Royal Kona Resort Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Big Island, Hawaii, United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • Tiny bathrooms
  • Small swimming pool and no Jacuzzi
  • No room service
  • Daily (or weekly) fee for WiFi

Bottom Line

The low-key, 436-room Royal Kona has long been an architectural landmark of the Kailua Bay coastline. Its convenient downtown location, affordable rooms, and private lagoon access are all pluses, but be prepared to sacrifice a few frills. There is no Jacuzzi and the pool is small. Rooms are clean and bright, but basic, with small bathrooms and dated furniture.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A no-frills classic Hawaiian feel

Guests in the lobby at the Royal Kona Resort
Guests in the lobby at the Royal Kona Resort

The Royal Kona is small and no-frills, but the significant upsides -- private lagoon access, a beautiful oceanfront setting on a volcanic outcropping, and a convenient location near downtown Kona -- make it a good value.

Once you enter the property, there’s no indication of being so close to town, and the lagoon adds to the feeling of seclusion. Guests that prefer not to walk to town in the evenings will find a decent amount to do on-site. The restaurant and bar are popular with locals as well as guests, and have casual atmospheres and beautiful ocean views. The oceanfront Coconut Grove area hosts traditional luaus three nights per week, along with a recurring concert series featuring well-known touring performers.

 Location

The closest resort to downtown Kailua-Kona

The Royal Kona is located on the rocky coastline of Kailua Bay in downtown Kailua-Kona, just off of busy Ali'i Drive. It's surrounded by well-lit residential and commercial properties, but it's buffered from traffic noises by their parking lots, tennis courts and property walls. The resort's oceanfront Coconut Grove area, where luaus and concerts take place, is centrally located between the room towers and next to the swimming pool. Private access (unique on the island) to the lagoon and sandy beach cove is located toward the northern edge of the property. Set just above the lagoon and overlooking the coastline is Nohea Point, the newly developed location for weddings and private functions, which is less secluded than the lagoon due to neighboring apartments within view.

Due to the Royal Kona’s downtown location, renting a car is not a necessity for those who enjoy exploring by foot. Just across from the shore on nearby Ali‘i Drive, a variety of locations for island shopping are available, and equipment rentals for outdoor activities are close at hand. A wide range of dining options are also within walking distance, including one-of-a-kind cafes, restaurants, and bars, as well as familiar chains -- offering local, international and American cuisine, and at multiple locations, live music.

  • 20-minute drive from Kona International Airport ($30 cab or shuttle)
  • 2-hour-30-minute drive from Hilo International Airport
  • Short walk to downtown nightlife, shopping and restaurants on the way to downtown Kailua-Kona
  • 15-minute walk or 2-minute drive to downtown Kailua-Kona
  • 3-minute drive to Kamoa Point beach
  • 5-minute drive to Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area beach
  • 45-minute drive to Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, one of the island's top beaches
  • 2-hour-15-minute drive to Akaka Falls State Park, home to the 442-foot Akaka Falls and the 100-foot Kahuna Falls
  • 2-hour-25-minute drive to Mauna Kea Observatories (at the summit)
  • 3-hour-30-minute drive to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to the island's most popular volcanoes

 Rooms

Rooms are basic and outdated, but clean and bright, and most have at least a partial ocean view

Ocean View from the Kailua Bay Junior Suite
Ocean View from the Kailua Bay Junior Suite

The Royal Kona has 436 rooms and suites located in three oceanfront towers (Ali‘i, Lagoon and Bay). All rooms have private lanais, but the lanais are somewhat stark, with cement floors, plastic chairs and empty planters. Large floor-to-ceiling windows let in outside light, and full-length wood panels can be drawn as shades. The layout of the towers allows for most rooms to have some portion of an ocean view, with the exception of the Mountain View rooms. The latest renovation took place in 2007, but most furniture (which is sturdy, but with visible signs of wear) is still dated. The rooms are clean, but the decor is plain and the bathrooms are tiny.

All Rooms Include:

Room Types:

  • Garden/Mountain View: 320 square feet; two double beds or one king bed
  • Standard Ocean View: 320 square feet; two double beds or one king bed
  • Partial Ocean View: 320 square feet; two double beds or one king bed
  • Ocean Front: 320 square feet; two double beds or one king bed
  • Corner King: 450 square feet; king bed
  • Kailua Bay Suites: King bed; open living area
  • Royal Ocean Junior Suites: King bed; wrap-around lanai; sofa bed; sitting area
  • Ocean Front Lagoon Suite with Parlor: King bed; larger private lanai; sofa bed; and separate living area

 Features

Rare private ocean access and one of Kona’s best bars

Tennis Courts at the Royal Kona Resort
Tennis Courts at the Royal Kona Resort

The private cove access available at the Royal Kona is its most notable on-site feature, since it is a rare exception to island-wide laws mandating public access to the coastline. The oceanfront luaus and high-profile concerts that take place in the 500-person capacity Coconut Grove area are also a notable draw.

  • Private saltwater lagoon and small beach
  • Small oceanfront swimming pool
  • Traditional luau three days per week, as well as occasional concerts, in the oceanfront Coconut Grove area
  • Fitness center is a converted guest room on the main floor accessed by key card from 4:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Hair salon
  • Massage and spa center housed in two converted guest rooms on the main floor
  • Four lighted tennis courts
  • Tennis pro shop with instruction services available
  • Nohea Point and Sunset Cove for weddings and private events
  • Wedding services
  • Activity desk in the lobby
  • Meeting rooms ranging from 20- to 130-person capacity, with larger outdoor areas available
  • Fee for Wi-Fi
  • Self-service coin laundry facility

 Food

Casual, oceanfront restaurant and bar with ocean views and live music

Entrance to Don's Mai Tai Bar
Entrance to Don's Mai Tai Bar

Don the Beachcomber Restaurant and Don’s Mai Tai Bar both serve Asian-fusion cuisine for lunch and dinner are popular gathering places for oceanfront sunset viewing, island drinks and live music.

 Bottom Line

The low-key, 436-room Royal Kona has long been an architectural landmark of the Kailua Bay coastline. Its convenient downtown location, affordable rooms, and private lagoon access are all pluses, but be prepared to sacrifice a few frills. There is no Jacuzzi and the pool is small. Rooms are clean and bright, but basic, with small bathrooms and dated furniture.

Things You Should Know About Royal Kona Resort

Address

  • 75-5852 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Room Types

  • Alii Tower Kailua Bay Junior Suite
  • Garden/Mountain Guest Room
  • Lagoon Tower Ocean Front Suite
  • Ocean Front Corner King Room
  • Ocean Front Guest Room
  • Ocean View Guest Room
  • Partial Ocean View Guest Room
  • Royal Ocean Junior Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 436
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Big Island, Hawaii
Address: 75-5852 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
(See Map)
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