As I said in my previous post, Flight Review: HA HNL-KOA, I ended up the on Big Island for some work and a lot of play! Our base of operations for the entire trip would be the Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel. Most of what we wanted to do was going to be in Hilo, which is over an hour away by car (Volcano is 2+ hours away!), but the only decent hotel in Hilo, the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, was completely sold out; I didn't want to stay in a crummy hotel like the Seaside or Uncle Billy's; and the wife didn't want to stay in a Bed & Breakfast, so Kona it was!
And even then we could have stayed in Waikoloa, especially at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott, but the prices were rather high, there's a resort fee, and we were going to spend much time on property. We just needed a place to shower and sleep, plus it's hard to say no to earning points, having elite benefits and paying a decent price for what you get!
I arrived at the hotel rather early. The earliest check-in time was 8am and I did end up arriving just shortly after that despite my delayed flight. The hotel has a bit of an interesting layout, in that it's split up into 2 towers, one with the lobby and the other is right in front of the beach with the pool, the restaurant, the spa, etc. and a massive open parking lot off to the side. To get into the parking lot you actually take the first driveway into the hotel. The 2nd driveway will lead you to the porte cochere, though valet parking isn't even an option here. You can use the area to load/unload your bags, but you will eventually have to move your car. Here's a Google Maps screenshot of the area with the first driveway immediately in front.
I opted to park my car and walked back around to the lobby to check-in. Here's the entryway from the main entrance with the ballrooms, restrooms and car rental to the right and the lobby to the left.
CY King Kam lobby
I had actually checked in via the mobile app the day before and was informed that I had been upgraded to a partial-ocean view room and that the room was ready. However, the front desk manager (I assumed) stopped the associate that was helping me and told him to upgrade me to an ocean front room that was already ready as well. Score! I didn't even have to ask... And with that I was issued my keys, a bag of 100% Kona Coffee, my Platinum arrival gift (points) and a paper parking pass (you need to show this to get in and out of the lot).
The associates helping me were also extremely friendly, professional, and to my surprise, the gentlemen helping me in particular seemed sort of in awe when the system informed him that I was a Platinum. Do they not get many elites here? What was even more cool was that the front desk manager remembered me and always greeted me whenever she saw me through out our stay and even went out of her way to make sure things went smoothly for us. I really cannot say enough good things about the service here. Even the room maids would stop cleaning if they saw you walking by to greet you! This is a Courtyard?! Could have fooled me! But anyway, on to the room!
The ocean front rooms are in the other tower, so from the lobby, you turn left towards the seating area and shops and then right to walk down a corridor to get to the elevators. Here's the lobby seating area.
The hallway to the other tower actually contains a lot of displays and artifacts from ancient Hawaii, as well as much information on King Kamehameha I (Kamehameha the Great), and for good reason. The hotel is actually built on the King's former residence, Kamakahonu, and hence the name of the hotel. And if you're staying in an ocean front room, you'll undoubtedly see the "grass shack" across the beach, which is Kamehameha's persona shrine, the 'Ahu'ena Heiau. If you'd like to read up a little more on this, check out this Wikipedia article: Kamakahonu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For this stay, I was assigned room 451, which was a nice corner ocean front room with great views of the property's beach, Kailua Bay, Ali'i Drive, and the volcanos Hualalai and Mauna Loa (both are active but not erupting). Here's the entry foyer to the room looking in and back towards the door.
Immediately to the left of the of the entryway is the closet containing the iron, ironing board, safe and pool towels.
Straight in and next to the closet is the bathroom.
The bathroom was clean and nice, but keen eyes will notice something in the 2 pictures above... First, the toilet paper... there's 2 rolls! One at a strange angle to the right and behind you, while the other is attached to the sink, which isn't an issue unless you're short/have short arms like my wife. And the other issue? The shower head... it's LOW. How low? I'm short.
Oh well, it wasn't that big an issue. I just had to hunch over to fit under it. Water temperature and pressure was good, so that's the main thing right? And as you can see, the shower/tub combo is a decent size for what it is. The toiletries are, of course, Paul Mitchell. Oh, and the bathrooms door is a sliding door that doesn't lock. Not a big deal for us, but could be for some.
Then of course there's the main part of the room itself. While we got a great room, the unfortunate part was that we had a double queen room. Not a big deal. We used one bed to lounge around on after a day of hiking, but before showering, and the other to actually sleep in once clean!
What this room lacks is a sofa, which is a feature king bed rooms do have. The room also has a flat screen TV, a work desk, coffee maker, and a fridge.
The room also had ample power outlets, which I GREATLY appreciate. The a/c was a little noisy, but not bothersome and did function a little oddly, though it cooled the room sufficiently. Besides the shower, the other thing I didn't care for about the room was that the main light switch was by the door, though it controlled only a few of the embedded lights. All the lamps, which is where most of your light comes from, had to be turned on and off individually all the time.
But, that being said, the room was one of the quieter ones I've had in a while. The beds, while not my Tempurpedic, were also quite comfortable and I had not problem sleeping in them at all! The view was also quite nice!
Oh, and if you are staying in this tower, here's a hint. When you get out of the elevators, turn to your right and follow the hallway out the door to the tennis courts. There, there's a shortcut to the parking lot! Just make sure to always park close to the tennis courts.
Like I said, we didn't stay on property at all. So we didn't go to the pool, the beach, the gym, the spa or even the restaurants. We did visit the ABC store they have conveniently on property though!
All-in-all, despite the quirks of the property, it was a really pleasant stay. The entire property felt fresh, was well kept and the staff were amongst the best I've ever dealt with. For exploring Kona, it's in a great location too, right at the beginning of Ali'i Drive (think Front Street in Lahaina or, to a lesser extent, Kalakaua Ave in Waikiki). If you want to do a lot of activities in Hilo and/or Volcano, though, I'd highly suggest getting a room at the Hilo Hawaiian or Hawaii Volcano House and then move over to the CY if you're going to explore Kona.