Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Kauai, Hawaii, United States

Oyster Review Summary

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Pros

Cons

  • Crowds congregate at popular features
  • Even simple food tends to be expensive
  • Daily resort fee; includes Internet, but there is an extra price for valet parking
  • Arabica coffee, not the real Hawaiian deal

Bottom Line

One of the best luxury resorts in Kauai, this 602-room behemoth (renovated in 2011) rewards guests with large, tasteful rooms, award-winning golf, immaculate grounds, and a host of high-end restaurants. Honeymooners will appreciate the spa, secluded gardens, and pools that stay open all night. Families will love the five acres of aquatic fun and Kauai's best kids' club.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

You'll find just about everything at this top luxury resort -- unless what you want is time alone and personalized service.

Gardens are one of the few quiet areas
Gardens are one of the few quiet areas

Vacationers in search of a Kauai resort that "has everything" need look no further. Poipu's 602-room Grand Hyatt Kauai piles on the amenities: five acres of pools, a 40,000-square-foot Anara Spa, sprawling manicured gardens, four tennis courts, an award-winning 18-hole golf course, 11 restaurants, and 13 shops.

The Grand Hyatt is about, well, grandeur. Multistory arches in the lobby create movie-screen-size views of the grounds and ocean. An enclosed lobby garden that's home to parrots leads to a terrace with panoramic views. Guests can wander into the shops, take in wildlife presentations or live musical performances in the open-air atrium, and chose from 11 restaurants, many with ocean views (which may help cushion the blow of the high prices). At one, Tidepools, diners eat in island-style huts on stilts in the middle of the resort's koi pond.

The pool facilities alone set this hotel apart from any other on Kauai, and probably any in all of Hawaii. Open 24 hours, the four beautiful, free-form giants draw crowds for good reason. You can kayak (kayak!) in the oceanside saltwater lagoon, float in the lazy river pool, then line up at the waterslide to reach the winding "freshwater action" pool with a volleyball net and basketball hoop. The on-site Anara Spa has its own 25-yard lap pool and lava-rock outdoor showers.

Make no mistake: This quintissential mega-resort has its attendant minor annoyances and stresses. Despite all the open space, the resort can feel crowded, especially at the pools and in the lobby. And the staff, while diligent, seeks to offer the broadest possible array of services rather than creating a rapport with each guest. And the rooms — renovated in 2011 — are average for the price: spacious and attractive, but lacking extra touches like the espresso maker and welcome gift of macadamia nuts that guests find at Koa Kea, a former motel turned boutique hotel about a mile down the road.

One other complaint: The beach, though large, is rocky, and the water is rough. With big waves crashing on the shore, it's good for boogie boarding, skimboarding, and body-surfing, but not for beginner's surfing or snorkeling, and parents will have to keep a sharp eye on kids even if they're just wading. The Kauai Marriott, Outrigger Kiahuna, Castle Kiahuna, Marriott Waiohai, and Sheraton Kauai all have better beaches.

The Grand Hyatt emphasizes activities along with luxury. For a more laid-back luxury atmosphere, consider the less overwhelming Westin Princeville or Koa Kea. But travelers who want a heap of amenities in one place need look no further.

 Service

High-end service, but the staff isn't quite as attentive as at Kauai's other luxury resorts

A hotel staffer introduces guests to his friend
A hotel staffer introduces guests to his friend

Travelers can expect the usual trappings of a giant resort, but they won't find the intimate kowtowing treatment on offer at the Four Seasons Maui, Fairmont Kea Lani, or Koa Kea; turndown service is only on request, and housekeeping comes once a day, not twice. The staff actively engages guests, saying "Hello" or "Aloha" as they pass by in the hallways, and asking "Can I help you?" when people approach them in the lobby, but the size of the resort limits more personal touches.

  • Excellent concierge desk with separate golf information station, available throughout the day
  • Free laundry facilities -- uncommon at Kauai hotels
  • Attentive drink service poolside and on Seaview Terrace; staff takes order as soon as guests sit down.
  • 24-hour room service; picnic baskets available for a variety of prices (few other Kauai resorts offer them).
  • "Welcome suite" for early arrivals and late departures
  • Housekeeping once a day between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.; as with most Kauai luxury hotels, guests can request specific cleaning appointments.
  • Same-day laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing
  • Valet parking fee per day, free resort parking

 Location

On its own beach in the south shore resort area of Poipu, next to golf at Poipu Bay.

The Grand Hyatt Kauai is in Poipu, the south shore development that's one of Kauai's biggest resort areas. The town is known for its consistently sunny weather (versus the rainy north shore), picturesque, treelined streets -- and constant construction, as developers add more condominiums and hotels to these former sugarcane fields. The Grand Hyatt is on Poipu Road, one mile east of the main resort strip that's home to the Sheraton Kauai, Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation, Castle Kiahuna Plantation, Koa Kea, and Marriott Waiohai, as well as the Poipu Shopping Village.

  • On rocky beach with rough waves; good for boogie boarding, but not snorkeling, swimming, or surfing; public beach, but not shared with other resorts
  • A five-minute drive from family-friendly Poipu beach, which has clear water that is perfect for snorkeling and gentle waves that are good for surfing lessons
  • Minutes away from Waiohai Beach, where more experienced surfers can find larger waves
  • Five-minute drive from highly regarded Kiahuna Golf Club; Poipu Bay Golf Course a five-minute walk away
  • 30 minutes from Lihue Airport, Kauai's main airport.
  • Two hours from the scenic, undeveloped Na Pali Coast on the north shore, popular for hiking and kayaking
  • 90 minutes from stunning Waimea Canyon, the largest canyon in the Pacific.

 Rooms

Renovated in 2011, rooms are worth the price, but lacking a few of the extras found at the nearby Koa Kea.

The standard room with a garden view
The standard room with a garden view

Starting at 500 square feet including the balcony, the rooms at the Grand Hyatt, renovated in 2011, combine tasteful decor with up-to-date technology and comfortable beds. The spacious bathrooms have marble accents, his-and-her sinks, and a separate toilet closet. Not much to complain about, though the rooms at the nearby Koa Kea, while smaller, provide larger TVs and personal espresso makers. In 2011, the hotel renovated its guestrooms in honor of its 20th anniversary. All 602 rooms received new furniture, decor and bathrooms that appear to have made them even more luxurious—mahogany furniture, rain showers, and marble entry ways are just some of the new features.

  • Bed: Simmons Beautyrest mattress with pillow-top, 250-thread-count cotton-poly sheets, five pillows, two throw pillows, and a roll pillow
  • LG 37-inch flat-screen TV with 44 channels -- standard for Kauai luxury resorts
  • iHome iPod docking station
  • Marble bathrooms, most with glass walk-in showers or bath/shower combos, but water pressure is weak
  • Portico bath products -- high-end but synthetic smelling
  • Soft, comfortable robes from Anara Spa
  • Wireless Internet is charged daily is included in the resort fee.
  • Standard rooms come with garden, pool, partial ocean, and deluxe ocean views
  • Grand Club guestroom grants access to private lounge with concierge, free continental breakfast, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and unlimited tennis court time and full spa admission.
  • 1,050 to 1,375-square-foot ocean suites include dining tables for four, whirlpool tubs.
  • 2,700-square-foot presidential suite includes dining table for six, four-seat spa tub.

 Features

Handily trump the amenities at any other Kauai resort

The lap pool at the Anara Spa
The lap pool at the Anara Spa

With a host of on-site activities and facilities, all top-of-the-line, the Grand Hyatt Kauai thinks big when it comes to amenities. The 46,000-square-foot Anara Spa, our pick for Kauai's best spa, far outshines the facilities found at other Kauai resorts, the well-equipped gym is free, and the business center can actually help guests do business.

  • Anara Spa has a 25-yard lap pool, lava-rock outdoor showers, 11 treatment rooms, five couple's massage huts in the garden, a sauna, steam room and whirlpools, a salon, and its own restaurant, Kupono Cafe. Use of spa facilities is not free for hotel guests.
  • Free fitness center earns high marks for its indoor-outdoor yoga studio and personal trainers. Overall, it includes 1,800 square feet of workout space — cardio machines with personalized video monitors, extensive weight machines and dumbells, pilates balls.
  • Business Center open daily; sevices include copying, printing, faxing, computer workstations, laptop connections, posters, shipping, and equipment rental.
  • Internet included in the resort fee.
  • Three well-maintained hard-surface tennis courts with daily clinics , lessons, and ball-machine rental
  • Avis car rental desk on site, as well as Green Cars Hawaii which rents electric and hybrid autos
  • Free washers and dryers
  • 13 shops, including clothing stores, florist and art galleries
  • No barbecues

 Pools

Excellent: One of them's big enough to kayak in

The pools include a sand-bottom lagoon.
The pools include a sand-bottom lagoon.

Five acres of pool facilities accommodate rambunctious families and quiet couples alike. The lazy-river pool with mini waterfalls connects with a sprawling lagoon-style facility with volleyball and basketball. And that's just the beginning.

 Beach

Long and broad, but with a rocky bottom and rough surf

The hotel's beach is long, but rocky.
The hotel's beach is long, but rocky.

Although all Hawaii beaches are public, the Grand Hyatt's can feel semiprivate because the hotel is the only resort on its stretch of shore and not many locals congregate there. The beach runs a considerable distance along the property, but much of it goes unused because of big rock formations. Guests stick to a small stretch of sand.

  • Rough surf good for boogie boarding, but not snorkeling, beginner's surfing, or swimming far
  • Cabana rental has steep daily fee
  • Beach activity hut rents kayaks, snorkels, beach chairs, cabanas, and hammocks.

 Golf

Two well-regarded courses are within a five-minute drive.

Two notable golf courses are nearby
Two notable golf courses are nearby

Guests at the Grand Hyatt can quickly reach two notable golf courses, including Poipu Bay, the site of seven PGA Grand Slam of Golf victories by Tiger Woods.

  • Poipu Bay, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., is a five-minute walk from the resort. This 7,123 yard, 18-hole course (longer than average yardage) hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994 to 2006; awards from Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, and Links Magazine. The last three holes of the course are located on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean, offering spectacular views of this as well as the surrounding Hampu Mountains.
  • The standard green fee is expensive for Kauai
  • A five-minute drive away, Kiahuna Golf Club's 18-hole course, also designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., features views of Mount Kahili and some of the Pacific ocean.
  • Although it's shorter in yardage than Poipu Bay, its fast greens and narrow fairways make it equally challenging, if not more.

 Entertainment

A luau, plus nightly music at Seaview Terrace and Stevenson's Library

The hotel's luau happens twice a week.
The hotel's luau happens twice a week.

Grand Hyatt guests can find on-site entertainment every night of the week.

  • Outdoor Grand Hyatt Luau features the standard offering of dances, storytelling, and popular old ditties like Don Ho's hit Tiny Bubbles
  • Stevenson's Library hosts live music nightly, including jazz and contemporary Hawaiian musicians
  • Free live Hawaiian music (solo singers or a luau for children) at Seaview Terrace every night

 Family

Best in show for Kauai, thanks to top-notch pools and a great kids' club

The kids club has more than video games
The kids club has more than video games

The hotel appears to have been built with children in mind. A waterslide connects the enormous lazy-river pool to an equally massive activity pool (with volleyball and basketball). Families can kayak in a separate saltwater lagoon. Plus, the Grand Hyatt has the best kids' club on Kauai, handily beating the one-room affair at the Sheraton Kauai and the one at the Kauai Marriott (currently under construction).

 Food

Eleven restaurants, but prices at all of them are high

Ilima Terrace, one of 11 places to eat
Ilima Terrace, one of 11 places to eat

Food at the Grand Hyatt Kauai consistently impresses, and the majority of the 11 on-site restaurants boast spectacular views of the resort's manicured gardens, koi ponds, lagoons, and beachfront. Dondero's has won a AAA four-diamond award; Zagat ranks Tidepools as the best Kauai restaurant for 2009; and Yum Cha was named Best New Restaurant in 2006 by Honolulu Magazine.

  • Captain's Bar serves cocktails next to adult pool; views of the grounds and ocean
  • The Dock is a cafeteria with pizza, salads, and sandwiches; kids' menu
  • Italian restaurant Dondero's serves dinner; Zagat award of distinction 2009
  • The Grand Hyatt Kauai Luau includes an outdoor buffet with entertainment; schedule varies
  • Ilima Terrace is an open-air family cafe overlooking the gardens and ocean; breakfast buffet; lunch entrees include grilled tofu with penne pasta and grilled beef filet
  • Kupono Cafe, a small counter in Anara Spa, serves salads; breakfast and lunch
  • Poipu Bay Clubhouse at adjacent Poipu Bay Golf Club, a five-minute walk from the resort, is open for breakfast and lunch; entrees include tuna melts and crab cake sandwichs; kids' menu
  • Seaview Terrace serves espresso, cocktails and appetizers overlooking resort grounds
  • Shipwreck Bar: cocktail-and-snack shack by saltwater lagoon pool
  • Stevenson's Library: drinks and appetizers in library-styled pool hall with live music
  • Tidepools features Pacific Rim cuisine -- fresh seafood and steaks, lobster surf and turf -- overlooking koi fish ponds
  • 2009 Zagat award for best restaurant on Kauai
  • Yum Cha: Pan-asian dishes at Poipu Bay Golf Club; all entrees feed two and range from mandarin chicken to steamed Hawaiian snapper -- one of the hotel's best deals
  • 24-hour room service includes kids' menu; delivery charge, 19 percent service charge

 Bottom Line

One of the best luxury resorts in Kauai, this 602-room behemoth (renovated in 2011) rewards guests with large, tasteful rooms, award-winning golf, immaculate grounds, and a host of high-end restaurants. Honeymooners will appreciate the spa, secluded gardens, and pools that stay open all night. Families will love the five acres of aquatic fun and Kauai's best kids' club.

Things You Should Know About Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Address

  • 1571 Poipu Road, Kauai Island, HI, US

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Grand Hyatt Kauai
  • Grand Hyatt Kauai Hotel
  • Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort
  • Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort Spa
  • Grand Hyatt Poipu
  • Hyatt Kauai
  • Hyatt Poipu
  • Poipu Hyatt

Room Types

  • Deluxe Ocean Suite
  • Deluxe Ocean View
  • Garden View
  • Grand Club
  • Mountain View
  • Ocean Suite
  • Partial Ocean View
  • Pool View
  • Presidential Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 602
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): Some
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Hotel Information

Location: Kauai, Hawaii
Address: 1571 Poipu Road, Kauai Island, HI, US
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