Author: Barbara D.
Date of Trip: January 2010
Review of 7 night stay in Po’ipu, Kaua’i at the Grand Hyatt Resort.
We flew 2 hops via United to Lihue, (pronounced Li – Hu – e) through Denver on Saturday morning without any problems. Checked 2 bags, and arrived with us at LIH. Love the Half way to Hawaii game United plays with their customers…the pilot gives you the stats on the planes speed, distance, tail vs. head winds and ask for your best guess on time we are half way there, and a prize is given for closest guess. On long flights diversions are appreciated.
Upon arrival, bags were quickly retrieved, off to the rental car agency. The airport is easy access for cars and travelers…shuttle pick up for car rental right across from baggage claims and a short half a mile to the desk of any agency. I included the GPS with the car, which was very helpful navigating the 2 lane roads that are prevalent on Kaua’i . Another prevalent resident of Kaua’i are the chickens, everywhere roaming the roadsides. Very colorful are the roosters and the residents have embraced their presence as seen throughout the island in there artwork.
We arrived at the Grand Hyatt after dark, as the resort is located in Po’ipu (pronounced Po’i – pu) about a 16 mile drive from the airport which is equivalent to about 45 minute drive time. Roads in Kaua’i are small 2 lane with many elevation changes and curvy. So allow plenty time for travel.
The resort is a grand example of Hawaiian grandeur. Upon stepping out of your car under the portico entrance you are greeted with beautiful orchid leis and welcomed in true Hawaiian spirit, a nice touch. The details of the decor highlight the sugar field heritage of the property the resort sits upon. Beautiful iron work sconces of moving sugar cane, carved wood reception desk, even the entrance if framed with the beautiful greenish patina. Located on the southeastern side of the island, the resort rooms wrap around the semicircular beach area, great for watching the sunrise. You enter the resort entrance on the 4th floor with open air plan that frames the ocean view when looking through the lobby. Lush plants, tropical floral arrangements are nicely placed. Check in was very easy, a bellman assigned to stand by your luggage awaiting your dispatch to your room. Along the way to the room, we were on ground floor ocean view, so a bit of a walk; the bellman described the restaurants, shopping areas, pools and spa facilities available. A culture of customer service is evident in the way you are greeted by all staff during your stay.
Our room was nicely appointed. Wide pocket doors to the double sink vanity area, marble floors, large tub and separate toilet room with door. The bed was very comfortable and room staff efficient and courteous. Every safety conscious, when both husband & I left our room keys in the room…a security person comes and with proof (picture ID) gives you access. Cleaning staff will not, comforting to know no-one can just waltz in when they are cleaning. We had a plumbing problem that was identified and a gift basket with cava was sent with apologies for any inconvenience, again a nice touch.
Pools were many, nice hot tub, beach access right on grounds with sand but caution; because in the water area there are lots of rocks and sea urchins…definitely need water shoes. Multiple places double swings are placed for surf watching, these were full every day especially at sunrise. The property has a luau on Sunday and Thursday night…was held on the grounds directly out from our room, so we were able to enjoy the music.
On Sunday we collected the car from valet (extra charge) and drove west toward the Spouting Horn, a park area that overlooks a large blowhole in the lava at the seas edge; gets its name from the noise made just prior to spewing saltwater high in the air from the pounding surf. There is a nice little market area located at the park where locals have booths set up with various jewelry and souvenir items. I found Marta Howell jewelry, a Hawaiian island artist favorite of mine. She does exquisite silver made earrings, bracelets and pendants made with shells and semi-precious stones.
We drove on to Waimea and then to the canyon, which was completely shrouded in fog when we arrived at 11AM. On our way back from the canyon we stopped at the Shrimp Shack in Waimea and enjoyed garlic & Thai spiced shrimp. The restaurant was full of customers eating at picnic tables under the awning. Very good! We headed back to the resort for the evening and enjoyed room service for supper on our lanai while enjoying the luau music floating across the lovely grounds. We returned to Waimea Canyon on Thursday after lunchtime to a visual delight. The lush growth juxtaposed against the red canyon walls is a photographer’s delight. We drove the western road until it ended just south of the Na Pali coast. Our plans were to sail the coast at sunset, but 30-40 foot swells prevented any excursions, so our view was limited to the brief glimpse at the roads end.
Monday we drove to the northern part of the island, mind you this island is about 550 square miles in size, compared to the Big Island’s 4,000 square miles. So you can easily travel the entire length of the island in half a day without traffic or weather problems. We drove as far as Hanalei Bay, a picturesque bay where “puff the magic dragon” lived in the children’s song. Passing quaint churches, beautiful soaring mountain vistas and well tended taro fields. This island has a very different vibe that that of Oahu, Big Island or even Maui…quaint, small town charm.
On our way back we drove to the Kilauea Point, the northern most tip of the Hawaii Island Chain. Located there is a charming lighthouse and state park. The overlook is at the entrance of the park allowing a nice view of the point and lighthouse. The park is $5 entrance fee and has a nice gift shop with many books about local birds, animals, fauna and flora. Walking out to the point we heard a flurry of voices and realized whales were breaching just beyond the rocks. This was our first sighting since arriving and again so thrilling. To stand on the shore and watch these magnificent creatures frolic is just plain amazing. We watched for over an hour before starting back toward the resort. Road work on a bridge just north of Lihue slowed progress and it was bumper to bumper our last hour of driving to the Po’ipu turn off. It was drizzling rain as the sun set, low lying clouds covering the mountains of Kauai.
Tuesday we awoke to the rain, had a light breakfast and headed to airport to pick up family joining us today at the resort. Rain on Kauai really hides the splendor of the mountains, but provides interesting seascapes for sunrise.
Wednesday began our conference; the resort conference center is very convenient, nicely appointed with lighting fixture details that reflect the sugar cane fields the property once grew. Large iron fixtures with flowing grass were featured throughout the property as well as at the entrance. Again attention to detail shows in the resort facilities. Dining for our trip was Roy’s at Po’ipu Village, The Beach House at the western end of Poipu, Casa dl Amci, Po’ipu Grill and Koeki’s Paradise in Po’ipu Village. This was our 3rd trip to Roy’s first on Kaua’i. The Ahi Poke appetizer is butter smooth and very flavorful; fresh fish, Mongolian pork ribs, Lamb chop / Pork Tenderloin duo, for desert the Chocolate Lava cake and an Apple Volcano….Yum. All was spot on taste, presentation and service was equal. The Apple Volcano…rivals the Chocolate Lava cake in taste, is visually stunning so the eye, so a new favorite? The location is in an upscale shopping area, no view. We dined twice at the local favorite Beach House, wonderful location right on the waters edge, open air dining when weather is nice as the windows slide open to the surrounding grounds, a stunning spot to enjoy sunset cocktails. Food, drinks and atmosphere is spot on here; tasty island drinks, Thai beef bundles, water melon salad, fresh fish dishes and chocolate lava souffle. Service is impeccable and their fresh chebatta bread is a treat. Casa dl Amci is tucked away in beach side houses and a gem of a restaurant. Open porch dining and a twist on the Italian themed menu. Dishes have South American and Asian flavors that influence traditional dishes. No view, just good food in a friendly local atmosphere.
Highlights of the trip include whale watching from shore each morning while watching the sun open the day in golden hues, monk seals playing in the surf, time with family in a beautiful location and relaxing in an island paradise called Kaua’i.