The ISO Kauai Review
I can’t believe that it has taken almost 7 months to write this ISO Kauai Review. Let me start out by saying that yes, I am a Hawaii Travel Agent. However, I paid full price for this stay, no one knew I was a Travel Agent, so I definitely didn’t get any “special treatment” or freebies. Now we have that out of the way.
The ISO (formerly Castle Mokihana) an oceanfront hotel located in Kapa’a on the beautiful island of Kauai. The ISO was also named the Best Boutique Hotel in 2019 by Hawaii Magazine. I.S.O. is an acronym for Islands, Sky, Ocean and is the only hotel in Kauai that sits on the ocean with no form of separation whatsoever. All rooms have an oceanview, whether it be full or partial. There is a small resort fee of $19 per day which covers yoga classes, wifi, parking, water bottles, and bicycle use.
The ISO Review
When we took our last minute trip to Kauai in March of 2019, The ISO wasn’t even on our radar. In fact, I had requested a stay somewhere else but found out they were sold out. I saw that the ISO was much less expensive than most of our other options, and I figured, why not try it?!
First of all, the ISO is very inexpensive by Hawaii standards. It’s quite rare to find anything in Hawaii with any amenities for around $200 per night or less in Hawaii. Nightly pricing for the ISO starts at $179. While the ISO calls itself a resort, it’s really more like a hotel with a few resort-like amenities. You can check the pricing for your dates here.
In-room yoga mats for morning yoga.
Overall we truly enjoyed our stay at the ISO, but this is a review so let’s talk about the good and the bad.
Now, let’s talk about the cons of the ISO Kauai. There aren’t many cons, but there are a few things that I believe could be better. First, the website isn’t the best. It’s pretty, but it’s hard to find a lot of information about the hotel. Unless you book with a Travel Agent, you may be going in blind.
The breakfast, if you can call it that, wasn’t much to talk about. That being said, having anything offered for breakfast for free at a Hawaii resort is impressive. They have coffee, some fruit (not fresh and local, likely from Costco), and some granola bars. They also had some cereal and milk.
If you have any dietary restrictions, you won’t be able to eat much. I have Celiac disease (no gluten) and I don’t eat dairy, so it was coffee for me. I would have loved a bit of local fruit, but that wasn’t offered. I did enjoy the coffee and I even bought an ISO coffee mug to bring home.
Where is the aloha spirit?
Another con, I really feel like they could up their social media game. I commented on several Instagram statuses talking about being excited about my arrival, no one responded. I also posted a few photos after the trip, no one responded. You’d think they would make a little bit of an effort to connect with their guests, especially guests who send other people to Hawaii all the time?!
I did receive a friendly comment immediately when I mentioned that I would be posting a review, but nothing prior to my trip or immediately following which was disappointing.
This might be a pro or a con
The last thing that could potentially be positive or negative is that it’s certainly not a “fancy” resort. If you want a lavish resort, this isn’t what you’re looking for. There are plenty of fantastic resorts on Kauai and I book all of them for clients regularly. If you need help choosing the best resort for you, make sure to contact me.
If you’re celebrating a honeymoon or milestone anniversary, birthday, etc. you might want a different resort. If you need a clean, comfortable, oceanfront place to sleep and don’t mind the lack of amenities, The ISO might be a great place for you.
Now, let’s talk about the pros. You really do get a lot for the price. The rooms are clean, comfortable, and nicely decorated. The rooms are a bit small, so I wouldn’t recommend them for more than 2-3 guests. For two people, it was a great choice! The view of the ocean is amazing and the grounds are beautiful. The pool is also very nice.
The Bullshed restaurant
There is also an onsite restaurant that is highly-rated. Due to my aforementioned food allergies, we didn’t eat at the restaurant. However, we did enjoy a mai tai or two and they were delicious!
I love being able to use bikes to ride down the Ke Ala Hele Makalae bike path. We’ve previously rented bikes, so it was nice that the bikes here were included in our stay. The ISO also provides free water bottles that you can refill in the lobby. We brought our own water bottles, but it’s always nice when a hotel/resort offers sustainable options.
One amenity that really stands out is the free yoga. It’s offered every day at 7 AM. I was only able to go to classes twice due to our schedule, but I thoroughly enjoyed both. The ISO has yoga mats in your room, so don’t forget to bring it down for class. The teachers were both amazing and sunrise yoga on the beach was an incredible experience.
Sunrise yoga with Kauai chickens!
The staff was also very friendly. I don’t know who handles their social media, but after no response there I was pleasantly surprised by the staff at the hotel.
I’ve also mentioned this at least a million times, but one reason that I prefer a resort over a vacation rental is having a place to keep your stuff after checkout. The ISO will hold your bags so that you can enjoy your last day of vacation without worrying about leaving your bags in your car. Another perk!
The ISO review
Overall we were very impressed with our stay at the ISO. It’s not a luxury resort and I wouldn’t choose it for a milestone occasion, but if you’re on a budget and just need a nice place to sleep, it’s perfect! I don’t know of a more affordable option on any island that offers as much as the ISO, so I highly recommend it. If you think the ISO sounds like the perfect place for you, make sure to contact me! Prefer to DIY your trip? Check out the pricing on your travel dates with Expedia.
Ready to plan your Kauai vacation?
I know that planning a Hawaii vacation can be stressful. Why not make it a little easier on yourself and work with a Hawaii Travel Agent? Make sure to contact me or go ahead and fill out a custom travel request, and I’ll get back to you to start planning ASAP!
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