More about Castle Kona Bali Kai
Kona Bali Kai - Ocean view from 366
My wife and I stayed at the Kona Bali Kai during September of 2006. Unit we stayed in was unit 366. Great ocean view with just the right amount of background from the ocean. The unit we were assigned was set up very well and fully equipped to include snorkeling equipment and body boards to use at the surfing beach. Good airflow so we never had to turn on the air conditioning.
I understand the unit owners decorate each unit to their own tastes and the owners of this unit clearly understand what the vacationing couple is looking for!
No issues, no complaints and we would certainly stay there again.
B&B's are an awesome value.
This is Lowe's Cottage in Wailua on Kaua‘i. Very nice and very affordable. We loved it.
Another place worth mentioning is Arnott's Lodge
in Hilo on the Big Island. We were very skeptical about our reservations due to the low cost of their DELUXE ROOM. But you get a discount on their tours when you also stay at their lodge. That made it appealing. If you just need a clean place to stay at night after exploring the whole day like we do, this is as good as any. We found the building we were in to be of recent construction and was clean. We were pleasantly surprised. We originally found this place because of a blurb in a travel mag about their guided tours. We went on their Mauna Kea Summit and Stargazing Tour and their Afternoon Lava Hike. These were well worth the cost (more on these in the "Off the Beaten Path" section).
In addition to those, we have stayed at several other hotels on different islands. Rather than go into detail about each, I will just list them (in no particular order):
Please note: Outrigger and Ohana are owned and operated by the same company. Outrigger is the more prestigeous and Ohana more value- or family-oriented.
Marc Royal Suites in Waikiki
OHANA Royal Islander [Outrigger] in Waikiki
Kona Bali Kai in Kailua-Kona
Maui Islander in Lahaina
Outrigger Royal Sea Cliff Resort in Kona (it was an Aston property back then)
Banyan Harbor in Lihue, Kaua‘i
Aston's Waimea Plantation Cottages in Waimea, Kaua‘i. Get Cottage A....we loved it! If you're looking for impartial reviews of hotels you really need to get the guidebooks offered here: Wizard Publications
Cottages and B&B's are the most over-looked affordable method of lodging in Hawai‘i. Check this site If you do not require the amenities of a 5-star resort (or any resort for that matter), you should look into a B&B or cottage. Some of these are free-standing one-bedroom homes (this is what we prefer) for $100 to $130 per night that provide peace and quiet that would cost you much more at a resort. There are no fellow hotel patrons talking too loudly in the hallway or slamming their room doors either. Another advantage is that many of these include some type of kitchen or kitchenette so that you can prepare a meal at home instead of eating out which will save you a little $$.
If you choose to stay at a multi rented-room-type house, you'll save even more $$. We prefer NOT to do this due to the lack of lounging privacy.
If you find a place that looks nice, get in a forum and post a message. You're sure to find someone that's stayed there before or at least give some help on finding a good place. Always try to find some info on the place prior to making your reservation and paying because the biggest pitfall is that by the time you get there and see that the place you've chosen and paid for is a dump, it's too late to change. But, I guess, that is also part of the fun of travel....the anticipation.
Definitely not a castle
We stayed at Castle Kona Bali Kai, for a day and we are glad we booked it for only a day (the next day we moved to Outrigger resort). First of all, they don't have all the rooms on the ocean side building, so our room was in a apartment complex across the road to where the hotel office was. The apartments were old, they had roaches in the kitchen and bathrooms, the room was right next to the road and it was noisy all night long, the curtain wouldn't close completely, so bed/living room is partly visible from outside.
Apart from the above, there was no internet access (this was important for us) in the room, they had wireless access in the hotel lobby, as long as the office is open and the office is open only till 10PM. We paid $109/day +taxes. For that price you can get a much better hotel in that area.
My family and I recently stayed at the Castle Kona Bali Kai and it was a terrible experience. The condo smelled like a wet dog, had bugs and ants. We will never, ever stay there again.
We rented an OCEAN VIEW condo for one week at Castle Kona, April 14 through 22.
We had a great time. The condo itself was well kept, nice furniture and decor, quiet and comfortable and free parking The pool/jacuzzi was clean and quite adequate.
The constant din of the waves washing over the lava shoreline, especially at night, is a sound you'll have to get used to. We did'nt mind it at all, you can close the lanai doors to soften the sound. As for the lanai, table, chairs, very nice view! You will often see sea turtles swimming in the shallow tide pools, and in the afternoon they come up on the shore to bask in the sun! You'll also see them feeding as you snorkel, an amazing sight!
There was daily maid service, the office staff was friendly and cordial upon our arrival and at check out. The Castle kona was a short drive from the main shopping area, where you'll find a collection of restaurants and gift shops. Fast food to full dining. I've read negative reviews and good reviews about ths place. But, that could be said about any and all Hotels along the Kona coast. Over the years we have visited Maui, Kauai, Oahu and now "The Big Island". We have never had a bad or disappointing experience. My honest and sincerest opinion of Castle Kona Bali Kai is that its a nice, decent, clean, and affordable place to stay. I definetly would return to the Castle Kona. No matter where you go...there YOU are.
We just returned from 2 weeks in Hawaii. The first week was on the Island of Kauai and the second was on the Big Island. We booked 1 week at the Castle Kona Bali Kai. When we got there, we saw that the pool had no water in it. We asked at the desk and was told that some repairs had to be done. Ok, I figured we would just go to the beach, no big deal.
When we got up to our room which was a #201, a three bedroom, on the surface it looked ok. Then we noticed that the windows in the bathroom did not have screens on them and we saw ants on the floor. I called the desk and was told that they would send up bug spray. We went out for dinner and came back. When I went into the master bedroom, this huge roach came walking out of the bathroom on the rug. I'm not kidding, this had to be at least 2 inches long.
That was it for me. I got on the computer to look for more hotels and made several calls. That night my daughter and I slept on the couch wrapped in beach towels, my one son slept in a chair, my other son slept on top of the bed without covers and my husband slept in one of the twin beds. I got up the next morning at 6:00 am and got back on the phone to try to get a room.
We finally got a condo in Wiakaloa at the Wiakaloa Colony Villa. This was a lot more money but at least there were no roaches. We received a refund for all but one night. Like I said, we could handle ants, but roaches, no way. When we checked out, we were told by the management company that this room is one that is on their list not to rent. They do not know why it was rented to us.
Not a Castle, Not a Resort, Not Bali ....
What a bad experience... First of all, it’s 3 miles from the “resort” to town, so you can’t walk there easily, you always have to use the car. And you always go in the town, because there almost nothing to do at Castle Resort Kona Bali Kai. Just a very small swimming pool, squeezed between the parking (all the ground level) and the office; almost no beach, just some patches of grass, again between the parking and the sea. No garden, no restaurant, nothing to do.
I was given a small studio on the mountain side (not a mountain view), so my unit was on the other side of the road, road that I had to cross every time I wanted to go to the pool or to the sea; the traffic on this road is pretty heavy. The room was at the third floor, no elevator, with an old AC (box unit in a window), so noisy that it was impossible to sleep with this noise. There was not enough soap provided for the stay!!! (I had to buy myself those amenities).
The view from my balcony was the back of a convenience store, with the trash container, etc…
The morning after the first day, when I asked for another room, I was told that I had to pay another $90/night to upgrade (to add to the already paid $150/night …). That was too much… I left…
My wife and I spent 9 days in an ocean side room on the 4th floor (room 402) mid March 2006.
We were very pleased with our stay here. As a young couple who would rather spend money on meaningful adventures in Hawaii rather than overpriced accommodations and the Kona Bali Kai fit our bill.
It is a bit tired. Like other reviewers I will attest to the fact that it needs some renovations. Common walkway carpets are dingy but not disgusting. Our room wasn’t impressively decorated but it was comfortable and clean. We cooked most of our meals in the well furnished kitchen and loved having laundry machine/dryer in the room.
There was an AC wall unit in the living room which we used in conjunction with a small portable fan and ceiling fans to keep the condo pleasantly cool (my wife was cold most mornings). NOTE: AC is a necessity!!!! Request it and book somewhere else if it isn’t available.
NOTE: The pool is building locked and at best gets maybe 2 hours of sun a day. We never used the pool. Spend a day at a mega resort if you want a great pool experience while you’re in Kona.
By far the best amenity of the Kona Bali Kai is its proximity to the ocean. You really do look down on tidal pools and turtles. There is a small maybe 10 yard beach and/or a grassy area for sun bathing. No swimming here as it’s rocky.
There was an excellent surf break called Banyans (bidirectional reef break) directly in front of our room and another called Lyman’s (lefty point break) about 200 yards to the South. These breaks are pretty much locals only but by surfing respectfully you will not get hassled. After surfing there for the week I felt comfortable around the locals and had made some friends.
Note: There is a surfboard and boogie board rental shop down stairs which rents equipment. I borrowed a board from a friend in Kona but asked about prices for this review and the store manager quoted $75 for the week (not sure if that is 5 days or 7).
The surfing near the hotel is NOT for beginners. You will either get beat up by the reef or by angry locals if you are not an experienced and respectful surfer.
BTW the surf was up while we were there and the “pounding surf” and “canon firing surf” mentioned in other posts was not a nuisance on the fourth floor so if you are concerned about that book a room on the 3rd or 4th floor. I conducted business via cell phone on the lanai and that wouldn’t have been possible if the surf was ridiculously loud.
Finally the condo is well located if you have a rental car. You can drive a mile or two in either direction to hit up Kona proper or the Keahou shopping area. We spent most evenings having cocktails at the Outrigger, about a mile south or in seaside Kona about 2 miles north.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for luxury you will be sorely disappointed if you book here. The Kona Bali Kai is like visiting your grandmother’s 40 year old beach condo. You will however save a ton of money by booking here over a mega resort and will save additionally by being able to cook and prepare your own food.
Feel free to e-mail me if you have further questions
Not for the faint of heart or the picky-STRICTLY a Budget Option!
My family and I stayed in unit #201 during our stay from May 26th to June 3rd 2006. There are many sides to this property which have been discussed in some of the previous reviews. Here's the skinny on our stay.
1. Unit was very dirty especially the carpet! We had to wash all of the utensils, dinnerware and glassware before beginning to use them.
2.The unit is very dated with an 8-track stereo system (that doesn't work)
3. Many of the outlets and lights don't work either.. that or we were turning lights off and on in another unit.
4. The entire building needs some TLC in other words some $$$ spent to maintain and improve.
5. The unit itself had a superb view and a lovely lanai. There is no AC so that's something you have to decide if its important to a satisfactory vacation for you and your family.
6. Many reports of "thunderous" surf but our entire family enjoys it and sleeps better the louder it is at night.
7. The pool is not in a desireable location but it was VERY clean and it was great to use in the evening to swim, relax, chat and soak in the jacuzzi! Better than spending a fortune at one of Kona's nightspots with their $10 cocktails.
8. The staff were very friendly and courteous. The security guard's schedule was indeterminable but he/she did keep the locals from sitting or leaning on our vehicles.
9. We began our stay during the Memorial Day wknd. Lots of locals using the public access to surf and BBQ. They were friendly and seemed harmless but all the same we didn't feel comfortable being "with" them sharing their space.
10 After discussing the neighboring public access we discovered that the location is a PRIME place for the locals to hang and surf. At least 1 person on the picnic table and as many as 20 during our stay. The catch was you had to make sure you weren't showing your assets off when coming out of the shower or bedroom because of failing to close the curtains or glass panes.
Ultimate summary: Strictly for the budget conscious who arent hung up on decor or a place that is well maintained. Personally we wouldn't have stayed but there are few 3 bedroom condos that are both affordable and lovely. Would my family stay there again I would have to give that a definite NO! Did it serve our basic needs? Yes.
According to feeback while we were there the units vary wildly in decor, cleanliness and general maintenance. One item of note is while waiting for my sister in the parking lot a group of visitors were yelling at the desk clerk. Apparently they were shocked and upset at the conditions in their condo. Myself I have taken the Hawaiian attitude of "no hurries, no worries" even if it's not ideal your still in paradise and you might as well enjoy your stay whether it's the Ritz or a place associated with the Blue Light Special.
I have photos so I will try to download those so you can see the place through my eyes!
Hit and miss.......
We stayed in Unit 217, rented directly thru Property Networks. Rate was about half the Castle Resort rack rate.
I've been staying KBK every year since 1988, and can tell you that this place is dated. Some owners have updated their units, some haven't. Some have done a half-ass job, others have sunk more dough into their units.
The outdoor carpeting I swear is at least 10 years old. It was originally blue, but in many areas it looks naturally black, it's so filthy.
And yes, many units have ant and cockroach issues..... been there done that. The reviewers who have mentioned that issue, aren't exaggerating one bit. Unit 217 was clear of the pests however. In all fairness, ant and cockroach issues can be found in the nicest digs in tropical environments.
All it takes is to leave some food out, or crumbs in the garbage! I've seen mainlanders feeding the "lovely birds" by throwing chips, bread etc. on their lanai's.....IDIOTS!!!! Ant's and cockroaches see that as the welcome home red carpet.
The bedrooms on the street side really need to have the windows replaced. The windows are the old 1950's California desert style flip open panes, that don't block noise. Alii Drive is NOISY. The bars close at 2:00am, and like clockwork the Harley's went flying past the bedroom window at 2:15-2:30. Nice.
The trick at KBK, is to rent on the 4th floor. Floors 2 and 3 are too noisy. Noise travels like crazy in that complex. Noisy sliders on the bathtub shower doors sound like rumbling trains at 6:00am, and outdoor furniture being slid around on lanai's at all hours sounds like it's right outside YOUR lanai doors. If you stay on the 4th floor, there is no one above you but angels, God bless their souls.
All in all, KBK is very 1980's. It finally struck me this last trip over...... Why in the hell do I continue to stay there?! Well, out of habit sadly.
This was the last time however, the place is just too filthy and noisy overall, and many of my fellow renters appeared to have just left a Jerry Springer taping. Ugh.
Kona Bali Kai's oceanfront locale. We loved it!
My super delicious salad (at Starbucks)
Outside Mexico Lindo (night time)
Kailua Beach 5 PM late April
I am travelling to Kailua in October and staying in a little rental near Lanikai beach. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with kayaking to the two islands in the distance there. They can be seen from Lanikai Beach and I have heard that one may kayak to them? Any tips or experiences with this?
Re: Kailua/Lanikai kayaking
Yes! I have kayaked out to the northernmost of the two Mokoluas, the one with the small sandy beach. It's easy to do in an ocean kayak -- especially in the summer when the seas are really flat. I wouldn't recommend it in rough water, as the breakers around the reefs and the wrap-around waves can be daunting.