Transportation to and from airport included in resort fee
Free Wi-Fi throughout the resort
Hotel beach is dangerous for swimming or watersports
Some areas of the hotel area a little dated
Not much to do within an easy walk and on-site dining is expensive
The upper-middle-range Kauai Beach Resort is like the "Cliffs Notes" version of Kauai’s top resorts: it’s more compact and offers fewer amenities than many outside of Lihue. Still, the 350 rooms range from traditional to bright and modern, and include flat-screen TVs, and mini-fridges. They also include furnished balconies, some with sea views. Key resort features -- like a broad beach that's great for strolls, several restaurants, four pools, a spa, and a gym -- help make this a value, as it's often cheaper than many other Kauai resorts. Though the resort is only a three-mile hop from the airport, there's not much to do nearby without a car. Those wanting to be closer to Kapaa should consider the Courtyard Marriott Coconut Beach, which is equally modern and has lower rates.
Laid-back resort with decent selection of features plus excellent sunrises
Lacking the knockout amenities of its Kauai neighbors, the 350-room Kauai Beach Resort nonetheless provides a quiet, romantic resort experience that's just 10 minutes from the airport in Kauai's eastern-shore town of Lihue. The chickens, ducks, and swans that flock to the sprawling man-made lagoon on this 25-acre property may be the busiest creatures here. The guests -- low-key anniversary celebrators and families -- seem to show more interest in relaxation than resort activities. Nearly all the rooms at this horseshoe-shaped resort look out at the coast, and most face gorgeous sunrises over craggy Nukolii Beach. The long stretch of rocky, steep-sloped sand provides a romantic vista. As there’s hardly anyone else within about a quarter mile in any direction, this is a resort of quiet joy. However, not everyone travels to Kauai just to photograph sunrises, sip mai tais, and listen to traditional island tunes at the bar in the evening. More active or social vacationers would do better elsewhere, in part because the rocky, rough beach at the hotel isn't well suited for swimming, snorkeling, or surfing.
Lihue, Kauai's capital and the island's second largest city, offers the greatest number of urban conveniences on the island. However, Lihue and its environs don't offer much in the way of breathtaking beauty aside from two waterfalls -- Wailua and Opaekaa. Still, with a car (and one ought to have a car in Kauai), many top Kauai attractions are within easy reach via Kuhio Highway. The quiet hotel isn't within easy walking distance of anything, but local restaurants, grocery stores, and other vacation necessities are about 10-minutes away by car. Otherwise, travel times are as follows:
Five-minute drive from Wailua Municipal Golf Course, a public 18-hole course
10-minute drive from Kukui Grove Shopping Center
Lihue Airport is 10 minutes away
10 to 15-minute drive to Kapaa, with local shops and restaurants
15-minute drive from two popular waterfalls, Wailua and Opaekaa
Decor ranges from dated to modern; all with flat-screen TVs and balconies
There’s enough space to breathe in the rooms here, each of which starts at 320 square feet (30 square meters). Unfortunately, the style is a bit of a mixed bag. Traditional Rooms are just that, and the style is reminiscent of lower-end digs -- expect tropical patterned bedspreads, two-poster beds, dated patterned carpets, and bland wallpaper. In some upgraded rooms, like the Deluxe Ocean View Room that we visited, the look is bright and breezy, with modern country decor dominated by shades of white, green, and warm wood. Pops of contemporary art add a dash of style to these rooms, while beachy details such as driftwood arrangements and coastal photography remind guests of exactly where they are sleeping at night. All rooms come with a small private balcony or lanai and either a king or two double beds. Other standard features include 42-inch cable televisions, Serta beds, coffeemakers, and mini-fridges. Some rooms also have video game consoles or iPod docks. Bathrooms are nothing fancy, but they’re large enough, with handsome brushed porcelain tile on the floors and walls.
Plenty to do with emphasis on authentic Hawaiian experience plus a spa and sunrise beach
The Kauai Beach Resort recently hired a Hawaiian Cultural Advisor, indicating this hotel’s commitment to keeping things authentic. Activities on-site reflect this emphasis, with varied classes in lei-making offered daily, a traditional sunrise ceremony on the beach once a week, hula lessons, a hula show, and a Hawaiian moonrise chant and discussion taking place weekly. Signage throughout the property is in both English and Hawaiian.
While the beachfront location is an asset -- this is Hawaii after all -- the surf is dangerous and it's not swimmable. Sunrises, though, can be spectacular here. Massages are available at the spa or in a private oceanside cabana. Other options include facials, hairstyling, manicures, pedicures, scalp therapy, body wraps, aromatherapy, and more. The gym includes a decent amount of modern equipment and there are tennis courts as well. Other activities include feeding of the koi fish in the manmade stream around the restaurant most mornings, yoga twice a week on the beach, scuba and snorkel lessons in the pool, an island orientation offering an opportunity to sign up for commercial island activities. There's live music nightly, a weekly jazz show at Shutters Lounge, and popular dinner theater performances in one of the ballrooms.
The mandatory resort fee includes parking, access to all activities, mai tais once a week, airport transportation or transportation into Lihue, access to the 24-hour fitness center and the business center, Wi-Fi throughout the resort, and a daily paper. This resort has a ton of function space, making it a popular place for business meetings and local events.
Four pools, a long waterslide, and a sand-bottomed saltwater lagoon
Four mid-size saltwater pools occupy the heart of the resort, arranged side-by-side in a circle. Plenty of loungers are arrayed around the area, some under thatched palapas. You can swim from one pool area to the next, bypassing small waterfalls, tunnels, and the 75-foot waterslide. If the water feels too cold, there are two jetted hot tubs. At the base of the pool area, near the ocean, is a saltwater sand-bottom pool popular with kids. A poolside bar and grille serves lunch and happy hour specials, and there’s a new ice-cream bar right there, too. While the pools aren’t as spectacular as those at the Hyatt, they’re a definite notch up from other mid-range offerings nearby.
High-priced meals with mixed reviews in
The main food service here is offered in the Naupaka Terrace restaurant, a pretty place with outdoor tables set into little patios overlooking a stream laden with koi. The restaurant serves breakfast a la carte or as a buffet, and also serves dinner. The chef emphasizes local farm-to-table cuisine, although the reviews to date have been mixed and some guests complain about high prices. For a lighter dinner menu with entertainment and drinks, try Shutters Lounge. The Driftwood Bar & Grille does lunch, and for light snacks and Starbucks coffee throughout the day, there’s the Naupaka Cafe at the back of the gift shop.
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