First timers -- Kauai --

Mar 29th, 2012, 06:20 PM
  #1  
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First timers -- Kauai --

I have been gathering a lot of good information from previous posts.

We will be staying for 12 days in a VRBO house on the north coast of Kauai.

Any tips on best luau ?

Also is there car rental available outside of the airport so that we can avoid the airport fee at Lihue ?

Should I try Priceline ?

My daughter and I will be celebrating her Psychology Internship . It's been a long haul for her and we are very proud of her achievement.

Thanks,

Susan
susiedq is offline  
Mar 29th, 2012, 07:39 PM
  #2  
 
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Very good choice and research. What month are you going?

No idea about the airport tax as we just walk across the street and rent our cars right there at the airport. If the savings is worth it - you might take a taxi into Lihue - but again, not sure of the net savings doing that.

And no current ideas on Luau's but will check for you. Mid-island probably has more choices, except for some local ones you might find out about in Tahiti Nui in Hanalei town.
http://www.thenui.com/

Anyhow - here is a page for a starting point. http://www.gohawaii.com/kauai/plan-a...ctivities/luau

You might also check the tourist mags at the airport when you arrive - as sometimes - they offer a free breakfast to review the various tour options - which even for those of us who have been going to Kauai for 30 years - gives an up to date review of the current "deals". We got a good deal on a trimarin cruise out of Port Allen doing that.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 29th, 2012, 07:51 PM
  #3  
 
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BTW - one of our long time choices remains the Dolphin - on the Hanalei river in Hanalei. It has very good fresh fish and other offerings - and is a local hangout as well.

We also like to go to the shopping center in Hanalei town and buy fresh fish - and have a sauted mahi mahi sandwich for lunch - or whatever else they have. My wife even makes sushi (also buy some fresh fish for that -ahi etc) - and all you really need to do is know how to make sticky rice (hint- rice vinegar I believe is the secret - but what do I know?).

Actally - before you leave - if you find the little bamboo rollers to help roll it tight - (here is a good picture - http://www.amazon.com/Helen-Chens-Ki.../dp/B000UEYXK4 ) it makes it much easier than the long trial and error you will experience trying to do it by hand as the pros do in these videos:

http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-make-sushi-rice

http://makemysushi.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPMaid87Es0
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 29th, 2012, 07:53 PM
  #4  
 
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Fiddely foo: Forgot to post for the Hanalei Dolphin (which I think used to be called the Blue Dolphin?)

http://www.hanaleidolphin.com/index.htm
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 29th, 2012, 09:25 PM
  #5  
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Tom,

Thanks so much for all of the info.

We will arrive on May 20 and spend 12 nights !

We have a rental car reserved but noticed the final price was nowhere near the initial rate.

What do you usually pay for your rental car ?

I'm going to start reading your links right now.

thanks again,
susan
susiedq is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 03:51 AM
  #6  
 
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Susan - that should be a great time. Hey - if you get a little rain, enjoy the great waterfalls that will be running down the hills.

I honestly can't remember our last rental car rate - but it seemed in line with the other islands. Think we had a multi-island rate/deal so maybe we got a break?

And/or - maybe they have tacked some new charges on and it's worth checking out what they are doing in town. We do that at some other airports here in the states, but usually since the rental car agencies are so close to the airports in the outer islands, we just use those.

And if you try making sushi - and it doesn't look all that great the first time you roll it, don't be discouraged, as it will still taste great.

I think it's a fun thing to do/learn while you have a nice time appreciating Bali Hai.

What's most important is to prepare a good sticky rice - along with getting the fresh ingredients (especially the fish - and just "julienne" it).

Then arrange some rice (a row of rice spread out/along the bamboo roller - on top of the sheet of Nori (seaweed paper http://www.makemysushi.com/index.php...ials/nori.html )

Press the ingredients into the middle of the row of rice, roll it (have a little finger bowl with warm water to keep the fingers from getting too sticky/stuck with rice) and then cut it. Again, it will taste great even if not sushi-chef-uniform style.

BTW - have you seen the Rogers and Hammerstein 1958 movie/musical/WWII love story - South Pacific? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052225/ Filmed right there - in Hanalei Harbor - and one of our favorite beaches is "Nurses Beach" - Lumahai (you have to hike down a little bit) - where Mitzi Gaynor "washes that man right out of her hair". http://tinyurl.com/7lflcq4

I have yet to see the newest (after The Thornbirds, Jurassic Park) - Kauai movie - The Descendants - with George Clooney - but that also is supposed to have a lot of great shots of Kauai.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 04:23 AM
  #7  
 
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Susan, tripadvisor has a very active Kauai forum. You can get so much information from those who live there and those who actually travel there.

As far as a rental car, you will be able to get people on trip advisor to share discount codes with you. We normally rent from Alamo thru Costco, but have also used Thrifty. I do believe that Kal normally is successful with priceline.

Have fun....Kauai is the most beautiful place on this earth.
iceeu2 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 04:24 AM
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oh, and btw....there's too many good places that serve sushi to waste your time making it!!!!
iceeu2 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 05:39 AM
  #9  
 
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The sushi at the Dolphin fish market around back is excellent. A few ahi rolls and some poke and you're all set!

The Foodland in Princeville is your best bet for shopping in that area. They also have very good sushi that is made fresh all day long. They have a good selection of Roselani ice cream in the freezer section. The Haupia flavor will induce orgasm.
succulent is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 07:12 AM
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Geesh: Some people just don't understand. Making sushi is not a waste of time but a lot of fun and can become an art form. And yes, the Foodland is what I was thinking of in the little shopping center. You can buy your sushi fresh and/or also make it yourself. We also like making sashimi and sometimes poke to go along with the sushi. Need to find some sesame seed for the poke.

And on the other end of the little center is a good place to rent stuff - for kayaking, snorkeling, etc. Pedal and Paddle - although the founder I knew has passed on. He was an attorney in Orange County who just one day - gave it up and moved to Paradise. http://www.pedalnpaddle.com/main-frame.html

There is also a great little plate lunch/sandwich shop/bakery there, which also makes some sushi. Village Snack and Bakery shop: http://www.yelp.com/biz/village-snac...y-shop-hanalei And there was a good Chinese restaurant on the 2nd floor.

A few miles away - the Kilauea Bakery/Pizza place is also pretty good: http://kilaueabakery.wordpress.com/ Be sure to get out and see the lighthouse.

Also - don't miss checking out Anini Beach. I took a windsurfing lesson there - and years ago saw Sylvester Stallone ("Rocky/Rambo") playing polo there, and Bette Midler also had a house there, among other celebs. http://tinyurl.com/7f6w68x

Do agree Trip Advisor is a good travel forum/blog site - but I wouldn't necessary promote it here on Fodors?

BTW - on your way to Princeville - when passing through Kapaa, there are several good fruit stands where you can pick some fruit up. Hmmmm - does it sound like I have been on a diet?
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 07:14 AM
  #11  
 
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And as for rental cars - I always start with www.carrentals.com, but it never hurts to call some of the car rental companies directly and do a little negotiating.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 07:27 AM
  #12  
 
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Fyi - I just tried www.carrentals.com, May 20th for 10 days at the Kauai airport - which also brings up Hotline - and they had this - for several of the major car rental companies. Were you getting something like this rate?


$38.95per day


Total price
$490.23
includes all applicable tax recovery charges and fees
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 07:28 AM
  #13  
 
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I've never used Priceline or rented outside the airport, so don't know if there's a way to avoid that fee. If you check on the TripAdviser forums, you'll probably end up at Discount Hawaii Car Rental, which is who I'm using for two trips to the islands later this year. http://www.discounthawaiicarrental.com/

Besides the luau at Mediterranean Gourmet, I suspect there's one somewhere around Princeville. The most popular on the island, I think, is Smith's Tropical Paradise, but that's in Kapaa, which is at least 45 minutes from where you'll be staying. Don't know if I'd want to make that drive after a few mai-tais. ;-) If you decide on the one at Med Gourmet, make reservations soon. It's only done once/week, on Tuesdays.

I agree that Foodland in Princeville is the best bet for groceries, but we found that the Big Save in Hanalei was okay too. And it'll save you a couple bucks in gas over driving the extra miles to Princeville.

Why all the talk about sushi? Did I miss something in the OP?
islandaze is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 08:41 AM
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Oh, and BTW Tom, the Foodland is in the shopping center at Princeville. The Pedal and Paddle is just down from Big Save, in the Ching Young Village center in Hanalei.
islandaze is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 10:17 AM
  #15  
 
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Last summer, I found great rates for both Kauai & Maui through HotWire.com.

They offered the best, one-week rates that I could find.
Paul is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 11:04 AM
  #16  
 
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Last trip I used discounthawaiicarrental.com and got a very good rate through Avis for a midsize car. Read on TA that car rentals are up a bit this year over last year.

Haven't eaten at the Dolphin yet, have to try it, really liked Hanalei Gourmet in the schoolhouse shopping center in Hanalei. I think the only luau on the North Shore is the one at Med Gourmet, St Regis puts on something but it is more like a dinner show and bound to be pricey like everything else there is.

Have a great time.
jamie99 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 11:16 AM
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islandaze: You're right - and thank you very much. Yes, we have frequented both of the food stores and like them both. The Big Save (in the Ching Young Village) is more local flavor (and has some great local shortbread cookies - forget the brand at the moment - Kauai something - Cookie?), but the Foodland is larger and has more selection. http://www.princevillecenter.com/

In the Princeville center - we also liked Lappert's Ice Cream shop - and CJ's for steak/seafood - and there used to be a fun hamburger place with Bison burgers toward the back. Think this is the one - Paradise Bar and Grill. http://paradisebarandgrillkauai.com/ They also had a shop with good deals on women's accessories - and I bought a few things there for gifts - but forget the name. In the front row.

And we used to love to get a morning cup of coffee at the coffee shop at the St. Regis (and maybe a pastry)- at the end of the road in Princeville and go sit out on their deck to admire the incredible Bali Hai view. http://exclusives.stregis.com/St-Reg...FSoGRQodXRQe0A

That reminds me: "Next door" - the Hanalei Colony Resort - if they have finished their refurbishment - had a great restaurant (once called Bali Hai) with an incredible view - and they may also have a Luau? http://www.hcr.com/restaurant

Hey - I even had outpatient surgery there (don't know if the medical clinic is still there) - when I caught a strep infection - on a cut on my leg. Fortunately - it wasn't a raging type, but the Dr. did send a swatch to the Hospital for a culture. Warning - don't go wading in the Hanalei river with even a small open cut. Lot's of microscopic bugs there.

And the Chinese restaurant on the 2nd floor (Ching Young center in Hanalei town) - Bamboo ? - has changed ownership over the years I think - but the last time we went it was still pretty good.

Have you gone there lately?
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 11:33 AM
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The restaurant tomsd mentions at the Hanalei Colony Resort is the one referenced other times above called the Mediterrean Gourmet. It has been that for at least 5 or 6 years. Before that it was empty. Before that is was Charo's.
succulent is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 12:05 PM
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Tomsd, man, come on....give it a break....take a deep breath!!! When was the last time you went to some of these places you are talking about???
iceeu2 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 12:09 PM
  #20  
 
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Thank you succulent. Am getting some names mixed up again. We actually stayed out at the Hanalei Colony Resort during our Honeymoon in '86 - and it was indeed Charo's restaurant and we enjoyed dining there - and even meeting Charo at a private party back then. cucci cucci: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRmZzekrpDA

There was also good snorkeling in front of the HCR - and I even did a little spear fishing with some locals there (getting to know how to use the fabled Hawaiian Sling) - but they took the fish.

The place I am thinking of with the currently closed? Bali Hai restaurant is in the Hanalei Bay Resort - next to the St. Regis. http://hanaleibayresort.net/hanalei-...-amenities.php

And the reason for discussing sushi/sashimi/cooking fish at "home" is that when you stay out beyond Hanalei town - at a beautiful place right on the beach - you may not feel like dressing up and driving into town for dinner, but rather dining in. That also allows you to have a few libations without worrying about drinking and driving.
Tomsd is offline  

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