Part 2: Grand Hyatt Kauai
Part 3: Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Hawaii
Part 4: HNL – IAH United First on Boeing 777 with businessfirst lie flat
After retrieving our bags we stepped out of Lihue airport and used the phone provided to order a cab which arrived in 2 minutes. We had an Italian chap named Dino who drove us to the hotel and upon arrival my girlfriend got a fresh lei and so did Dino (they thought he was her husband.) It was hilarious! I finally got my wooden lei and we went to check-in.
We were greeted by a nice lady who worked for the hotel for many years but just recently transferred to the front desk. After we got the keys she went through the hotel ground map with great detail. Since we were pretty tired after our flights all I really needed was directions to our room. Perhaps she should have just asked if we needed the entire rundown of the map.
Our room was fairly close to the lobby and on the same level (4th floor) which worked out well since it was easy access to leave the hotel, get to the pool and most of the restaurants and entertainment. If you end up on one of the far ends from the lobby this beautiful walk is about 10 minutes. However the rooms on the very far ends of the hotel are the closest to the beach.
As you enter the room the first thing you notice is the nice double sinks, large shower all finished in white marble. The bathroom is a very generous size and very clean. The shower did take about 20 seconds to heat up. It also has an enclosed toilet with a door and phone inside, who calls someone while on the loo in a hotel?
It’s stocked with Portico Eucalyptus products which I really enjoy. I actually bring eucalyptus mist whenever I go to steam rooms. However my other half wasn’t really a fan since it is quite a potent scent. Portico does have that tendency to be on the more potent side of toiletries which is evident with their white ginger scent.
The room had what you would expect from a Grand Hyatt; flat screen TV, mini fridge, king size bed and a chaise or lounger (I’m not up to date with the most recent furniture terms) and an ottoman. The room was “fresh” so no need for any renovations. Considering this was the lowest category room at the hotel it had a really nice balcony with a garden view.
It was 9:30 pm when we arrived and we ended up hitting the sack immediately. The next morning we were up by 6:30am and went to explore this piece of paradise. The grounds are truly spectacular and every way you look is a picture perfect opportunity.
We went to the Lima terrace for breakfast which is also the buffet spot. Since our appetites weren’t out in full force I ordered a Panini breakfast sandwich ($16) and the fruit and granola parfait for her ($9). Neither of us finished our meals but they were good.
On our way back to the room we stopped to look at the parrots on display in the open air lobby. They were beautiful and in many different colors. We changed into our pool outfits and packed our daypack full of munchies and headed to the pool. We were the first ones out, I think it was 7:50am. After trying out a few different cabanas we finally settled on a place to spend the day.
There is a place to relax here for everyone: An adult pool with an outdoor bar, if you want more privacy there are a few different small pools connected by a river, a family pool area with a waterslide and a sit down or takeout restaurant is in the middle. Just off the beach there is a salt water lagoon where you can rent a kayak and paddles.
Since the hotel is quite wide the beach area in front also is. You can find very nice stretches of sand but it is a bit rocky here and there. If the conditions aren’t calm you wouldn’t really want to enter the water if you are a novice or under 10 years old. There were surfers here regularly so if you are experienced in the sport this may be a big bonus for you.
To celebrate our first day in Kauai we decided to have a fancy dinner at TidePools. We started off the evening with a bottle of bubbly and a shot of Chambord so we could have a few Kir Royales. Our server was attentive, professional and we shared a similar belief in how Dom Perignon is overpriced or that maybe our taste palette just isn’t that advanced.
We split the Ahi Tuna Sashimi starter which we didn’t care for the sauces seasoning but since it was the first item listed on the menu we figured it should be worthy of that spot! For our mains she selected the Hawaiian catch and I decided on the Ahi Tuna. Both these dishes were excellent and the atmosphere here is as good as it gets. I highly recommend Tidepools if you visit the garden island.
Since my other half is a very avid snorkeler the next morning we headed to Poipu Beach which is about a 20 minute walk from the hotel. Along the rocks on the west part was an excellent fish spotting area. It was like right out of Finding Nemo with dozens of different species and colors you see in Crayon packages. I’m glad I didn’t sit this one out and suggest you don’t either.
We also dined at Yum Cha Asian Eatery which is located in the golf clubhouse and is only open for dinner. This place is more laid back with waiters in ball caps and has a fusion based Asian menu. They take traditional dishes and add a twist which is not easy to accomplish. The Tom Yum soup was a nice way to start the evening but I can’t say the same for the Pad Thai.
Dondero’s is the Italian restaurant at the hotel. Make sure to ask for a table outside on the lovely patio. I wasn’t a fan of the interior décor, it was the only part of the Grand Hyatt Kauai that needs an update. We dropped by here to share a few appies late one evening. At $8 the price is certainly right but the quality wasn’t up to my standards.
Our waiter this evening was from Brazil and you could tell he loves to cook. When we asked him if he had a preference between the sautéed or fried calamari he shared how they were cooked with great passion. This gent was meant for his job. Our busser, who needed a bit more training, started off the night asking if we wanted a bottle of still or sparkling water, making it clear those were the only 2 choices. At 10 dollars a bottle, tap water would have been just fine. It wasn’t the best way to start a meal.
If you happen to be a golfer or want to get someone started Poipu Bay Golf course is a must visit. This course used to host the PGA Grand Slam from 1994-2006. The finishing stretch may be one of the best in golf since holes 15-17 are set against the Pacific Ocean, truly magnificent.
Since the Grand Hyatt Kauai has around 600 rooms I was worried it would be crowded. We were here from Thurs-Monday and it never was, you could always find a nice spot to relax. The hotel felt more intimate than I was expecting considering its size. The staff were all very warm and helpful.
Overall for the price we paid I wouldn’t hesitate to visit this piece of paradise again. Yes the food didn’t hit my high standards but the rest of the experience was world class. All the guests I talked with were happy and relaxed. This was the perfect way to start our Hawaii vacation and Kauai is an island worth visiting. It’s quiet and relaxing but you still have anything you may need besides night clubs.
Yes this hotel is worthy of being named “Grand.”
On a final note this hotel has a social ambassador named Josh you can find on their facebook and twitter sites. If you are thinking about or planning to stay here I highly suggest you get in touch with him. He answered all of our questions quickly and is always willing to make suggestions too.