Although Maui and Oahu get more visitors, Kauai is a wonderful destination with some of the most spectacular scenery in Hawaii and lots to see and do.
No matter what your style or budget, you’ll find a wide assortment of Kauai lodging to choose from, whether you prefer a luxurious resort hotel, a laid-back motel, or a condo.
You can stay anywhere on the island and still see all the major attractions — it’s that small. And it’s easy to get around.
Poipu Beach lodging and accommodations.
The south shore of Kauai has great weather all year long, even during winter when it can be rainy on the north shore. The beaches here are also good for swimming year ‘round, so it’s very popular with vacationers.
The Poipu Beach area has some of the best Kauai accommodations, and there are plenty of top-notch restaurants and shops.
One of the most appealing Kauai resorts, The Sheraton Kauai Resort is right on a sandy beach that’s great for swimming, snorkeling, or just sunbathing. You can rent a surfboard in the Kiahuna Beach parking lot from former surfing champ Margo Oberg.
The Sheraton offers the only beach-front luau on the island. But if you don’t want to come for the luau, come for drinks and appetizers at The Point, which has great views at sunset.
Next door to the Sheraton, Kiahuna Planation is one of the best Kauai vacation rentals. It has studio, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom condos with kitchens and balconies or patios. There are several barbecue grills on the grounds that you can use to fix dinner. Or if you don’t feel like cooking, Plantation Gardens restaurant is very good and very romantic. It’s set in an old plantation house surrounded by tropical gardens.
The property on the south side of Kiahuna Plantation was vacant for years after the old Poipu Beach Hotel was destroyed by Hurricane Iniki in 1992. The recently opened Koa Kea Hotel & Resort is a nice addition to the Poipu hotels lineup.
With just 121 rooms, the size is manageable. But it’s got all the amenities of the bigger Poipu resorts — a beach-front restaurant, a swimming pool for the kids, and even a spa.
The other Poipu vacation rental is the Marriott Waiohai Beach Club. The 2-bedroom, ocean-view units here can sleep up to six. The kitchens are modern and well equipped. And the units are nicely furnished. It’s not an inexpensive choice, but if there are enough of you, it can be less expensive than getting two condos.
Although it’s not on Poipu Beach, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa is only about five minutes away. It’s located on
Shipwrecks Beach and there’s a beach-front trail that leaves from the adjacent park. The hotel has gorgeous, tropical grounds, six restaurants, and a huge swimming poll with a sandy bottom. If getting a massage is on your vacation to-do list, the spa here is excellent.
Waimea lodging and accommodations.
Beautiful Waimea Canyon is the main reason to come to the west side of Kauai. The town has a good shrimp restaurant, a legendary shave ice stand, and a couple of blocks of shops for tourists. But because you can see everything here in a day, there aren’t many hotels.
The best is Waimea Plantation Cottages. Spread of 27 acres, it’s on the grounds of an old sugar plantation. The cottages here are all individually decorated, but each has some authentic Hawaiiana touches, like bark cloth draperies and rattan furniture. Cottages come in all shapes and sizes. When you get hungry, the Waimea Brewing Company is on the property.
Kapaa and Lihue lodging and accommodations.
This part of Kauai is the busiest on the island, with strip malls, fast food restaurants, and traffic jams. But the east shore also has some of the most affordable Kauai hotels, and there are lots of choices in every price range.
Located on Kalapaki Beach, the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club was recently renovated. Some of the property is dedicated to time-shares, but hotel rooms are also available. The resort’s signature is its 26,000 square foot pool. The property also has tennis courts, a 24-hour fitness center, a free airport shuttle, and a good kids’ program. Service is first-rate, and the activity desk can arrange anything you can think of.
Another one of the most popular Kauai resorts, The Hilton Kauai Beach Resort has four restaurants and bars, four swimming pools with waterfalls and water slides, and a spa. It was renovated in 2007. The beach is not good for swimming, but many guests prefer the sandy-bottom swimming pool.
If you want to stretch your vacation dollars, a Kauai vacation rental with a kitchen can save you money on meals out. Wailua Bayview is one of the best values with rates starting as low as $175 a night. The beach-front complex only has 45 units, so if you’re traveling in peak season, reserve well in advance. The views here are great.
Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort and Spa may be the finest condos on Kauai. With Sub-Zero refrigerators, granite counters, an in-unit washers and dryers, they have every amenity you could want. The Ocean-front units have to-die-for views, and the swimming pool meanders over nearly two acres. The area is congested, but most people who stay here think it’s work it.
Another great value, the Coral Reef Resort on the Beach is an older property that was recently purchased and renovated by the new owners. A nicely furnished ocean-front suite here starts as low as $245 a night. The grounds have coconut palms and other tropical plantings, and the beach is good for swimming,
Princeville lodging and accommodations.
The north shore of Kauai has some of the island’s most popular spots, including dreamy Hanalei Bay. At the end of the road, Ke’e Beach is also the gateway to the amazing Napali Coast, which should be part of any visit to Kauai.
Princeville has long been known for the luxurious Princeville Resort. It closed in 2008 and was recently reopened as the St. Regis Resort Princeville following a $100 million renovation. Perched above Hanalei Bay, the St. Regis has breathtaking views of the ocean and the mountain that was Bali Hai in the movie South Pacific, which was filmed in this area.
Golfers will appreciate being able to choose between two highly rated courses. And the rooms have every conceivable nicety, including 42″ plasma TVs. If you want the services of a butler, book a suite.
If you want to stay in the Princeville area but prefer a condo, the units at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas have full kitchens, washer/dryers, and private lanais. With good kids’ program, three pools, and a 24-hour health club, it’s a good choice for families.
The best place to get away from it all is the Hanalei Colony Resort, which has no phones or TVs in the rooms. There’s not much to distract you here but the beautiful beach, the spa next door, and the Mediterranean restaurant. It’s cheaper than the other Princeville hotels and it’s convenient to all the north shore attractions.
Kauai hotels in all price ranges
Few places on earth pack as much into such a small space as the island of Kauai. With some of the most ravishing scenery anywhere, friendly locals, and a wide variety of accommodations and activities, Kauai is a great vacation spot.
Less developed than Oahu or Maui, Kauai has a low-key charm that makes it impossible not to relax. And there are excellent Kauai hotels for those who don’t mind spending a lot, as well as those who only want to spend a little.
Luxury Kauai hotels.
The most luxurious hotel in Kauai is the St. Regis Resort Princeville. When money’s no object, this is the place to stay. The former Princeville Resort Kauai underwent a multi-million dollars renovation before reopening in 2009. Views of Hanalei Bay and the mountain known as Bali Hai for the movie South Pacific take your breath away. And butler service ensures that guests in suites want for nothing. If you prefer not to stay here, at least come for an expensive cocktail.
On Kauai’s South Shore, not far from Poipu Beach, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa is one of the biggest Kauai resorts with half a dozen restaurants and bars, a full-service spa, beautifully landscaped gardens, and dramatic ocean views.
Kauai beach resorts.
Those who prefer a resort with lots of facilities and amenities have plenty of choices on Kauai. The Sheraton Kauai Resort is on a beautiful, swimming beach adjacent to Poipu Beach. Sunsets from their lounge called the Point are unforgettable, and they offer the only ocean-front luau on the island.
Nearby, the 121-room Koa Kea Hotel reopened last year after being nearly destroyed by a hurricane in 1992. It has a swimming pool, ocean-front restaurant, and spa. For those who want all the amenities of a big hotel without hundreds of fellow guests, this is a good choice.
The Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club enjoys a great location on Kalapaki Beach. If you dream of a huge, undulating pool, tennis, fitness center, and lots of activities, you’ll love it here. There are good programs for kids too.
The Hilton Kauai Beach Resort has four pools, water slides, lots of restaurants and bars, and free transfers to the airport, which is nearby.
Kauai vacation rentals.
A condo with a kitchen can save you quite a bit of money, especially if you’re traveling with a group of friends or family. And there are several good ones on Kauai to choose from.
With amenities like granite countertops, Sub Zero refrigerators, and a two-acre, winding swimming pool, Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort and Spa are the nicest – and most expensive – vacation rentals on the island. If you can afford it, pop for an ocean-view unit. Choose this one if you like to walk to shops and restaurants.
The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas are a close second with private lanais, in-unit washers and dryers, and access to some of the island’s best golf. It has a great program for kids of all ages, and the layout makes it seem smaller than it is.
Marriott Waiohai Beach Club has two-bedroom condos with modern kitchens, ocean views, and private lanais. Although expensive, groups of six will spend less here than they would with two separate condos. It has a pool, and you can walk to many great restaurants and Poipu Beach.
Next door to the Sheraton, Kiahuna Plantation has one, two, and three-bedroom condos in a variety of price ranges. The grounds here are especially attractive – there’s even a cactus garden surrounding their excellent restaurant, which is housed in an old plantation house. The beach is great, but there’s no pool. Although it’s not as glamorous as some of the newer properties, it has a lot of Hawaiian charm.
The most affordable vacation rental is Wailua Bayview, which is located close to the beach in Kapaa. The Coconut Marketplace is nearby for shopping and restaurants.
1) St. Regis Princeville Resort
2) Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa
3) Sheraton Kauai Resort
4) Koa Kea Hotel and Resort
5) Kauai Marriott Resort
6) Hilton Kauai Beach Resort
7) Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort
8) Hilton Kauai Beach Resort
9) Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
10) Kiahuna Plantation
11) Coral Reef Resort
12) Waimea Plantation Cottages
13) Hanalei Colony Resort
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