Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Set on a beautiful section of Poipu Beach with sprawling grounds, two restaurants, barbecue grills, and golf, tennis, and soccer facilities, the Outrigger Kiahuna has enormous condo units with full kitchens, but inconsistent decor and amenities.
A huge resort in a town full of huge resorts, Kauai’s Kiahuna Plantation spreads three- to 18-unit bungalows across 35 acres of manicured lawns furnished with barbecue grills, a lagoon, a native Hawaiian garden, and, of course, the beach -- a long, narrow crescent of sand flanked by lava rocks, with calm waters and surfable shore breaks. Moms and dads snorkel, take surfing lessons, and max out with the kids, spending evenings at the barbecue grills, taking in sunsets, cooking in the fully furnished apartments, or watching TV.
One of the resort's drawbacks is that many of its features sit across busy Poipu Road, including its smallish pool, the tennis courts, and the indoor-outdoor "Hawaiian” soccer courts. Between the two restaurants associated with the resort, only one, the high-end Plantation Gardens, actually sits on the property. Joe's on the Green is across the street. At least the beautiful beach is right on property.
Outrigger Kiahuna shares all of its amenities with the Castle Kiahuna Plantation Beach Bungalows; the two management companies each run a portion of these privately owned condos. Whether managed by Castle or Outrigger, rooms possess the same layout and size, but depending on the owner's diligence in renovating, a TV can be anything from a 32” flat-screen HDTV to a modest 23” tube, and design can run from island charming to island gross.
Travelers in search of more privacy may prefer the nearby 39-room Whalers Cove. The Cove's larger and more luxurious rooms all have ocean views and in-room washer and dryers. Plus, its infinity pool overlooks the ocean. The trade-offs: no restaurant on-site and a $15 daily resort fee that doesn't appear to pay for anything in particular.
In resort-heavy Poipu, on a beach shared with several resorts
The Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation 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 resort is located on Poipu Road, the town's main strip, which is flanked by resorts on one side and the Poipu shopping mall on the other.
Shares family-friendly Kiahuna Beach with three other vacation properties
One of the most family-friendly beaches in Poipu, Kiahuna Beach sits at the foot of three resort properties: Koa Kea, Kiahuna Plantation (run by Outrigger and Castle), and Sheraton Kauai. Beachgoers, predominately resort guests, take surfing lessons, play in the sand, and snorkel in the clear water.
Large condo units; decor varies widely depending on unit
All one-bedroom apartments run 880 square feet, larger than those at other condo-style properties like the Kauai Coast and the Westin Princeville, but significantly smaller than those found at Whalers Cove. Standard-unit balconies have "garden views", which means they look on shrubs and trees or the sides of other bungalows, and feature full kitchens. Varying decor, condition, and amenities make it difficult to know what you're getting, however. To illustrate how different these rooms can be, one one-bedroom apartment boasts a 32" Vizio HDMI DTV flat-screen, a full stereo system, and an iPod dock. Another has a dusty, beat-up tube TV. None of the rooms have air-conditioning, and a lack of glass shutters on the windows leaves rooms vulnerable to outside noise.
The Outrigger's best features draw mainly from its proximity to the Kiahuna's golf club and swim and tennis club across the street, for which guests get free passes, just like at Castle Kiahuna. There's no spa or fitness center, however, and the only other facilities here include the on-site stretch of beach for great snorkeling, swimming, and beginner's surfing, and the barbecue grills throughout the property.
Two well-regarded, 18-hole golf courses within a five-minute drive
Kiahuna Plantation offers ready access to Poipu's two golf courses, both designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Decent for families, though there's no kids' club
The main draws for families at Kiahuna Plantation are the generously sized one- and two-bedroom condos with full kitchens and pullout sofas, the gentle on-site beach, and the pool across the street with waterslides.
Grounds, facilities, and units are well-kept.
Two worthwhile resort restaurants: one on-site, one across the street
A 333-unit, south shore condo fronting Poipu Beach, with limited service and varying decor, though plenty of open space, the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation offers an experience similar to the Castle Kiahuna, with which it shares the Kiahuna Plantation; both have access to the pool, golf, and tennis across the street, but there's slightly better service here.