Daily resort fee; includes Internet, but there is an extra price for valet parking
Arabica coffee, not the real Hawaiian deal
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.
You'll find just about everything at this top luxury resort -- unless what you want is time alone and personalized service.
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.
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.
High-end service, but the staff isn't quite as attentive as at Kauai's other luxury resorts
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
Renovated in 2011, rooms are worth the price, but lacking a few of the extras found at the nearby Koa Kea.
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
Handily trump the amenities at any other Kauai resort
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.
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.
Two well-regarded courses are within a five-minute drive.
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.
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).
Camp Hyatt supplements Nintendo Wii, board games and computers with a program designed to teach kids about Hawaiian culture, which includes activities like feeding koi fish and making leis or palm-frond weaves. Full and half day camps, as well as night camps are available.
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.