Topic Wiki

Kauai Overview/DansMeals:
http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/39185

Trip Reports:
Dan 2014
Dan 2009, Auntiemus, Benarroc, Westman812, Hudi, Yellow, Lechaim2life, DanFan2010, Jmansour, Something Fishy, Rivky, chuchem, dealvr, Amusch,
Tzadik Nistar, an613, @Yehuda, @Ygygold

Dan's concierge packet.


Related DDF Threads:
-Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
-Kauai Master Thread
-Maui Master Thread
-Oahu Master Thread


Before you go:

How long should I go for?
You could spend 10 years on Kauai and not get your fill. That being said, the bare minimum to enjoy your stay is 4 days on the ground. A week is ideal.

It's possible to do a short trip by leaving early Sunday morning, getting there in the afternoon, and then leaving Thursday night and being back home for shabbos.

Do I need a guide book?
Very definitely. Sure you could find most info online, but nothing compares to a good, written-by-a-local, guide book. Kauai Revealed is by far the best option, and will possibly be the best $16 you spent on your trip.

What about Shabbos?
Some authorities hold that there's a dateline issue with Shabbos.
The local communities keep shabbos on Saturday.
Definitely ask your LOR before you go - some hold simply that Shabbos is on Saturday, some hold that you have to keep Shabbos on both Friday and Saturday, and some hold that you have to keep D'oreisas on Friday and full Shabbos on Saturday.

If you must keep 2 days, remember that there are many questions that could come up (such as when to light Shabbos candles, how to warm up food, etc.), so make sure to discuss it all with your LOR.

There have been books written about the Chabad opinion of keeping shabbos only on Saturday. Rabbi Aharon Dovid Gancz gives an absolutely fascinating pilpul on the topic, if you get a chance to attend one please record it (with permission) and upload the video online.


Getting there and getting around:

Air:
The main airport is in Lihue, and is designated LIH.
You could fly directly from the mainland to LIH from
DEN (UA)
LAX (AA, DL, HA, UA)
OAK (AS, HA)
SAN (AS)
SEA (AS)
SFO (UA)
SJC (AS)
PDX (AS)
PHX (US)
YVR (WestJet)

There are no direct flights from the East coast, so you will stop in one of these cities.
Alternately, you could fly directly to Honolulu (HNL) and continue to LIH from there.

Hawaiian, Go, and Island Air fly interisland to LIH from HNL and OGG. There are no direct flights between LIH and the Big Island (ITO/KOA).

There is a DansDeals corporate account for Hawaiian Airlines that allows you to take 2 free bags per person, a $34 value per flight. It also gives free standby on earlier flights. You can email jj@dansdeals.com with the exact flights, dates, and time that you want, passengers names and dates of birth, and the price you found on hawaiianair.com to make a booking. A $6 per person per leg fee applies.

Alternately, you can also use 5K AA or, 6k UA, or 7.5k HA miles each way to fly interisland. United allows a free stopover on a round-trip, so for instance you can fly HNL-LIH-OGG-HNL for just 12K miles.

Car:
A car is necessary on Kauai. All major companies have branches, mostly at the airport. There are also some local companies.

National has Executive Aisle/Selection at the airport, but Hertz doesn't have Gold Choice. Avis also has a desk at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. Check out www.discounthawaiicarrental.com - they book from the major brands, and are worth a try.

There's nothing like a convertible on Kauai, but a 4WD is better (sometimes even necessary) for certain places such as Polihale Beach or Milolii Ridge Road. Taking a convertible for most of your stay and a 4WD for a day or two is a good idea.


Where to stay:

There are 3 major areas where to stay. The South side is drier so good weather is more or less guaranteed. The North side is far prettier, with sheer cliffs and a backdrop of lovely green mountains. However, the weather in winter could be rainy and it can be buggy as well.
The rain typically doesn't last long, and is usually accompanied by numerous rainbows, so it's usually not too bad. However, it's something you should take into account. The East side has the cities of Lihue and Kapa'a, alone with countless hotels and resorts. This area isn't as beautiful and the North or South side.

When choosing an area also consider how far it is to your chosen activities, not just the weather, For example, it takes about an hour from the Grand Hyatt to Waimea Canyon, but over two hours from the St. Regis.  On the other hand the St. Regis is much closer to north shore activities.

Here are some places that are discussed in this thread:

NameAreaMore InfoComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Grand Hyatt KauaiSouth sideWebsiteGenerally considered to be the top hotel on Kauai, and countless DDF'ers have stayed there. The weather is perfect year-round, it's right by Poipu beach, and you drive through an awesome tree tunnel to get there. There are countless pools and exotic birds all around.
St. Regis PrincevilleNorth sideWebsiteAnother beautiful hotel, this is an SPG category 7. The setting of the SRP is absolutely breathtaking, with the ocean crashing on the cliffs below and the waterfall-filled mountains in the background. The views from the rooms are unparalleled, but most rooms have no balconies.
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas North sideWebsiteSPG category 6.
Sheraton Kauai Resort South sideWebsiteSPG category 5.
"Get your own place"AnywhereWebsiteThere are countless condos, timeshares, or villas available to rent on the island. The advantages are that you get more for your money - a couple of bedrooms, living/dining rooms, and a full kitchen. There will usually be a pool, sometimes even a private one. Additionally, they're often cheaper than a hotel. There are many places to find them -
 HomeAway Kauai
VRBO Kauai
Airbnb Kauai, etc.


What to do:

Beaches:
There are countless beaches on Kauai, and all are public. Most offer amazing snorkeling. The East and South side beaches are safe for swimming / snorkeling year round, while some North and West beaches could be deadly in winter. Here are some popular ones, in no particular order:

NameAreaComments
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
PoipuSouth sideThis beach is right by the GHK. Full amenities (lifeguard, showers, etc.). Snorkeling is amazing here, especially in the morning. Sea turtles and the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal are commonly seen here. Gorgeous sunsets.
Ke'eNorth sideThis beach is the gateway to the famous Kalalau Trail. The view from here is amazing, looking out over the majestic Na Pali cliffs. Great snorkeling, with a large fringing reef. This beach could be deadly winter, when 20-foot waves crash onto shore. However, at times it's perfectly calm. Use common sense. The beach is part of Hāʻena State Park
TunnelsNorth sideBeautiful crescent beach, with a lovely view of "Puff the Magic Dragon" mountain. Great snorkeling, and beautiful sunrises. May be dangerous in winter.
LumahaiNorth sideVery pretty beach, where they filmed South Pacific. Extremely dangerous winter.
PolihaleWest side17 solid miles of uninterrupted sand. Fairly remote, and accessible only via dirt and sand road, so 4WD is preferred. Unswimmable most of the year, but the area called Queens Pond is safe all year round. Since it's so huge, you could easily find a secluded spot. Great view of the south side of Na Pali, with amazing sunsets.
Queen's BathNorth sideThis is a rocky beach by the cliffs under Princeville. Very cool during the summer, when you could swim in a rock pool with the fish, but absolutely deadly during the winter (people die there all the time).
KalalauNorth sideOne of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world. Unfortunately, it's only accessible via one of the most difficult and most dangerous hikes in the world, the Kalalau Trail.
HonopūNorth sideAnother one of the top ten beaches in the world. The only way to get there is by swimming - from Kalalau beach :o!
Hanalei BayNorth sideA beautiful crescent beach with wonderful views. Mediocre snorkeling, but safe even in the winter. Very predictable waves, so this is the top spot for learning to surf or paddle. Breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.
SecretNorth sideRelatively secluded beach, and needs a bit of a hike to get there.
LydgateEast sideA fully protected beach, with pretty good snorkeling. Great for little kids, but is usually very busy.
NawiliwiliEast sideBoring beach, but the park of the the side is a nice place to stop for lunch and watch the kitesurfers.
Kapa'aEast sideAnother relatively boring beach, but a nice place to have lunch if you're in Kapa'a.


Hiking:
There are a tremendous amount of great hikes on Kauai. Check the Kauai Revealed book for detailed info on all of them, with maps, difficulty ratings, etc. These are just a few which are discussed in this thread:

NameAreaComments
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hike 1Area 1Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
Hike 2Area 2Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.


Other activities:

ActivityComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Helicopter toursEasily the most expensive activity on Kauai, and easily the most amazing. You get to see otherwise inaccessible places - among others, you fly into Waimea Canyon, along the stunning Na Pali coast, and into the crater of the extinct Mount Waiʻaleʻale, now the wettest place on earth. It's an experience that could simply not be matched. Blue Hawaiian is the most popular and usually recommended. Jack Harter also flies amazing doors-off tours, which are wet, windy, and exhilirating :D.
Powered hang glidingThis is a unique flight lesson (counts a flying time for a pilot's license) in what's basically a motorized tricycle with wings. Supposed to be tremendous fun. Offered by Birds in Paradise.
Waimea CanyonLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
Kalalau Valley overlookLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
Hanalei Valley overlook
Kayaking
Biking
ATVing
Horseback riding
Ziplining
Cruises
4 Wheel Driving


Shopping:
  • Costco in Lihue has some kosher food, as well as the cheapest gas on the island
  • Wal-Mart, also in Lihue, also has some kosher food

« Last edited by ygygold on January 25, 2016, 09:44:02 AM »

Author Topic: Kauai, HI Master Thread  (Read 194801 times)

Offline Jet1

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #75 on: May 31, 2011, 05:24:13 PM »
If your reffering to to getting to Polihale State Beach then officially you need 4WD. But everyone drives there in their cars. SO I think thats why Dan says take a convertible which is more fun and convenient the rest of the trip.

Offline Dan

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #76 on: May 31, 2011, 10:40:24 PM »
I've been to Kauai 3 times and included experiences from different trips in that report.
You can definitely switch vehicles though.  Especially at the GH Kauai which has an Avis on location.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline kivabb

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #77 on: June 06, 2011, 02:31:54 PM »
Dan, you wrote in your trip report that Waimea Canyon was a 2/5, especially with the 4WD option on the beach.  Was that because you were sore or because the view was just as good at the beach?

If it was just as good, any other "must do"s in Waimea Canyon ?

Thanks
« Last Edit: June 06, 2011, 03:20:26 PM by kivabb »

Offline @jack123

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #78 on: June 06, 2011, 04:13:38 PM »
is it still possible to get hyatt GC's anywhere? having trouble finding them, costco.com customer service says most stores stopped restocking them. anyone know of a costco that has them? possible that would be willing to ship me some? thanks

Offline Dan

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #79 on: June 06, 2011, 05:01:32 PM »
Dan, you wrote in your trip report that Waimea Canyon was a 2/5, especially with the 4WD option on the beach.  Was that because you were sore or because the view was just as good at the beach?

If it was just as good, any other "must do"s in Waimea Canyon ?

Thanks
Waimea canyon is incredible and a must-see...I never said that was 2/5.
The 12 mile hike was even more incredible, but I gave that a 2/5 because of how sore it made me afterward.  Perhaps if you are in better shape than I you may have enjoyed it more.
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Offline kivabb

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #80 on: June 07, 2011, 10:01:38 AM »
Waimea canyon is incredible and a must-see...I never said that was 2/5.
The 12 mile hike was even more incredible, but I gave that a 2/5 because of how sore it made me afterward.  Perhaps if you are in better shape than I you may have enjoyed it more.

Thanks. Would you categorize the 12 mile hike as "unsafe" with the narrow paths by the cliffs or for responsible people it's okay?

Offline Dan

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #81 on: June 07, 2011, 10:09:16 AM »
Thanks. Would you categorize the 12 mile hike as "unsafe" with the narrow paths by the cliffs or for responsible people it's okay?
I wouldn't do it with little kids, but I wouldn't say it's unsafe.
My wife is somewhat scared of heights and was OK with it.  And she was not nearly as sore as I was the next couple days.
If you enjoy hiking and amazing views and are in decent shape then go for it!
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Offline moe

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #82 on: June 07, 2011, 04:46:31 PM »
is it still possible to get hyatt GC's anywhere? having trouble finding them, costco.com customer service says most stores stopped restocking them. anyone know of a costco that has them? possible that would be willing to ship me some? thanks
they dont sell anyymore for about a year already.

Offline kivabb

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #83 on: June 19, 2011, 08:13:20 PM »
If using points at Grand Hyatt and don't have Chase Hyatt in time, is it worth spending points on upgrade or practically speaking the room will look the same with just a different view from window?

Offline kivabb

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #84 on: June 23, 2011, 08:47:35 PM »
Trying to make Award Reservation at GH in Kauai and Hyatt site telling me:

A Resort Fee of $25 per room, per night will be assessed. The fee covers: Access for two (2) to the fitness center, wired and wireless internet access, 10% discount on select merchandise at Anara Spa, the tennis center, and Poipu Bay Golf Pro Shop, 10% discount on business center internet access, 10% discount on select merchandise at Captain Andy's Lagoon Side Hut, local and 1-800 phone calls, self parking, incoming faxes, 1 hour tennis court time.

I thought I read on DD forum that no fee for free stays?

Hyatt site also telling me Deposit Required By June 23, 2011. Deposit By Credit Card Required. 2 Night(S) Deposit Will Be Charged To Credit Card.  I have to dish out $1500 for Award Reservation as deposit or is there a cheaper standard room deposit that they take for award reservation?

Also, the Regency Club/Grand Club Club Ocean room that seems to usually go for $750 over $450 is just 5K more points a night. Anyone ever stay in one of those? Is it nice?

Thanks!
« Last Edit: June 23, 2011, 08:51:50 PM by kivabb »

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #85 on: September 08, 2011, 11:39:27 AM »
Want to tell you about my recent trip to kauai, hopefully there will be some useful info for everyone, as I'm in the same boat as dan when I say that everyone must go there at some point for an amazing vacation. There are tons of things to do and we didn't even do any activities at the GH. To quote my wife the "revealed book was our bible(lihavdil of course!)". Literally every suggestion we took from the book was spot on and didn't let us down.

Activities; Waimea canyon- a must do not only for the view but the hundreds of trails, some hidden, some not. We did the 4wd milloli ridge road which was tons of fun(although if you're OCD about the rental then dont do it, the trail is surrounded by bushes making thousands of temp marks, which had to be cleaned up with a car wash b4 returning) the reward, a stunning view of the coast with no one around. Birds of Paradise- power hang gliders- our favorite activity of the trip. Dont remember the page in the book but he raved about it, and the pilot i flew with said he was friends with the revealed author. There's nothing like being 2,000 feet up basically strapped into a hang glider, learning how to fly the thing(its not a "tour" its a "lesson") felt safe too! A must do, their staff are very professional and accommodating(although we didn't get to fly over the Na pili coast). kayaking to secret falls- awesome hike and great falls but got some attitude from the staff at Hawaiian village, and seems a little lame to rent to kayaks for the 10 min ride, but still well worth it. Bike ride the path along the water in Kaapa- we rented the bikes for free from the GH(Diamond member amenity)so we just brought them in our jeep to kapaa and never had a more scenic bike ride; mountains to one side, clear blue sea water crashing against rocky cliffs on the other side....tons of other things, i can list more if anyone wants...one word of advice; the tabis ARE worth wile- we saw them at walmart and they looked too weird with the thick sole, and bought watershoes instead. The watershoes were fine but we slipped on the rocks a bunch of times...

Hotel- KK if you're looking for a quiet, romantic, smaller hotel then the St Regis is your place- superior service and a magnificent hotel(i think they recently renovated). Although very expensive( hard to get the cash and points spg deal) and very far from waimea and lots of activities, there's something really special about the north shore that makes it extremely exotic(probably the mountainous and cliffhanging views) and the perfect place for a honeymoon. Whether you're staying at the GH or St Regis, it's a win-win, they are just different. Now for the GH, first how I got an incredible deal with tons of extras; Initially booked my reservation through AMEX plat fine hotels(good rates, upgrades, 100 resort credit and breakfast vouchers, late checkout, etc) for a oceanfront room for 590 a night. Then perfect timing kicked in; Dan's post about getting temp Diamond status(incl 4 suite upgrades, a special amenity, grand club access, spa access, premium internet, upgrades, late checkout), along with a special for $250 a night per room, made me adjust my reservation by calling the special diamond line. The result, a one bedroom suite around 25 yards from the ocean, for 250 a night.  Even more, the front desk made the mistake of thinking, that because my reservation was initially booked through Fine hotels, I was still entitled to the Plat perks, so i retained the $100 credit, and breakfast vouchers(we had grand club anyways which was the same). The suite was gorgeous, and  was bigger than our apt at home! for a previously concerned poster about the suite kitchenette, it's really just a counter with a sink, a regular room would be the same just with less space, and all you'd need is probably an extra fridge. Either way, with a hot plate, we had more than we needed to heat up the food we brought from back home(tip; in advance of your trip, just make extra food every time you have a meal and freeze it, most things freeze pretty well and are still delic when reheating in HI). The spa, gym, pools, and service were all perfect, and the location made the weather sunny all the time along with easy access to most of the island. People on trip advisor complain about the long walks, but we didn't mind any of them(nor did we think they were too long).


Food- Grand club- has kosher cereal and yogurts,jams, as well as fruit, coffee and sodas, so your pretty covered with breakfast. Supermarkets can be really expensive, but have a variety of kosher products, no meat but Amy's in the frozen section of most supermarkets, Thomas bagels and muffins, and in some locations, Rudi's bread(OU), so whether bringing food from home or buying, you should survive ;)


This report has probably been comprehensive enough, and I apologize if any of this is repetitive...Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Offline Dan

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #86 on: September 08, 2011, 12:04:18 PM »
Awesome, awesome report.  Definitely my favorite island in the world so far, glad you enjoyed.

Well done getting a 4WD!  I also did the milloli ridge road with one and that view is just amazing.  Sure, it felt like we "earned it more" and you do get to see more of the Na Pali/Kalalau Valley when we did the 13 mile grand loop hike, but the 4WD road makes it accessible for those not wanting to hike for an entire day.

The GH is really ideal because of the proximity to Waimea, Lihue, Poipu Beach, and Na Pali, the fact that its much sunnier, the Hawaiian feeling, and the amazing amenities (endless pools, scuba lessons, spa, tennis, grand club, etc, all for free).  I still hope to try the S Regis though to give a fair comparison.


Tabis are awesome for hikes and even snorkeling.  Very versatile and useful.

Powered hang glider sounds awesome, I've just done helicopter which was also amazing.
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Offline westman812

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #87 on: September 08, 2011, 01:49:14 PM »
Yeah! Power hang glider is a must do! I know you'll be back there Dan so you really gotta do it, you earn flight time when doing it(no miles though, even if you're elite!) so you can count it if you ever want to get a pilots license...

There aren't as many hotels on the island as there are in Maui but in summary the best places to stay imho are Princeville or Poipu. For those inquiring about condos in Kaapa- it's got lots of shopping centers(even a Coffee bean- food isn't kosher, but I believe the coffee is) is heavily populated, but it has a decent location, the beaches aren't anything special. Kehaka- really small town, not resorty at ALL. A little run-down if you asked me.

milloli ridge road- a lot of fun to drive..UNDERATED how long it is though(maybe 7 long miles to the cliff) so be prepared.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #88 on: September 09, 2011, 12:54:03 AM »
I know you'll be back there Dan so you really gotta do it, you earn flight time when doing it(no miles though, even if you're elite!) so you can count it if you ever want to get a pilots license...
Gonna be hard/impossible with an infant.
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Offline lechaim2life

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #89 on: September 22, 2011, 01:53:24 AM »
Is there any way to still get the Hyatt Diamond upgrade?

Maybe Dan's Concierge can help :)