Tuesday, December 22, 2009


If Kauai follows Oahu on your vacation schedule get ready for a shock! Landing in Kauai gives the feeling of going back in time. Small airport, uniformed employees covered in flowers. Right away you feel the humidity on your skin and you know you are in Oahu no more. This is a good thing. If you pride yourself in being "on" all the time you will have a rude awakening because Kauai is a place to relax. No one is in a hurry, the locals are moving in slow motion and they don't really know what hurry means. If you are from New York or Los Angeles you may as well give in because you are in a new time zone, Hawaii time. The sooner you acquiesce, the sooner you will experience the euphoria that will keep you reminiscing long after the the pictures have been downloaded to Facebook and the last tweet on the subject has been sent.

Kauai is not called the Garden Isle for nothing. Once you throw your bags in the rental car and drive out of the airport you will see that the entire island is blanketed in a green carpet. Concrete pokes through here and there to remind you that this is America. There are two main vacation areas with a few towns in between offering less touristy accomodations. Princeville is on the rainy side of the island and because of that you may want to save this destination for late spring through early fall. But if you like the rain and the fresh scent of Hibiscus blowing past you while you read a book on the balcony then by all means stay here. The most famous resort is the Princeville resort. It is a wonderful 5 star resort located above Hanalei Bay. Lots of famous people have been spotted here on vacation or as guests attending a wedding. Don't be surprised if you spot someone here. If you want to get away and be pampered luxuriously you couldn't do better than the St. Regis Princeville Resort. If you are looking to stay in the Hanalei Bay area but you want something a little more laid back or are traveling with family why not stay at the Hanalei Bay Resort. They not only offer hotel rooms but a wide range of condo choices. Still in the magnificent Hanalei Bay area.

I know that some of us are sun worshippers and need more sun, all the time. If this is you then Poipu is the place for you. Poipu is located on the sunny side of the island. All of the islands have a rainy side and a sunny side. This doesn't mean that you won't get rain in Poipu, you will, but it will be limited. There are a lot of hotel choices here but if you are looking for luxury, look no farther than the Grand Hyatt Kauai. This is not your typical business Hyatt. This hotel will make you forget your troubles (or your kids!). Whether you are looking for golf or spa or lounging around the pool you can do it here and because it's in Poipu you have lots of options for other activities. I really like the Poipu Shopping Village. Great shops with great places to eat as well. My favorite drink is a Blue Hawaiian and Keoki's is only 1 of 2 places where I will get it. This restaurant has great food and atmosphere and always casual. Whether you are sick of cooking in your condo or ready for something other than what is offered at your hotel you can't go wrong. Marriott also has one of their timeshare properties located in Kauai. The Waiohai Beach Club is fantastic. You don't have to be an owner to stay here and the great thing about Marriott is you NEVER feel pressured to buy. But the units and the property are great for groups or families. If you are looking for more condo choices here are some that I really like. The Kiahuna Plantation is a great property on the beach but they also offer lots a garden views at a lower price because the property is so huge. It is built spread out over a very large area with bungalow style buildings and since this is Kauai nothing is taller than a palm tree. You will not feel overwhelmed by this property as it is very inviting. Whalers Cove is a hidden gem in my opinion. It's a small condo property with individually owned units but you can rent from the management company. They are large units with oceanview or ocean front units with huge balconys and beautiful appointments. Although this property is not on the beach, it is oceanfront with only a rock wall separating you from the ocean. If you are a snorkeler then you will have instant access to the water. If you are travelling with small children they may be bored if they are looking for lots to do, but this is Kauai after all there isn't to much of that anyway.

Now that you have your accomodations booked, it's time to plan some activities. If you are planning on planting yourself by the pool or on the beach then you can stop reading here, but if you want to do something then here are a few things I think you should put on your list. Waimea Canyon is also known as the "Little Grand Canyon" and it is definitely worth your time to see. You can hike or take a helicopter ride or just take a short walk to the observation areas. There isn't much food in the park so if you plan to stay awhile you may want to pack a lunch. Spouting Horn is also a great spot. Just a short drive from your Poipu hotel is a popular blow hole that is fed by the Pacific. It's absolutely beautiful. There are local vendors here selling their wares and a few picnic tables and the all-important bathroom. Since the road in Kauai does not go all the way around, the only way to see the Napali coast is by hiking or by boat. There are several tour operators offering choices between zodiac rafts, catemarans or boat tours; check with your concierge. Make sure you stop by my favorite soap and candle shop: Island Soap and Candle Works in Old Koloa Town. The aroma will draw you in long before you step through the door. Ask about shipping your purchases home and save on the baggage charge! Very nearby is Lamperts Ice Cream and it is oh so good. Fresh waffle cones and many ice cream choices, including local flavors, will almost guarantee that after your candle purchase you will have your lips wrapped around some wonderful sweet indulgence. There are many local shops located here as well. Last but not least is the Kauai Coffee Company where you can take part in coffee tasting, a walking tour and of course shopping. They will also ship your purchases home.

The most important thing you should come away from Kauai with is lots of rest and peace of mind and body. If you don't come away with at least that then you did it wrong and you need to start all over. Although you won't find all of the nightlife of Oahu or even Maui you will find that Kauai has it's own special offerings that will draw you to the Garden Isle over and over again. Aloha!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE Cheryl! As a teenager I wanted to grow up to work at Stanford with her. She's now part of the local network group that I run, and she and her husband are just SO nice. And yes, Dr. Liang is great. I am really happy to be able to go to Stanford!


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