Pono Kai Resort

2 out of 5 stars2 Stars

1250 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746, United States
Pono Kai Resort
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Satisfaction Very Good
Very Good

Value Score Poor Value

Costs 46% more than similarly rated 2 star hotels

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Good For Business
  • Families75
  • Couples80
  • Solo83
  • Business100

More about Pono Kai Resort

Pono Kai Resort Good, Rooms need Attention

by A TripAdvisor Member

Our week stay in Kauai was wonderful but the 2-bedroom condo at the Pono Kai in Kapa'a was certainly not 4 or 5 Star material. Our 2-bedroom condominium was adequate but the kitchen cabinets were very poor, the toaster didn't work, and the noise from the room above us was truly unacceptable. The people above us would get up at 5 AM every morning for some reason and every footstep was heard in our room as well as other sounds/noises all day long. I'm convinced they held aerobics classes up there. There were only 3 kitchen chairs along with one stool so we had to bring in plastic patio chairs to seat 6 of us at the table made for 4. The grounds of the resort were beautiful and well-taken care of and the staff were all courteous. There were several barbeques provided around the grounds which were wonderful for preparing an outdoor cookout. The rooms just don't measure up but then again, why stay in the room when there are so many wonderful things to do and see on the rest of the island? The beach by the resort is nice but not recommended for swimming due to currents and undertows. We'll definately go to Kauai again but would not stay at the Pono Kai next time.

Our stay at the Pono Kai

by A TripAdvisor Member

We've just returned from a weeks stay at the Pono Kai. Our overall impression was very positive. It is centrally located and makes a good base to explore the island. However, travelling SW toward Lihue can take some time! The amenities were generally very good. The only recommendation we had would be to have a separate pool for kids- the pool was a little small for a resort of this size and it was predominantly used by adults who seemed a little put out with our energetic 5 year old twins.

Our apartment overlooked the ocean which was beautiful to look at but we did not feel comfortable swimming in due to the strong surf. We did see several sea turtles swimming close to the shore- VERY COOL!

The staff were very polite and the concierge were very accomodating. Everyone was very willing to help with all the activities available on the island. However, the activities were all very expensive( a minimum of $100 per person), so for a family of 6, it could be a very expensive vacation.

We had a very pleasant stay at the Pono Kai and we would definitly return here again.

Hawaiian lunch - takeout at its best

by 2rs about Pono Market

Not a restaurant, takeway and only open at daytime, Pono Market is the place all locals refered to when I asked for the best Laulau and poke. I picked up the habit of enjoying late breakfasts or early lunches with takeaway from Pono Market on one of the beaches in the Kapa'a area.

Serving Hawaiian and local food, separate selections and as platelunches. Laulau, lomi salmon, soyu ahi and limu poke, mac/saimin salad and ocean salad.

Hālawa Valley Hike

by BlueCollar

On the Island of Moloka‘i.

To the far east side sits the wonderous Hālawa Valley. Archaeologists say they have found evidence of human habitation here as far back as 650AD. And up until about 60 years ago, much of the valley was farmed with kalo (taro).

We met our guide, Lawrence Aki, at the bottom of the valley access road. It was there that he gave a little presentation. We learned that he was born and raised in this valley until age 9.

He had pictures of the valley from 1909 taken from one of the overlooking cliffs that showed the entire valley being farmed in kalo. This was odd because the valley is now overgrown with trees reaching 50 to 60 feet high. He said that he and the cooperative he runs are slowly reclaiming the land from the jungle in order to replant the kalo as his ancestors did. He said it was his dream to make pono (proper in a spiritual sense) with the ‘aina (land).

He said that it was by the 1950’s when the majority of families had gone. Because kalo farming is hard work and you are growing food to merely exist, most had sought higher income and the better life that brings from working the ranches and sugarcane fields on the other side of the island. His family finally left, too.

All along our hike we learned plenty about both the land and of our guide. We had described to us the purpose of various archaeological sites we passed and intently listened to stories of Lawrence’s youthful days living in this valley. We learned where he has traveled and of where he now lives. We heard of his trials and tribulations in dealing with the State in proclaiming rights to all the property in the valley (which they finally agreed to). We even got to hear him chant a few lines to his ancestors in his native tongue.

We found this hike to not only be educational, but interesting.

Follow this link for my picture slide show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A35iaxwZQE

Go to the link below for their website.

Not Impressed

by TripAdvisor Member ms6238

We stayed at Pono Kai in Kapaa, Kauai during our second week on our honeymoon.
The one bedroom room we stayed in was outdated, the screen door to the deck did not open very well, the bathroom wasn't very clean, the springs on the couch were broken, the bed was very uncomfortable (broken springs in the mattress and extremely flat pillows).
The only good thing that I will say about Pono Kai is the personnel in the consierge and at the front desk we all very nice and accomodating.

Great Place to stay in Kauai

by A TripAdvisor Member

Stayed at the Pono Kai Jan 15 - 22. Had a 2 bedroom with an upstairs loft and a great view of the ocean. Room was very nice with alot of room for 5 people, the master bedroom was just huge!! Great location just south of Kapaa, you can get to any place on the island easily and in no time. First, yes there are chickens and roosters, but we saw them in every city we went to. They are not that noisy and do not cause that much of a problem. Second, these are condos and I did not expect the rooms to be cleaned every day, but you can exchange your towels and sheets at any time to get clean ones. Beach is small but it is very private (it seems nobody wants to use it). The water was very calm the week we were there and we went swimming every morning. We booked a helicoptor ride (Will Squyres) and a whale watch cruise (Capt Andy's) thru the travel people at Pono Kai, both turned out fantastic. All in all we thought the Pono Kai was a tremendous place and would return any time.
About Kauai, this is a very laid back island with alot of great sites. A few musts: a tour of na Pali coast, either by sea or helicopter. Take the drive to Princeville and on to Haneli. Walk throgh downtown Kapaa and visit the shops. The best shopping is at the Coconut Plaza between Lihue and Kapaa, quite a few unique shops. The best breakfast on the island is at the Kountry Kitchen in Kapaa. We had good meals at the Bull Shed, Lemongrass (expensive), Dukes at the Marriott in Lihue and if you really want to splurge the Friday night seafood buffet at the Princeville Hotel is just tremendous ($50/person)!!!!!! All in all we had a great time in Kauaii and if we go back we will definately stay at the Pono Kai.

hope you like chickens

by A TripAdvisor Member

We stayed at the Pono Kai during our honeymoon from Oct 16-20, 2004, after some great reviews from Pleasant Holidays and this website. The resort and condo themselves were very nice. The area it is set in is very poor and "shady" to a point that we were uncomfortable taking a walk off the resort. We had an ocean front room, with a view of the sunrise....unfortunately, we weren't aware that it's on the cloudy side of the island. Also, the "activity coordinators" were not very helpful with any FREE activities, like sightseeing or hiking. They were more interested in selling you a helicopter ride or something else like that. Lots of wild chickens roaming the island, crowing 24 hours a day.
Our advise to anyone looking to go to Kauai: stay somewhere on the south shore of Kauai, which is the sunny side.
On a brighter note, we highly recommend the Kauai ATV Tour and taking the Mud Bug.

Decent value

by A TripAdvisor Member

We stayed here since a friend traded her timeshare for us as a wedding gift.

The room wasn't cleaned when we got there, even though it was nearly 5 pm. We complained, grabbed a bite and it was done when we returned, but after 14 hours of travel, it was a real drag to find the room dirty.

The maids don't come every day, but you can get towels and stuff whenever you need. We had a 1 bedroom suite that was decent. a/c worked ok too. We got sereneded by roosters 24/7, but so does most of Kauai.

The beach is kind of like a mini-cliff along most of Pono Kai's property, and only gets more inviting near the far north side of the property. The pool was kinda small and the lounge chairs can fill up quickly in the a.m.

There are laundry facities on site and a supermarket down the road - which were very convenient. As a honeymooner it was so-so, but I'd consider coming back if I had kids since there are kitchenettes in the rooms and b-b-qs all over (and cute little herb gardens around for you to cook with).

If you plan on spending most of your time driving and sightseeing all over Kauai, this is a good location - you are manageble drives to Koala town area and the canyon south and west and also Princeville to the north...you can hit all around by doing day trips from Pono Kai.

Needs some upgrades

by TripAdvisor Member TravelingTootsie

My husband I spent 3 nights at the Pono Kai in March. We stayed as resort guests not as timeshare owners. We had e-mailed ahead asking for a third floor room. We previously requested ocean front. When we arrived, the hostess told us she had recieved the e-mail and put a note to reserve a room on the third floor for us and only to change it in case of emergency. Well ,of course, an emergency occurred and we were assigned a first floor room. She could not explain why our room had been changed. The room was average at best. It seems most of the suites really need an upgrade, but as our hostess at the front desk reminded us, it is a good deal for ocean front. We were disappointed in her attitude and disinterest in our regard. We were busy every day we were there and did not spend much time in the room, so we had no severe complaints. Just be aware this is not as much a resort as it is a Travelodge suite with a pool.

Ua mau ke ea oka aina i ka pono

by lihue

Enjoy a virtual trip to the paradisical islands of Hawai'i, discovered to the western world in 1778 by Captain James Cook. He named the islands in honour of Lord Sandwich, The Sandwich Islands. King Kamehameha I. was the first polynesian sovereign, who united all the islands to one kingdom. Since 1959 it is the 50th state of the United States of America. Now it is one of the most popular destinations to people from around the world.
Did you know, that the famous Hawaiian tune 'Aloha Oe' was composed by Princess Lili'uokalani ?


Pono Market store frontPono Market store front

Forum Posts

Where to stay?

by ekling211

So I decided to stay in Kauai for Christmas and I can't decide between the few condo's that are left, I found reviews for the Pono Kai and they're very varied. I can also stay at the Sandpiper Village in Princeville but can't find any reviews on that, does anyone know if it's nice. Also I can't decide between staying in Princeville, Kapaa or Poipu in regards to weather, touristyness, beach quality (I know Princeville is not a beach area) , natural beauty and amount of congestion (it is Xmas and will be crowded everywhere). Thanks.

Re: Where to stay?

by BlueCollar

Here's my $0.02 worth:

The north side of Kaua`i (near Priceville) is much more tropical. The vegitation is lush and green. However, the rain falls a little more often than some people like (personally, being from Florida, it bothers me not). If you take the road further west of Princeville and past Hanalei, there are great beaches. Tunnels Beach with its barrier reef is great for snorkelling and the bright, slightly orange-ish colored sand is warm and friendly. And Ke`e Beach is nice, too. The head of the Kalalau Trail is here and well worth the hike to Hanakapi`ai Beach.

Kapa`a is still lush and tropical. It has a more homey feel since it has a higher density of locals living in the area. Some nice beaches here as well.

Po`ipu, on the south side, is warmer. You will find it more arrid. The vegetation reflects it. It is a good mix of touristy and local flair. Some of the prettiest beaches are here. Don't forget to see Spouting Horn.

The biggest thing to consider about your stay: plan what you want to do most while there and choose to stay near that. Why? Although it is a small island, the main road does not circumvent the island. So if you want to hike the great trails of Koke`e State Park and view Waimea Canyon while staying in Priceville, be prepared for an almost two hour drive each way. If you want to hike the Kalalau Trail and snorkel the best spot on the island at Tunnels while staying in Po`ipu, be prepared for an hour and a half drive each way.

Re: Where to stay?

by SF_Kelley

I went on vacation to Kauai in July and I stayed on the north shore near Tunnels Beach. We rented a house at http://www.kauai-jungle-paradise.com/outside.html. If you like the jungle this the place to go. Not too many tourist and the beaches were amazing.

Poipu is best in winter

by 4fortheroad

Kauai gets a lot of rain in the winter, particularly on the North Shore. Also, the surf is a lot rougher on the North Shore than the South. We have stayed at Kiahuna Plantation Condos. They have a nice beach and are conveniently located to restaurants, golf courses, etc. They have a web site where you can check them out. www.kiahunaplantation.com. The island is not that large. If you get some nice weather, it only takes 1-11/2 hours to drive from the South Shore to the North Shore.

Getting to Poipu Beach from Cruise Ship Terminal

by mpress7000

Can anyone offer any suggestions for getting form the Cruise Ship terminal at Nawiliwili Harbor. Are there suttles to the hotels in the South end that we could take. Does anyone know what a taxi would cost?

Re: Getting to Poipu Beach from Cruise Ship Terminal

by Odinnthor

Aloha nui.....d:o)

Poipu Beach area is about 14 miles from Lihue, or more precisely from Nawiliwili Harbor in Lihue, - or about 30 minutes driving. By taxi about $45-50 bucks. Here is Pono Taxi with plenty of answers. They will also do a roundtrip tour for you if you want. (So will any other taxi as well)


Aloha nui loa.......d:o)

Re: Getting to Poipu Beach from Cruise Ship Terminal

by travelgourmet

Aloha. Do you want to go to the beach or to a hotel? Well, if it is only a day sightseeing outing to go to Poipu Beach or even a hotel without luggage, then The Kauai Bus would be the least expensive. Fares start at $2.00. See their website: http://www.kauai.gov/Government/Departments/CommunityAssistance/TransportationAgency/BusSchedules/tabid/208/Default.aspx

Of course, if it is a hotel that you are traveling to with luggage then the taxi, as mentioned by OdinnThor, is right on regarding price. :-)


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 Pono Kai Resort

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Pono Kai Kapaa
Pono Kai Hotel Kapaa

Address: 1250 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746, United States