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 188810 times)

Offline kivabb

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #90 on: October 02, 2011, 01:04:46 PM »
Hope to go for 4 days in January. Probably will be my only chance for a long while. Taking 3 month old baby as well so that means no hand gliding, kayaking or snorkling. Hope to take baby carrier so I can do the Nualolo hike that Dan did. Staying at the Grand Hyatt.  For the most part (besides the day hike in Waimea), looking to make it chilled out vacation admiring the scenery.

Question is - do I spend 1 night St. Regis Princeville Resort to get a taste on North and cosidering my activities are more limited with little one or not worth messing with compared to South? Any input would be appreciated.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2011, 01:25:01 PM by kivabb »

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #91 on: October 02, 2011, 03:22:49 PM »
my take, for what it's worth, is that if you didn't have a baby and/or were going for longer than 4 days, it'd be worthwhile, as the north is vastly different than the south, and the St. Regis is definitely something to see( esp with a $400 night rate I recentely spotted on the spg website for Jan). However, 4 days isn't really enough time, imho, to start moving the fam from one hotel to the next, esp cause you will not get bored of the Hyatt in 4 days. In your situation, I'd opt for the simple day trip up north to check it out, and stick with the GH.

Offline Yellow

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #92 on: November 07, 2011, 03:08:51 PM »
Is there any way to still get the Hyatt Diamond upgrade?

Maybe Dan's Concierge can help :)
I'm wondering the same thing
I want to stay in the GH Kauai but before opening up the chase CC I wanna try to get the trial diamond match so i can get a suite

BTW what are the chances of being upgraded to a suite upon check in with just platinum status?

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #93 on: November 16, 2011, 07:26:21 PM »
Just finished a Kauai trip had amazing time! Thanks for all the help on this forum. Stayed on the beautiful north shore at the St. Regis for three nights using stay 3 get 1 promo. Room was stunning, view was otherworldly, service was perfect. Was upgraded to an ocean front room on the 5th floor. Cons: No balcony :(

We then stayed on the South Shore at the GHK for two nights using Jetsetter. I was able to use my diamond suite upgrade and the suite was perfect! Huge room, great view! In general after seeing the standard regular rooms at the Hyatt I believe this is a hotel where you really need a suite to get the full experience. Being that we stayed over a Shabbos we had a room on the 3rd floor which had a walkout Lanai and was only a few doors down from the Grand Club. So we made arrangements before Shabbos to access the grand club from the outside and not have to use a key. It was nice to be able to get out of our room (although it wasn't a bad place to be stuck in) on Shabbos without having to worry about a key and getting back to our room. Note: being that we left our Lanai sliding door open we made sure to lock all our valuables in the safe before shabbos.

General Hotel comparison:
There is no question that the SR is a more upscale hotel then the Hyatt, however the lack of a balcony for us was a real downside. I didn't experience a suite at the SR like I did at the hyatt so I can't fairly compare the rooms. The Hyatt grounds are definitely a selling point, and with pools which look spectacular but are very public. We enjoyed them more for what they added to the ambiance and it's definitely an attraction of the hotel that we didn't really benefit from.

North Shore vs. South Shore:
Although there are many more activities on the south shore and it has much better weather, there is something about the North Shore that makes it a unique experience. The rural small town feel, less roads, more natural etc. Also the combination of mountains, cliffs and beaches in such close proximity is something very unique to the North Shore. Also rain showers on the NS only last for a few minutes.

General:
Like Dan says you really need at least a week to experience Kauai. Take it slow and you don't want to rush your activities as it will defeat the purpose of this island. 

I'll post some notes about HNL in the Oahu section, but I'd just like to say that it Oahu is underrated and definitely worth a 2-3 day trip.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2011, 08:12:06 PM by Hudi »

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #94 on: November 16, 2011, 09:00:39 PM »
Thanks for the trip report! I'm going in january and deciding if its worth the extra starpoints to stay in the SR over the westin princeville. I really don't need anything fancy but if it's that much nicer, and the beach at the SR is nice i would def stay there. Would you say it's worth it?

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #95 on: November 16, 2011, 09:08:40 PM »
if you're SPG plat definitely go for the SR cuz you might get a suite. Otherwise pros of westin are that it's a villa, with kitchen, dining area and balcony which you won't have at the SR. Cons of westin are: no view, no beach and missing out of what the north shore has to offer. 

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #96 on: November 16, 2011, 09:23:04 PM »
if you're SPG plat definitely go for the SR cuz you might get a suite. Otherwise pros of westin are that it's a villa, with kitchen, dining area and balcony which you won't have at the SR. Cons of westin are: no view, no beach and missing out of what the north shore has to offer. 
I'm gold, so i probably won't get a suite, and i like the idea of a balcony... so i suppose i'll go with the westin...
Shame because i kinda wanted to stay at the SR, bu it just doesn't seem to make the most sense
« Last Edit: November 16, 2011, 10:48:31 PM by Yellow »

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #97 on: November 16, 2011, 10:48:56 PM »
Is the beach by the SR nice?

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #98 on: November 16, 2011, 11:24:00 PM »
Thanks for the report Hudi.

To me it seems that the SRP is more luxurious but the GHK is more Hawaiian, and for my money I'd take the more Hawaiian.  Plus all rooms at the GHK have balconies and most at the SRP do not.  The GHK is right by the incredible Poipu Beach, which beats any North Shore Beach that I've seen.  And it seems the GHK is easier for shabbos as it only has 2-4 stories?
That being said I can't really compare as I have never been to the SRP.

I love checking out the beautiful north side, but I still love staying on the south side more.  It's much closer to Waimea Canyon, Polihale, and to the airport and Costco, Jamba Juice, Walmart, etc.  And it's warmer and dryer.

As for the endless amount of pools, lagoons, and hot tubs at the GHK, they are open 24/7 and there's literally nobody using them at the odd hours of the night...and here comes the spy camera discussion...

Hopefully soon I'll be able to give a more authoritative opinion on the GHK vs. SRP.

/.02
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #99 on: November 17, 2011, 10:38:21 AM »
Thanks for the report Hudi.

To me it seems that the SRP is more luxurious but the GHK is more Hawaiian, and for my money I'd take the more Hawaiian.  Plus all rooms at the GHK have balconies and most at the SRP do not.  The GHK is right by the incredible Poipu Beach, which beats any North Shore Beach that I've seen.  And it seems the GHK is easier for shabbos as it only has 2-4 stories?
That being said I can't really compare as I have never been to the SRP.

I love checking out the beautiful north side, but I still love staying on the south side more.  It's much closer to Waimea Canyon, Polihale, and to the airport and Costco, Jamba Juice, Walmart, etc.  And it's warmer and dryer.

As for the endless amount of pools, lagoons, and hot tubs at the GHK, they are open 24/7 and there's literally nobody using them at the odd hours of the night...and here comes the spy camera discussion...

Hopefully soon I'll be able to give a more authoritative opinion on the GHK vs. SRP.

/.02
Thanks for your input, its very comprehensive and sums up all my questions

Actually what we'll do it probably stay 2 nights on the north shore (still deciding btwn westin and SR) and 2 nights on the south shore (GH). its a hassle to move around i know, but i do want to get a taste of both the north and south during my trip

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #100 on: November 17, 2011, 10:48:07 AM »
When are you going?
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #101 on: November 17, 2011, 11:26:57 AM »
Thanks for the trip report. I can't wait to go to Kauai!!! will be there late december/early january and will be staying at GH...north shore would be too wet during that time of year

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #102 on: November 17, 2011, 11:52:39 AM »

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #103 on: November 17, 2011, 11:57:16 AM »
Anyone going to be in Hawaii the first half of December?
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #104 on: November 17, 2011, 12:00:01 PM »
Thanks for your input, its very comprehensive and sums up all my questions

Actually what we'll do it probably stay 2 nights on the north shore (still deciding btwn westin and SR) and 2 nights on the south shore (GH). its a hassle to move around i know, but i do want to get a taste of both the north and south during my trip
Personally I'd stick with just one place for a 1 day stay otherwise it won't be very relaxing.

And if you're not looking to be relaxed then maybe spend a day at each place, fly to Hilo and watch a volcano erupt and watch sunset on top of Mauna Kea and then a day on Maui and drive to road to Hana and watch sunrise on top of Haleakala.

You just can't do it all on 1 short trip. (Unless you do what I did for my honeymoon and spend a month there!)
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