You approach the lovely woman at the front desk to check in to your resort, and nearly faint on the spot. All she has done is smile at you and say, “Aloha, Mrs. Jones.” For an instant your brain assumes that she must be talking about your fiancé’s mother, so you impulsively glance over your shoulder to see if Mrs. Jones has inexplicably followed you all the way from the mainland to join you on your honeymoon in Kauai, but then your brain circles back and reminds you that as of about 16 hours ago, your fiancé actually became your husband and therefore you, too, are, in fact, Mrs. Jones.
You smile broadly at her and reply, “Aloha.” No one has actually called you by your new name yet and you like it. You like it a lot.
You take in the stunning, open-air lobby of Koloa Landing, your Kauai honeymoon resort, when the most adorable man who ever lived (aka Mr. Jones) sidles up beside you and laces an arm around your waist. Another friendly staff member welcomes you both, slipping a fragrant plumeria lei over your head and then one over his. You are both grinning beyond reason.
Your resort is definitely hitting all the right notes in the “fantasy paradise” department and you can’t wait to get this party started.
Soon, luxuriating side-by-side on chaise longues on your massive, private ocean-view lanai, you and your husband toast your mai tais to how smart you are, utterly convinced that your choice to honeymoon in Kauai is the smartest decision you have made together — so far. So how did you ensure it would go so smoothly? You followed a few smart tips.
Tips for the Best Honeymoon on Kauai:
- Discuss your dream details way in advance.
You and your beau spent a lot of time talking about your honeymoon first. A lot. On many occasions you’d sit together on the couch with a bottle of Shiraz and your laptop, perusing destinations, resorts, and packages. Tahiti? Fiji? Kathmandu? Your nuptials were set to take place in Los Angeles so you considered the travel time. When you realized that choosing Hawaii meant you could be unfurling your towels on a white-sandy beach by noon the day after the wedding, a Kauai honeymoon leapt to the top of the list. So then . . . All inclusive? Sunny South Shore vs Tropical North Shore? More affordable Royal Coconut Coast? Or split your time? You checked out all the best honeymoon resorts in Kauai and weighed many factors. Luckily, you almost couldn’t go wrong: it is a small island and nearly every corner of it offers that unrivaled Kauai magic . . . You ultimately decided that the sunshine of Poipu in the South Shore would mean more ideal beach days and you were all about lazing around together. You agreed you would take plenty of day trips to seek out extra fun.
- List your must-dos in advance.
You two spent almost as much time talking about what you wanted to do while on Kauai, as you did where to stay. With all that beauty and adventure awaiting you, you had to choose wisely — and as a team. You are a big water sports lover and he is an avid hiker. You agreed that a surf lesson for him one day would be a hoot (finally!) and would let you shine in your element. You also decided that of all the great hikes to take, the Heritage Trail sounded like the best one to start with — because it’s so close to Koloa Landing, and it’s not quite as treacherous as some. And what views! You agreed that you could live without ziplining this trip, but that a helicopter ride was a must-splurge since 80-90% of the island is inaccessible by car. Plus a helicopter ride over the rain forests would be a major bucket-list blast and a great way to mark this all-important marital milestone. You booked your helicopter ride and paid for it well in advance (with the help of family — see #3) because it was the most expensive activity on your list and you didn’t want the sting of paying that large tab in the moment to dampen any of the chill romantic vibe of the day.
- Register for your most expensive activities.
Uncle Bob was much more excited to pitch in for your snorkeling tour up the Na Pali Coast than he was on place settings of your designer flatware — or yet another vase. Your loved ones want to feel like they are a part of your new life together and are happy to help you in whatever way means the most to you. Give them the opportunity to help you create forever memories on your Kauai honeymoon by registering for a few fun activities. You can stuff inside your thank you note to Uncle Bob a photo of you nose-to-nose with a sea turtle. A photo back home with your new vegetable steamer? Not quite as thrilling . . .
- Make a few restaurant reservations early on.
You two predicted a loose itinerary for your honeymoon in Kauai and made a few dinner reservations well in advance. You left the first two nights open so you could settle into island life (and each other) but by the third night you figured you’d be ready to mix it up with the un-newly-wedded civilians. Friends had praised a few Poipu spots as honeymoon-level special, and these did not disappoint: They included the retro-modern Hawaiian menu at Eating House 1849, the traditional elegance of Merriman’s (upstairs), and The Beach House with its unparalleled sunset views and royalty-worthy Pacific Rim cuisine. No one wants their romantic evening undermined by being told, “Sorry, we’re booked,” right when it’s time to head off for dinner. You had a list of daytime eateries, too, and also asked a lot of South Shore locals for recommendations. Some faves were Da Crack for authentic fish tacos, the HoloHolo Grill for Sam Choy’s mind-boggling poke trio, the island flavors of Puka Dog (lilikoi mustard is a revelation), and the fabulous tiki-lit Keoki’s Paradise — known for its cool live grooves and even cooler mai tais.
- Make way for spontaneity
For a truly rewarding Kauai honeymoon, sometimes less is more. Everything here is on island time which means a slower pace, and an excuse to take your time to soak up the beauty all around you and ease into your on-vacation mode. Besides, you have just emerged from the relative chaos and logistical gymnastics of planning a wedding and have earned some slacker time! Give yourselves plenty of opportunity to sleep late and lounge by the pool and stroll on the beach holding hands and sit on a big rock to watch the sunset slowly melt into the Pacific — as well as time to simply stare at each other contemplating this crazy-wonderful new life you are embarking on together.
- Lower your expectations.
(Note: This is not a pessimistic tip! In fact, this could bring you even more contentment by squashing any sneaky disappointment.) Ever since you were knee-high to a pineapple, you have probably been imagining what your honeymoon would look like. Movies, TV, songs, etc. all seem to tout the honeymoon as the end-all-be-all romantic moment of your life. But what if you’re not tearing off each others’ resort wear every five minutes? What if your spouse hasn’t managed to arrange a bed full of rose petals every night or organized ice-cold magnums of champagne to magically appear on the hour in your poolside cabana? Shake off your ideas of what a honeymoon is supposed to look like and celebrate what is unique to the two of you. (Yeah, thanks for sharing, Hollywood, but we got this.) And while it’s true that a honeymoon in Kauai will be a little corner of heaven for you, it is also just one trip. You will have your whole lives to take many more.
- Let everyone know it’s your honeymoon!
The Hawaiian people embody the spirit of aloha — a natural love of welcoming others, and when you’re in the throes of an occasion as special as your honeymoon, they will bend over backwards to offer you next-level-lovely hospitality. You didn’t exactly shout out your marital status in the resort’s lobby or tell passersby on the beach, but you did call your concierge and the front desk in advance to tell them that you’d be honeymooning. The best honeymoon resorts here are often happy to provide you with any number of hidden perks if you ask. In fact, a gift was waiting in your villa and you received discounts not available for non-newly wedded civilians. You casually played the honeymoon card when reserving a table at one of the higher-end restaurants and they slipped you into a quiet ocean-view window seat and lit three complimentary desserts on fire just for you. Be gracious about it, of course — but with any luck, you’ll never be on a honeymoon again, so live it up! Honeymooners possess a unique superpower and it’s well within your rights to milk it.
- Get sexy — Kauai style.
Sexiness is naturally heightened on your honeymoon. Even the way your new husband brushes his teeth can get you weak in the knees. (Look at how he commands that brush! Swoon . . .). A honeymoon on Kauai means you’re in an island paradise, so you use that to create fun ways to elevate the sexy playtime and romance. You incorporate the beauty of the beach, the sunsets, the Hawaiian music, local flowers, tropical fruits and cocktails to enhance the oo-la-la factor. The local band Ka Ha provided you with some seriously chill grooves and inspired you to make an entire playlist of sultry Hawaiian reggae that was not only perfect to cue up in your villa or while basking on the beach together, but you know that for the rest of your life you will be transported back to this time, this moment, this feeling whenever you hear it. Also, a sensuous couples’ massage at the Spa at Koloa Landing is just what the doctor ordered after the stress of the wedding plans — and when’s the next time you two will have the chance to linger together in a fragrant, mystical Japanese Ofuro soaking tub? Bring it on, baby.
- Create an island-inspired surprise for your spouse
Your spouse said he arranged a little surprise for you on the fourth night and you are now beyond geeked up to find out what it is. He makes a quick, whispered call to your favorite concierge who seems to confirm that his plot it is ready to go. Later, after a wonderful dinner at the Holoholo Grill, he leads you up to the palm tree-studded lawn where the staff has set up a small circle of tiki torches around a loveseat just for you two. You sit down together, giggling, and your husband tells you to close your eyes as he hands you a mai tai. Moments later you open your eyes: You two are the only audience for a private performance by a ukulele artist who plays a Hawaiian-flavored version of “Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrisson. It’s the song your husband had put on a playlist for you when you were first dating and the same song you danced your first dance to at the wedding. Nicely done, Mr. Jones.
Marriage is like a rocket ship. You need a seriously intense, enormous, romantically charged BLAST OFF to launch it into flight and sustain it for the duration. Sure you can create booster blasts along the way (and you should!) but there is nothing like that initial launch to ensure staying power through the stratosphere.
And a Kauai honeymoon doesn’t hurt. . .
by Erica Karlin — Koloa Landing Resort
If you would like more tips on creating an unforgettable Kauai honeymoon, the concierge at Koloa Landing Resort has plenty of fresh ideas, deals and insider connections. Click here to book a villa, or to get more info about our beloved resort on Kauai’s sunny South Shore. You’ll discover why Koloa Landing is one of the best places to stay in Kauai for a honeymoon. Aloha, newlyweds!