Castle Kaha Lani ResortLihue, Kauai, Hawaii
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Families looking to stay near a Kauai beach for cheap hit up this cluster of 75 individually owned condo units in Lihue. You'd be hard-pressed to sleep this many for so little anywhere else in Kauai -- and the condos come with kitchens, so guests save even more by cooking in. That said, the Castle Kaha Lani costs so little for a reason: It's just off an unscenic stretch of Highway 56, a considerable drive from the best beaches in Kauai, and at least 15 minutes from Lihue's restaurants. Amenities are minimal -- other than a few BBQ grills, one small pool, and a single tennis court, there’s nothing here but the condos. And service is virtually nonexistent: no porters, daily housekeeping, or even a 24-hour front desk. (Unless they make special arrangements ahead of time, guests must pick up their keys at a one-room front office before 6 p.m.)
But perhaps the biggest problem with Castle Kaha Lani is that the individually owned condos vary widely in decor, furnishings, and level upkeep. It's a crapshoot as far as what you'll get. You can choose the pricier "ocean front" that's right beside the water or you can choose the "ocean view" condo that offers views of the grounds. But it's not guaranteed that they'll look like what's pictured on the website. (Compare the photos on the Castle Kaha Lani website of the cheery ocean-view condo with the dank, depressing one I actually stayed in, with its chained-up closet and old college-style futon).
It's definitely possible to find a better deal elsewhere on the island--and closer to the coveted beaches of the North and South Shore, at that. Those who want to know what they're in for would be better served at the Hanalei Colony Resort in the North Shore or the Castle Kiahuna in the South Shore. Both offer two-bedroom condos that cost about the same. At Hanalei Colony, the management dictates that all owners furnish their condos with similar furniture. And at Castle Kiahuna a much more consistent level of quality is maintained, even though all the condo units are decorated differently.
Housekeeping once every three days; no other service to speak of
Very limited service. Housekeeping comes once every three days. Other than that, you are entirely on your own: no porters, no room service, no concierge, not even a 24-hour front desk. Guests must pick up their keys at the one-room front office before 6 p.m. (or make prior arrangements).
Close to the airport, but otherwise pretty isolated -- you have to drive to all the restaurants, sights, and most of the beaches
Just off an unscenic stretch of Highway 56 and one to two hours from Kauai's best beaches, Castle Kaha Lani suffers from its isolated, unappealing location. While only 10 minutes from the airport and technically located in Lihue, Castle Kaha Lani is still a 15-minute drive from most of Lihue's popular restaurants. The hotel site mentions “lush tropical rainforests” that surround the property, but you're hardly pulling into an island escape nestled in the jungle. In fact, you approach the resort (which resembles a suburban apartment complex) along the trimmed lawns of a municipal golf course.
- Five-minute walk from the public Lydgate Beach Park with public restrooms, picnic tables, and a big communal parking lot
- The awesome beaches and attractions of the North and South Shores are an hour or two away by car.
- Wailua waterfall is an 11-minute drive away; Opaekaa waterfall, seven minutes.
- Next to 18-hole Wailua Municipal Golf Course; Golf Digest named it one of Hawaii's top 15 courses.
- Waimea Canyon, the largest canyon in the Pacific, is about a two-hour drive from the resort.
- 10-minute drive from Lihue Airport
Individually owned condos vary widely in quality; no AC.
A serious problem with Castle Kaha Lani is that the individually owned condos vary widely in decor, furnishings, and general upkeep -- and it's virtually impossible to know in advance what you'll get. You can choose the pricier "ocean front" that's right beside the water (with panoramic views of Wailua Bay) or you can choose the "ocean view" condo that offers a view of the grounds. But it's not guaranteed that either will look much like what's pictured on the site.
- One-bedroom condos run are about 700 square feet and sleep two; two bedroom units are 900 to 1,000 square feet and sleep six; three bedrooms are closer to 1,200 and sleep eight.
- All units come have full kitchens with microwave, dishwasher, four-burner stove, oven, coffeemaker, and toaster.
- No air-conditioning -- just ceiling fans
- Some units have in-room safes.
- Beds are comfortable but not luxurious.
- Technology is dated; all rooms come with tube TVs and basic cable but no premium channels and no pay per view.
- Bathrooms have generic hotel-brand toiletries, and perfectly functional but not luxury-brand showers, tubs and sinks.
The coastline in front of the Kaha Lani offers beautiful views from the condos, but guests can't swim or even really lounge here because of the water's strong current and the rocky, driftwood-strewn shore. For a swimmable stretch of beach, guests can walk five minutes or drive to Lydgate Beach Park, a public beach with lifeguards, picnic tables, barbecue pits, restrooms, showers, and ample parking. Hidden sandbars, rocks, and reef make it unsuitable for surfing, but a lava-rock-enclosed lagoon blocks out big waves, so little kids can swim and snorkel safely.
All the condos have kitchens; the rates are low; and the nearby public beach has calm surf and lifeguards on duty. But there's little else here to attract families. The pool is small and unimpressive. If you tire of preparing your own meals, you need to leave the property. And though there's no particular reason to suspect danger, the security is pretty much nonexistent.
- One-bedroom condos accommodate two; two-bedrooms hold up to 6; three-bedrooms, up to 8.
- Rollaways charged per night; cribs free
- Children 17 and under stay free.
No dining at the resort; closest restaurants are about a five-minute drive.
Castle Kaha Lani doesn't have any restaurants or convenience stores. And though it's technically located in Lihue, Castle Kaha Lani is still a 15-minute drive away from popular Lihue restaurants like Hamura Saimin or Kauai Marriott's Duke's. Kapaa's restaurants are actually closer -- with the affordable restaurants in the Coconut Marketplace shopping village just about five minutes away.
- At the Coconut Marketplace in Kapaa, Eggbert's serves breakfast specials like banana pancakes until 3 p.m., while Hukilau Lanai specializes in fresh, locally caught fish
- In Lihue, local favorite Hamura Saimin has some of the best saimin (Japanese ramen soup) on the island, plus excellent lilikoi chiffon pie; go for lunch, not the wait-in-line dinner
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Things You Should Know About Castle Kaha Lani Resort
Address4460 Nehe Road, Lihue, Hawaii 96766, United States
Also Known As
- Castle Kaha Lani
- Kaha Lani
- One Bedroom Oceanfront
- One Bedroom Ocean View
- One-Bedroom Suite
- Three Bedroom Two Bath Oceanfront
- Two-Bedroom Suite
- Two Bedroom Two Bath Oceanfront
- Two Bedroom Two Bath Ocean View