Last thing I want is to end up in is the middle of a flash mob
September 2, 2013 9:17 AM   Subscribe

I grew up in Honolulu/Hawaii, so know where to shop, eat, and head out to find more secluded beaches, but am totally clueless on where to STAY while visiting! I've been going back to visit family each year for at least ten years now, and have progressively gone from sticking it out in my childhood bedroom at parent's house, to hippie hostels, mega multi-generation family resorts, and am now at a point in my life where I just want to visit "home" and relax, without feeling like a tourist shoved in an elevator with 40 other people on the way to breakfast every morning. Price is no object, $500-$1000/night is game. Any recommendations for smaller, intimate "boutique" hotels or villas in Hawaii?

I'll be going back with my boyfriend again in December, and we just REALLY want to relax. The last few times we've stayed at hotels noted as "boutique", but instead the lobbies were constantly packed with people, and 3+ generations of a family chasing their toddler around the pool.

- Besides Oahu, I'm also open to recommendations to anywhere on the islands of Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. We'll be in Oahu for 4 days, but for another 7 days or so will go to another island (we've visited the Big Island and Kauai already), still yet to be decided.

- the format we are looking for is preferably a individual house/cottage/villa, so not a duplex sort of thing, but I'm not sure that really exists as you would find in Bali, the African Ocean, or other beachy sort of destinations. Ideally an individual cottage, private pool, with its own separate entrance. A good replication of that would be the Four Seasons in Seychelles. Or, any hotels that can replicate this more intimate atmosphere

- places we stayed in the past, where we want to avoid due to the reasons above: St Regis Princeville (Kauai), The Modern (Oahu), any of the monster Marriott's or Hyatts (Oahu, Big Island)

- We've played around with the idea of VRBO or Airbnb, so if anyone has any recommendations that's great, otherwise we'd prefer to go the professional route
posted by peachtree to Travel & Transportation around Hawaii (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Does Hawaii have the vacation rental scene that places like the Florida beaches and beach towns in the Northeast have? You rent a house from a company. It's basically AirBnB, but professional.

For worldwide companies that do this everywhere, the first thought that comes to mind is FlipKey, but there might be more local companies that specialize in Hawaii.
posted by Sara C. at 9:39 AM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Waimea Plantation Cottages in Kauai.
Have stayed once, it's our go to recommendation for place. Standalone cottages of varying sizes and costs, some of which open up on to the ocean. Some/most have kitchens which we used rather than deal with folks in the breakfast herd. We thought it was pretty private. Got engaged in a hammock 100 yards from the cottage and 50 feet from the waves at sunset. Be very specific about wanting to have a place opening up on to the ocean.
posted by iamabot at 10:12 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mr and Mrs Smith normally does a pretty good job of identifying exactly the hotels you're looking for.

Their picks are Lumeria Maui and Residences at Kapalua Bay. Lumeria has 24 rooms - it's not villas, but the 24 rooms are split across 5 buildings and set in a large garden.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:18 AM on September 2, 2013

If you're looking for quiet, rent a house on Lana'i. The only 2 hotels there are large-ish and probably more touristy than you're wanting. I've used VRBO for other places and have always had good experiences with the booking process.
posted by jquinby at 10:31 AM on September 2, 2013

I've been to the Kapalua Villas twice and had a fabulous time. We got an oceanfront villa the last time, and we really enjoy the privacy and the ability to just pop down to either the Napili Market or the Lahaina Safeway to load up on groceries and prepare our own meals in our own kitchen.

I really want to go back, but I've been having difficulty trying to find a one bedroom (as opposed to a two or three bedroom).
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:51 AM on September 2, 2013

If you want to splurge and relax IMHO there is no better place in Hawaii to do that than Four Seasons Hualalai. It is lovely, intimate, and not at all like a big hotel experience a la St Regis Princeville. While the property doesn't have individual/standalone villas, each room/suite has it's own entrance and balcony/terrace. There are a couple of rooms with individual plunge pools.
posted by donovan at 11:54 AM on September 2, 2013

I've had a good experience with the Parrish Collection on Kauai. We enjoyed at the Villas at Poipu Kai. The pool was quiet, the villas were great for everyone in our family, all adults. We did not feel overcrowded in any way and barely saw any other guests. I've also heard good things about the Kukui`ula Collection - but I haven't stayed there. These are both on the South shore - I don't know much about their North shore properties but they look nice. My brother lives in Koloa so we usually stay in that area.

I've also heard good things about the Koa Kea, also on the South shore of Kauai. I have friends who stayed there, a very well-traveled couple (he's an airline pilot from NYC), with no children, and they loved it.
posted by rdnnyc at 1:38 PM on September 2, 2013

It sounds like you are leading towards a commercially-managed place, but if you're up for it, I do encourage you to check out VRBO -- we've had nothing but positive experiences. You do have to poke around for a while to find exactly the right place, and there isn't room service or spa treatments, but after staying in our own house on a coffee plantation with a private pool above Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island for a few hundred bucks a night, staying at a resort is our last choice when we want to kick back.
posted by troyer at 8:58 PM on September 2, 2013

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