Stay – A Review of the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort
The Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach is a Marriott Bonvoy Category 5 hotel located about a 15 minute drive the LIH – Lihue Airport and a 5 minute drive (depending on traffic) from the town of Kapaa. With 310 rooms and approximately 65% of them offering ocean views, it’s the 2nd Sheraton property on the island of Kauai.
The hotel was built in the 1980s and was initially a Sheraton but changed ownership and brands over the years to eventually become a Marriott Courtyard category 4 hotel for a number of years. In 2018, the resort underwent a renovation and re-branding to become the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach. In this post, we share a review of this property and details of our stay.
The Bottom-line Upfront:
We stayed here for 7 nights over Christmas and into the New Year. We paid ~ 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night + a $20 resort fee because we booked in May 2019 when it was still the Marriott Courtyard as a category 4. Since the renovation and re-branding, it’s now a category 5 hotel; the minimum points required is 35,000 and the resort fee is now $32 per day.
During our stay, the hotel was asking upwards of $500 per night + the resort fee and so we feel that we found and incredible deal and maximize the value of this reward redemption over peak holiday travel. Had we paid the asking rate in cash, we would probably feel differently about our stay at this hotel.
As Marriott Titanium members, we also received generous benefits from the hotel which affected our overall impressions and satisfaction. We were upgraded to an ocean view corner room, received breakfast vouchers daily, and had the resort fee waived (more on that later).
We also arrived the day after a major storm hit the island of Kauai and brought on very strong winds and torrential rains affected the island. This not only affected the hotel but hotels and local business on the island. It does appear the Sheraton was ill equipped and prepared to handle this though.
If you read the TripAdvisor reviews for the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach, you’ll see a wide-range of scathing 1 star reviews to glowing 5 star reviews. Often, people don’t always conduct enough research and have unrealistic expectations of a resort and we definitely think that’s a factor here. With that in mind, we hope to provide anyone considering staying here with fair pros and cons to figure out if you want to stay here and what to expect if you do.
We stayed in an ocean view corner room on the 3rd floor with a great view; our room was truly the best part of our stay. We were pleasantly surprised when we entered the room and thought it looked nice and appreciated the theme of the ocean and Hawaiian retro, if you could call it that.
The bed was actually very comfortable; it was the prefect medium-firm. The pillows were actually pretty good too; they kept their shape but were also soft. The linens were also above average in the sense they were soft and not too warm for the weather. We liked the carpet surrounding the area around the bed and the flooring throughout although the carpet is already fraying at the edges which is disappointing due to how new the renovation is.
The bathroom is small overall but the shower is a good size and has above average water pressure. The toilet is a little loud when it flushes and the toilet paper holder was not ergonomically placed but not as bad as some of the TripAdvisor reviews say (you do not need extra joints to reach it as one review states). If there is one thing that is concerning due to how new the bathroom renovation is, it’s the tiles in the shower as they are already showing some wear and tear.
There is a small seating area with two chairs and a table which we ended up using more often than we thought as it was often too windy to sit on the balcony due to the turbulent weather system that was passing through.
The balcony was small but it is possible for two people to sit out there; there are two chairs and a small table. It probably is one of the smallest, if not the smallest balconies we’ve ever had anywhere in Hawaii. As the balcony is angled, you do get nicer views but it is not sheltered so you are subjected to wind from two directions. We really are not sure why they choose to build such small balconies due to how nice the setting is; another major design flaw from when the hotel was initially built.
The room has a mini fridge to store your items, they provide two small bottles of water per day as well as coffee and tea. There is a television but we didn’t watch it and lamented at how great it would have been to have a larger balcony and ocean view from the bed had they installed windows instead of a concrete wall. This is one of many design flaws in the architecture of this resort we noticed!
We did appreciate the shutters as there are no screens and we prefer to sleep with the windows open. Since there was always a nice breeze, we didn’t need to use the air conditioning at night at all. That being said, the wire that should be connected to the patio door to deactivate the air conditioning was broken so you could use the air conditioning while the patio door was open.
The closet was large and had lots of space to store luggage and to hang clothes, and there was also a safe large enough to fit laptops and other items.
Unfortunately, we only got our room at 18:00 which is 2 hours after check-in. At 14:00, they told us that our room would be ready by 16:00 even if they granted the current occupants a late checkout of 15:40. This is an airline crew hotel and since the hotel was sold out and they need to have rooms ready for crew, they fell behind.
The Pool Area:
As part of the renovation, they pretty much built a whole new pool. There appears to be an area just for children and for everyone else, and a hot tub. We found the pool temperature to be refreshing, the depth adequate, and spacious enough to get some space to yourself even if the resort is sold out. We did not use the hot tub though as it was always full. We were also able to find chairs every time we visited and it didn’t appear that people would go claim them first thing in the morning as they do elsewhere.
They also ran out of towels often which was frustrating. Yes the hotel was full and guests were pretty inconsiderate when grabbing many of them and just leaving them all over the place rather than returning them into bins but it happened just too often in our opinion.
There is one shower and no foot shower either to rinse off. The only shower was damaged by the wind storm we suspect but it was not fully fixed while we were there which was a bit of a safety hazard as it tipped when you turned the water on. This is one of a few maintenance issues we experienced during our stay.
The beaches on the east coast of Kauai are not what you see in the brochures of Hawaii; they’re beautiful but not for water sports and activities unless you are very experienced. If you stay here and want to swim, snorkel, and/or stand-up paddleboard, you will need to head to other beaches that are suitable for that. We have a list of our favorite beaches in Kauai that are anywhere from 15 minutes – 45 minutes away from the resort (Guide – The Best Beaches in Kauai). We did enjoy using the hammocks and chairs by the beach to read as it was a lot quieter and low-key than other resorts in Hawaii. That being said, at least 2 beach chairs were broken while we were there and no one took them away.
The gym is on the first floor by the lobby and is open 24 hours per day and (should be) accessible by key card. While we were there, anyone could walk in and use the gym as the card reader was not working. Overall, the gym had new and good quality equipment for both cardio and strength workouts. The water cooler was frequently empty though and towels were usually replenished by 06:30.
As part of the resort fee, the hotel has 9 bikes that can be borrowed on a first come first served basis. We were able to borrow the bikes a few morning before they were all taken for the day. It appears that some people get them by 07:00, lock them on the resort and keep them for the day or days on end which is probably not what the resort intended. We were able to get bikes as long as we picked them up by 06:45.
There are options for food and beverage all day onsite;
- First Light Coffee and Juice Bar which has coffee, juice, pastries and sandwiches
- DayBreak Restaurant for breakfast
- The Crooked Surf which is the poolside restaurant open for lunch, dinner, and light bites. There is also a daily happy hour with food and beverage specials from 16:00-18:00; pupus are $3 off and draft beers are $2 off.
- Moamoa Hawaiian Fish House is open for dinner
- Luau Makaiwa is a dinner luau and show on Thursdays and Sundays.
We only dined at the hotel for breakfast as it was complimentary for us. Like Moamoa, it is an open air setting but with limited outdoor seating. Upon entering Daybreak, you see these nice tiles and then quickly realize the rest of the restaurant is carpeted which seems to have been a strange choice. The breakfast offers 3 main options; a-la-carte menu, full buffet or cold items buffet. There was a selection of fruits, including seasonal tropical fruits like papaya, pineapple, and starfruit. The cold items included meat and cheese platters, yogurt, granola, pastries, etc. The hot options included scrambled eggs, potatoes, rice, Portuguese sausage, bacon, and a made-to-order egg station. Overall, we really enjoyed the breakfast, especially the omelets, the crispy/smoky bacon and the Portuguese sausage which is common in Hawaii. If there is one thing that is awards is how the cold items are placed; the ketchup and salsa are right beside the yogurt, granola, and so it can get messy. It be worthwhile for the hotel to move the sausages for the eggs near the hot section.
We did enjoy the bar too; we had our complimentary mai tais and a couple of beers during happy as we waited for our room to be ready. Anyone who enjoys sports will appreciate the large televisions that play the games but non-sports fans will want to take their drinks away from there; we had ours in the chairs by the beach.
If you want some suggestions about where to eat on the island, check out our guide: Kauai Island in Hawaii: Where to Eat and Drink.
Overall, we found the staff to be nice and helpful, especially due to all the things they had to deal with during the holiday rush but they were not outstanding and we do blame this on an overall lack of a management presence.
After the storm, they moved people around because some of the rooms flooded which messed up the room allocations; we saw a family of 4 who had booked a 2 queen bed room be assigned a room with 1 king bed.
The wifi was also down for 4 days and the response from the front desk was that the wifi outage was affecting the entire island but the wifi was working in the lobby…and elsewhere on the island? This just seemed absurd and something that should have been prioritized, especially since it’s part of the resort fee. Thankfully, they waived the resort fee for us as Titanium members since wifi is a guaranteed benefit.
Overall, we found housekeeping and general maintenance to be lacking. Only 2 of the 4 washing machines was working, the ice machine on our floor had a change filter error message, there was shoddy painting in the stairwell and water that was left there to pool and started to smell bad after 4 days, and the food that someone dropped was left in the hallway for 3 days (we do blame guests for being inconsiderate slobs but the hotel needs to do better).
One day, there was a 40 minute wait for breakfast as they were short-staffed which was pretty frustrating considering the restaurant was half full. This is also one of the many operational inefficiencies we experienced during our stay.
The landscaping could also be improved; the plastic orange fence near the pool is an eye sore and the grass is in need of being reseeded but when you see how people drag the lawn chairs across the grass, you can understand why it’s having trouble growing.
A few issues here and there are acceptable but once you let things slide, it can go too far and we do fear this is a problem here. Yes, the hotel was at full capacity and there had been a storm but even putting a note in all the rooms with an apology would have gone a long way in calming guests.
If staying on resort for everything isn’t your scene, the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort’s location is quite convenient; you should rent a car to maximize seeing the island but you can get by without one. The resort is a short walk to a Long’s Drugs that has basic essentials, and within 10 minutes, you can be at the Foodland Waipouli for a full service grocery store and Saimin Dojo for food. There are also other restaurants that can be reached within 10-15 minutes walking, biking, or driving in Kapaa.
It is a central spot in the sense it takes about 30 minutes to drive to the Koloa/Poipu area and 40 minutes to Hanalei.
Despite the problems and short-comings, we really enjoyed our stay, especially because of how much we enjoyed the room we were given; had we stayed at the Sheraton Kauai at Poipu Beach, we would have gotten an un-renovated room with a parking lot view and paid more points and money.
We do think the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach has a lot of potential if it can sort out its kinks and improve its overall management presence. There are some fundamental issues with this hotel that cannot be fixed by management or a re-branding though; some of the rooms have bad views and the design of the hotel has major flaws. We did try our best to address most of the trends mentioned in the reviews about this hotel; some of the comments are fair and valid and others are not, in our opinion.
We would stay here again but we would be disappointed if we ended up with one of the rooms with no views and if the hotel didn’t improve on its maintenance and management. We also think that if Hawaii is your bucket list destination and you have a certain postcard image in your mind about what your vacation will be like, you will be disappointed if you stay here and should consider somewhere else.
Have you ever been disappointed by a hotel stay? Do you trust TripAdvisor reviews? Would you stay at the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach?
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