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The ISO Kauai Review
If you’re considering staying at the ISO Kauai and looking for an ISO Kauai review, you’re in the right place.
With Kauai (finally) participating in the Safe Travels program, many travelers are excited to return to Kauai. Or, maybe visit Kauai for the first time!
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 Island, 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 amenities such as yoga classes, wifi, parking, water bottles, breakfast, and bicycle use.
The ISO Review
When we took a last-minute trip to Kauai, 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 other options, and I figured, why not try it?! Until this point, I preferred the North Shore, but did the ISO Kauai change my mind? You’re about to find out!
How much does the ISO Kauai cost?
First of all, the ISO is very inexpensive by Hawaii standards. It’s quite rare to find anything in Hawaii with amenities for around $200 per night or less in Hawaii.
Nightly pricing for the ISO starts at $179. The average hotel price in Hawaii is almost $300, so this is a fantastic price.
Why not save money on your resort so that you can splurge for activities like a Kauai helicopter tour?
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.
One of the amenities at the ISO includes i-room yoga mats for morning yoga.
Overall we truly enjoyed our stay at the ISO, but this is an ISO Kauai review so let’s talk about the good and the bad.
The downsides of the ISO Kauai
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. That might even be why you’re reading this review. 😉
Breakfast at the ISO Kauai
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.
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 before my trip or immediately following, which was disappointing.
The ISO Kauai is not a “fancy” resort.
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 in Kauai, and I book all of them for clients regularly.
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 provides a wonderful value, especially for ocean view rooms.
If you’re heading to Kauai for all the outdoor activities, make sure to check out the best hikes in Kauai and the best adventure activities in Kauai.
The good things at the ISO Kauai
Now, let’s talk about the pros. There are a lot of pros! You really do get a lot for the price. The rooms are clean, comfortable, and nicely decorated.
The rooms are 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 at the ISO Kauai
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. This is one of the best things to do in Kauai.
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 free yoga. It’s offered every day at 7 AM. I could only 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 them down for class. The teachers were both amazing, and sunrise yoga on the beach was an incredible experience.
Sunrise yoga with Kauai chickens! I’m the one in between the trees. 🙂
The staff at the ISO Kauai
The staff was also very friendly. I don’t know who handles their social media, but I was pleasantly surprised by the staff at the hotel after no response on social media.
ISO Kauai Review – the extras
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 Kauai 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 other Hawaiian 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 check pricing on your travel dates with Expedia.
So, did the ISO Kauai change my mind? YES! I love staying in Kapa’a now and will definitely stay at the ISO Kauai again.
If you’re looking for more things to do in Kauai and would like a pre-written itinerary for ideas, check out my 4-day Kauai itinerary or 7-day Kauai itinerary.
Ready to plan your Kauai vacation?
Although I am a Hawaii Travel Agent, I am only taking on a few clients for 2021. You can contact me if you’d like more information. I would recommend starting with my Hawaii travel guide if you plan to DIY your vacation!
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Theresa (Terri) Van Son
What a great and informative newsletter/blog you did. Kauai is my favorite island, but it had been over 9 years since I moved to Southern California, and I haven’t been able to go back.
Does ISO Kauai have kitchenettes in any of their rooms? I love that so I can have fresh fruit for breakfast and protein before leaving for the day. We stayed at the Aston Beach Boy, which is now named something else.
I agree that I prefer resorts. Any suggestions?
Hi Terri! Most of the rooms do not have kitchenettes but they have a couple of suites that do! The Royal Sonesta Kauai was recently renovated so that might be a good one to check out as well! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. email@example.com
My husband and I are visiting Kauai for the first time. We are looking at the ISO and Islander. We want a room that’s ocean from where we can open our patio door and walk right out to the ocean. ISO is abut our budget with a max of 300 a night. Where would you recommend? 🙂 Sunset, whale watching and oceanfront are our priorities 🙂 Thanks so much for your help,
DEFINITELY The ISO!! Let me know if you’d like some help. I’d love to help with your trip!!