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“Unique but big tradeoffs and poor service”

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Waimea Plantation Cottages
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, CA
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Unique but big tradeoffs and poor service”
Reviewed 30 June 2008

The Waimea Plantation Cottages are unique and full of character, but in my opinion are overpriced, and service was disappointing for simple requests. It may be worth staying here if you value character above all else. However there are *big* tradeoffs staying here which you should be aware of.

My wife and I stayed in Cottage G June 2008. We stayed in Poipu the previous 4 nights and moved over to this side of the island to be closer to Waimea where we were attending a wedding. Since we were there for only two nights and the purpose of our stay was primarily to be close to the wedding, we were glad we stayed there. However, if we had stayed there longer or just for general vacation enjoyment I think we would have been VERY disappointed. Below I've outlined are important factors I think you should consider if you are thinking about staying here:

Ocean/beach: The water is brown on this side of the island due to the nearby river and the beach is muddy black. You cannot go in the water as it is unappealing and dangerous, so if you're seeking Hawaiian beach paradise, you'll be disappointed here. If you're seeking character above all else, you may love this place.

Service: The staff seemed unresponsive to simple requests. When we checked in, I asked the hostess if the room had a hair dryer for my wife. She said yes, and that if for some reason there wasn't, to call and housekeeping would send one over. We looked in our room and there was no hair dryer, so I called and was told that one would be right over. After about 5 minutes, the hostess called back and said that she could not locate one, so they would bring one tomorrow. I told her that we needed it immediately because we were going to a wedding in 30 minutes and that was the reason I asked for it at the desk upon checking in. She said she'd locate one and would call back. After 25-30 minutes and no follow up I called the desk again. The hostess said she said she was sorry that she could not locate one and that they were "overcapacitated" [sic] that day. For $270/night I would expect better service and a little initiative; perhaps a call to another cottage to ask if one could be borrowed or even driving down to the Big Save to buy one. So I walked over to a neighboring cottage and borrowed one. Problem solved. This could have been done by staff. Did this ruin our stay? Absolutely not. Were we upset, even angry? Definitely. I realize things are lower-key in Hawaii, as they should be, but again for nearly $300/night, guests are going to expect a little bit of service.

Overall price/quality:
My wife and I are not they kind of people who stay in four-star hotels and need everything to be aseptic and pristine. However, I did find that the cottages could have been in better shape in ways which would make people feel like they are really getting their money's worth and that the hotel had pride in its offering. Besides the dryer issue, which I previously mentioned, the iron in the room was cracked badly and was clearly very old and demonstrated that the hotel didn't seem to care about details and I thought it reflected poorly upon it. The shower too just felt old and cheap. Preserving the character of the cottage means that things are not going to be fancy and modern in some cases. I get that and actually cherish it. But in areas like the shower which are clearly utilitarian and not part of the character, I'd recommend they put in a nice modern shower.

So, overall we really did have a good stay, but expected more for the price and felt there were strong tradeoffs in staying here. It's not for everybody.

  • Liked — character, uniqueness of the cottages
  • Disliked — brown ocean and muddy beach, poor service, condition of of the cottage shower and amenities
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank senorjames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stephanie367, Manager at Waimea Plantation Cottages, responded to this review, 24 October 2008
Thank you for your response to the service levels of our resort as it pertained to your visit during a wedding celebration in early summer. That evening I personally received a call from our frantic front desk clerk who shared with me your need for a hair dryer. Not knowing behind the scenes what we were trying to do to get you a hair dryer I can understand your disappointment. We had just purchased over 20 new hair dryers for the property, and with the amount of requests for extra dryers in the units because we were full that particular weekend with wedding parties, we had none left on the shelves. I was on my way to my residence to give you my personal dryer, when the clerk called that you had borrowed one from a friend. Trust me I would have gone to Big Save immediately,but none of the stores in Waimea have that type of item. They are only available in the stores in Lihue (35 miles away). Your comments about the shower and improvements to the cottage have been addressed, and we will be redoing the entire cottage in November. My apologies for the condition of the iron. Needless to say that is NOT part of our standards, and another training for our Customer Service attendants took place.
Thank you for sharing your concerns. Its the way we can be up to par in servicing our guests. I hope you had a nice time at the celebration that night at Managers. The couple was simply delightful, and left very happy with their magical moment.
I'm sure you were so happy to be apart of this night for them.
Again our apologies for any inconvenience you experienced, and I hope one day you will give us another "chance" to make it up to you.
Aloha and Mahalo nui loa...
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Nashville, TN
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 17 June 2008

My husband and I just returned from our first trip to Kauai and spent all 7 nights at the Waimea Plantation Cottages. We loved it. We stayed in a one bedroom ocean front. Every morning we drank coffee on the front porch looking out over the ocean. It was so peaceful. Yes the cottages are old, we knew that and it is part of the charm. Our cottage was clean, and my only complaint would be that the mattress was very hard... as for the brewing company, I ordered a sample platter of their beers and could not drink any of them. They might want to rethink the beer thing and concentrate on food and service, either that or learn to make good beer.. The plantation is beautiful, I have many postcard pictures. Listening to the ocean at night and feeling the breeze through the windows. I know I smiled the entire week... If you like the feel of a big resort, dont go.

  • Liked — peaceful , beautiful and relaxing
  • Disliked — hard mattress
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank mermaid820
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco Bay Area
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 June 2008

We had previously visited the Waimea Plantation property, so at booking time, we requested a cottage in the lawn area.

We were booked for 7 nights - May 25 - May 31, 2008. Upon arrival on Sunday afternoon, the front desk people put us in cabin 84, the 3 bedroom closest to the Reception/Lobby building. (They supposedly upgraded us from a 2 to a 3 bedroom.) We knew the cottages were old and somewhat funky. What we did not know was that they turn on high-powered floodlights- affixed to the Reception/Lobbly building - all night long that lit up all 3 bedrooms of our cottage like a gas station! Since the cottages do not have air conditioning, we had to keep the windows open, and the floodlights kept us awake throughout the nights. The window coverings were very lightweight cotton partial window curtains. We tried hanging towels from the curtain rods, but couldn't cover the open window part or would have suffocated.

Our complaints to the front desk staff about the floodlights brought comments of "oh, that is always a problem." They said we could email the management about it when we got home. There were many other vacant cottages during our 7 nights there, and we wonder why they chose to insist that we be put in 84.

In addition, when we checked into our cottage, the garbage can and recycling bin at our cottage was full of previous guests' garbage and recycling. Finally, after our being there for 2 days, we had to call housekeeping and ask that it be emptied.

The charm of the beautiful grounds, the pleasant swimming pool, and the laid-back, non-touristy atmosphere of the Waimea Plantation property was greatly diminshed by the intrusive floodlights into the bedrooms.

  • Liked — Beautiful grounds and non-touristy Hawaii atmosphere.
  • Disliked — Management & maintenance problems that allowed floodlights beamed into cabins.
  • Stayed May 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank mellowcouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stephanie367, Manager at Waimea Plantation Cottages, responded to this review, 24 October 2008
Aloha from the Cottages. In reviewing comments about the flood lights that unfortunately caused you an inconvenience during your visit, I humbly apologize. The property has the lights on to allow our guests who walk the grounds at night to have some type of lighting in this area. After seeing your comment, I have removed these lights and relocated them to the side of the building facing the road.
The comments of the staff were clearly unacceptable and this is not the response they should have shared. Recently our organization provided another "refresher" course in "making things right" for our valued clients and continued reminders and classes are offered to get our philosophy part of our lifestyle. Thank you for your compliments of our grounds and atmosphere, and we know that if you didn't care...you wouldn't share your concerns on how to get us better !
Aloha, and we look forward to the next time we can make it up to you. Have a wonderful Waimea Day !
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barcelona, Spain
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 June 2008

We booked 5 nights in the cottages, after staring at the awesome pictures they have in the web site. It looked like colonial style cottage, with a spectacular blue ocean in the front and a paradise beach.

The fact is that what we found was something different:
- Our cottage (we were upgraded to a 3 bedroom) looked old, and just as if no maintenance had been done in the last years: key lockers and courtains were broken, and some moquito nets had holes.
- The cleaning was horrible. I even asked reception if we were suposed to wash the kitchen stuff. Some cutlery had rests of meals from previous guests.
- The beach was full of debris. You could not step on the sand.
- The ocean water (the first 200feet, at least) is brown. Note that the pictures only show ocean in the horizon, where it is blue. But the Waimea River (a.k.a the Red River) is next to that beach, and all the brown water mixes right there.
- There was an army of mosquitoes. Don't know if it is their fault, but the fact is that we didn't see so many of them anywhere else in the island.
- The area is not the best in the island. If you are looking for nice beaches, and nice restaurants, you'd better move to the south (Poipu) or north side (Hanalei Bay).

Apart from that, the place is quiet, the garden is very nice (with palm trees) and we enjoyed the barbeque for dinners.

  • Liked — The garden.
  • Disliked — Service, views, situation, maintenance.
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank CatalanSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stephanie367, Manager at Waimea Plantation Cottages, responded to this review, 24 October 2008
Aloha from The Cottages.
Thank you for your comments regarding your visit to our Cottages. Our apologies for your experience. We have worked very hard to upgrade most of our cottages on property. The historical nature of our cottages make the upgrading process challenging, but I know the unit you stayed in has been redone this September. As for our beach front, having the Waimea Canyon at the mouth of our town causes the run off into our ocean certain times throughout the year. We share with our guests to enjoy a run, or stroll on the shore, but to utilize our pool for swimming purposes. We also encourage our guests to take a short drive only 5 minutes away to a beautiful white sand beach with lifeguard attendant. Waimea has some of the most beautiful beach parks surrounding our property that surfers and swimmers alike come from all over the island to enjoy.
Our Cottages also has a beautiful beach estate in Hanalei right on the Bay with a large house for 12 and a cottage for 3.
Again, we apologize for not fulfilling your expectations but appreciate your comments as it will continually keep us "on our toes".
Happy that you enjoyed our peace and quiet.
Much Aloha...for coming to Sunny Waimea...and not if, but when you return to Kauai in the future...please give us another chance to make it up to you and your loved ones... if not in Waimea...then Hanalei on the Bay !
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 March 2008

We stayed three nights to attend a wedding, and it was amazing! We booked a one bedroom cottage but were upgraded to a two bedroom cottage. We were separated from the ocean by a lawn, and we could hear the surf breaking. The cottage we stayed in is called "Unit B", and it was secluded from many of the the other houses, so we felt as if we had the entire property to ourselves. The kitchen was large, and there was a separate eating area. It was a little retro, and could use a bit of updating, as could the bathrooms. We were in other cottages, and many of them have very modern kitchens and bathrooms. Although our cottage could have used a bit of modernization, it was immaculately clean.

The living room was also very spacious and had a dining area in front of the large sliding glass doors, which led to a large ocean facing deck. The bedrooms were huge, and there was a sitting area adjacent to the master, with a day bed and chairs - very cute. The mattress was wonderful, as were the pillows and linens - all of great quality (high threadcount, feather pillows, etc).

The wedding was hosted at the property, and it was amazing. They were married on the lawn facing the ocean, and it couldn't have been a more perfect setting.

We would definately recommend staying at the property; it's ideal for couples looking for peace and quiet. The beach in front of the property, however, is not ideal for recreation. It's murky because the nearby river empties into it, and sharks like murky water. Also, the surf is a bit rough. There are many wonderful beaches nearby, so this isn't really a problem, and the pool area is nice.

Stayed March 2008
Helpful?
2 Thank Sprootie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Cruz
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2008

We stayed 4 nights in an ocean front cottage and absolutely loved it! It was immaculately clean, great view of the ocean with our "own" hammock directly in front of our lanai. Fantastic place to relax.

My only suggestion of improvement would be for them to offer some lightweight breakfast service in the main lodge - so you wouldn't have to make coffee, etc. (or go out) in the morning.

  • Stayed February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SCTravelerSantaCruz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sacramento, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2008

My wife and I wanted a quiet, romantic getaway, and that's exactly what we got! Well, there was the occasional rooster crowing at the oddest hours, and one night a wedding party kept us up for a while, but otherwise we couldn't have been happier. Our cabin faced the ocean, and sitting on the porch petting the local cats and reading was soooo nice. The cabin itself was old and small, but we weren't looking for luxury. The grounds were beautiful, and there was a hammock right by the beach in front where we spent several evenings cuddled together watching the stars and enjoying the sound of the surf. My biggest complaint was that they had closed the brewery, which we'd visited on a previous trip and had led us to come back. Oh, well... food and beer from the store is cheaper anyway. This is no luxury spa, but in our opinion, it's the most romantic getaway we've been to yet!

  • Liked — The beautiful grounds and location right on the ocean
  • Disliked — The distance from most other island activities
  • Stayed August 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank TheMoons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Waimea Plantation Cottages

Property: Waimea Plantation Cottages
Address: 9400 Kaumualii Highway, Waimea, Kauai, HI 96796
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Hawaii > Kauai > Waimea
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Waimea
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Waimea Plantation Cottages 3.5*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Private, individual plantation cottages set on a historic 27-acre coconut plantation in a beachside setting close to Kauai's famous Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon. Each self-contained cottage has been fully restored with modern appliances, full kitchens, and amenities. The simple, comfortable charm, genuine history and beautiful grounds allow guests to enjoy a unique experience unlike any other in the islands. Waimea Plantation Cottages offers beautiful settings for Wedding Celebrations, Anniversaries, Family Reunions, and Corporate Business meetings. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aston Waimea Plantation Cottages Hotel Waimea
Resortquest Waimea Plantation Cottages
Waimea Plantation Cottages Kauai

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