the purposes of this discussion, the “Garden View” rooms and “Oceanfront” rooms/suites are not an issue because the views from these respective room categories are essentially accurate in description, particularly the “Oceanfront” rooms. However, be advised that a “Garden View” room may not provide much view of a garden. The two dubious room types are the “Partial Ocean View” (POV) and “Ocean View” categories. Located in all five buildings, most of these rooms face inward over the central grounds and pool area though there are some POV rooms located on the outward-facing sides of Buildings #3 & #4. Yes, it is strictly true that you will be able to see the ocean from your room but, it may be a narrow field of view or a distant view at best. In some cases the orientation or alignment of the room (floor plan) within the building is such that you will have to go out on the balcony and turn your head to directly see the ocean. If you remain within the room itself, the ocean will not be directly observable. Instead your field of view from within the room will be either of, or overlooking, the central grounds and/or pool area (or the neighboring properties in some instances). Buildings with affected rooms include Building #5 (a.k.a. Elima Bldg.), Building #2 (a.k.a. Elua Bldg.) and Building #4 (a.k.a. Eha Bldg.), along with a few rooms in the west end of Building #1 (a.k.a. Ekahi Bldg.). Without explaining the building layout and property geography in detail, suffice it to say that the best “Ocean View” rooms will be found in Building #3 (Ekolu Bldg.), particularly if you have a room closer to the beach (south) end of the building on the second or third floors. The further inward (away from the waterfront) that your room is located, the narrower and more distant the view of the ocean becomes. Obviously, the view category determines pricing with the “Ocean View” room being higher than the POV room. If you really want a view of the ocean from your room then I strongly suggest that you book an “Ocean View” room – not a POV room – and request Building #3. Thirdly, if you select either the “Ocean View” or POV rooms and you value your privacy, I recommend you select a room on the second or third floors – the higher the better - and keep the curtains closed so that other guests, hotel employees and passers-by cannot see into your room. Again, given the configuration of the buildings surrounding the central grounds, it is relatively easy for persons situated either on the grounds or within rooms in the buildings across the grounds from you to see into your room (and vice versa). Another item that needs to be addressed is the cleanliness of the carpet in the hallways. I can only speak to the condition of the carpet on the second floor of Building #3. It had several stains and displayed “wear-and-tear” that was more than minor. And, I’m not talking about something that had happened recently, or was the result of poor cleaning that day/week, or which the staff could pass off by saying “we didn’t know.” I was very surprised to observe this condition. It is not something I would expect to find in a 5-star establishment. The fact that this is a beach resort and guests may introduce sand and water to the carpeting does not explain the continuing use of a carpet once it has become soiled. It should have been replaced a while ago. Finally, I wish to make a comment about the room rates which are not cheap – particularly with the addition of the resort fee and lodging tax. Let’s be clear, the rates charged by this hotel are on the high end of the spectrum. I/we have some qualms about the value for money aspect given the relative smallness of the property and the unimposing architecture and appearance of the buildings combined with non-uniformity in service and meal quality and not a lot of extras. There are several less-expensive lodging options both in Poipu Beach/Koloa and around Kauai. Moreover, I/we have stayed in hotels and rooms of equal quality or better elsewhere in the United States and in the world for less money. I recommend that prospective guests consider some of the hotel’s package rates/deals or research third party, internet booking, sites and online travel agencies which may proffer better rates or at least include some additional features, amenities and services in the price. One example is Luxurylink.com which frequently offers an attractive, semi-inclusive, package deal that yields a 30-35% discount off regular pricing. This was the reason that we decided to stay at the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort. If this package deal had not been available, we would not have stayed at this place. Of course, one of the benefits of higher pricing is that it generally ensures a better caliber of clientele. Apropos our stay, the hotel did not appear full and we enjoyed a certain level of tranquility and intimacy that may not have been experienced at lesser-priced and/or lower grade hotels. The critical comments notwithstanding, my spouse and I do recommend this hotel because of its location, tranquil setting, restful atmosphere, clean and well-appointed rooms and good customer service.

Room Tip: Basically, there are four room categories: “Garden View;” “Partial Ocean View” (POV); “Ocean View...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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24  Thank bjaune
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2014

We arrived into Kauai a few days early for a corporate event at one of the larger hotels. I had selected the Koa Kea based on many reviews and their boutique appeal. The concierge and reservations team were very helpful in transportation and restaurant reservations prior to our arrival. Following many flight delays we arrived in LIH late in the evening and far past our scheduled pick-up. No worries! One call to the concierge ( I believe his name is Philip, sorry I did not write it down due to the late hour) and we had a lovely driver waiting for us. We had a partial ocean view which included the pool area that is lit up romantically with tiki torches. The room was spotless with wonderful L'Occitane bath amenities offered in the generous sized bath area. The rain shower is a great touch. There were also several welcome treats offered and we were able to order room service with no problem. The bed felt like heaven. We enjoyed breakfast and dinner at Red Salt. We dined at other restaurants during our time in Hawaii and I didn't feel the the prices were out of line for the quality of food. I always appreciate a menu where it's "wow what should I select, it all looks good" -vs- a process of elimination. Dining, even if it's a hotdog or burger is pricey in Hawaii. The pool bar seemed like it could use an extra hand during the early afternoon hours, but the ladies were friendly. The lawn area is a great for whale watching and relaxation. There is a long walking path that winds around to some of the other hotels. Lets just say, we had confirmation that Koa Kea was the perfect place for us. That being said, it is best suited for couples, families with kids that need entertainment might be better suited at Grand Wailea or other large resorts. There are several shopping areas that also offer dining within walking distance if you want to go off property. I would not hesitate to recommend this lovely hotel. Although we were in a partial ocean view and were quite happy, didn't spend that much time in our room, if you can swing for the oceanfront you will not be disappointed. Out of the many hotels, you are about as close to the sand as you can get without a surfboard. Enjoy!

Room Tip: Room #220 is close to valet, but there wasn't a noise issue with sliders closed. Sitting outsid...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Robin J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2014

We arrived there from The Big Island celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary. At check I told the front office young lady of our celebration...all she said was, "really". I asked an upgrade, and she said it will be another $1000.00 per night. Not $100. $1000 per night! Dinner was expensive, a la carte, wine by the bottle starts at $50 bucks, by the glass $15. Our waiter, Brian from NY was awesome, thank God because the staff are cool professionals, as if we were lucky to be there. The staff there is professional, not warm & friendly. Lunch is very nice, food is good, and not too expensive. Oh, dinner for two was over $200...no app, just main, no dest. portions are a little small for the price. Small beach, not a lot of small kids like the other hotels. They give you coffee, but once that is gone you pay for refills every day. No self parking, it's all valet. The guests there are very friendly, and this made up for sometimes rude serve. When asking for help on where to eat, travel, etc., we got some staff that was very helpful & friendly, while others made us feel uncomfortable, like they we going out of their way to provide any help.

Room Tip: Don't expect very friendly staff, although they do the minimum.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank big52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2014

This is a spectacular boutique hotel. Beautiful rooms, great restaurant, great staff. Very peaceful and tranquil. Would not be suitable for families with small kids. Great for couples. I liked it better than the Four Seasons in Maui which is in sore need of room renovations. This was by far the nicest place we stayed at in Hawaii.

Room Tip: Didn't use the spa so can't rate it. 248 is a spectacular room.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Pauline T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Koa Kea Hotel & Resort

Address: 2251 Poipu Road, Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756-9534
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Hawaii > Kauai > Poipu > Koloa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Poipu
#1 Romantic Hotel in Poipu
#1 Luxury Hotel in Poipu
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Poipu
#1 Green Hotel in Poipu
#3 Business Hotel in Poipu
Price Range: £349 - £473 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Koa Kea Hotel & Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 121
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Encounter the golden beaches of Ko`a Kea Hotel & Resort, an upscale 121-room boutique oceanfront property in sunny Poipu on Kauai's south shore. This intimate and romantic Hawaiian resort offers the island's closest hotel accommodations to the water, complemented by award-winning service that is both highly personalized and personable. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Koa Kea Hotel And Resort
Koa Kea Hotel Poipu
Koa Kea Resort
Koa Kea Hotel & Resort Kauai/Poipu, Hawaii

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