PHOTO: Royal Kona Resort

Fodor's Expert Review Royal Kona Resort

75-5852 Alii Dr., Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740, USA See on Map

This is a great option if you're on a budget—the location is central; the bar, lounge, pool, and restaurant are right on the water; and the rooms feature contemporary Hawaiian decor with Polynesian accents. The hotel is adjacent to numerous shops and restaurants in the heart of Kailua Village. A luau with Polynesian entertainment (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday) is fun and quite popular, and the Lotus Center spa offers massage, facials, and chiropractic, plus there's a fitness room on-site. Don the Beachcomber and Don's Mai Tai Bar (check out the restaurant's classic South Pacific architecture and authentic tiki decor) unveil incredible views of Kailua Bay.

Because this hotel is so well priced and in such a great location, it books up fairly quickly. If Royal Kona is on your vacation list, be sure to book early to get the room that you want, or any room at all!

Ocean view double room
Photo: Ocean view double room / Royal Kona Resort


There are five room types, based on views, including the corner king units. There are also some options for suites. All rooms include refrigerators and private lanais. Room décor keeps with the island vibe of the whole property.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Though each room has its own lanai, the way the hotel is built, they are not particularly private – more like one long lanai with partial walls between each. Though this isn’t a big deal for most people, we recommend getting dressed before heading out to watch the dolphins in the morning.

Ocean view double room
Photo: Ocean view double room / Royal Kona Resort


Bathrooms are fairly unremarkable and feature tub/shower combos.


The open air lobby is very pleasant and straightforward – you’ll find it just past the koi lagoon bridge that connects the circle drive/valet stand with the rest of the building.

Pool shot
Photo: Pool shot / Royal Kona Resort


In addition to the medium-sized ocean front swimming pool with attached keiki pool, there is a wonderful natural saltwater lagoon that is a favorite among guests. Wildlife like sea turtles even love hanging out there!

Pool shot
Photo: Pool shot / Royal Kona Resort


The resort’s Lotus Center has an extensive spa menu includes massage and chiropractic therapy, as well as acupuncture, facials, and an aloe sunburn relief session. There is an option to add on oceanfront or in-room massage for an additional fee.


The resort offers a basic fitness center with a few pieces of cardio equipment, dumbbells, and ocean views, as well as tennis courts.


Don the Beachcomber Restaurant is full of Hawaiian music, wrap around ocean views, and waterside tables. The signature restaurant is open daily for breakfast, with dinner hours varying based on the season. Dinner items include Hawaiian influenced pupus, entrees, salads, and a decadent dessert menu.

In addition to standard dining, Royal Kona offers a luau option an impressive four days of the week. You’ll definitely want to plan ahead for this – online tickets cost nearly $20 less than purchasing at the resort.

Mai Tai Bar
Photo: Mai Tai Bar / Royal Kona Resort


The Royal Kona is a well known spot for drinking in Kona, thanks to Don’s Mai Tai bar that has TEN different types of mai tais, an excellent happy hour, and a weekly Hawaiian music series on Thursday evenings. If you’re not a fan of mai tais for some strange reason, you can also find an impressive array of draft beers and other Hawaiian cocktails, all served up with some amazing Pacific Ocean views. At the main restaurant you can also find half bottles of wine and an expansive rum menu.

Mai Tai Bar
Photo: Mai Tai Bar / Royal Kona Resort


Getting Around

Though there is plenty to do around the hotel area, you’ll need a car to explore the island.


If you booked a Hawaiian vacation mostly because you love poke and seafood, you’ll definitely want to stop by Sun Dried Specialties (23-minute drive) – the name might not leave much of an impression, but the food definitely will. Strawberry Patch (21-minute drive) has a variety of fresh fare that includes curries, salads, and pastas. Not only do they have dinner service, but they also offer picnic basket service.


TJ’s Pau Hana Hale (8-minute drive) is a new sports bar getting lots of love by locals, particularly because TJ is such a nice guy and makes a mean Old Fashioned. Bar hopping on Alii Drive (4-minute walk) includes Humpy’s, Laverne’s, and Ocean’s where you can grab a drink and enjoy some warm ocean air. The music gets loud and the dance floors are open on the weekends.


Full of amenities and situated in an ideal area of Kona that has plenty of walkable restaurants, shopping, and activities, Royal Kona Resort is one of the more affordable resorts on the island.


Near the beach


Phones: 800-222–5642;808-329–3111

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