Results 1-10of 11 Reviews
February 15, 2005
The Kona Islander is of the new breed of condotels that are sweeping the state of Hawaii. (Please see my experiences article on the condotel phenomenon). One of the best features of this property is the location. Although I looked at many maps while planning, all of them really skirted the issue of where things are located. For example, everything is just "minutes from the beach." It turns out that most of the properties I researched were a good 5 miles out of town near rocky beaches unsuitable for swimming, with no markets or restaurants in the area. The Islander, on the other hand, is smack dab in the middle of town, with bars, restaurants, gift shops, supermarkets, a beach, and pretty much anything you might want all within walking distance.
Each studio is equipped with a fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, dishes, phone, and cable TV. Any more than that depends on the unit. Our room was nicely appointed in rattan and island prints, and our view of the garden couldn't have been better. The "kitchenette" was added by tearing out what used to be the dressing area, where you would normally find a bathroom sink and a closet. Instead they installed a kitchen sink on one side, with a refrigerator and microwave where the closet was. I found it a bit disturbing to brush my hair and watch my husband shave in the same room where we prepared our food. It was not so disturbing that we left, but it was a weird set up that you may not care for.
The garden area sports a very nice pool, hot tub, tropical garden, and two large gas grills for community use. The grills were popular since all anyone had to cook with in their room was a microwave and maybe a toaster oven if they were lucky. From our lanai, I watched the nightly procession of cooks from 4:30pm to well after sunset wait their turn, fish in hand. We ate between 7:30 and 8pm, after everyone else was done cooking, to avoid the rush. The grills were cleaned every morning by the grounds staff, as was the pool.
The Islander is a homey, comfortable place to stay at a budget price. It isn't the Marriott, but it isn't priced like the Marriott, either. The room quality can vary greatly; make sure you insist on a "four-star" room.
From journal The Black Sands of Kona
by TRAVEL HYPE
June 11, 2004
We returned to the resort, friendly staff check us into our villa, were we ever surprised. It was so spacious and well maintained. Stocked with everything we needed. The living room was comfortable; I loved the wall-to-wall sliding glass doors leading to the balcony, which provided a view of the beautiful blue ocean, across the street. We had a Jacuzzi tub in the master bedroom with a private door leading to the balcony. The balcony had a dinning area, underneath a ceiling fan to circulate the air on those hot days. There were also two chairs with a small table in the corner. We enjoyed peaceful morning breakfasts and watched the sunset as we enjoyed our home cooked dinners on the balcony. We prepared our dinners in the kitchen equipped to make cooking; easy work and clean ups were a snap with the handy dishwasher. We were even able to wash our clothes before we left because our villa was equipped with a washer and dryer.
Maintenance was called to fix our dishwasher and a leaky air conditioner. They were fast and courteous; they fixed the problem with the dishwasher, but were not able to fix the leaky air conditioner. The grounds were well maintained and were beautiful although we had a problem with stray cats that took over our balcony. There were activities planned such as the Aloha Party, crafts, ukulele and hula lessons, and other activities.
On the second day of our visit, the concierge staff had a very informative session to provide information about island activities. I found this to be very helpful. Representatives were present to give details about the activities. The concierge staff was willing to HELP with booking activities for us. They offered to provide some activities for free, provided we attend a timeshare sales meeting, I refused the meeting and this is where my vacation went downhill. I was treated in a rude manner and when another staff person took over after I complained, my problems got worse. There was a mix up with two activities. The resort took steps to correct the first problem but the second error was charged to MY CREDIT CARD, to the tune of $118.74. Neither Roberts’ Tours nor Fairfield will take responsibility and I was charged for a service that was never rendered. This is a warning to confirm your own activities.
All in all, the retirement celebration was great.
From journal The Big Island Retirement
by Barber E. Lane
Lake Forest, California
November 24, 2002
This particular location was listed as a one-bedroom unit that slept 4, but upon arrival we found the one bedroom was not a separate room, but an area off of the dinky living room which was separated only by a flimsy fabric sliding accordion door/screen. Since there were 4 of us in our party; a couple, elderly friend, and 1 1/2 year old child, this did not permit any noise abatement or privacy for the entire week. No one got any sleep.
The resort is located across the street and back a way from the water which you are teased with by a large resort blocking the view. Our particular unit was up very rough wooden steps, and was very very tiny. It was poorly lit and decorated in low-end quality furnishings with wash-worn linens. The carpet was dirty and the walls were dark paneling.
The kitchen was tiny, only large enough for one person and not conducive to cooking a meal. The living room consisted of an older style sofa, one chair, and an old TV on a rickety cart.
The bedroom area had a bed and small dresser. The bathroom was basic with minimal counter space. A crib for the baby was placed alongside the bed, and there was no room to walk around the bed, so entry to the bed was from the foot. The crib that had been pre-arranged to be in the room was not present and when it was finally delivered we had to tie pieces of it together to keep it from falling apart. When inquiring about a safer, more suitable crib, we were told that that was the only one available. What's a parent to do - the baby had to sleep somewhere, though little sleep was forthcoming with the nightly worry about the safety of the crib.
The air conditioning unit located outside the front door at the top of the stairs malfunctioned. After a day and a half waiting for repair, the unit produced minimal cooling and rattled and banged day and night at decibel levels high enough to keep us all awake. After inquiring about relocation to a different unit, we were again told there were no others available.
The outdoor pool was small, unattractive and questionable in terms of its sanitation. We never entered it the entire week. The timeshare turned what could have been a week in paradise into a desire to go home. A getaway trip for our elderly friend who was in mourning from recent loss of a loved one was not a treat and escape at all. We were embarrassed by the housing we had to offer her when we'd wanted to do something nice for her. Our dream vacation to the Big Island was not fulfilled. I'm sure this island is wonderful, but from where we were staying, we couldn't see it. We've never been back.
From journal Even in Paradise, Where You Stay Does Make a Difference
Saint Paul, Minnesota
July 25, 2002
Hula performances are given often, both on the grounds and at the plaza of the shopping center just across the street. Look for a craft show and a tour operators presentation on the grounds at least once/week.
Too bad there's no time here to cover nearby tour activities. Let's hope a few pictures post. But with a websearch, you can find more sites with pictures of the resort.
From journal Hawai'i - the Big Island
November 13, 2002
The activities desk was very helpful in pointing out good places to go and setting up tours like whale watching, and we got discounted tickets to a luau. They also have a party each week where they make mai tais, serve pizza, and give hula lessons.
The resort is still under construction and probably will be for a while, so some of the amenities are not yet available. However, we were never disturbed by construction noises.
From journal Week on the Big Island
September 24, 2003
Kona's Ali'i drive was great to explore on foot, many restaurants and shops. Free parking across from waterfront row.Best Things About the Resort:Our unit was near the swimming pool. The units are huge and very nice. Luxurious amenities. Very artistic island handicraft touches everywhere, from the magnificently hand-carved wood entrance door to the teak patio furniture on the lanai, the Hawaiian quilt bedspread, the rattan placemats, the lovely hand crafted palm fronds waste baskets, the vases with tall bamboo sticks, the unique cabinetry in the kitchen and the armoire in the living area, the bamboo shower doors, and the old style therapeutic bathtub. All gave the unit the feeling of a Polynesian hideaway! There are gas BBQ areas for guests to use, along with beach mats, chairs, floats, etc. all available free of charge.Resort Experience:The grounds are nicely landscaped, with many varieties of tropical flowers in bloom everywhere. The numerous cultural activities offered at the resort range from lei making to Hawaiian dancing lessons to Hawaiian language classes, and many more. The staff are very friendly and helpful.
From journal The big island of Hawaii
Hope, British Columbia
January 18, 2003
They have a wonderful weekly complimentary mai-tai party around the pool area with Hawaiian music and dance lessons. The resort is very respectful of Hawaaian traditions and has several sacred sites on the property.
From journal Two weeks on the Big Island
July 8, 2003
From journal Kona Hawaii 2001
Los Angeles, California
May 20, 2003
The activities center was very helpful in arranging all island activities and provided great discounts. There was no on-site restaurant at the time (it was being renovated), nor was there a useful store. The front desk said that there was internet access available, but every time I checked, it wasn't available. They had a nice reception one night with free entertainment and appetizers. We also enjoyed a Tai Chi class one morning overlooking the ocean.
The property is adjacent to a beautiful golf course which ends at the rocky shore, but we were forbidden to cross the golf course to get to the shore. There are better beaches further north anyway.
All in all it was a great place and I would definitely want to return.
From journal Unspoiled Hawaii
December 27, 2007