Kauai base for week

Old Mar 26th, 2021, 05:17 AM
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Kauai base for week

Hi All, Our family-mom, two adult children- are in the early stages of planning for a mid-September trip to Kauai. Two of us are coming from the east coast US and one from Denver. Sadly, because of work schedules, we have 10 days at the most including travel. Travel day is Wednesday and rest day Thursday. My question is where to stay. I have found a house on the east coast which has some walkability for a coffee, beer or ice cream. My thinking is that I know we will have to drive to activities (Na Poli coast, waterfall rappelling, beach exploration, golf, mountain biking) in the North and the South, so splitting the home base by choosing the Coconut Coast is a good location for us. I realize that Kauai is strict about CV19 and we will be fully vaccinated by then and will pay attention to cancelation policies. What do you think of a location of the east coast for our active family?
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 05:34 PM
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^^^
If you have not already, check in over at Trip Advisor on the Kauai forum. It's more active at TA than Fodor's when it comes to Hawaii aloha
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Old Mar 28th, 2021, 11:30 AM
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Most of the beaches on the East (Coconut) Coast of Kauai are not swimmable due to strong currents and lack of a close reef. Traffic can also be a major pain unless you are staying far enough south or north that you can use the Bypass to escape commuter traffic. They do also have contra flow lanes on part of the route which helps.
In September I would stay North, rent a condo in Princeville or maybe a house in Hanalei. You would have to "suck it up" a day or two to drive to Waimea Canyon and possibly the Lihue airport if you are taking a heli trip or possibly a Na Palo coast boat trip. There are a few boat trips leaving from Hanalei as well.
By the way, you don't drive to the Na Pali coast (no road), you visit it via a boat trip, overfly part of it via helicopter trip, or hike in (permits needed).
Have a great trip, hopefully Sonc Doc will post (he might be traveling).
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Old Mar 29th, 2021, 12:26 PM
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Thanks for that info. I assume I would have to drive to a boat to get our Na Poli coast tour. We do like to beach swim so thanks for that advice. As I plan more, I may have more questions.
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Old Mar 30th, 2021, 09:44 PM
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I live on Kauai's North Shore--in Princeville. So I might be prejudiced. ;-) For me, the North Shore is the most beautiful part of the island and is the only place I would stay that time of year. The area approaching Ke'e Beach is the only place I've seen in all of Hawaii that matches my fantasy of Polynesian paradise.

IMO, the East/Coconut Coast is the least attractive part of the island, and as was previously mentioned, the beaches are not swimmable--except for at Lydgate Park. But just north of Kapaa is Kealia Beach, which should have a section that is good for swimming that time of year. You can also walk the path that starts in Kapaa and runs parallel to the ocean past Kealia Beach. I recommend picking that path up at Kealia Beach for walking -- or rent a bike and start in Kapaa. But it will be hot and there is no shade on that path, so I suggest doing it early. I love that walk.

The plus to the East side is indeed that (depending on where you stay) you might be able to walk to shops and restaurants, and you would be centrally located. If you are hikers, I would recommend the Kuilau Trail, which is close to Kapaa. (Not to be confused with the Kalalau Trail on the North Shore.)

If you were to stay in Hanalei or Princeville you would have easy access to Hanalei Bay, Ke'e Beach, the Kalalau Trail (if you are serious hikers), Anini Beach (for good snorkeling), Queen's Bath, Hideaway Beach, and Kalihiwai Beach, as well as the Anini Lighthouse. The North Shore is only a 30-minute drive to Kapaa (unless there is road construction). So when you do the long drive to Waimea Canyon and Poipu (where I recommend Shipwreck Beach and walking the Maha'ulepu Trail) you are only adding a half hour to your drive. You might not need to go south or west for any other activities.

I don't think you can make a bad decision. I would choose the North Shore, but you have to weigh out the pros and cons.

Jamie99: There has been essentially no tourists -- and NO traffic -- for the past year. It has been bliss. But thankfully (for the economy) that will likely soon change. Also, they have begun widening the road, adding additional lanes through the Kapaa bottleneck, but that won't be complete for more than a year.

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Old Mar 31st, 2021, 11:21 AM
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Thanks for that information, SongDoc! Another question please--I always like ending vacations on a high note (no pun intended). I have been looking at nice hotels in Princeville or close to the airport which would give us a pool, restaurant, bar and some peace and quiet. I don't mind paying a little more for these things. I had the Princeville Resort in mind, but I see it is closed. Would you have any suggestions? I have also seen a lot of timeshare type condos in the area. Does one need to sit through a sales pitch to be on those properties? I also am considering Ali'i Kai but wasn't sure if it had the amenities I was looking for.
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Old Mar 31st, 2021, 04:54 PM
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I live at Alii Kai. It has a pool, but it is a condo complex. There is no restaurant or bar. Just this view ...



I joke that I bought a beautiful view instead of a beautiful house.

On the North Shore, the only places I can think of with a restaurant and a nice pool are: Hanalei Bay Resort and the Westin Princeville. Everything else in Princeville is condo complexes, such as the Cliffs, Westin Bali Hai, Pali Ke Kua, etc. None of them have restaurants or bars. You would drive about 2 miles to the Princeville shopping center for bars, restaurants, shopping, groceries, etc. -- or an additional 2 miles to Hanalei for a larger selection of restaurants. FYI, I don't believe any of the condo or timeshare resorts require you to sit through the sales pitch. But some of them will offer a perk (i.e., a free helicopter ride) IF you choose to endure their pitch.

The Grand Hyatt and Ko'a Kea Hotel are the most upscale properties in Poipu (South Shore). Many of the properties I mentioned are closed, but I'm guessing everything will be open by September. (Our mandatory quarantine ends next week, replaced by proof of a negative test.)

Closer to the airport are: the Kauai Beach Resort, the former Marriott in Lihue (which will reopen as a Sonesta property), and the Sheraton Coconut Beach resort. I'm not a big fan of Poipu. To me, it's a "generic, touristy resort area" compared to the North Shore. But some people love it. Similarly, I don't like the location of the former Marriott. It is on a swimmable beach, but not nearly as pretty a beach as others on Kauai.

Good luck deciding!
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Old Apr 1st, 2021, 12:42 AM
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Not sure you wanted reply from Songcoc specifically (hey Songdoc!) so hope it's ok to reply to your last question.
Per your desire to end your trip to Kauai on a "high" note--for a spectacular beautiful resort, I'd choose the Hyatt, rather than a condo-type place in Princeville, since you'll have already been in the area for most of the trip. The north shore scenery is more jaw-droppingy stunning, but the Poipu area has its attractions too.
The Hyatt is on the "southeast" of the island, near Poipu (an area which has beautiful beaches ) and from there, you would be closer to Lihue Airport for your departure, than you would be from North Shore/Princeville area. Staying there for the last couple days before leaving, also means you could do "southern" sightseeing (Waimea Canyon,ShipwreckBeach/Mahaulepu Trail--which adjoins the Hyatt-- from there and save yourself a round trip day from North Shore.
The Hyatt is pricey but imho, worth every cent. I couldn't afford more than two days there at a time, but those splurges were worth it. You mentioned wanting "quiet" and as you'll be there mid-September post Labor Day and if (fingers crossed) schools are all finally open on the mainland , the families will be gone, leaving you and your crew with a quieter-than-summer resort.
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Old Apr 1st, 2021, 09:32 AM
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CaliNurse: I think that's a really good suggestion. There is no news about when the Hyatt might reopen, but I would guess it would be open by summer.
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Old Apr 1st, 2021, 10:36 AM
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Hoooray!!! Mahalo.
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Old Apr 1st, 2021, 12:53 PM
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Pali Ke Lua has a restaurant . Over the decades, the restaurant site has changed names/owners often, but iirc is now again now open in evenings as Hideaways Pizza Pub.
Views ws from some condos at PKK are spectacular. I had the pleasure of staying in one with view of ocean and "Bali Hai" (Mt Makana). Those are the buildings closer to the main road road the Princeville subdivision. Farther back on the property are expansive ocean views without mountain views, similar to the beautiful rainbow one Songdoc posted above from Alii Kai .
Hanalei Bay Resort is a lush, beautiful property with a fun "tropical pool" and hot tub, and a couple smaller pools. It is a popular time-share place. Re its restaurants--not sure they're open yet. Even before Covid , they had "issues" going back years.. There were two: Bali Hai Restaurant and Happy Talk Lounge. Both excellent, so I hope at least one reopens soon, at least by the time you are on Kauai.
Happy planning!
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Old Apr 1st, 2021, 01:00 PM
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Pali Ke Lua has a restaurant . Over the decades, the restaurant site has changed names/owners often, but iirc is now again now open in evenings as Hideaways Pizza Pub.
Views from some condos at PKK are spectacular. I had the pleasure of staying in one with view of ocean and "Bali Hai" (Mt Makana). Those are the buildings closer to the main road through the Princeville subdivision. Farther back on the property, more "north" facing, are expansive ocean views without mountain views, similar to the beautiful rainbow and ocean Songdoc posted above from Alii Kai .
Hanalei Bay Resort is a lush, beautiful property with a fun "tropical pool" & hot tub (the main pool used to be sandy-bottom--not sure now ) and a couple smaller pools. It 's a popular time-share place. Some of the condos hav truly spectacular, "pinch myself" luhs mountain and "Bali Hai" views. Re its bar and restaurant, --not sure they're open yet. Even before Covid , they had "issues" going back years.. There were two: Bali Hai Restaurant and Happy Talk Lounge I hope at least one reopens soon, at least by the time you are on Kauai in September.
Happy planning!
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Old Apr 1st, 2021, 10:13 PM
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Apologies all, for the duplicate post. The second one is edited for typos. Can't believe after all this time,I still get messed up with editing and posting.
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Old Apr 1st, 2021, 10:29 PM
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Songdoc, afaik Hyatt Poipu is already open. I say that because we checked, considering staying on Kauai and Oahu North Shore, last month.
For a bunch of reasons (mostly Covid requirement/anxiety related) we cancelled, deciding to wait bit longer for the return to Paradise. But it sure was fun, and bittersweet, checking out old favorites on assorted islands!
Sigh...it's hard to wait. (Maybe same for you, with safari dreams.) Meanwhile, I'm getting vicarious enjoyment. Your photos help! Thanks for posting beautiful evocative shots of the North Shore!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 06:44 AM
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Wow, thanks everyone! SongDoc, I would say that the price you paid for your view was a bargin! And you got 4 walls too! CaliNurse, what good information. I usually copy and paste all information into a document, edit it and then print when we travel. It helps me remember things without a lot of work. I am still leaning hard toward the house on the Coconut coast--for the price and walkability, it seems to fit our needs. I think the Hyatt will be the winner for the wind-up. It sounds like where we would like to be for a restful few days after all the adventure and before the long slog home. My kids are in their 30's, unattached and we three have suffered a terrible loss late 2019. Their father, my dearly loved husband was killed and this will be the first time we will all be together without a fresh sadness surrounding us. I am hoping a tiny bit of healing will occur on the island. Again,, thanks for your contributions and I will be back if I have more questions.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 10:20 PM
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I've stayed on the "Coconut Coast" 3-4 different times. I'm guessing your house, within easy reach of shops, coffee, restaurants, etc, is in Kapaa. I understand why it's a great location. Not to dissuade you but just to give another option which has the easy-walking to places from your accommodation, which I also like-- may I also suggest checking Hanalei town. It has more of a "local" feel in general, and is smaller than Kapaa, but with everything you need in terms of market, restaurants, coffee ...and "character.'" (Rental prices in town to near Hanalei Bay are higher and decent selection is less, so that's an "issue".)
In ANY case, you 'll have a great trip. While not swimmable, beaches on the East side (check out the one by the Aston islander on the Beach, next to the wonderful Sand Bar drinks place) are beautiful. From there, as mentioned by Songdoc also a great biking/walking path that goes all the way through Kapaa along the coast, and up to Kealia Beach.There's a small hilltop with heiau between Islander on hthe Beach and the condo complex at Lae Nani.

You have chosen the perfect place for healing from the pain of more than a year.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 08:25 PM
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StacyB: I am so sorry for your loss.
If you decide on the Grand Hyatt (which has indeed opened), to me, it would make sense to split your time between Hanalei and the Grand Hyatt. As was previously said, you can cover the south shore and west side attractions with the Grand Hyatt as your base.

But you can't go wrong. There is no "right" answer.
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 09:10 AM
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Songdoc: is the Happy Talk restaurant/lounge at Hanalei Bay open again? If so, there are many condos for rent here that would be a great North Shore experience for you. https://www.hanaleibayresort.com/

We also rented this house: https://www.vrbo.com/7884079ha?adultsCount=2 WOO HOO
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 08:33 PM
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Wow Nurse Cheryl...what a house!!!!!!

Hanalei Bay resort is so gorgeous and lush. Afaik, they are renting, and open to their time share owners too

Last December, when we researched possible March trip to Kauai, HBR's restaurant, and even the separate bar, were still closed, as both have been intermittently since pre-Covid times.

Assuming the website is correct, that's still the case:

Happy Talk Lounge
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 09:53 PM
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I do not think the Happy Talk Lounge is open. Friends of mine stayed at HBR and LOVED it.

I should start a new thread, but I'll give you a preview. ;-)
As of today, there is no longer a quarantine required to visit Kauai. So there are signs on many businesses announcing their re-opening.
Among those I noticed today: Tiki Iniki (4/20); Smith Family Luau (May 5th); Fern Grotto River Cruise (4/14)...
So my guess is that Happy Talk will reopen soon, as well.

rncheryl: Small world. (Well, small island!) I walk past that house regularly! It's on the street where the albatrosses nest this time of year. I go by to see the babies. Yesterday, I joked that we should buy it.





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