Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A no-frills classic Hawaiian feel
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.
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.
Rooms are basic and outdated, but clean and bright, and most have at least a partial ocean view
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:
Rare private ocean access and one of Kona’s best bars
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.
Casual, oceanfront restaurant and bar with ocean views and live music
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.