Wi-Fi strength can be spotty; faster speed available for a daily fee
Food is pricey; complaints that some of it is also mediocre
Complaints of minor datedness and maintenance issues in some rooms
Poor water pressure in showers
Cell phone reception can be spotty
The 251-room St. Regis Princeville is considered by many to be the premier luxury option in Hawaii, and given the stunning setting overlooking Hanalei Bay, it's hard to disagree. Guests can expect warm, sophisticated decor, suites with personal butler service, world-class golf, and a memorable breakfast buffet on a terrace with gorgeous ocean views. The discerning clientele this resort attracts will find little to fault, though if one had to nitpick, the formal dress code might not appeal to everyone, and food prices -- as one might expect at this caliber of property -- are steep. The location on Kauai's lush, ruggedly beautiful northern coast makes for natural beauty that's unparalleled, but rain is more frequent here and the beach, though lovely, doesn't have the finest sand.
A first-rate luxury resort with a stunning setting
The St. Regis Princeville is a polished luxury property that delivers on all the hallmarks of the St. Regis brand. But its reputation as one of the most impressive beach resorts not only in Hawaii, but worldwide, comes down to one thing: the stunning natural setting. There are other resorts in Hawaii offering comparable levels of luxury (such as the Four Seasons Maui), as well as sunnier weather and nicer beaches. But none of them can match the St. Regis Princeville's natural beauty. The resort overlooks Hanalei Bay on Kauai's lush northern coast, and the views of the ocean and rugged green mountains are jaw-dropping.
The interiors of the resort also impress. The vibe is hushed and formal (there's even a dress code), and the decor is rich and warm, with dark woods contrasted against creams and corals. Service, as one would expect at a St. Regis, is personalized and attentive, and those staying in suites will have their own butler on hand to unpack, press garments, and deliver morning coffee. There have been complaints of the occasional service hiccough (food and drink service, for example, can be slow), but most will find that the staff lives up to or surpasses expectations.
All of this luxury, of course, comes at a high price, and guests should come prepared to pay dearly for everything. Almost nothing here comes for free. The food is expensive (some might say overpriced), and the many attentive staffers accept -- and often seem to expect -- tips. Many will expect this; others might feel nickel-and-dimed.
On Kauai's gorgeous North Shore, with stunning views of blue ocean and green mountains
The St. Regis is located in the ritzy Princeville resort community on Kauai's northern shore, which is home to gated communities and golf courses. The town of Hanalei, a short drive away, offers a smattering of popular take-out and plate-lunch spots, outdoor shopping malls such as Ching Young Shopping Village, and the famous, two-mile Hanalei Bay Beach, where parts of South Pacific were filmed and where huge waves attract the best professional surfers in the winter.
Kauai's North Shore is best known for its dramatic scenery and outdoor activities, and the St. Regis Princeville offers easy access to both. The resort is a convenient home base for hiking the stunning Na'Pali Coast, kayaking in the Hanalei River, surfing in Hanalei Bay, zip-lining, visiting Queen's Bath, and more.
3-minute drive (and then a short hike) to Queen's Bath, a big natural tidal pool tucked among lava rock on the ocean
7-minute drive to Princeville Ranch Adventures for zip-lining, hiking, and kayaking tours
11-minute drive to the town of Hanalei
15-minute drive to the town of Kilauea
27-minute drive to Limahuli Garden and Preserve, a wildlife refuge
Warm, sophisticated rooms, some with great ocean views
Rooms at the St. Regis have modern Hawaiian decor and an earthy color palette: Picture lots of wood, warm corals, beiges, and creams. Views are of the garden, mountains, or ocean, and some rooms have terraces.
Big marble bathrooms have shower/tub combos and and electronic privacy windows that can go from clear to opaque with the flick of a switch.
Suites come with personal butler service. Butlers unpack and pack suitcases, press garments, and deliver coffee and tea to the rooms in the morning (upon request).
Plush bedding includes down comforters and 300-thread-count linens
The beach isn't Hawaii's best, but waters are calm and views are spectacular
The beach is on the small side, and the white sand isn't Hawaii's finest -- nor is the weather Hawaii's sunniest. But the views are absolutely spectacular, and the calm waters protected by the Anini reef offer excellent snorkeling.
5,000-square-foot infinity pool with unbelievable views
The resort's large 24-hour pool has an infinity edge, but isn't a true infinity pool as a row of loungers separate the pool from the sea. The views of blue water and rugged green mountains are about as impressive as they come.
Big 24-hour fitness center with modern machines, but most exercisers will face a wall rather than the ocean.
The 24-hour fitness center is 1,000 square feet and has ample modern equipment including cardio machines, strength training machines, free weights, and exercise balls. There are a couple of windows facing the ocean, but almost all of the machines face a wall.
Extremely kid-friendly, with kids activities and calm waters at the beach
The Young Voyagers Club is open daily for children age five to 12 (fees apply). Activities are supervised by highly qualified, CPR certified chaperones and may include tidal pool explorations, lei making, and beach bonfires.
A Jean-Georges restaurant with sunset views, an excellent breakfast buffet, and a poolside grill
The Kauai Grill, the resort's fine fining restaurant, is helmed by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. It's a sophisticated but informal space with round wooden booths; sample menu items include Mahi-Mahi with nut crust and Soy Glazed Short Ribs. There are excellent ocean (and sunset) views through large windows.
Makana Terrace is the main dining room, serving all three meals in a casual space with wicker chairs, soaring glass windows, and outdoor seating. Fresh sushi is prepared nightly. The breakfast buffet served here is excellent, and the terrace has stunning ocean views.
Napali Cafe serves coffee, sandwiches, and pastries to-go
Nalu Kai Grill and Bar is a poolside restaurant offering light Mediterranean fare; pool and beach service are available from here.
St. Regis Bar has ocean views, small plates, and cocktails. A sunset champagne toast takes place nightly.
The Mailani Dinner Show, offered on Thursdays during high season, includes hula performances.
24-hour room service
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