Where should I stay in Kauai?
March 4, 2019 3:01 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are planning on spending a couple of weeks in Kauai at the end of April and I need help with where to stay since it looks like a lot of the formerly solid resorts have changed hands recently. More inside.

While we often do AirBNB when we vacation we're looking for something a little less DIY this time. I was planning to stay at the St. Regis in Princeville, but it looks like it's changed hands and become the Princeville resort. TripAdvisor reviews since then have been....mixed. My second choice was Koa Kea, but it also appears to have changed hands recently. It looks like a good smaller resort with maybe a few less services on offer. I'm happy to book at either of these if someone who has stayed there recently since the changeover can vouch for them.

This will be my first time in Kauai, but not Hawaii. Our benchmark resort is the Andaz in Maui which we both loved so I'd like to find something along similar lines. Modern, well maintained, good service, friendly employees, relatively childless overall.

We don't have a preference for where we stay since when we're at the resort for a day we're planning to stay there and we'll have a car for excursions.

Any help?
posted by mikesch to Travel & Transportation around Hawaii (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I stayed at the Aston Islander on the Beach in November 2016. Lovely room (kind of mid-20th-century feel), good service, and not far away from the airport or from shops/restaurants.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 3:16 PM on March 4, 2019

Not sure if you're looking for something fancier but for a fairly budget-friendly (for Hawaii, heh) but still nice hotel, we were very happy with the ISO. We stayed there in Sept 2018. Super clean, looked exactly like the photos.
posted by randomnity at 4:56 PM on March 4, 2019

We stayed at Westin, Princeville, last October.

The "villas" are actually suites with laundry, balcony, and kitchenette. Walkable to Queens Bath, Wylies Beach and Foodland, short drives to other north shore stuff like Annini and Hanalei (the road was closed past Hanalei when we were there, so no Napali trail, Tunnels, or Ke'e beach on that trip). When we were there, they offered a shuttle to the St. Regis beach, but not sure if that is still the case if it changed hands.

It suited us fine, but the "spa" was outsourced massage therapy in a cabana, and while clean, pretty, and not overly kid-saturated, I wouldn't categorize it as modern, progressive or specifically adult-oriented (I have not been to the Andaz, so can't compare). They gave us a lavender aromatherapy roller, and offered some yoga- and food- based wellness programs.

We usually stay at the Sheraton, Poi'pu, but found, at the tail end of that trip, that our beloved, reasonably-priced "garden view" rooms were being converted into time-shares (I'd wondered why an ocean view—which is stunning—was suddenly so affordable; turns out they were doing construction during our stay!); and again, it's more like a hotel room that you can slather some extras onto than a real resort/getaway feel.

When I was booking the trip, the AirBnB scene sketched me out; apart from a few farmstays and the apartments over the strip mall on the edge of Kapa'a, they all seemed to be people reselling their timeshares which was a dealbreaker ... I do not want to come all that way to be refused a room for violating property rules. There was some more legit stuff on the south shore, but it's a plantation-style, you have no air conditioning, live-like-a-local type deal.

That's my anecdata; good luck finding your spot!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 6:57 PM on March 4, 2019

If you're open to staying on the south shore, the Grand Hyatt Kauai might be exactly what you're looking for. I haven't stayed there but have walked the grounds: the view is gorgeous and the pools are beautiful; there will be kids around, but the decor is more formal than, say, the equivalent Grand Hyatt on Maui. Definitely modern, well-maintained, and friendly.
posted by dapati at 5:44 AM on March 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

We stayed in an airbnb years and years ago, but our main takeaway was that we wished we had stayed on the north side (around Hanalei) because the Poipu area where we stayed was surprisingly strip-mall-ish, with very little walkability and tons of parking lots and traffic. This may matter less if you are going to mainly be inside a resort.
posted by Mid at 12:06 PM on March 5, 2019

I stayed at the Grand Hyatt and I didn’t want to leave and this is coming from a guy who was living in Bermuda at the time. The pool is arguably one of the best in the United States. The grounds are amazing. Highly recommend you read some reviews and think about staying there.
posted by jasondigitized at 6:55 PM on March 5, 2019

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