Best Hotels on Kauai

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What makes a hotel qualify as one of the best on Kauai? At Oyster, we know that the "best hotel" is different for just about everyone. For some, the best hotel is the most luxurious, and for others, it's the one that offers the most for kids. We compiled lists of the best luxury hotels, best value hotels, best kid-friendly hotels, most romantic hotels, and best hotel spas. Don't have time to read all that? Not to fear. We selected one hotel from each list that bests its competitors (if only slightly). Below, we present the best hotels of Kauai.

  1. 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.

  2. Renovated in 2009, this 356-room, family-oriented resort on Kalapaki Beach boasts big flat-screens in every room, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a free fitness center, five affordable restaurants, and the biggest single-level pool in Hawaii. It might not have the fancy frills of the pricier Grand Hyatt, but it's still the best resort for the buck on Kauai.

  3. 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.

  4. At the biggest and most luxurious resort on Kauai, couples can get massages together in open-air, thatched-roof bungalows with private gardens and lava-rock showers, rent a private cabana on the beach, sunbathe by the adult-only pool, swim at any hour in one of the hotel's four 24-hour pools, or wander through the secluded gardens. For a romantic dinner, try the hotel's Tidepools restaurant, where diners eat in huts suspended over a koi pond.

  5. The 46,000-square-foot Anara Spa is hands-down Kauai's biggest and best, with 11 treatment rooms, five couples massage huts in the garden, a sauna, stream room, and whirlpools, lava rock outdoor showers, a 25-yard lap pool, and its own restaurant, Kupono Cafe. The spa's award-winning treatments are inspired by la'au, the Hawaiian tradition of herbal medicine.

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