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travelgourmet Jun 25th, 2014 01:13 PM

Maui and Kauai - Condo or Hotel
The wife and I are thinking about a couple weeks in Hawaii. Normally, we are hotel people, but are wondering about thoughts anyone might have between condos or hotels in these areas. Mostly, I'm a bit concerned that the hotels are much bigger than we typically prefer, and that the amenities (e.g. nice pool) are of less value if we avoid them because we don't want to be cheek by jowl. I can also see some appeal in being able to whip up breakfast or cook burgers for dinner or something. We will eat out a fair bit, but the option to take a break given the length of the stay may be nice.

So... thoughts from any of the Hawaii experts here? We are looking at Maui and Kauai mostly. We have only been to Hawaii once (Oahu and Big Island) years ago. Any particular condos to recommend or areas?

FWIW, the most likely hotel options would probably be some combination of the Andaz or Westin on Maui, and the Hyatt or St Regis on Kauai. We have enough points to cover rooms for pretty much the entire stay. We would likely be looking at upgrades at the Westin and St Regis as well. If anyone has opinions on these hotels, please let me know.

Shar Jun 25th, 2014 02:09 PM

Have stayed a few times at the Grand Hyatt in kauai. wonderful hotel but I much prefer condos. More room, kitchen if we want it and we usually do as most condos on the Islands also have areas to grill. Fresh fish hot off the grill.....yummy. Depends on your budget as where to stay but if you are considering using your points then that is a real money saver. there are several newer condos in the poipu area that might have A/C. Most condos do not. Generally get our condo thru VRBO which are privately owned condos that are rented out. Poipu Shores is a great location, right on the water with a wonderful pool, a little small on the lanai but there are tables and chairs out on them. Poipu Luxury is a huge condo(about 2400 sq ft)also right on the water but the draw back there is there is no cross ventilation so it can get warm but with a 30 foot lanai right on the water, it is pretty awesome. Both thru VRBO> There is a marriott in the poipu area that is a condo development but I believe it is a time share so not sure how that works. St. Regis is in Princeville which also has some nice condos. 2 weeks in a hotel wouldn't work for me. One week and then one week in condo would. R u willing to eat every meal and snack out or would you prefer to have some you can prepare yourself. Will you do okay for 2 weeks in a 1 room place? Questions to ask yourself.

ChiSue Jun 26th, 2014 07:51 AM

When do you plan to visit Hawaii? In winter, you'd stay south on Kauai, Oahu and to some extent on Maui -- for milder weather and calmer ocean. In summer, it's the reverse, although you can be OK with the weather all over. (I won't book near beaches anywhere in Hawaii in any season if A/C isn't an option.)

The 'gourmet' portion of your user name gives me pause. There are few restaurants in Hawaii that are in that realm. "Great" in Hawaii would be "Very Good" most other places in the world.

Maui has more options for hotels, condos, and restaurants than anywhere other than Honolulu. Nothing can top the beauty of northern Kauai though!

I can't 'dress up' or 'eat out' for more than a few days, and Hawaii's casual style makes condos a great option.

I don't hear many positives about the Westin. Andaz gets 'likes' except for the small rooms. (A reconfiguration and expansion of the old Renaissance -- now with more concrete on the pretty location.) Wailea is also more upscale than Kaanapali.

The St. Regis has a gorgeous location, but it looks as though it could be anywhere in the world. It's big; not 'Hawaiian'; no lanai; elevators to the beach. The Hyatt in Poipu is 'Hawaiian', also big; walk to beach.

This site has aerials and reviews of most lodgings in Hawaii (including many condos):

jamie99 Jun 26th, 2014 11:01 AM

I've done both, condo in Maui (we only cooked dinner twice in two stays) and hotel in Kauai (Marriott in Lihue). The Hyatt in Kauai is very nice and has beautiful pools and lagoons including an adults only pool to escape the kiddos. They have a nice torchlighting ceremony with hula show afterward on Tue, Fri and Sat. Tidepools restaurant there is very nice.

wekewoody Jun 26th, 2014 11:08 AM

We stayed at Wailea Ekahi in February and liked our unit. It had a great panoramic ocean view, but many of the units at Ekahi don't, so you'd need to be pretty picky about unit location there if an ocean view is important. We will probably go back next year, but will try Wailea Elua this time.

travelgourmet Jun 26th, 2014 12:16 PM

<i>When do you plan to visit Hawaii?</i>

This August.

<i>There are few restaurants in Hawaii that are in that realm. "Great" in Hawaii would be "Very Good" most other places in the world.</i>

I'm aware of the challenges in most island destinations. Hawaii has to be better than most of the Caribbean, though, right? For restaurants, I'm more concerned about Kauai than Maui. I suspect that, while it may be absurdly expensive, that we can eat well enough on Maui. Not sure whether that means we should do the condo on Kauai vs Maui, though?

Thanks to all for the advice and stuff to think about.

ChiSue Jun 26th, 2014 02:08 PM

All summer is very busy in Hawaii, drawing visitors with children on summer vacations. Lodgings and rental cars are in short supply. Rates are high. LATE August and September would be less busy, but still quite warm.

You might split you stay with more time Maui, perhaps a week of it in a condo. (I don't think it makes a lot of sense to stock a condo for less than a week.) Kauai is small and feels even smaller because so much of it is inaccessible except by ocean or air. As you see, it also has fewer restaurants. I'd do hotel on Kauai.

Maui is much more 'developed', even 'over-developed' for some. If you're at a condo, there are usually no daily resort fees, no parking fees, and there is no one around every corner with his hand out. There are no 'games' about lounges at the pool. Many have or can arrange whatever level of maid service you want. You can still GO to hotels for their spas, restaurants, bars. Condos have so much *space*. Even 1BR's often have two baths. 'Room Service' is *instant* -- from your fridge. You have a big lanai, not a see-and-be-seen postage stamp balcony.

Destination Maui reps many upper-bracket condos. I also like this site for well-vetted condos in Maui to rent direct from their owners:

One other thing about Maui: South Maui is a more convenient location if you plan several sightseeing trips across the island to Haleakala and Upcountry, Iao Valley, Road to Hana. A West Maui location is nice if you want more time in Lahaina. Napili and Kapalua are nice in summer, but put you far from 'the sights'. Wailea has the top hotels, excepting The Ritz in Kapalua.

Shar Jun 26th, 2014 04:42 PM

Red Salt in the Koa Kea Hotel on Kauai is what I would clal gourmet. You will pay but it is excellent. Also the new Merrimans on Kauai is good and Roys but I like Red Salt the best for gourmet food....Atmosphere then Merrimans.

FrankS Jun 27th, 2014 05:45 AM

Ive stayed all over both those islands, and have developed strong opinions. For Maui, I stay in Napili or Kapalua. For Kauai, I would only stay in Princeville. You really dont need a condo for affordable food, because Hawaii isnt like the Caribbean. Since the locals have the same standards as we do, feel free to eat at casual places. Its easy to find good meals for $10/pp

Even when we stay in a condo, we rarely eat in. If you stay at the St Regis, GET THE BREAKFAST addon to the room, otherwise its like $40. Its sad to watch people get in their cars to drive to Hanalei for breakfast when one of the best parts of staying at the St Regis is enjoying breakfast with the incredible views

Anyways tg, after you pick your spots I can give you dining recs at all price ranges.

kureiff Jun 27th, 2014 09:33 AM

I prefer renting a condo to a hotel in Hawaii because it's nice to grill fish or steaks in the evenings.

If I were going to Kauai in August, I would consider renting a house in Hanalei. It's beautiful and the beach is great.

wekewoody Jun 27th, 2014 10:25 AM

I agree with kureiff about renting a house in Hanalei in August.

jamie99 Jun 27th, 2014 10:41 AM

Kauai has a lot more restaurants that have opened lately (mainly in the Poipu area) such as Josselin's (he used to own the legendary Pacific Cafe which sadly he closed), specializes in tapas, Merriman's (both upstairs and more casual downstairs), Tortilla Republic and several others I cannot think of right now. Bar Acuda up in Princeville and Roy's Tavern near the golf course in P'Ville also get good reviews.

wekewoody Jun 29th, 2014 10:38 AM

As FrankS mentioned, part of Kauai's charm are its local/casual places to eat. For something different in Hanalei that doesn't fit into that category, look into the FishFarmForage dinners done by We did it twice and liked it a lot.

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