You and your spouse decided to truly unplug: You cleared your calendars, silenced your phones and went off the grid — all in the name of reclaiming your inner calm. And what better place to do so than on Kauai’s pristine south shore?
Now it’s early evening and you’re sitting together on Koloa Landing Resort’s Sunset Wall overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Your legs dangle lazily, and you gaze across endless blue waters as the tropical sky fades to lavender. Streaky clouds intimate an epic sunset in your near future.
You turn and grin at each other and clink your roadie mai tais. You can’t help but think how smart you are.
The Best Sunset in Hawaii
Just that morning you checked into your huge resort villa at our Kauai beachfront resort, (your co-worker promised it was the best hotel on Kauai and you’re starting to agree), and then spent the day lounging by the spectacular pool together — enjoying the many amenities and doing a whole lotta nothing. You got a workout in at the resort’s gym-with-a-view and peeked into the alluringly Zen-like day spa, vowing to return. As the day wound down you asked the concierge to recommend a good place to watch the sunset. She flashed you a huge smile.
“You’re kidding, right?” she asked playfully.
You were not.
She leaned in conspiratorially: “People come from all over the island to watch it from the Koloa Landing Sunset Wall — right here on our property! As Kauai hotels go, we have one of the best views.” You thanked her and hurried back up to the makeshift bar you and your spouse set up in your villa’s gourmet kitchen. Two large red Solo Cups full of fresh pineapple mai tais later you were strolling hand-in-hand down the path to the waterfront, live music from the HoloHolo Grill serenading your way.
Now as you await the sunset, you soak up the surroundings, ponder the meaning of existence and nod to others who arrive. Locals with surfboards, travelers and scattered joggers pause to assess the view and take a seat on the wall. One woman pours wine into an extra cup for a newcomer. Others point cameras toward the horizon. A copse of palm trees is silhouetted against the sky, the breeze is warm, and it’s just a joy to sit elbow-to-elbow with all this beauty. Your spouse leans in closer to you.
Relax and Feel Peaceful
You learn that the wall went up more than half a century ago as locals talk about their grandparents gathering here when they were young. The rocky cove below is a destination for body and board surfing, for fishing, and for diving and snorkeling in the turquoise depths. Sea turtles are a regular sight. The wall is an especially popular hangout for high schoolers, Kauai Marathon spectators, and dreamers of all kinds.
Soon the sky deepens to magenta with a mango-hued glow. Slanted periwinkle clouds might as well be scripture scrawled across the heavens. The sound of the surf on the rocks below softens all other noise and your fellow gazers become quieter — almost reverent. All seem thoughtful and content just to be.
This is what you came for.
As the skies grow an even deeper orange and the fiery ball of the sun starts to melt onto the horizon, people murmur superlatives and high praises. Someone thanks God. You take your spouse’s hand in yours. You breathe.
The sun disappears. You feel a swell of gratitude that another day on earth will soon begin.
Time for Dinner
In the meantime, you feel another swell inside that is equally compelling: Hunger! All this reverential swooning has stirred your appetite, and after that mai tai, you and your spouse are feeling rather adventurous. You decide to keep the good feelings going and skip driving to dinner: You prefer to walk on this glorious night. You are not even going to call ahead for a table because you’re just not ready to turn your phone on and crush the vibe.
You’re just gonna roll with it. . . .
You discuss your options — because there are many. Of all the hotels on Kauai, Koloa Landing Resort turns out to be the serendipitous choice. Nothing on your restaurant list is further than a 20-minute walk and many are even closer.
After a 10-minute stroll up picturesque Poipu Road past scattered families of chickens and heady tropical foliage, you arrive at the Shops at Kukui’ula. You start upstairs at the casually elegant Merriman’s for Kona IPAs and a platter of Kusshi oysters on the half shell. The gingery mignonette plays perfectly off the sweet, briny shellfish. Next, you cross the square to Eating House 1849 to share a plate of crispy fried cauliflower and a huge steaming bowl of spicy shrimp ramen. You giggle at each other as the glistening noodles stretch in both your directions. After, you cannot resist stopping at Lappert’s Hawaii for waffle cones. His: white chocolate macadamia nut. Hers: Auntie Lilikoi passion fruit. Strolling home under the stars, savoring your melty treats, you discuss the idea of a nightcap over at tiki-lit Keiko’s Paradise down the road.
Your spouse murmurs, “Or how about we make more mai tais back at our villa.”
What a fine idea. “And if it gets late enough,” you reply, clinking waffle cones, “we could just head down to the Sunset Wall . . . . and watch the sunrise.”
— by Erica Karlin, Koloa Landing Resort
More dining options within walking distance from Koloa Landing Resort:
The Shops at Kukui’ula are just ten minutes away and include:
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House — The beloved upscale chain just opened a few months ago.
- Eating House 1849 — Unique comfort fare by celebrated chef Roy Yamaguchi.
- Merriman’s — Elegant seafood with a view upstairs — burgers and pizza downstairs.
- Tortilla Republic — Modern mexican cuisine in a festive space.
- The Dolphin — Exotic sushi and chowder lounge.
- Bubba’s Burgers — Long-time, family-owned, grass-fed burger chain.
- Savage Shrimp — Casual storefront with shrimp choices galore.
- Lappert’s — Best ice cream on the island with a huge array of flavors.
- Uncle’s Shave Ice — Because you gotta have a shave when you’re in town.
The Poipu Shopping Village is just ten minutes in the other direction and offers:
- Keoki’s Paradise — Tiki-lit Polynesian vibe with fine seafood and famous Hula Pie.
- Bangkok Happy Bowl — A local favorite alfresco Thai bistro and bar.
- Puka Dog — Hawaiian-style hot dogs with exotic sauces and condiments.
- Island Taco — Casual joint offering local ingredients wrapped in fresh, handmade tortillas.
- Papalani Gelato — Meaning “heavenly” gelato in Hawaiian — plus chocolates and cakes.
- Anuenue Cafe — Favorite local breakfast joint to try the morning after.
A few minutes further down Poipu Road:
- The Cabana Bar & Grill — Gastropub in the Athletic Club with live music.
- Paco’s Tacos — Casual walk-up counter when you want something fast.