If you caught my post on where to stay in Maui, you got a little teaser that we did not enjoy where we stayed in Kauai. So let me tell you about where not to stay in Kauai: Koloa Landing Resort. TBH, I debated whether or not to write this review of Koloa Landing. You see, a while back I wrote a post on why bloggers shouldn't bash brands. It led to a lot of great conversations about bloggers and brands. Here's a quick highlight reel:
I wrote that post about bloggers not bashing brands with regard to the business side of things. Meaning, I see a lot of bloggers bash a brand because they were difficult to work with (didn't pay on time, crazy demands for deliverables, etc.). But that side of things is never going to be a traditional consumers experience, so I don't think we should put a brand on blast for it. However, a lot of you in the comments brought up a great point – bloggers should be honest about their experience as a consumer which other consumers can learn from. Which I 100% agree with.
So here are the reasons I wouldn't recommend staying at Koloa Landing Resort:
My experience with customer service and housekeeping were terrible. Then, I come to find out that I'm not the only one once I start reading through their Yelp reviews (at a glance they have an amazing star ranking, but when you actually start to read them you'll see many similar experiences to my own – click to enlarge):
The highlights of our bad experience were pretty much exactly what those reviews said:
Rude and unhelpful front desk, house keeping doesn't actually clean the rooms (they actually charge you to clean the room!), and even though the rooms have all been re-done in the last year the beds are concaved. Some additional things from our experience included: the internet being out more than half the trip (yet they still tried to charge us for it), and I had complained 3 times while we were there, and while complaining a fourth time during check out she said no notes had been made of my earlier complaints in our file and only offered to refund the resort fee for two nights, with no offer to get a manager like most places would.
Some things to be aware of with this resort not mentioned in the reviews: they only have about 7 pool umbrellas for about 200+ chairs and it's really a condominium complex with barely any “good views.” Instead prepare to be next to an elevator or facing a parking lot.
Honestly, the resort does have potential, it just needs a complete retraining of their staff from top to bottom and a lower price point for what it is. I mean look at this reviewers experience:
Like a child slipping on your property is a potential lawsuit, and ice is literally ICE, why is this not free to begin with?!?
After nearly two months of back and forth, we were finally able to get a portion of our trip refunded. So if you do have to stay here, be ready for poor customer service and housekeeping and document everything!
So where do I recommend you stay in Kauai?
Well unless you can afford the St. Regis (where I have never stayed but have friends who have and report loving it) – I would recommend getting an AirBnB!
If you're visiting Kauai you are probably looking for some adventure and ready to get a little dirty. Let go of the idea of luxury and immerse yourself in the culture, it's truly wonderful there. Be prepared to hike, get muddy, get rained on and just fall in love with Mother Earth. In the middle of our stay at Koloa Landing I got so angry that I started looking up AirBnB's and there were tons of well priced ones that were just as nice as the hotel we stayed in for $100-300 less! And you don't have to deal with rude customer service!
Location On Kauai:
I would recommend staying in Kapaʻa. Koloa Landing is in Poipu (the southern part of Kauai) and while it does get more sunshine than the north shore, if you're going to Kauai, you probably want to hike and see the sights, which Poipu doesn't have as many of. If you are looking to just relax and vedge out I would say just go to Maui.
The north shore of Kauai (Princeville) is where most of the action is! But it's an hour or two drive from Poipu, round trip that means four hours in the car if the traffic is even on the “moderate” side. The downside here, is that the weather is usually not so great, but what do you expect for one of the most luscious vegetative places in the world?
So that leads me to Kapaʻa – which is where one of my favorite surfers in high school, Andy Irons, grew up. It's more towards the middle of the island, and is the perfect middle ground in every sense of the word. I spoke with my friend who's been a few times and she swears by an AirBnB in Kapaʻa as the best place to stay when exploring Kauai.