Marriott Kauai Resort And Beach Club Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Renovated in 2009, this 356-room, family-oriented resort on Kalapaki Beach boasts big flat-screens in every room, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a free fitness center, five affordable restaurants, and the biggest single-level pool in Hawaii. It might not have the fancy frills of the pricier Grand Hyatt, but it's still the best resort for the buck on Kauai.
Kauai Coast Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
This 108-unit time-share resort in Kapaa has full kitchens in the one- and two-bedroom condos (a mini-fridge and microwave in the studio), free in-room Wi-Fi, a popular seafood restaurant, proximity to good beaches and dining, and one of the cheapest resort pool bars around. You can't swim off its rocky shore, but all told it's one of the best deals on Kauai.
Sheraton Kauai Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
One of several resorts on Poipu Beach, the 394-room Sheraton Kauai offers solid, if not spectacular, amenities -- a fitness center, four restaurants, a spa, and a long stretch of oceanfront -- at attractive rates. Yes, its small pools can't compare with those at the nearby Marriott Waiohai or Grand Hyatt. But its modern, comfortable rooms, which were refreshed in 2011, are among the most affordable in sunny Poipu, the island's most popular vacation spot.
Castle Kiahuna Plantation Beach Bungalows Rating: 2.5 Pearls
Great for families or other groups that want to be on the same kid-friendly stretch of Poipu Beach where the Sheraton sits, this 333-unit condo has roomy one- and two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens and pullout sofas. The room decor is unpredictable, the services are scant, and be prepared for no AC. But for do-it-yourself vacationers, these spacious apartments are a great value. The similar Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation shares the property, so check rates at both.
Kauai Beach Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
With spacious rooms, lush private grounds, a sand-bottom pool, a scenic (but rough and rocky) beach, and a romantic bar with live music, the 350-room Hilton Kauai is a top choice for peace and relaxation. While guests will find more to do -- and more good places to eat -- at the nearby Kauai Marriott, the rooms are bigger here and rates tend to be a little lower.