Kauai's beautiful, unspoiled landscapes are a large part of its appeal, and less build-up naturally means fewer hotel options, but during our exhausstive tour of the island our reporting team stayed at a handful that fit comfortably into the luxury catagory. And, like the island itself, these hotels tend to be low-key and serene (with the exception of the amenity-packed Grand Hyatt).
The Koa Kea's first-rate, personalized service is the best on Kauai -- even better than what you'll find at the pricier Grand Hyatt. Rooms at this slickly designed boutique hotel all have espresso machines, 42-inch plasma TVs, sleek, dark-wood furnishings, Egyptian cotton sheets, and Italian marble bathrooms.
As the name implies, the Grand Hyatt is, well, grand. Guests can dine in stilted bungalows over a koi pond, go for starlit swims in the 24-hour pools, and take in dramatic views of the ocean and sprawling, manicured grounds through multistory arches in the lobby. With every conceivable amenity at your disposal, you won't have to leave the resort -- and you probably won't want to.
The enormous suites at the Westin Princeville are among the biggest and best-equipped on the island, with kitchenettes, flat-screens with 143 channels (including HBO), whirlpool tubs and the famously comfortable Westin Heavenly beds. The resort's posh Princeville locale and proximity to two elite golf courses -- including the Prince, Golf Digests' No.1 Hawaii course -- make the property feel like it's part of an exclusive country club.