Last week I stayed at Kona Beach Hotel—full name is Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel—for 5 days and nights. Also known as King Kam, the Kona Beach Hotel is more than a hotel but not quite as amenity-filled as resorts further north up the Kohala coast.
Here are 8 great aspects of the Kona Beach Hotel and some pointers to help you optimize your stay; here or at other hotels / resorts.
Reasons to Stay at Kona Beach Hotel
1. Kona Beach Hotel Location
The Kona Beach Hotel is in a super location. It is walking distance to the town of Kailua-Kona, the primary spot for dining and shopping in the area. King Kam is also on Kailua Bay and right next to the Kailua Pier—departure point for many sea activities and a local hangout. It is quite convenient to roll downstairs from your hotel room a few minutes before your whale watching tour departs.
McCool Travel tip: Wednesday is mega cruise ship day, meaning the small town is overcrowded.
Kamakahonu Beach—Kamakahonu means “mouth of the turtle”—is right in front of the hotel and is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The beach is protected from the strong shoreline currents and the water is a great place for swimming and beginner paddle boarders. Many outrigger canoes launch from this beach. A storm the week prior to my visit washed away the sand from many area beaches but this beach was still intact. One nearby beach is called Magic Sands because the sand continually washes away and reappears.
Please all read the McCool Travel article Fabulous Relaxed Luxury Resorts in Florida.
We saw hundreds of fish (but, alas, no turtles) while snorkeling around Kamakahonu Beach. The Kona Boys Beach Shack is conveniently located on the beach and rents snorkel gear for $12 a day.
McCool Travel tip: We rented from a nearby place advertising gear for $1.50 a day but upgraded to better masks for $6 a day (and still saved 50%).
4. Balcony in Kona Beach Hotel Rooms
Every King Kam room has a balcony. Enjoy breakfast while watching the morning sunrise or cocktails during evening sunset. Hang out on your balcony and watch the pier activity and beach happenings. Or perhaps you will land one of the coveted oceanfront suites.
McCool Travel tip: for peaceful Happy Hour, order take-out cocktails from the poolside bar or make your own (for fraction of bar price) with supplies from downstairs ABC Store.
5. Kona Beach Hotel History
True to the property name, King Kam Kona Beach Hotel is located on the historic site where King Kamehameha—the first ruler of all the Hawaiian islands—lived. The restored Ahuena Heiau temple is a prominent sight from the beach and pool areas of the Kona Beach Hotel. The Kona Beach Hotel lobby and adjacent common areas are filled with royal portraits of the Kamehameha family, murals, and historic artifacts.
6. Onsite Car Rental
It is tempting to spend an entire Kona trip, no matter how long, without a car. If you do want to see other parts of the Big Island, rent a car from one of three onsite rental companies—Dollar, Hertz, or Thrifty.
McCool Travel tip: My Hertz rental car was $36 a day between Thursday noon and Monday noon (weekend rate). It would have been $100 a day from the airport. I parked several times in a nearby public lot and avoided paying $15 a night for hotel parking.
7. Home of the Ironman Triathlon
The traditional start and finish of the Ironman Triathlon race swim section is next to the Kailua pier. Every day of our visit, elite (and wannabe elite) athletes were swimming the 2 mile open ocean water course followed by 100 mile bicycle rides. On Sunday, there was competitive Team Mango Monster and Mini-Monster triathlon meets. All of that exercising should encourage me yet I chose to have this amazing breakfast pastry while watching the swimmers.
8. Kona Beach Hotel Amenities
The Kona Beach Hotel has amazing hotel amenities, including an amazing pool and jacuzzi, yoga room, on-site spa, fitness center, tennis facility and pro shop, award-winning luau, beachside restaurant, and so much more. Amazingly, they do not charge guests a resort fee. The poolside bar features lethal tropical drinks and pupus (appetizers). Our favorite relaxation spot was the sandy lounge chair area between the pool and beach. The meeting rooms always seemed to be active, with a wedding, 18th birthday celebration, or a multi-day knitting convention. ABC Stores and Menehune Coffee had outlets in the King Kam. The Kona Beach Hotel is a Marriott property so members can redeem points for free nights or earn points.
McCool Travel tip: I frequently filled my water bottles in the gym. Better tasting water than from water fountains or room tap.
Have you stayed at the Kona Beach Hotel? What was your favorite reason?