Kauai - thanks Songdoc and others!

Oct 11th, 2011, 12:15 PM
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Kauai - thanks Songdoc and others!

Just got back from a very quick trip and wanted to say thanks for a couple of Songdoc’s tips -- we did the Canyon Trail hike (except for difficulty finding the trailhead, it was a great hike -- my glutes and calves felt it for days!). We also had breakfast at Kountry Kitchen and although they were out of macadamia nuts (how is that possible????), the banana pancakes were fabulous.

Other notes:

Grand Hyatt (4 nights) - beautiful pool area, with plenty of chaises, but not enough shade. The rest of the hotel is very nice, although I wouldn’t call it the "be all and end all" -- it's like any other huge resort that happens to be in paradise! The room, however, was quite large, the bed very comfortable, and the bathroom and shower excellent.

Marriott Lihue (1 night). First of all, re moving from one hotel to another. It took exactly 10 minutes to pack up and check out, and another 10 to check in. We would have had to make the 10 mile drive one morning or the other. None of this "it takes a half to a whole day to move" LOL. The room was nice enough, but much smaller than the room at the Hyatt. NO WIRELESS IN THE ROOM (shocking). The public areas are in dire need of refreshing. Two of the five tennis courts looked like an abandoned 50s resort. Some public areas (like bathroom stall doors, elevators) need paint. The pool area is very nice, although they should replace the chaises (worn out arms, some worn out and faded towels). The view back from the beach toward the pool isn't so great, but the view out from the colonnade a level above the pool is gorgeous (and provided shade for me). All in all, comparing this to the Hyatt is not fair, since the Hyatt is a "Grand" Hyatt, and the Marriott is just a "regular" (not J.W.) Marriott. We also like Poipu better than Lihue – for restaurants if nothing else.

What did we do? Not much – hiked Canyon Trail as far as the waterfall. Went up to the Kalalau Lookout, which was completely (I mean totally) fogged in (good thing we’ve been there before!). Drove up to the north shore (spent some time at Ke’e Beach, so magnificent), poked around Hanelei, drove through Princeville. Went to the Hanapepe Friday night art walk (hokey, but fun).

Question about the north shore beaches – what beach is it that has camping and is closest to Ke’e? None of them have signs!

Had two very good dinners at Josselin’s in the Kukui’ula shopping center in Poipu (same center as Merriman’s). It’s a “small plates” place. One night we sat at the bar, the other at a table. The food was very good both times. Some things are better than others – ranging from okay to great (the Thai soup, yummmm). Josselin’s is a really attractive space too, although there’s no outside dining. We ate one night at Case di Amici which we liked a lot (we’d return, even though we liked Josselin’s more). The striped marlin at Casa di Amici was excellent, though, and my DH really liked his green chile risotto. One night we ate at Brick Oven Pizza. Oy! My DH thought it had “OK” crust. I thought it was awful – it tasted like we were eating garlic pizza rather than a margherita. Best pizza on Kauai isn’t saying much, I guess. We had one breakfast and one lunch at Kalaheo Coffee, both of which were good – not destination good, but definitely good if you’re in the area and looking to eat!

As for Kauai itself, we love it, and this trip we drove up to the North Shore to see what all the fuss is about (hadn’t been to the north shore in many years). It is strikingly beautiful, yes, more lush and naturally beautiful than Poipu. But we will still choose Poipu for our vacations. For one thing, when we go to Hawaii, we like to stay on the beach, and there are very few places on the north shore that are on the beach – most are on a cliff above the beach. For another, the weather is more reliably good in Poipu, and sun is why we go to Hawaii. Lastly, Princeville (where I know a few of you choose to stay at Sea Lodge) is just too “planned development” and secluded for us. I don’t like that much seclusion – I prefer to have people around to talk to, even if they’re just “pool buddies”!! JMHO, no more no less.

Had a great trip – even the two flights were smooth. The non-stop flights from California to Lihue make a short trip doable – it’s no longer than flying to NY where we usually just go for the weekend!
sf7307 is online now  
Oct 11th, 2011, 12:51 PM
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Forgot - we had lunch at Hamura's Saimin (first time). We enjoyed it, liked the funkiness of the place. The food was pretty good, but after eating a wonton at Josselin's, realize the wontons at Hamura's were too chewy (light as air at Josselin's).
sf7307 is online now  
Oct 11th, 2011, 01:54 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
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"Question about the north shore beaches – what beach is it that has camping and is closest to Ke’e?"

It's Haena State Park you're thinking of, I believe. Which is actually right next to Tunnels Beach. It's just a couple weeks since we were there, and I'm already making plans to return.
islandaze is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 05:10 PM
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So glad you had such a great trip -- and that I was able to help!
Songdoc is offline  
Oct 12th, 2011, 10:24 AM
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Nice trip report, thanks. And yes, sounds like you are talking about Haena Beach Park, good place to stop and get a smoothie from the truck usually parked there.
jamie99 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2011, 05:01 PM
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bookmarking for later, thanks.
P_M is offline  
Oct 25th, 2011, 05:40 PM
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Just got back from a week based in Poipu. Stayed at Sheraton and pleased overall. Construction still ongoing but beachside pool and restaurant were both open. Snorkeling at Tunnels was great and Poipu beach is always good. Turtle and monk seal sighting in same day.
For us, Tomkats restaurant in Koloa is a regular stop. So is Olympic Cafe in Kapa'a.
edjim is offline  
Oct 25th, 2011, 06:42 PM
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edjim, is there any good snorkelling very close to this hotel? I would love to stay at a place where we can walk to the beach for snorkelling.
P_M is offline  
Oct 26th, 2011, 05:33 PM
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Not sure if you could say easy walking distance, but Poipu Beach is not far away -- probably a 2-minute drive. It's a nice beach and Brenneke's Beach House is right next door for sandwiches, shave ice, beach rentals. I'm not familiar with all the hotels/condos in Kauai, but I don't think they all have access to good snorkeling, even if they are on the water...many places overlook rocks, etc.

The Sheraton was running specials because of the construction, so it was a decent deal for a resort. It's true that all the resort amenities were not available. But we're not that much into that.
edjim is offline  
Nov 17th, 2011, 06:45 PM
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Oh - reading this brings back such great memories. We first visited Kauain in 77 - and had relatives of our friend drive us all over the island. We really love the whole island - and especially returning to the North Shore - where there are a number of good beaches if you know where to go - and a relatively hidden gem is Anini Beach - where Sly Stallone, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bete Midler used to have homes.

Stallone also used to play polo in a field across from the beach, and it's long, and it's also where I took a wind surfing lesson. It also has rest rooms and picnic facilities, and along grassy area. see: http://www.djhome.net/kauai/beaches/drivebeaches.htm

We also like having dinner at the Blue Dolphin (assuming it's still there as restaurants do change) and there are other good places up there.

The best thing of all is the great Bali Hai view (have you seen the classic Rogers & Hammerstein movie - South Pacific) - and also - Lumahi beach is super - and it was called Nurses' beach in the movie - and that's where Mitzi Gaynor was going to "wash that man right out of her hair".

see here for pics: http://www.google.com/search?q=pics+...2&ved=0CCYQsAQ
Tomsd is offline  
Nov 17th, 2011, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
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BTW - back in '86 - on the 2nd week of our honeymoon (first week was on Big Island) - we bought a timeshare at the Cliffs Club and if you know where the paths are - you can walk/hike down to the beaches in a few minutes.

And the hike up the hill at the end of the road - by Ke beach - after you have passed over 7 one lane bridges - is just gorgeous, and the Blue Pacific below never looked so dazzlingly deep blue. And great snorkeling at Ke/Haena beach - as it's protected by a reef. And what a perfect place to watch the sunset - and see if you catch the green flash.

see: http://www.kauaiexplorer.com/kauai_b.../kee_beach.php
Tomsd is offline  
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