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A little Last Minute Rethinking (Panic) of Big Island Vs Kauai

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May 13th, 2013, 05:48 AM
  #1
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A little Last Minute Rethinking (Panic) of Big Island Vs Kauai

I am helping plan trip for a friend and so now realizing even more anxiety than when doing for yourself!!!

But she is super stressed and has no time.

I wanted the Big Island for her as they want mellow, not a lot of shops/hub ub/nightlife...but some services. So nixed Maui.

She's a single mom and I wanted a nice resort like feel where she can get a great pool, decent meal and have her 13 and 11 year old boys explore a bit while she near by. For example play tennis while she sat on Lanai. (vs. for example a stand alone house or a condo without many services)... She'll certainly not want a hotel where she'd be sharing one room all week with smelly boys.

I really like the Waikola Resort and the Hali'i Kai resort. For it's nice pool, restaurant seems nice, ability to get quickly to a few other options.... I also liked that you could get Ocean views below $400. There were lots of VRBO options where I could see specific pictures for that unit.

BUT - I am starting to worry that it will just be too arid/moonscape to meet her dreams. They live in San Diego. So I started to look at Kauai. But can't seem to find lodging that makes me feel the way I feel about the Hani'i Kai. Nice pool, restaurant, resort feel and condos that I can be confident about view and furnishings. I just looked at Hanalei Bay Resort and can't seem to get photos of particular units. And there isn't really availability for the complete stay (we're late in planning end of July)

I was looking at Embassy Poipu but also unclear how to book, get a sense of perticular unit.

I am used to booking either with VRBO or with actual property - so feels weird to me when I can't see the ACTUAL room to be sure I like it.

Why not just stick with Big Island.....well I want them to have some lush tropical (although they also want to make sure Sun!).... and While I was ok with some driving starting to worry just too much driving.

The lodging around Hilo might just be a bit too funky for my friend and her boys (alone on their first trip as single mom). She only has six nights and so wasn't thinking of moving her around....

This might just be Monday morning craziness talking! We gotta book something or we'll miss out!
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May 13th, 2013, 06:44 AM
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Just 2 thoughts - first - we thought Waikoloa area was very green and looked "Hawaiian" to us and that it was a pretty perfect location with lots of amenities including "A" beach which was one of our favorites.

Second, why does the location have to be just like where they live? If they have that all the time, wouldn't it be nice to be somewhere different? We live in the desert SW so for us, we do like to visit places that are not just like home, but we would not rule out a trip where it looks like home.
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May 13th, 2013, 07:01 AM
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Thanks so much DebitNM your direct experience at Waikoloa is important.

I meant the live in San Diego so it's already arid.... I agree - something DIFFERENT is nice.

So if you as dessert dwellers felt that Waikoloa is green that would be good perspective
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May 13th, 2013, 07:32 AM
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Turtle Bay, Oahu with at least one trip into Honolulu to do Pearl Harbor? Polynesian Cultural Center for one afternoon?

Napili/Kapalua or Wailea on Maui? (Maui isn't just super-touristy Lahaina/Kaanapali.)

I like Big Island best in winter; gets hot fast in summer; unbearable in September.
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May 13th, 2013, 07:54 AM
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They want quieter - spending too much time in Southern California Traffic/congestion so I don't think I want Oahu or Honolulu - I know it's not the same.

But I was thinking Kauai for the mellow-ness....
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May 13th, 2013, 11:25 AM
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I'm not sure why you crossed off Maui. There's loads of parts of Maui that do not include <> and a much larger resort selection (since that seems the most important focus) than the other islands.
May 13th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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Did you consider Hanalei Colony Resort? Might not have all the resort amenities you're looking for, but its location on the remote, tropical north shore of Kaua'i might be just what the doctor ordered.
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May 13th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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Oahu is not JUST Honolulu; north shore is very different, and one can visit the city mid-day to avoid rush hours.

Maui is not JUST Kaanapali -- and it has a wide range of nice condos, many easy-access snorkeling beaches, and some nice activities for the boys. Mom can sit on a lanai at home while the boys play tennis or use a pool. Maui has that plus surfing, snorkling, zip-lining. Look in Wailea or Napili.

Long drives, remote areas and bored kids will not make anybody happy.

WHEN is this trip? Can you still get a rental car?
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May 13th, 2013, 01:50 PM
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I don't think you should stress out! I would just stick with Big Island. I recommend Hali'i Kai to everyone. I have been to San Diego many times too...but Hawaii is different. I mean, SD is a city and it has traffic lights, parking lots, office buildings etc...it is a far cry from the Hai'i Kai and the Big Island in general. Honestly I see very few people on the Big Island when I visit. It's quite lovely. Waikoloa Beach Resort is about 30 mins from the airport...but unless they are driving to Hilo or the Volcano, the driving distances are ok. It's about 15-20 minutes to upcountry Waimea where they can visit Parker Ranch and the shops up there (also supermarkets too). Kailua-Kona is about 40 minutes away. It's probably worth having a meal or two out there and for strolling.

I wouldn't rule out Maui either. It is a smaller island and has more cultivated resort areas...yes it will be a bit more touristy but that's also because it's less spread out. It is still also beautiful. I think the Honua Kai resort would fit the bill there too. It is still a condo, but it has a lot of amenities, a restaurant, and a lot of "stuff" in the area so in case they want to do something or eat anywhere they won't have to travel far. i do think that you get more for your money on Big Island though. Maui to me is very $$$.

I think Kauai is beautiful too. I probably can't help with Kauai as much but I thought it was very rustic and full of natural beauty. I've only been once and want to go back again! FYI, we stayed at the Waipouli Beach resort condos with a wonderful lazy river pool. Beach however, wasn't not very swimmable.
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May 13th, 2013, 02:17 PM
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Maui would be the one island I would rule out especially for someone from southern Calif. I was on a plane that was delayed for about 10 hours (we were put up in a hotel) and while all the passengers were sitting around the pool, one thing that everyone (we were all mostly from Orange Country & San Diego) complained about was how disappointing Maui was. It was just so much like southern Calif (not tropical or lush) nor as culturally Hawaiian.

The Big Island will be fine especially if it's their first time to Hawaii.

But, for a second trip I think they'd prefer Kauai. It is so lush, tropical, has an old Hawaii feel and is more diverse in terms of culture and people. There seems to be more to do on Kauai as well if you are into hiking, snorkeling, diving, etc.
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May 13th, 2013, 03:26 PM
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I couldn't disagree more about Maui. I guess maybe if sitting around a resort pool and complaining is all you're going to do, people might feel it is like southern California (place of my birth btw).

But if you get a rental car and go out and about on the island, it's magical, it's gorgeous. There's loads of acreage not "touristy" at all, not even developed in fact.
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May 13th, 2013, 03:43 PM
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Big Island is lovely and very different with all the lava but once you get down to the hotels/resorts, it is very green and lush. It is very quite like Kauai unless you venture down to Kailua Kona on the BI where it is funky and more touristy but Hawaiian style not LA style like parts of Maui and all of Honolulu. We loved the Mauna Kea and the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island but know people who love the hotel at Hapuna Beach (Hapuna Prince?) which is an awesome beach. Have never stayed in a condo there so cannot recommend any. Kauai is my favorite because it is so low key but yet has great swimming, snorkeling, bike riding, hiking, golf, beach and pool time. Kauai (at least the poipu beach area) is getting built up but nothing tall or out of place (nothing taller than a coconut tree), just losing some of the open space. Still it is where we go to unwind. with 2 boys I would think a condo would help with food costs since boys seem to be hungry all the time. SeaLodge in Princeville or Pali Ke Kua in Princeville are both nice, Kiahuna plantation or Makehuena or Poipu Shores in Poipu are very nice with great water views especially Poipu Shores which sits right on the lava rocks. Hotels...we have stayed at the Sheraton, Hyatt at Poipu but prefer condos Check out VRBO and get specific units with views you want before committing. SOme places are huge and you are assigned a unit when you arrive which doesn't work for me.

Good luck. You will need a car on both the BI and Kauai...
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May 13th, 2013, 04:24 PM
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sorry suze. i know a lot of people love maui. i've been to all the major islands many times. and when we visted maui we went all over the island (in fact we stayed with friends in Kula as opposed to a resort or hotel). i'm just not a fan as it is too mainland for my tastes in comparison to the other islands. just an opinion.
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May 13th, 2013, 04:40 PM
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It IS an opinion, that's my point. I sure didn't view Maui that way at all. I think it's unfortunate because you so strongly say such negative things every time the subject comes up. I did not find Maui "too mainland" at all, certainly no more than Oahu (which you seem to love). I just think it would be sad if anyone here's skipping it because of that strongly and often stated personal opinion of yours.
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May 13th, 2013, 05:03 PM
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I know you have a strong opinion as well suze.
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May 13th, 2013, 05:48 PM
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I really appreciate the perspectives. This trip is end of July so very tight on timing. I think I'm going to continue on my original plan. I liked the Hanalei colony but it was quite booked and I couldn't see individual unit photos.

She's ready for relaxation and told me today that if I didn't help her she'd just end up suddenly upon her kids vacation and just drive to Bakersfield to visit her grandma...so Heck it truly will be PARADISE!!!
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May 14th, 2013, 01:06 AM
  #17
 
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You can't go wrong with any of the major islands. They're all great, and if there's a beach and pool, the kids will be happy and mom will, too.
Since it looks like Kauai is the choice, they absolutely should A) go to Tunnels, Ke'e and Hanalei Bay beaches; B) take a helicopter ride; C) Sail the Napali coast (I went with Capt. Andy's and it was outstanding); D) Do the canyon drive.
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May 14th, 2013, 05:41 AM
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For the first trip - Amen to going to any island - even Oahu - where you can get away to the North Shore - or even over in Lanikai, etc.

Suggest you confirm what they want for accommodations and find something that fits their needs, and then work backwards for flight reservations, things to do, and on and on.

Again, any island should be just fine for their first trip to Paradise.
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May 14th, 2013, 05:44 AM
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And if Kauai is the choice - check some of the timeshare places for a 2 BR condo - such as the Cliffs Club at Princeville (North Shore), or Lawai Beach Resort down by Poipu, etc.

Also - have you read SongDoc's reports?
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May 14th, 2013, 07:16 AM
  #20
 
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You are not going to make the wrong decision.

We can all debate which island we like more and why, but I would trade a day on any of them for a day sitting at my desk.
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