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All reviewsherb gardenputting greenocean frontwalking pathliving roomthe kitchentennis courtsvacation internationaleshuffle boardtimeshare exchangeevery other dayisland orientationtime shareono family restaurantkoi pondwithin walking distancehot tub
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Reviewed 19 November 2011

We are owners at Vacation International (VI) and this was our first time at this location. it's really in a perfect location. Kapa'a is a great place to be for exploring the northern part (Princeville and Hanalei) and the southern part (Poipu and Kalaheo). Check-in is easy and fast. Everyone in the lobby is friendly and helpful.

The one thing I would like to comment on. We were given a room between 2 families with little children. It was just me and my husband. The Pono Kai is a very large resort and while I know that only a small percentage are probably VI units, surely they could have done better with putting adults without children in the same but different area than adults with children. We heard a little child with a horrible recurring cough both early in the morning and late at night.

The exercise room could also use a little updating. It's small with some free weights and 2 treadmills, one of which was not working while we were there.

The concierge desk was very helpful with scheduling activities or guiding you for just about anything you want to do.

Wifi is available in the lobby and by the pool (which is weird cause who sits by the pool with a laptop???). There is also a PAY computer in the lobby that you can use. There is also a free computer that you can use to print your boarding passes which is a nice perk.

Our unit had a compact washer/dryer but there is a full size pay washer/dryer available onsite as well.

The location of Pono Kai is very good for a number of reasons. There is a walking trail that walks along the water and the entire trail is 8 miles long so you can walk for a long time in either direction. Also you can pretty much walk a few blocks to a number of great restaurants and great shops. And we were on the island for 11 days and the best shave ice I got was right across the street from the Pono Kai. Very lovely servings, only 1 size for $3, with lots of flavors and very generous the syrup.

We ate at the Olympic Cafe which is walking distance from Pono Kai - the menu is extensive and lots of salad options.

The queen bed in our unit was a little soft for our backs - we prefer a firmer mattress. But we were only there for 4 nights so it worked ok. If we were there longer, it would have become problematic. Usually at the VI properties, we can try out the wall bed in the living room, but this wall bed looked to be only double size and we are both over 6' tall so double beds do not work at all for us. Would have been nicer to have a king bed.

There is a small flat screen TV in the bedroom which worked fine but the screen seemed very small especially since the armoire where the TV was could clearly hold a larger size.

I do like the unit was stocked with extra pillows, towels, toilet paper/tissue/paper towels. And the lighting in the bathroom was very good.

The lanai is very nice - there is a round table and 4 chairs. I did notice some of the other units had lounge chairs on their lanai (not sure where they came from - pool area maybe?) - and I noticed that not all the lanai furniture on all the units matched. Just a slight observation as I do notice stuff like that.

There are tons of roosters and chickens and cats roaming the property. I didn't have problem with it - I actually loved seeing the little families of chickens and chicks walk around and the cats seemed to co-exist well with them. The lawns are beautiful maintained. I saw a BBQ pit near our unit that another guest was using which seemed like a nice option to have.

The pool is small but works great for kids. And there is a hot tub too.

We love the VI properties. We are owners and have upgraded our points with them many times. The staff is always very nice and seem to love working there. Overall we were happy with our stay at the Pono Kai.

If you have any questions about anything I neglected to mention here, please feel free to contact me.

Room Tip: If you are a a couple without children, ask if you are being given a room surrounded by families with kids. We were in building J which is near the road.
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank ClaireTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2011

Stayed for 7 disappointing nights Nov 5-12 at Pono Kai on a vacation exchange with Interval. Can't beleive we traded a 5 star 2 bed, 2 bath full kitchen condo for a smelly (mold?) extremely outdated (decor and cabinets/bath fixtures, carpet and bedding from the 70's) one bed/no kitchen condo with a view of the parking lot! This was building "K". The bed spread, carpet and entire unit smelled moldy and the ratty carpet looked so filthy I did not take my shoes off. The sheets had holes in them and rusty brown stains (blood or something else?) and the bed spread was equally disgusting. The rusty. noisy ac unit that was on te lanai, took up 30% of the patio space so sitting outdoors and enjoying the "view" of the parking lot was not even pleasant. Upon inspecting the room we called the front desk to see about switching rooms but were told that Building "K" was the only unit that Interval International had units in. However, they were happy to move us 3 days later to an ocean front condo with full kitchen but it cost us an extra $260 plus tax. Paid the extra because we found out that K building has a flying termite infestation and is scheduled for a tenting fumigation - but not til February 2012! Ewwwww! The whole building should be demolished - it was by far, the worst place I've stayed in 25 years of travelling. The ground floor ocean front condo was a bit better, decor from the 80's this time - nicer carpet, full kitchen (not just a microwave and bar size fridge like K building), icky bath fixtures though - no sparkling chrome here... and did have a fantastic view of the ocean. To add to the insult of the horrible accommodation, the Pono Kai makes you pay for the in-room safe and wi fi, how cheap can they get? The tiny swimming pool and small hot tub serves all 11 buildings in the resort so plan to spend your days elsewhere. Shame on Interval for even including this property in their exchange program and shame on the Pono Kai for allowing their condo units to become shabby and outdated when their gardens and Koi Pond are so obviously well cared for. If you are thinking of booking at the Pono Kai. I strongly urge you to book somewhere else on Kauai - there are tons of timeshare condos and gorgeous hotels like the Westin, St Regis, several Marriotts, a Holiday Inn, Best Western, Sheraton etc...anywhere but here.

Room Tip: Ocean front rooms are slighter better but not guaranteed- they will probably make you pay extra after booking you into one of their older units closest to the highway
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank scubamom33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 November 2011

Lots of free activities: pool, hot tub, tennis, mini golf, croquet, etc. - great for kids, friendly, helpful staff. Community Barbecues fantastic! Amenities in rooms excellent: all the barbecuing utensils needed; food storage containers; blender, etc. Nice size rooms. Bedroom in one bedroom a little smallish. Location! Location! Location! Cant get a better location anywhere on the island. Buildings a little on the old side, but still very nice. Staff went out of there way to celebrate Halloween for the kids! Thanks Housekeeping Staff!

Room Tip: 2 bedroom rooms are amazing! We had 1 bedroom and other family had 2 bedroom - gorgeous!
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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Thank kwaleh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 November 2011

We had stayed at this property 10 years ago and they haven't changed a thing since -- part of the problem! Old, run down condo, poorly maintained and still in the 90s. Horrible internet connectivity (no wi-fi except by pool or lobby) -- you have to pay a daily or weekly fee for connectivity and it is deplorable. Grounds are lovely but they need to come to the 21st century: update the furnishings and rap about property. The "mini suite" does NOT accommodate 4 people and feel bad for the poor person/s that have to sleep on the sofa bed -- awful! Staff is rude and not too helpful. . you ask for assistance and they act like you are bothering them. The grounds are lovely, pool nice and it's centrally located, if you like Kapaa. Housekeeping is poor and rooms are not as clean as they should be. Do NOT stay in Building K!

Room Tip: If someone is going to have to sleep on a sofa bed, don't choose the mini suite. . go for a two bedroom away from the street (very noisy). If you want to be close to a beach where you can swim, this is NOT the place.
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank Ellen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 November 2011

Our experience was so poor it is hard to know where to begin...I will hit the highlights: we stayed in room 209 K Block for the first two nights of our vacation until we could not take it anymore. There were bugs everywhere. Small ones crawling all over the kitchen sink and bedroom windows. Large cockroach style bugs scattering all over the floor. It was absolutely disgusting. Finally, we demanded to be moved. So at 7pm we packed everything up again and they moved us to room 308 in the same block (one floor up). This was not comforting, but what choice did we have. Interestingly, when we went to pick up beach towels the next morning the staff worker said she had heard about us / our room trouble. She said that that room had not yet been sprayed as some had already. So the resort knew there was a problem, put us in that room anyway and did not disclose to us the issue. Later on in the week, a sign went up in the lobby advising that pest control would be fumigating. We have traveled all over the world and never encountered anything this gross. The new room they moved us to was in the typical style of this entire resort - old, nothing has been upgraded since the 60's, there is a smell of mildew everywhere. The bathrooms are very old and the beds are very uncomfortable. Cleaning is terrible. In both rooms we found hairs and dirt in what was suppose to be a freshly cleaned room. The staff we did not find to be very helpful or friendly. They push their time share and booking of excursions considerably. We received 5 phone calls by day 2 pushing for us to buy or sign up. Two of the calls were before 8:30 am. They also have this really bad welcome orientation thing they do poolside. They tell you a continental breakfast is provided, but when you show up it is some old donuts and bad drip coffee. The only thing nice about this resort is the small fish pond in the center is quite pretty and for $40 USD a day you can upgrade to a room that overlooks the ocean. You cant swim in the ocean there, the beach is poor and not ideal, but the view is better than most of the units which overlook the parking lot or busy Kuhio Highway. I say stay far away from this place ...

Room Tip: Avoid block K as it is infested with bugs.
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank j g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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