A team of Oyster reporters spent weeks exploring Kauai’s top resort hotels. We slept in the beds, lounged on the beaches, ate in the restaurants, and even danced some hula, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here’s a list of our favorite child-friendly hotels. All these places offer solid value, but families that are particularly budget conscious might also check out our list of the best value hotels on Kauai.
With the best kids' club on the island, wildlife talks in the lobby, and a five-acre pool complex that includes an enormous lazy-river pool, a waterslide, and a saltwater lagoon big enough for kayaking, the Grand Hyatt is unbeatable for keeping kids busy and parents happy. Plus, five of the resort's 11 restaurants have children's menus. The only blemish on what's otherwise a kid's paradise is the rocky beach, where rough surf makes swimming tough for tots.
While the Kauai Marriott can't top the Grand Hyatt in most categories, its beach has the Hyatt beat. With soft sands and gentle waves, Kalapaki Beach is excellent for swimming, bodyboarding, and beginner's surfing. A shallow area is perfect for splashing. When kids tire of salt water, send them to the hotel's 26,000-square-foot pool, the largest single-level pool in Hawaii. The kids' club features games, arts and crafts, and films to keep the tykes busy.
Sometimes the most family-friendly feature is the ability to treat your room as a home. You can do that at the Westin Princeville, where the time-share suites (studios, and one- or two-bedroom units) all have washers and dryers as well as kitchens with dishwashers, stovetops, and microwaves (but no ovens). The resort's four pools include a kids' pool, and the kids' club holds movie nights so mom and dad can have a night out too. The beach, however, is a 10-minute walk down a steep path.
For a more budget-friendly kid-friendly retreat, try the Outrigger. The condos are large, if not luxe (no AC, unpredictable decor). The beautiful stretch of Poipu Beach in front has gentle waves and and clear water -- perfect for snorkeling or learning to surf. The pool, though small, has a waterslide and kiddie area. When you tire of cooking in or grilling outdoors, three worthwhile restaurants are nearby. No kids' club, but kids get a free "Island Explorer Kit" with a reef adventure guide and binoculars.
Since it shares the same beach, pools, restaurants, and grounds with the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation -- and has the same large condos -- Kiahuna Plantation essentially offers the same level of kid friendliness. All that's missing is free daily housekeeping and the free Island Explorer Kit. If rates are lower, book here and buy your own binoculars.