Kauai Botanical Garden Tour

Dec 1st, 2009, 04:17 PM
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Kauai Botanical Garden Tour

My husband and I did the Allerton Garden tour in May 2008 when we were to Kauai last. We are fortunate enough to be going in March of 2010 and were wondering if anyone had any thoughts on if it was worth going to again or if there is a better/different tour we should be looking into that time of the year.

so_in_love is offline  
Dec 1st, 2009, 05:53 PM
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We went last year. IMO, it's ok to see once.
travelinandgolfin is offline  
Dec 1st, 2009, 06:16 PM
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you should definitely check out Limahuli Gardens on the north shore. It's a self guided tour, and very interesting. We didn't do Allerton, so I can't compare, but if gardens are your thing, Limahuli is really good.
china_cat is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2009, 07:11 PM
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Why not do the McBryde self guided tour this time around? Also beautiful. Along with Limahuli (highly recommended) you can do Na Aina Kai on the north shore.
hgjames is offline  
Dec 4th, 2009, 07:25 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions! I think we might have to check out the self guided tour somewhere this time. I was leery about doing that because I'm not a plant expert and don't know the names or anything about them...but they're still beautiful to look at!

Thanks again!
so_in_love is offline  
Dec 4th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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The allerton garden and limahuli gardens are really not comparable. The Allerton garden is a hawaiian formal garden (I know that's an oximoron) while the limahuli is more a hawiian plant presevation garden. That is not to say it isn't a beautiful place. It's is, it's just a different garden format than Allerton. It you haven't been to Ke'e beach and Haena, Limahuli is a must.
wbpiii is offline  
Dec 4th, 2009, 11:15 AM
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Wow! Thanks so much for that advice. I will definitely have to mention those special tours to my husband; they sound fantastic and provide unique experiences.

Will the whales still be around in mid march?
so_in_love is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 05:44 PM
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I recommend the Na Aina Kai Gardens if you have already been to Allerton. I have been to Allerton 2x, and Na Aina Kai once. Na Aina Kai has multiple tour options, and also has sculpture. I was lucky when I was there to get a tour by the original owners of the property, who laid out the gardens, and acquired or planted almost everything there. Then donated their property to always perserve it. Very special. Duane's Ono Char Burger is a good place to stop on the way to get good burgers and shakes.
Denisemw is offline  
Dec 20th, 2009, 11:49 PM
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I just returned from Kauai 2 days ago and share your love of the Allerton. They have a new, Saturday only tour that sounds AMAZING. It starts at 3:30 and you get not just the gardens tour but a tour of the inside of the house, which was recently restored. Apparently, after one of the hurricanes, they took as much as they could from the house and stored it and only recently replaced all of that original furniture (4 rooms worth) and began this special tour. You need to reserve a spot 24 hrs in advance.

If you want to some GREAT restaurant recs, let me know. I ate my way through many delicious, memorable meals.

MelissaMorgan is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2009, 07:10 AM
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Thanks for your input, I appreciate it. I am so jealous you were just there...makes me more anxious to go on our trip!! I would LOVE your recs on food or anything else you have to share! Thanks.
so_in_love is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2009, 11:51 PM
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Lol, I am so jealous you're going!! You are going to have an amazing time. OK, so here's the skinny on the restaurants:

POSTCARDS CAFE in Hanalei. When you're on the North shore, absolutely be sure to go here for dinner. They are open 6-9 p.m. and serve outstanding, mostly organic food. The preparations are unique and so, so delicious. If you get there around 6 you'll even see them cutting the herbs and lettuce from the garden. It's in a small, intimate house.

THE BEACH HOUSE in Poipu. Get a reservation as early as you can (I think 6) and get there 15 minutes early to catch the sunset. Absolutely spectacular view. Great food.

ST. REGIS HOTEL in Princeville for lunch. Another spectacular view of the Hanalei Bay and Bali Hai over infinity pools. Delicious food.

MERMAIDS CAFE in Kapaa. This is a hole in the wall cheapie lunch spot that serves the most delicious lunch (coconut curry chicken, burritos, salads)

MERRIMAN'S in Poipu. We only ate there for lunch but it was delish and I hear great things about their dinner. They are in a new outdoor shopping mall upstairs. If you're there for the day, check out an adorable boutique called Bungalow 8. Sweet girl from Dallas just opened the boutique and they have some lovely gifts (for yourself

RED SALT in Poipu at the Koa Kea Hotel. This is a special occasion dinner. Simply mouth watering, deliciousness. Treat yourself to a red sugar rimmed Mango Margarita instead of a Mai Tai and you won't be disappointed.

ROY'S in Poipu. It's a chain but I still love it. Like Merriman's this one is also in an outdoor mall but food so yummy!

Oh, you're just going to have the best time.
MelissaMorgan is offline  
Dec 30th, 2009, 01:37 PM
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Awesome! Thanks so much for the food ideas, it's always great to get a few thoughts from someone who's been recently! I am getting so anxious to go, especially now that we have over 4 feet of snow and sub zero temps on the way!
so_in_love is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 08:12 AM
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My wife and I are just back from three weeks on Kauai--our seventh visit. May I offer some contrarian views of the restaurants mentioned above?

Postcards - eaten there three times and haven't had a really good meal yet. Will eat there no more.

St. Regis - mediocre food, ridiculous prices, bar drinks so-so. Don't waste your time.

Merriman's - living off the early hype. Not worth it - save your money for Roy's, which still has the best food on island.

Mermaids - skip it and try the Pono Market instead. Great plate lunches.

Baracuda -- second best meal we had this time (behind Roy's). Ate there twice.

Bouchons - the former Sushi Blues, and like Blues, not great but not bad.

Hanalei Dolphin - we had a terrific meal there this time. Seems that they've improved both service and food.

Java Kai - weak.

Kintaro's - one of our fave restaurants on island, but not great this year.

Pomodoro's - our fave "find" this year. Terrific family-style Italian in a friendly setting in Kalaheo.

Kalaheo Cafe - lots of buzz about this place, now open for dinner, but we were far from impressed. Food okay but overpriced and service was "random" at best.

Hanapepe Cafe - ate there during Art Walk on Friday night. Disappointing. (The Art Walk this year was also a bit underwhelming: not a lot of people, not a lot of studios open, and absence of street lighting gives the scene a somewhat eerie, depressing vibe.)

Brick Oven - overpriced but very good.

Roys - great.

Sueoka Market's snack shop - cheap, very good plate lunches for quick takeout or easy dinner.

Brennecke's - not a Fodor's favorite, I know, and in years past we've had only decent meals there. But this year it was terrific. The sandwiches at the deli remain overpriced and mediocre, however.

JoJo' Shave Ice -- excellent as always, but we still give the nod to Wishing Well in Hanalei for shave ice.

Red Salt -- such a downer of a location that we decided not to eat there.

Beach House - we've eaten there several times before but didn't go this trip because the last couple of times it hasn't been very good. Save your money and go to Roy's.

Hamura's Saimin - the best place to eat on Kauai, bar none, including Roy's and Baracuda.

Nuff said for now. Hope I didn't tick off to many folks!
Cidbob is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 12:06 PM
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If I could pick only one it would be The Beach House. Granted that the location and the sunset as well as the food and excellent service make is very special. I did pick it - and then I picked it again.
GBC is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 07:46 PM
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Cidbob, Thanks for the opinions. I appreciate anyone's thoughts. Same to you GBC
so_in_love is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 07:30 AM
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It's funny how experiences differ. In 10 visits to the islands, the Kauai Roy's was the worst meal ever. The kitchen could not cook me a decent Mahi Mahi. First was over-cooked next was not cooked. Did not return there on my last visit. Having said that, I have had better experiences on Maui and Hawaii. I would probably say go for it.

I also liked the Beach House.
wbpiii is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 07:51 AM
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well, since we're talking about Kauai restaurants....

Postcards: ate there once and enjoyed it. We thought the fish was fresh, and well prepared although fairly simple. We liked the vegetables they served with it. A nice lighter sort of meal.

Barracuda: excellent. One of the best meals we had on our trip.

Hukilau Lanai (in Kapa'a): had an outstanding meal here. Of course, made better by the company Their grilled ono with mac nut brown butter sauce was to die for.

Mediterranean Gourmet (Haena): we ate lunch there, and it was terrific. A terrific gyro. DH had a sampler plate with felafel and othe rspecialties. Everything was excellent.

Lighthouse Bistro (Kilauea): eh...it was okay, but nothing special.

Bubba Burger was better than Duane's Ono Char Burgers. Plus the guy who runs the Bubba Burger in Hanalei is a Red Sox fan, so that was fun.

Shave Ice in Hanalei:
Wishing Well is much better than Paradise, but its open a lot less often. we went by 3 times when it should have been open, and finally caught it.

Wish we could have gone to Hamura but they were closed the entire week we were on Kauai.
We also never went to Hanalei Dolphin, because the parking lot was always mobbed. If you can't park, I figure the wait for a table is too long. However, we did pick up ahi poke from the market and it was outstanding.
china_cat is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 10:01 PM
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Cidbob, why you gotta be such a downer? I guess I shouldn't be offended that you dissed every single place I recommended because it doesn't seem like there was much of anything you liked. Regardless, I fully stand by my recommendations and hope that so_in_love enjoys the trip (wherever you eat)! Aloha!
MelissaMorgan is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 05:18 PM
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Not to get too personal, Melissa, but please read my above post again. I give thumbs up to several restaurants. More to the point, you can eat decades-old spam off the shelf from Ishihara's and still love it because you are eating on Kauai. Probably my fave meal on island is sun-warmed peanut butter and jelly for lunch at Makua or Maha-ulepu.

If I started listing all the things I like about Kauai, Fodor's would have to close down this forum.

And to stay on topic, my wife and I have done the basic Allerton tour three times and always enjoy it. If you are an avid "home gardener," Allerton offers lots of cool lessons about creating garden "rooms." This year we did the special combined Allerton/McBryde tour and enjoyed it a lot. Our guide, David, was primo. Two gardens in the south that are often overlooked: the great Mohr Cactus Garden at Kiuhana Plantation (and the orchid garden at Plantation Gardens Restaurant); and the incredibly cool Japanese garden in the middle of Kukioloni Golf Course in Kalaheo. It's also fun paying a visit to Kauai Orchids in Kilauea when it's open.

Of course, if you want to enjoy gardens, just drive around and keep your eyes open. Everywhere you turn you'll find a house with something wonderful. This trip, for instance, we were driving down a quiet side street in Poipu and came across a house with about a hundred bonsai; the person who cares for them saw us stop our car and invited us to walk his garden. Cool beyond belief!
Cidbob is offline  

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