High cleaning fees on checkout and daily housekeeping isn't included
No activities and limited features for a resort
“Mountain-view” rooms overlook the highway and shopping center
The upscale Waipouli Beach Resort is a collection of individually owned units, about half of which are managed by Outrigger. The 198 condos at this oceanfront property are a handsome exercise in island-home style, and they include high-end kitchens and terraces. The property has one of the nicest pools on Kauai's east side, but other services and activities are limited. Additionally, while the beach is pretty, reef outcroppings make it better for wading than swimming. On the other hand, it’s conveniently located across from a Starbucks and Safeway, halfway between north and south shore sights, and there’s an independent restaurant on-site. You can’t beat the sharp digs or central location, but those seeking upscale pampering and a better beach might consider the comparably priced Koa Kea in Poipu.
Condo-style development with a few resort perks and stunning ocean views at sunrise
From the jammed-up highway fronting the Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort, there’s little evidence of its charms. For travelers looking for homey, condo-style rooms right on a beach with stunning sunset views, though, this place delivers. Arranged in a tightly packed quartet of four-story buildings facing the sea, the condos create a community-like vibe that's best suited for independent travelers who don't need a ton of resort bells and whistles.
Reception is cloistered away in a low-ceilinged side room off of the lobby that's done in sharp wood tones, travertine marble, and abundant shades of cool blue. It's a clue to the style that's found throughout common areas and rooms here. The fact that Outrigger has handed over much of the property management to the homeowner’s association means that there aren't many resort-like features on offer -- don't expect bell boys or room service.
Even so, the swimming pool is an absolute beauty, with a lazy river design that keeps the many families that pass through here entertained throughout the day. Likewise, the tropical grounds, though quite compact, are impeccable, starting with the beautiful koi and lily pond right outside the lobby. Overall, this is a great place for families looking for high-quality accommodations offering plenty of room in a quiet and casual setting.
Just south of downtown Kapaa, midway between Kauai's north and south shores
The Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort is on Kauai’s eastern shore, midway between the island's best natural sights on the north and south shores. The hotel is right off of a strip-mall cluttered stretch of the Kuhio Highway, just across the road from Safeway, Starbucks, Tropical Dreams Ice Cream, and Papaya’s Health Food Store. It's a five-minute drive to Kapaa's town center, filled with restaurants and shops, and home to a colorful art walk the first Saturday of each month. Several popular hiking trails start in this area, including the Sleeping Giant trail, seven minutes away from the hotel by car. Other drive times are as follows:
Seven minutes to Lydgate Park, great for snorkeling and kids
10-minute drive to Wailua River for kayaking and riverboats
12 minutes to Kealia Beach, a popular east side swimming and surfing spot
20-minute drive to Lihue Airport
45 minutes to north shore, home to Hanalei Bay and the cliffs of the Na Pali Coast
45 minutes to the south shore's best swimming beaches
One-hour drive to Waimea Canyon, the largest in the Pacific
High-end condos with sharp island-home interiors and full kitchens
These condos are among some of the nicest to be had on Kauai, and while each is individually owned -- and thus all look a bit different -- guests can count on a sharp island-home style in every unit. Interiors include rich upholstery in neutral beiges and greens plus dark mahogany-toned furniture that complements -- rather than clashes with -- the more rustic rattan and carved-wood pieces. Tasteful floral arrangements and tropical wall art complete the look. All rooms have generous lanais, and the ocean-view units have stunning views of the meandering pool and the beach beyond.
There’s no shortage of space in the 898-square-foot one-bedroom condos (83 square meters), or the 1,400-square-foot two-bedroom units (130 square meters). The centerpiece of the condos are the dream kitchens, outfitted with granite countertops, glass-fronted African mahogany cabinets, Wolf cooktops and convection ovens, Fisher & Paykel two-drawer microwaves, and enormous Sub-Zero refrigerators. Expect granite countertops as well.
Two bedroom units have two-and-a-half baths, with king beds in the master and a queen in the second bedroom, which has its own small balcony. Bathrooms in all rooms have gigantic soaking tubs and separate shower clad in travertine marble and mosaic tiles. Flat-screen TVs range from 32 to 40 inches, and standard features include DVD players, iPod docks, free Wi-Fi, and air-conditioning. All units except studios have stackable washer/dryers. The comfortable beds are Simmons Beautyrest World Class Innerspring mattresses.
On the minus side, housekeeping isn’t included in the room cost, although you can request it for an added fee. In all cases, there's a hefty cleaning fee levied after a stay. Also, the six dark “studio” hotel rooms on-site are nowhere near as impressive as the larger units, sporting just mini-fridges and coffeemakers with no cooktops as well as limited views.
Best pool on Kauai's east side and a beach for sunrises, though other resort amenities are limited.
The second-best feature here, after the rooms, is the beautiful, meandering swimming pool. The water is salinated rather than chlorinated, and there are three sand-bottomed hot tubs. Two waterslides, waterfalls, and the special kids hot tub are bonuses for the many families that stay here. The beach here is wider, cleaner and less steep than the shore in front of nearby Kapaa hotels like the Aston Islander on the Beach or the Courtyard Marriott, although it still can't match the fine north or south shore beaches. All in all, the beach is fine for getting your toes wet, and on a very calm day it's decent for snorkeling. There’s a lava-rock jetty creating a small calm pool where the clear water exposes the rocks that dot the sandy bottom and plastic lounge chairs available for sunbathing.
The fitness center is utterly packed with equipment, and in fact, it feels rather disorganized and disheveled given the highbrow quality of all else here. It will do for a basic workout. There’s also an independently owned spa on the premises -- a colossus with over 4,000 square feet (372 square meters) of space. Services include everything from chiropractic adjustments to manicures and massages. The spa also rents bikes.
A comparatively low resort fee covers parking, but that’s about it. Free wireless internet is available. Two barbecues on either side of the pool offer yet another cooking option. There’s a business center open daily and a desk in the lobby can help book activities in the area, though nothing much takes place on-site.
Locally sourced ingredients for open-air lunches and early dinners
Oasis on the Beach serves lunch and dinner in a lovely, oceanfront setting under a thatched roof. The place closes early, a complaint leveled by some guests, but it does serve a happy hour and an active bar scene in the early evening. Drinks here get raves and the tropical setting makes this a great spot to start the night.
The emphasis here is on keeping it local. Ninety percent of the restaurant’s ingredients are locally sourced, and fish comes from local fishermen. Lunch features soup, salads, burgers and sandwiches. On the dinner menu, there are vegetarian offerings and curry in addition to the usual fish and meat selections. One great feature here is the option to order half-portions instead of full-sized meals. Many find the petite portions just fine to fill the tank.
Most diners give the place kudos, although Waipouli guests might wish it served breakfast and stayed open past prime time. There’s also an a la carte Sunday brunch here for those staying for the weekend.
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