Kauai Beach Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Kauai, Hawaii, United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • Rocky beach with rough waves
  • Fee for in-room Internet
  • Limited restaurant variety
  • Activities desk not helpful
  • Strict beach-towel rationing

Bottom Line

This private, quiet property has large rooms, gorgeous sunrises over a rugged beach, a waterslide and sand-bottom pool, and a romantic bar with live music. It's a good choice for a quiet, relaxed stay. Just know that for similar rates, the Kauai Marriott has better service, better food, high-design pools, a more usable beach, and more stuff to do.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Natural beauty, and peace and quiet, reign here, but the hotel lacks the range of activities found at other resorts.

The lagoon is home to all types of waterfowl.
The lagoon is home to all types of waterfowl.

Lacking the knockout amenities of its Kauai neighbors, the 350-room Kauai Beach Resort nonetheless provides a quiet, romantic resort experience that's just 10 minutes from the airport in Kauai's eastern-shore town of Lihue. The chickens, ducks, and swans that flock to the sprawling man-made lagoon on this 25-acre property may be the busiest creatures here. The guests -- low-key anniversary celebrators and families -- seem to show more interest in relaxation than resort activities. Nearly all the rooms at this horseshoe-shaped resort look out at the coast, and most face motivational-poster-style sunrises over craggy Nukolii Beach. The two-and-a-half-mile stretch of rocky, steep-sloped sand provides a romantic vista. Guests staying in the large, comfortable rooms keep noise to a minimum, and there’s hardly anyone else within about a quarter mile in any direction. It is a resort of quiet joy.

It'll be too quiet for some. Not everyone travels to Kauai just to photograph sunrises, sip mai tais, and listen to traditional island tunes at the bar in the evening. More active or social vacationers would do better elsewhere, especially because the rocky, rough beach at the hotel isn't well suited for swimming, snorkeling, or surfing. The hotel’s fitness center and tennis courts are no better than average for the island, and jogging trails are scarce. The sand-bottom pool and 90-foot-long waterslide will appeal to youngsters, but other resorts have more spectacular water parks. Plus, the three restaurants -- Naupaka Terrace, Shutter's and Driftwood Bar & Grille -- share a kitchen that also handles room service, so although the menus are different, the food tends to taste the same no matter where one dines.

The nearby Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club has one of Kauai's best beginner's surfing beaches, and better tennis, golf, and cuisine. But it also has lots of crowds, and the rooms need renovations. If rooms and beautiful, peaceful grounds are more important, the Kauai Beach Resort is a great choice. If activities trump the rooms and overall atmosphere, the Kauai Marriott makes a better fit.

 Location

Semisecluded on 25 acres on Kauai's eastern shore, but just 10 minutes from the airport

Lihue, Kauai's capital and the island's second largest city, offers the greatest number of urban conveniences on the island. The main airport is there, as is Kauai's only Wal-Mart. Lihue and its environs don't boast much in the way of breathtaking beauty aside from two waterfalls -- Wailua and Opaekaa, both about a 15-minute drive away. Still, with a car (and one ought to have a car in Kauai), many top Kauai attractions are within easy reach via Kuhio Highway.

The resort is five miles north of the city proper, separated from the area's hotels and restaurants by Hanamaulu Bay. The quiet hotel isn't within easy walking distance of anything, but local restaurants, grocery stores, and other vacation necessities are about 10-minutes away by car.

  • Fronts two-and-a-half-mile-long Nukolii Beach; few crowds, but not good for swimming
  • Five-minute drive from Wailua Municipal Golf Course, a public 18-hole course
  • Five-minute drive from Wal-Mart; 10-minute drive from Kukui Grove Shopping Center, with K-Mart, Macy's, and Sears
  • 20 minutes from fine restaurants like Duke's and Cafe Portofino at Kauai Marriott
  • 15-minute drive from two popular waterfalls, Wailua and Opaekaa
  • Lihue Airport is 10-minutes away.

 Rooms

Spacious and tastefully decorated, but electronics out of date

The standard room
The standard room

The spacious 400-square-foot standard room (not including the 200-square-foot balcony) provides enough space for sleeping, lounging, and working at the desk. With an island-themed decor, wicker chairs, and modern but not luxurious amenities, the rooms are better than those at the Kauai Marriott, and above average for Kauai.

  • Comfortable beds have Serta mattresses and 250-thread-count sheets.
  • Electronic devices fall short: The tube TVs, 27-inch Zeniths, get 41 channels, 13 in high definition; in-room movies.
  • Daily fee for (slow) wired internet.
  • The standard-size bathrooms have granite countertops and marble tiling; no separate tub.
  • Tolietries are now by the Aqua Brand. When I stayed, toiletries were from La Source by Crabtree & Evelyn.
  • Although the hotel website claims the rooms come with bathrobes, I found none in mine.
  • Suites have separate living areas and sofa beds; executive rooms include access to executive floor lounge.

 Features

Average for Kauai; far more, and better, features at Kauai Marriott

Like all extras here, tennis courts are just average.
Like all extras here, tennis courts are just average.

The hotel has the standard features travelers can find at just about any Kauai resort, but no standout extras. Seemingly geared toward delivering a peaceful environment rather than an activity-filled stay, the property doesn't overwhelm guests with a wide variety of stuff to do.

  • Rainforest Spa has a sauna, and two locker rooms and offers the standard array of treatments. A 50-minute Swedish massage costs $110. In-room treatments are also available.
  • 24-hour fitness center has five cardio machines with personal TV monitors, two weight machines, and dumbbells.
  • Two hard-surface tennis courts, pretty average for the island
  • Business center has two computers charged by the minute; station that connects to the Internet and printer is more expensive. There is a fee for printing.
  • Notary public and secretarial services available
  • Island Marketplace and Gifts, an on-site convenience store, sells snacks, sunscreen, and souvenirs.
  • In-room wired Internet is slow, but the free Wi-Fi in the public spaces has a strong signal.
  • "South Pacific" show includes an all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • At Shutter's Lounge, singers perform traditional Hawaiian songs and other tunes on Friday and Saturday nights.

 Pools

Even with four pools and a 90-foot-long waterslide, not the best water park in Kauai

One pool has a volleyball net.
One pool has a volleyball net.

The property's four pools attract frolicking families and flirting couples, but they can't match the massive, high-design facility with fountains and terraces at the nearby (and similarly priced) Kauai Marriott.

  • Smaller-than-average main pools encircle an island with rocks and tropical plants
  • One pool has a volleyball net
  • Two hot tubs
  • Sand-bottom shallow pool (two feet max) near the beach; youngsters can splash in ankle-deep water at the edges
  • Kids' pool with a 90-foot-long waterslide
  • No poolside drink service; guests have to belly up to the Driftwood Bar & Grille next to the kiddie pool for burgers, snacks, and mai tais.

 Beach

A two-and-a-half-mile stretch of rocky, uneven sand with powerful, dangerous waves

Stunning views, but off-putting surf
Stunning views, but off-putting surf

The property sits on Nukolii, one of the island's longest beaches. The wide and uncrowded shore offers picturesque sunrises and plenty of space to explore and fly kites, but few dare to wade into the rough, rocky waters.

  • Rough water and uneven depths rule out swimming, snorkeling and surfing; skimboarding is only water sport.
  • Rocky bottom
  • At low tide, you can spot fish and other sea life in tidal pools.
  • Activity hut rents boogie boards, snorkels, pool floats, beach chairs, volleyballs, and umbrellas.
  • 15-minute drive to Kalapaki Beach at Kauai Marriott for excellent beginner's surfing

 Family

So-so family-friendly features for this price range; no kids' club

The 90-foot waterslide should keep kids busy.
The 90-foot waterslide should keep kids busy.

The pools offer plenty to distract kids, but otherwise the resort isn't an ideal choice for an active family vacation. There's no kids' club, and the water is rough for swimming. The similarly priced Kauai Marriott has a better pool and gentler beach.

  • Pool complex has 90-foot waterslide, sand-bottom pool, and volleyball net.
  • Rocky, rough beach with no lifeguard unsuitable for swimmers of any age
  • Kids' choices (chicken fingers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and the like) on room service menu and at Driftwood Bar & Grille and Naupaka Terrace
  • Hotel provides cribs (free), rollaways (for a fee).
  • No kids' club, unlike at many other Kauai resorts

 Cleanliness

Overall a very clean and well-maintained property, though small stains on the carpet.

Although the resort has no glaring or overwhelming hygienic problems, a dark stain (ink, perhaps?) on the carpet in Oyster's room kept it from attaining an "immaculate" or "very clean" label.

 Food

Three on-site restaurants with similar fare, so many guests venture off site

Naupaka Terrace has indoor and outdoor dining.
Naupaka Terrace has indoor and outdoor dining.

With options ranging from the typical resort breakfast buffet to surf and turf and poolside snacks, the restaurants offer standard hotel fare, but no fine dining. Many guests head to Lihue, the nearby town with several restaurants, or try one of the five eateries at the Kauai Marriott.

  • Island Marketplace and Gifts, the on-site convenience store, sells snacks, ice cream.
  • Local Lihue favorites include the ramen noodles for lunch at Hamura Saimin, and dinner at Lihue Barbecue Inn.

 Bottom Line

This private, quiet property has large rooms, gorgeous sunrises over a rugged beach, a waterslide and sand-bottom pool, and a romantic bar with live music. It's a good choice for a quiet, relaxed stay. Just know that for similar rates, the Kauai Marriott has better service, better food, high-design pools, a more usable beach, and more stuff to do.

Things You Should Know About Kauai Beach Resort

Address

  • 4331 Kauai Beach Drive, Lihue, HI, 96766, US

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Hilton Kauai Beach Hotel
  • Hilton Lihue
  • Lihue Hilton

Room Types

  • Oceanfront Suite
  • Ocean View Junior Suite
  • One Bedroom Ocean View Suite
  • One Bedroom Pool View Suite
  • Standard Room Lagoon View
  • Standard Room Mountain/Garden View
  • Standard Room Oceanfront
  • Standard Room Ocean View
  • Standard Room Pool View

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Nearby Hotels to Consider

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Marriott Kauai Resort And Beach Club
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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 350
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): Some
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Hotel Information

Location: Kauai, Hawaii
Address: 4331 Kauai Beach Drive, Lihue, HI, 96766, US
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