Free Wi-Fi and self-parking (included in daily resort fee)
Beach isn’t ideal for swimming as waters tend to be rough
Can get crowded during peak seasons (summer and winter holiday months)
Pesky daily resort fee
Dining is expensive
One of the best luxury resorts on Kauai, the 602-room Grand Hyatt Kauai draws guests with spacious, Hawaiian-inspired rooms, three incredible pools, a behemoth saltwater lagoon, 10 dining options, including a host of high-end restaurants, a renowned spa, a twice-weekly luau, and immaculately kept tropical grounds. Its large range of features allows it to have broad appeal, and a non-stop cycle of families, honeymooners, business travelers, and wedding parties filter through the property week after week. Travelers looking for an equally luxurious property without all the fanfare should check out nearby Koa Kea Resort, which is smaller, cheaper, and offers half of the amenities of the Hyatt.
The approach to the Grand Hyatt Kauai is all it takes to see why the hotel is not just a Hyatt, but a Grand Hyatt. A palm-lined driveway leads guests to a massive porte-cochere, where porters are quick to proffer purple leis and glasses of lemonade. Inside, the massive wood-paneled lobby has a warm feeling of old Hawaii, and leads to gorgeous, sun-drenched courtyard where hoards of guests congregate throughout the day to admire the impressive inner garden. Beyond the lobby’s atrium-like space, a rounded terrace offers panoramic views of the grounds, and the ocean in the distance. Known as the Seaview Terrace, this area is a popular spot for guests to grab coffee in the morning and appetizers and drinks in the evening. It’s also where the hotel hosts evening entertainment.
There are probably few hotels in Kauai with as broad a spectrum of guests as the Grand Hyatt. The hotel gets families, couples, honeymooners, wedding parties, friend groups, business travelers, Americans, and international guests -- and usually all at once. The hotel is always abuzz, and though there’s never really a slow season, the property tends to be quieter during the school months.
Located in Poipu, on Kauai’s eternally sunny south shore, the Grand Hyatt experiences year-round, near perfect weather. Poipu is a picturesque tourist town with tons of hotels, shops, and restaurants -- all of which are within a five- to 10-minute drive from the Hyatt. The hotel sits in front of a large, white sandy beach, but the ocean water is too rough for swimming and the area experiences frequent rip currents. Poipu Beach, with calmer waters and ideal snorkeling conditions, is about a five-minute drive from the hotel, in front of the Sheraton. The Grand Hyatt is across the street from award winning Poipu Bay Golf Course and about a five-minute drive from Kiahuna Golf Club. Lihue Airport, is about a 30-minute drive from the hotel.
Spacious rooms at the Grand Hyatt are casually sophisticated, with modern Hawaiian decor. Beginning at 500 square feet, Standard Rooms feature warm beige walls with dark wood crown molding and gorgeous carved wood headboards. Though the overall palette is mostly neutral, subtle orange, green, and blue accents make their presence known by way of throw pillows and corner arm chairs. Rooms are replete with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, iHomes, single-cup coffeemakers (with Kauai coffee), and mini-fridges. All rooms have large private lanais with a round table and two chairs. All-white marble bathrooms have large walk-in showers (or shower/tub combos in Standard Rooms with two queen-size beds), double sinks, and separate water closets with high-tech toilets. Guests can choose from a panel of remote controlled toilet functions including seat warming and bidet-like cleansing. At best the toilets are a high-tech novelty, at worst they’re annoying machines that make lots of unnecessary noises.
Vacationers in search of a Kauai resort that “has everything” needn’t look further than the Grand Hyatt. Few hotels on the island can even begin to compare with the Hyatt’s milelong list of superb amenities. The only pitfall is that the hotel charges a hefty daily resort fee that covers things like self-parking and Wi-Fi.
The Grand Hyatt has three large pools, including a lazy river with a waterslide, a large activities pool with basketball and volleyball nets, and a peaceful adult-only pool with private cabanas. There's also a man-made saltwater lagoon. Somewhere among the five acres of aquatic fun, guests will likely be able to find a spot suitable for their needs. Farthest from the beach is the adult pool, which is kept quiet by its elevated position above the other swimming areas. Here couples and honeymooners relax in private cabanas and sip on cocktails from the nearby Captain’s Bar. Below the adult pool, a lazy river culminates with an exciting waterslide, which seems to be a favorite of both kids and their parents. The waterslide drops swimmers into the larger activity pool, which has several hot tubs, a volleyball net, a basketball hoop, and lots of space for swimming. Finally, the saltwater lagoon, with its own sandy beach and calm waters, is the perfect antidote to the hotel’s not so swimmable beach. Here families spend hours kayaking (yes, kayaking), floating around on rafts, or building sand castles on the “beach.” The Hyatt also offers scuba lessons for first-time divers in the deeper part of the lagoon.
At 45,000 square feet, the Grand Hyatt’s Anara Spa is the largest, and arguably the best (and most expensive), on Kauai. Gorgeous outdoor treatment rooms, lava-rock outdoor showers, a serene 25-yard lap pool, a sauna, steam room, and multiple whirlpools, make the spa feel like a retreat of its own. Soothing melodies fill the air of the mostly outdoor space, and the sometimes chaotic backdrop of the hotel actually feels like it’s miles away. Connected to the spa is the hotel’s large, state-of-the art fitness center, home to dozens of cardio and weight machines, free weights, medicine balls, and a particularly attentive gym staff. There’s also an indoor/outdoor yoga studio where different classes are held daily.
A different dining option for every day of the week, plus a few more
Guests at the Grand Hyatt certainly won’t go hungry during their stay, although their wallets may. The property is home to 10 different dining establishments, all of which are pricey. Tidepools, the Hyatt’s signature restaurant, is set amid the property’s lush grounds and seemingly floats above a massive Koi pond. Here the menu focuses on modern Hawaiian dishes with an emphasis on fresh seafood. Dondero’s is the Hyatt’s answer to fine-dining Italian. And while menu offerings are delectable, the setting feels a little tired and worn. Sit outside to avoid the dated dining room and gain impressive garden views. Adjacent to the lobby is Stevenson’s Library, a warm wood-paneled room with an impressive 27-foot custom koa wood bar. Stevenson’s serves sushi and evening drinks, and hosts live nightly entertainment. Ilima Terrace is the place to find the ubiquitous resort breakfast buffet, as well as a la carte lunch offerings. Ilima Terrace has both indoor and outdoor seating. The remaining dining options include a host of casual beach bars, a lobby coffee shop, and a late-night spot for appetizers and drinks.
The twice weekly Grand Hyatt Kauai Luau is not to be missed. Perhaps the best hotel luau on the island, the Grand Hyatt’s includes a traditional lei greeting, incredible ancestral dances, Hawaiian craft demonstrations, group hula lessons, an open bar, and an all-you-can-eat buffet that actually serves a wide array of fresh, delicious dinner options.
Camp Hyatt, the hotel’s on-site kids' club caters to "keiki" (children) ages 3 through 12. Daily schedules are packed with not-so-run-of-the-mill activities such as hula lessons, koi fish feeding, lei making, and arts and crafts that teach kids about native Hawaiian species. A fan favorite activity is “Parrot Talk,” a special program that allows kids to visit and learn about the Hyatt’s resident parrots who make their home in the lobby atrium. The program is led by a wildlife expert who often allows the little ones to hold the birds on their arms.
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