I found the Kona Islander through a fluke - I called a woman with a condo to rent, but she was booked and suggested I call the Kona Islander Inn (http://www.konahawaii.com). It was a relatively short-notice booking, and I was beginning to think that we would have to break down and pay the $200-plus per night the big resorts were asking for. At this point, paying those prices would have put us on the Kool-Aid and peanut butter meal plan, so I was relieved to find a studio "condo" for $89 per night.
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.