Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
This tiny, 39-room oceanfront condo-hotel complex in Kauai's south shore romances honeymooners and seniors alike with its views of Poipu's romantic, rocky shoreline from each condo unit's expansive 200-square-foot private balcony (called a "lanai" in Hawaii) and -- in many cases -- even windows from the bathroom showers. As individually owned properties, the décor and furnishings vary widely from unit to unit, but all of these luxury condos (all one- and two-bedroom) come with fully equipped kitchens, dishwashers, washers and dryers, cable TV, and Wi-Fi -- but no air conditioning (just ceiling fans). For the title of best condo-hotel rooms in Kauai, the guest rooms at Whalers Cove best the rooms at the Westin in Princeville, and are rivaled only by the Outrigger Waipouli's condos, which have their own SubZero-outfitted kitchens.
But beyond the Whalers' handsome and heated pool and Jacuzzi, amenities and services are at a minimum here -- no fitness center; no spa; no restaurant; no kids' club; no porters; limited front desk hours (although the General Manager is . You'll need a car to shop, eat, or hit the beaches (at least three minutes away). And still, the hotel somehow gets away with charging a daily "resort fee."
You can pay more for the on-site spa or fitness center at other condo-hotels like Outrigger Waipouli and the Westin Princeville. Or you can sacrifice the luxury of the Whalers Cove rooms in exchange for the three restaurants and on-site tennis court at the similarly priced Outrigger Kiahuna. But all told, views like these are tough to beat.
Nonexistent: just a front office with limited hours
You're on your own at Whalers Cove, for the most part. But if you want more extensive services from a condo-hotel, you're going to have to pay a lot more, like at the Outrigger Waipouli near Kapaa or the Westin in Princeville (which features free surfing tutorials and room service).
At the end of a quiet residential street; you'll need to drive (not walk) to beaches and restaurants.
Tucked away in a quiet residential area, separated by a small stream from the Poipu resort strip -- home to the Sheraton Kauai, Kiahuna Plantation, and Marriott Waiohai -- Whalers Cove offers a more private, peaceful location that's still just minutes from Poipu's shops and restaurants.
On the coast, but the rocky shoreline is only good for snorkeling
Whalers Cove offers stunning oceanfront views, but there's no real beach to speak of -- it's all rocks. For a more conventional sandy beach, you'll have to drive for about three minutes to the popular resort beaches.
Whalers Cove is a condo-hotel, meaning that every "guest room" is actually an independently owned condo unit. Each condo varies based on how the owners have chosen to decorate or outfit them, so you might not encounter a unit that looks exactly like the ones photographed during Oyster's stay, or like the units that Whalers Cove advertises on its website. But rest assured, they all fall within the luxury-condo category. It's more like a choice between luxurious and -- in the case of Unit 114 with a Bosch kitchen, Bose stereo, walk-in closet and whirlpool tub -- super-luxurious. The Studio Condo features a wrap-around deck and the Three-Bedroom Penthouse Condo features ocean views from each bedroom.
Other than a small heated infinity pool and Jacuzzi, Whalers Cove is fairly lacking in features. No restaurant, no bar, no lounge, no fitness center, and not much in the way of a business center. Surprising then, that they charge a daily resort fee -- even if it's to cover parking, Wi-Fi, daily room cleaning and local phone calls. For a few more amenities -- something bridging the gap between hands-off condo/time-share and full-service hotel -- try Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation (three restaurants and no resort fee) or the Marriott Waiohai (over three pools), just down the shore.
Until recently, the quiet, more secluded Whalers Cove has hosted more couples than families. But there's no reason that these one- and two-bedroom condos with two bathrooms, full kitchens, and washers and dryers wouldn't be ideal for vacations with the kids. Deterrents here involve more the downgraded amenities: that the pool is on the small side (with no kid-friendly features like slides), and the lack of a kids' club. For that -- plus a great, beachfront location -- the Marriott Waiohai and Sheraton Kauai in Poipu win (for better beaches), the Grand Hyatt in Poipu (for its kids' club), and the Kauai Marriott in Lihue and Grand Hyatt (for children's menus and pools).
No on-site restaurant; but just a few minutes' drive from popular Poipu restaurants and the grocery
With the exception of a smattering of local take-out spots, Poipu dining tends to revolve around a pricey cluster of resort restaurants at the Grand Hyatt and Kiahuna Plantation, both about three minutes from Whalers Cove.
Made up of 39 huge one- and two-bedroom luxury condos (each with a kitchen and washer and dryer), this condo-hotel complex offers stunning views of the Pacific from its small but gorgeous pool and every room's balcony. Sure, there's no sandy beach, restaurant, gym, overnight desk staff, or even air conditioning, but these views are worth it.
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