The last time you visited Kauai with your family you booked a boutique hotel that appeared quaint in the website photos but upon arrival did not quite live up to its billing. You were given a tiny room with a view of the retaining wall, and the water pressure produced a shower that felt more like a strong mist.
“At least we’re in Kauai!” you half-joked as your spouse dialed the management.
This time you are considering a sprawling resort and a Marriott property because you want the confidence of booking a brand name with a solid track record. You may also be wondering what side of Kauai is the best to stay on. Several properties on Kauai are under the Marriott banner, and here are three of the best — one on each major coast.
Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club:
Gracing the eastern shore in the hub-town of Lihue, the Kauai Marriott & Beach Club checks all the tropical fantasy boxes for families looking for fun on the Garden Isle. Ideally situated just steps from palm-studded Kalapaki Beach, the resort overlooks the bay where you can set sail on kayaks, paddleboards and canoes. Book a condo-villa or guest room with a garden, pool or ocean view. The 26,000-square-foot pool is one of the largest in the state of Hawaii with a star-shaped lounge-island built smack in the center of all that water. The resort’s architectural style leans toward the opulent, but the landscaping is wonderfully lush and the amenities are plentiful: An 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, six tennis courts, a lovely day spa and fitness center. Grand ballrooms host weddings and conferences, and five on-site restaurants include the world-famous Duke’s, named after the local surf legend and Olympic medalist. You’ll be just a few minute’s drive from even more adventure: Wailua Falls, Island Helicopter Tours and Kipu Ranch Ziplines.
EDITOR’S NOTE: At publishing time, the Kauai Marriott and Beach Club was closing its doors due to difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, the resort may no longer be open for resort business.
Koloa Landing Resort: the Marriott Autograph Collection
Like having your own beach house (but without the maintenance), Koloa Landing Resort offers the largest villas on the Garden Isle with views straight outta your daydreams. Elegant but comfortable furnishings, oversized lanais with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, ensuite washer-dryers and fully stocked gourmet kitchens make these suites perfect for families or couples traveling together. Grab a mai tai and head out to the Main Pool which USA Today recently crowned “The Best Hotel Pool in America” for 2020 (yes, as in all of America). And no wonder: the 350,000-gallon, multi-level extravaganza wows with its infinity edge, swim-through grotto, and waterslides, all drenched in South Shore sunshine and surrounded by flora and fauna. You can utilize the day spa, the fitness room-with-a-view and enjoy activities like lei making, s’mores roasting and al fresco yoga classes.
The poolside HoloHolo Grill, a collaboration with James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef Sam Choy, serves up Hawaiian comfort food, the best burger on Kauai and hosts a daily Aloha Hour. Though it offers no beach-front access, you can snorkel with sea turtles off the rocks right out front, and Kiahuna Beach is just a ten-minute stroll down a paved road. Take a five-minute walk in the other direction to the Shops at Kukui’ula Village for some of the island’s best boutique shopping and eateries. Feeling adventurous? Local Koloa Zipline takes you right through a rainforest on the longest ride on the island.
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
If you love a truly grand view, the Westin Princeville delivers. Perched high upon a cliff overlooking famed Hanalei Bay and Mount Makana, the breath-taking views will just keep your mouths dropping. Whale watching from your own balcony, anyone? And wait until you see the sunsets. The Westin Princeville Resort offers all the adventure the North Shore is known for without the crazy-high price tag of its fancier neighbor, the St. Regis. Though some balk at its lack of beachfront access, a complimentary shuttle will whisk you to and from the resort’s dedicated beach all day long. And what the Westin may lack in the way of sand, it makes up for with fantastic multiple pools found throughout the property. The two-level main pool is connected by a waterfall and boasts a slide and a kids club. The Westin’s onsite cafe will serve your burger and pina colada poolside, and six dedicated cookout spots are outfitted with chrome Webers with plenty of picnic tables for dining out under the stars. Tee up at the golf course next door or take a 15-minute drive to Hanalei Bay (aka the “Crown Jewel of Kauai”) to watch some of the best surfing on this or any other planet.
Plenty of Marriott options await — each of which looks every bit as good as its photos . . . and maybe even better. Learn more about these and other properties at Marriott.com, or book directly at Koloa Landing Resort. Great water pressure included!
Erica Karlin— Koloa Landing Resort