Hotel Finds: Kaua'i, Hawaii

Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort

1571 Po’ipū Road, Kōloa

Five acres of fresh-and saltwater-swimming lagoons lead to beachfront property.

Surrounded by ravishing landscapes, featuring grottos and waterfalls bordering pristine beaches and dramatic cliffs, the Grand Hyatt is one of the most imposing resorts on Kaua’i. Moreover, the property is located on the shores of Po’ipū which claims more sunny days and a few more urban comforts than other areas on the island.

That said, with five excellent restaurants, four lounges, Anara--the largest spa on the island, a Robert Trent Jones golf course, and five acres of meandering fresh-and saltwater-swimming lagoons with enormous koi ponds, you may not want to explore much outside the expansive hotel grounds anyway.

Visitors enjoy feeding koi

Also enticing are the rooms and suites. Recently renovated, two-thirds of the units face the ocean. Spacious and comfortable, each includes an extra-large marble bath with double sink vanity. Also available are an iHome stereo, small refrigerator, and coffeemaker with Hawaiian Kona coffee.

Dondero’s, the primary restaurant is considered one of the best in Kaua’i, and specializes in Italian dishes and seafood. Yum Cha serves authentic Asian food including Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps and Chinese Dumplings. Lū’aus are presented several evenings each week. Or, you can escape with your sweetie and enjoy private dining on the beach. Options are limitless in this Four-Diamond paradise.

Anara, the largest spa in Kaua'i features a number of treatments and individual, open air cottages.

St. Regis Princeville

3939 Wylie Road, Princeville

Spectacular views of Hanalei Bay and Makana Mountain from the St. Reigs Princeville

A posh lounge and outstanding dining options can be enjoyed at the St. Regis.

Both the Makai Golf Club and Prince Golf Course are available to guests.

Opened last year after a multimillion dollar renovation, the St. Regis Princeville is the luxury hotelier’s first Hawaiian venture -- and it was worth the wait! The resort is located on 9,000 acres that include a wildlife refuge, numerous hiking trails, and spectacular views of Hanalei Bay and Makana Mountain.

Rooms are quite large and sumptuously appointed. And, the signature St. Regis Butler Service adds to the opulent feel. (For those not-so-pampered travelers, the St. Regis Butler Service is “a treasured hallmark of the St. Regis experience for over one hundred years. From a perfectly pressed suit ready for an important meeting, to a favorite book at hand for an evening read, to a thoughtful, last minute gift for a loved one, no request is too small or unattainable no matter what the hour of the day.”)

The St. Regis can also boast one of the best restaurants on the island with the Kaua’i Grill, managed by internationally acclaimed Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Kaua'i Grill features fresh seafood and a spectacular dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows framing views of Hanalei Bay. Other excellent restaurants are available to guests as well: Makana Terrace, Nalu Kai Bar & Grill, and the St. Regis Bar.

The Halele'a Spa provides a number of unique treatments, including: Kaua'i Taro clay wrap, the Taro butter Pohaku hot stone massage, a seaweed extract massage. Hawaii-based Malie has created a series of spa products exclusively for The St. Regis Princeville Resort that incorporate indigenous ingredients, such as fresh flower petals, taro root, wild ginger, coffee berry and Kaua'i clay. The spa in particular strives to embrace the Hawaiian concept of Ahupua’a, a philosophy of living in balance with nature.

Guests of the St. Regis can make use of two golf courses. The Trent Jones, Jr. Makai Course has long been considered one of Hawaii's premier championship layouts. It has appeared on several Top 100 lists and is ranked by Golf Digest as one of Hawaii's best courses. In addition to the Makai Golf Club, Prince Golf Course, an 18-hole, par 72 course is also available. This past year, St. Regis Princeton was listed on the coveted Condé Nast Traveler Gold List.

Koa Kea

2251 Po’ipū Road, Kōloa

Swimming pools and beachfront at the Koa Kea

Spacious, beautifully furnished rooms

Bar and terrace overlooking the ocean and Po’ipū Beach

An upscale, boutique hotel on the sunny south shore of Po’ipū, Koa Kea offers seaside accommodations and lovely views. Rooms are large and comfortable. Amenities include videos on demand, iPod docking stations, refrigerators, Nespresso Espresso Machines, and L’Occitane bath products.

The hotel restaurant, Red Salt, (Kauai’i actually has areas with red salt.) is managed by Chef Seamus Mackenzie. With more than fifteen years of experience in the culinary industry, Chef Mackenzie served as chef de cuisine at Luc Bar and Bistro in Seattle, Washington, following his role as sous chef at Poppy restaurant, also in Seattle. Previously, Chef Mackenzie worked at Spago restaurants in Maui and Beverly Hills as well as the prestigious Le Bernardin in New York City.

The Spa at the Koa Kea features five treatment rooms, including a couples’ suite.nA variety of treatments use local ingredients, such as seaweed, pineapple, Awapuhi root, Red Kauai clay, maile, pikake, guava and coconut.

If you’re looking for more active amusements, accommodating concierges can make arrangements for hiking, horseback riding, zip lining, and golfing. Of course, you can always choose to simply lounge on the perfectly white beaches of Koa Kea and sip your favorite beverage.

Waimea Plantation Cottages

9400 Kaumual’i Highway, Waimea

Waimea Canyon, with a view to the Nāpali Coast and open ocean

Restored cottages at Waimea Plantation

The Hideaway Spa offers acupuncture, massage, and yoga classes.

For visitors more interested in hiking and experiencing Kauai’i’s great outdoors, these authentic sugar-plantation cottages at Waimea are the perfect location. Close proximity to Waimea Canyon and the Nāpali Coast makes the cottages an ideal choice for ecotours and wellness vacations -- best of all, they’re wonderfully affordable.

Situated within coconut groves, on the west side of the island, one-to five-bedroom units are complete with modern kitchens, cable TV, comfortable furnishings, backyard barbecue, and even a hammock on the front porch. Some of the cottages are more like large homes with two-stories, formal dining rooms, and multiple baths.

For those days when you’re too exhausted to cook, the Grove Cafe serves outstanding local fare. But you’ll undoubtedly want to take advantage of the fresh produce available at the nearby farmers markets. Another option is the “Sunset Meal” -- a made to order barbecue dinner, delivered to your cottage. All you have to do is throw the goodies on the grill. Or, better yet, have the chef come and cook for you!

At the Hideaway Spa, acupuncture treatments are available through a licensed practitioner, trained in traditional Chinese medicine. Yoga classes are offered as well as massages, body wraps, scrubs, and facials. A full salon menu provides manicures, pedicures, hair styling, color, and makeup. There is also a steam room with a 32 jet hydrotherapy bath.

Who knew plantation living could be so relaxing.