You’re still officially asleep but have the vague sensation of your bed bouncing. You manage to ease one eye open and realize that, yes, your big, luxurious king-sized resort bed IS, in fact, bouncing, and your two largest children are the culprits.

“Let’s go, mama!” they implore, way too goofy-giggly for the early hour.

Your husband sits up and tackles your son as your daughter grabs a pillow and tries to defend her brother. You are all laughing now — and quite awake.

“Can we please go to the pool??” your son squeals.

You squint at your phone. It’s only 6:45 am. You’ve just flown in the night before from the East Coast, however, so you get how there is this much energy on Hawaii Standard Time.

“Alright!” your husband announces. “Family fun day is about to begin! Anyone who is up and swimsuited and ready for breakfast will get to go investigate the pool!”

And they’re off.

Your sister and her family are staying in the adjoining villa and all sounds quiet. But of course her daughters are twenty-somethings and (in addition to being the best cousins ever to your kids) they are mature and perfectly well mannered. You seem to remember that they were once quite skilled in the art of pillow fighting, but they’ve surely outgrown such things. (But you kinda hope not!)


Soon your two families are assembled at the breakfast table at the spacious al fresco Holoholo Grill downstairs. Spread before you is an array of tropical-style takes on everyone’s favorites like banana-macadamia nut pancakes, a Surfer Burrito stuffed with portuguese sausage, and a heaping bowl of Loco Moco. Your nieces are snapping photos of their artistically arranged avocado toasts on freshly baked cheddar bread as their dad teases, “Phones eat first!”

On California time, the older girls were up early, too, and are now raving about their stint at the resort’s Fitness Center:

“It was well outfitted. Loads of weights.”

“No pun intended.”

“And the treadmills have an actual ocean view! And now we are SO ready to spend the entire day by the pool with you all.”


And what a pool it is.

Exceeding daydreams regularly, this massive oasis is a show-stopping, eye-popping, multi-terraced extravaganza with waterfalls, a swim-through grotto, an infinity edge, wooden bridges, two water slides, three Jacuzzis and vast open swim spaces. It is 350,000 gallons of wetted bliss. It’s no wonder that USA Today has crowned KLR’s main pool the top of the tops in their Readers’ Choice 10Best in America poll two years in a row!


At the poolside Towel Hut you grab your cabana “welcome kit” of snack basket and TV remote — plus enough big blue towels to swaddle your entire gang. Everyone gets an official lime-green pool-access bracelet and heads to your cabana located at the lower end of the pool. Your families proliferate the cushy couches and spill out onto the adjoining patio while praising the glorious morning. Towels are unfurled, drink orders are placed and someone tunes the Championships at Wimbledon onto the flatscreen TV. The twenty-somethings stretch out in the sunshine on loungers with the latest Colleen Hoover novels and take selfies together.

Soon plates full of freshly cut mango and tumblers of smoothies appear, and the kids start challenging each other to ride the water slides. You challenge the loudest — and off you go with the gang to get tubed!


You climb the water-slide stairs to the top of the lava-rocks tower and flash a thumbs up to the gang below. Moment’s later you shoot out of the tube like a rocket into the pool. It’s WAY more exciting than you’d imagined. The kids offer up mild applause at your technique. Your daughter announces that she’ll show you how it’s really done. She flies out of the tube, legs up, howling with laughter before splash landing into the pool upside down. She pops out of the water and high fives you.

Pretty soon it’s an all-out play-fest with cousins and uncles and pool noodles and splashing. The big girls lead the littles in some silly synchronized swimming moves while the grown ups shout “Bravo” and call out scores. Then someone suggests a game of “Popsicle” — and it’s on! This water-soaked version of freeze-tag goes on all over the pool, through the waterfall grotto, under the bridges and into the shallows almost until lunchtime.


Now dripping and hungry, the gang gathers back at the cabana to order something for everyone with burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, parm-crusted truffle fries, more fresh tropical fruit and even a newly unveiled gingery chicken karaage with yuzu aioli. Yum!

“Is it too early for piña coladas?” someone asks.

“We’re on vacation!” your sister enthuses, and hails the patient server — again.


Several folks start a game of gin rummy in the cool of the cabana fan and the uncles are yelling at the tennis match on the flatscreen. Before lunch is over your husband suggests grabbing one of the bocce ball sets from the activity hut. Half of the kids follow him like ducklings to the ocean front lawn for a game in the sun while the others head off in the other direction toward the playing-field lawns to show off their soccer skills in paradise.

After the sun starts to dip lower on the horizon and everyone is growing tired from all the day’s activities, you start to hatch plans for dinner. The dads offer to barbecue some steaks on the large poolside grills while the big girls grab a craft cocktail and catch the live reggae at the Holoholo Grill’s Aloha Hour. Later, after everyone is happily fed, the kids go in search of the resort’s ever-popular S’mores Event on the main lawn under the stars.

Sitting in the light of the tiki torches polishing off your own ooey-gooey s’more, your daughter puts her arms around your waist.

“Mom — was this the most fun day of your life?” she asks.

“Pretty much,” you answer. “And this was only day one.”

She squeezes you tighter, then leans in with her mouth open for you to give her the last bite of your s’more.

The day ends back at your villa with all the kids rough housing on the huge king bed. You are happy to see that all are involved, and in fact your older nieces are getting just as goofy-giggly as your littles. You hope that yours, too, will never be get too grown up for a good pillow fight.

Ready to have the most fun ever with your family? Book your villa at Koloa Landing Resort, the best beach resort in Kauai today. Extra pillows available upon request.

— Erica Karlin