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Oyster Hotel Review
On a beautiful section of Poipu Beach with sprawling grounds, three restaurants, barbecue grills, and golf, tennis, and soccer facilities, Castle Kiahuna has enormous condos 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. Among the three restaurants associated with the resort, only one, the high-end Plantation Gardens, actually sits on the property. Joe's on the Green and Casablanca are across the street. At least the beautiful beach is right on property.
Castle Kiahuna shares all of its amenities with the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation; 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-inch flat-screen HDTV to a modest 23-inch 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 washers 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.
Condo-style, limited DIY service
Service at Castle Kiahuna Plantation runs fairly minimal, especially compared with that at the Outrigger resort on the very same property. The front desk remains open 24 hours, but the company doesn't offer customers much beyond that. There's no room service and limited housekeeping. At check-in, the clerk draws a line from the lobby to a guest’s condo, makes brief mention of the existence and location of the pool, and that's pretty much it.
- Maintenance crew for bag service -- no dedicated porters
- Free housekeeping service midway through seven-night stay, otherwise it's $10 for fresh towels; $25 for towels, trash emptying, and bedmaking; or $45 for a full cleaning.
- Free toiletry restocking on request
- Castle shares concierge (open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and contracted through Expedia) with Outrigger, but agent's desk is in the Outrigger lobby
- No business center. Castle advises guests to go to the Grand Hyatt or the Koloa Public Library
In resort-heavy Poipu, on a beach shared with several resorts
The Castle 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 flanked by resorts on one side and the Poipu shopping mall on the other.
- On family-friendly Kiahuna beach, whose clear water is perfect for snorkeling and gentle waves are good for surfing lessons
- Minutes away from Waiohai Beach, where more experienced surfers can find larger waves
- Guests get free access to the courts and pool at the swim and tennis club across the street.
- Near Poipu Shopping Village, with affordable restaurants including Keoki's Paradise and Puka Dog and fine dining like Roy's
- Five-minute drive from highly regarded Kiahuna Golf Club and Poipu Bay Golf Course
- Five-minute drive to Spouting Horn, a lava rock formation that shoots water 50 feet into the air
- 15 miles, 30 minutes from Lihue Airport, Kauai's main airport
- Two hours from the scenic, undeveloped Na Pali Coast on the north shore, popular for hiking and kayaking
- 90 minutes from the stunning Waimea Canyon, the largest canyon in the Pacific
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.
- Clear water good for snorkeling; gentle waves good for surfing lessons
- Rocks on the bottom are easy to cut your feet on; wear beach shoes.
- Castle Kiahuna offers free beach chairs and towels; beach hut (8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.) rents boogie boards and snorkels, and sells snacks and small items.
- Minutes away from Waiohai Beach, in front of the Marriott Waiohai, which has larger waves for more experienced surfers and a cove and sandbar that create a shallow pool sheltered from waves.
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-inch 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.
- Beds and bedding vary slightly from room to room, but be prepared for dated, island-themed bedspreads and unremarkable, generic-brand mattresses
- All units have full kitchens with microwaves, dish washers, coffeemakers, blenders; washers and dryers are only in some units, while none have AC.
- Balconies are a decent size, at 160 square feet.
- TV size and quality varies, but all rooms have 76 channels (six HD), more than many resorts, though there's no HBO; all two-bedroom suites have VCRs, but Castle doesn't offer video rentals (Outrigger does)
- Free in-room wired Internet
- No elevators in the two- and three-level buildings
Rooms and Rates
The Castle Kiahuna's best features draw mainly from its proximity to the Kiahuna's Golf Club and the swim and tennis club across the street, for which guests get free passes, just like at the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation. 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.
Decent for families, though there's no kids' club
The main draws for families at the 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.
- Easy to sleep whole family in enormous units with pullout sofas
- Full kitchens with microwaves, dish washers, coffeemakers, and blenders
- Pool has waterslides and mini waterfalls, but it's across a busy street.
- Convenient beach hut offers boogie-board and snorkel rentals (as well as snacks and small items for sale)
- Do-it-yourselfers like the barbecue grills scattered throughout the property
- Coin-operated laundry facilities on-site
- As is common at Waikiki resorts, cribs are free, rollaways carry an extra charge ($30); babysitting is arranged through concierge.
Two well-regarded, 18-hole golf courses within a five-minute drive
The Castle Kiahuna offers ready access to Poipu's two golf courses, both designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
- Kiahuna: 18 holes, par 70; 6925 yards; $95 per round, $50 club rental; on-site golf shop, practice facility, PGA Pro, and Joe's on the Green restaurant, but no locker rooms
- Poipu Bay: 18 holes, par 72; 7,123 yards; $220 per round, $50 club rental, $15 shoe rental; on-site golf shop, locker rooms, Yum Cha restaurant
Generally clean, though limited housekeeping
Grounds, facilities, and units are well-kept, but there's only one free housekeeping service midway through a seven-night stay. Otherwise, you can pay $10 for fresh towels; $25 for towels, trash emptying and bedmaking; or $45 for a full cleaning.
Three worthwhile resort restaurants: one on-site, two across the street
- On-site; serves high-end Pacific Rim fare in former 1930s sugar plantation home overlooking extensive gardens
- Open for dinner and drinks only
- Entrees range from $18.95 to $30.95.
- Across the street; serves American fare in an open-air setting with views of Kiahuna golf course
- Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Burgers and sandwiches range from $9.25 to $10.75.
- Across the street; serves Mediterranean fare at the Kiahuna Swim and Tennis Club
- Open for lunch and dinner
- Entrees range from $14 to $33.
Rental Car Service Desk Onsite
Supervised Kids Activities
|Things to Do||
Located on the Beach
Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space
Smoking Rooms Available
|Address||2253-B Poipu Rd, Poipu, Hawaii 96756, United States|
|Also Known As||