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 199910 times)

Offline Fan of Dan

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #345 on: June 12, 2012, 09:05:26 AM »
I recall your mentioning the idea earlier so I appreciate your getting back to us and letting us know.

Offline youthink

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #346 on: June 12, 2012, 09:20:55 AM »
I recall your mentioning the idea earlier so I appreciate your getting back to us and letting us know.

Yeah, I wanted to wait until I could give the full report. Some chains (like Hilton) treat Priceline customers like 2nd class citizens. GHK went all out.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #347 on: June 12, 2012, 10:38:58 AM »
According to BB, the GHK is indeed the only resort in Poipu: http://www.betterbidding.com/index.php?showtopic=427&

Be sure to be up to date on your priceline strategies before bidding!
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.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #348 on: June 13, 2012, 11:46:12 AM »
Sorry for the long delay. This is the kosher menu we received at the Grand Club in March 2012

Offline Yordai Dooma

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #349 on: June 13, 2012, 11:52:05 AM »
Sorry for the long delay. This is the kosher menu we received at the Grand Club in March 2012
Thank you!

Offline JS69

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #350 on: June 18, 2012, 04:22:05 PM »
Anyone go Deep sea fishing wile there? Looking to charter a boat but trying to get an idea how rough the water is.

Thanks

Offline MLM

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #351 on: June 18, 2012, 04:37:19 PM »
looking for a hotel Westin Princeville vs Grand Hyatt
JEWDA "RIP"

Offline Dan

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #352 on: June 18, 2012, 04:39:23 PM »
Those options shouldn't be said in the same breath.
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.

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Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #353 on: June 19, 2012, 08:57:20 AM »
Those options shouldn't be said in the same breath.

Woah harsh what about St Regis and Hyatt?
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Re: Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #354 on: June 19, 2012, 09:04:53 AM »
Woah harsh what about St Regis and Hyatt?

If you got haven't the gist yet the GH is one of Dans favorite hotels. He thinks you should stay there
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #355 on: June 19, 2012, 09:18:28 AM »
Woah harsh what about St Regis and Hyatt?
I can at least see why some may prefer the SR though I'm personally not in that camp.
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 lechaim2life

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #356 on: June 21, 2012, 04:35:28 PM »
Went on this trip in January but never wrote a Trip Report so better late than never...
After joining DDF in September, I immediately realized I needed to go to Kauai for my honeymoon. After reading through Danís Trip Reports it was clear that we would be staying at the GHK. Unfortunately, I couldnít get Diamond status before I got the card so my 2 free nights were regular nights. I had points for another couple of nights and managed to get Diamond Trial 2 weeks before I went. So I convinced them to apply my Suite upgrade on my free nights and point nights because I didnít want to switch rooms and because it was my honeymoon. They confirmed me for an Oceanfront suite for 7 nights so, doing the math, I paid for 2 nights and got a week in a gorgeous suite.
The rooms were as good as advertised. We had a huge living room/dining room area (L shaped) with enough room to eat, cook and lounge around. They gave us a second fridge to store our food which was very helpful. Internet was shaky so I called front desk and 10 minutes later they were installing a wireless network in my room. As a Diamond member we had access to the Grand Club which was a great place to stock up on drinks (otherwise very expensive) and some fruits, vegetables and snacks that were kosher. I wonít get into the grounds (discussed many times and still better in person) but I will mention that my suite was on the ground level (not sure if it was technically Oceanfront in the end although you could see the ocean from the room) which ended up being very helpful. We disabled the air conditioner from automatically turning off when the porch door opens (via DDF) and we left one door unlocked and were able to walk the grounds on Shabbos without worrying about having a key to get back in which was a big bonus.
As far as activities are concerned, we followed some of Danís suggestions and bought the book (and the App) for Kauai Revealed. Iíll list them and rank them out of 5:
Helicopter Tour: 4.5/5 (Very expensive but once-in-a-lifetime experience)
Kayak and Hike to Secret Falls: 5/5 (A lot of fun and beautiful waterfall at the end)
Snorkeling at different beaches as recommended by Kauai revealed: 3/5 (saw some cool stuff but had trouble staying under for a while as it was my first time)
Queenís Bath: 5/5 (Part of the ocean carved out by lava rocks into a swimming pool. Fun hike to get there and amazing swimming in the Pacific while waves crashed down around us. We did a few other beaches like Secret Beach which were all a lot of fun. Almost all of them required some hiking to get to which made it sort of a two part activity.)
Whale Watching: 3/5 (I got seasick but got to give 3 stars for getting to see a whole bunch of whales breach up close. We saw whales from afar at the GHK lobby balcony but seeing them jump out of the water right next to your boat even as you throw up is really cool)
Sunset at Spouting Horn: 5/5 (Down the road from GHK, cool story and you can get up close and feel the power of the water not to mention gorgeous views)

One day was actually rained out the entire time but we had booked massages at the Spa so we hung out there for most of the day. Didnít include hanging out and swimming at the pools (that do go on forever) which we did almost every day.
I canít think of anything else but if you have any question please let me know. Thanks again to everyone who helped make this amazing trip possible!

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #357 on: June 22, 2012, 03:59:39 AM »
Anyone have any experience staying at the St Regis in terms of storing food in fridge or getting an extra fridge or having them warm up the food?
Dan, I know you stayed there but I didn't see any mention of fridges or them warming up food in your notes.
Thanks!

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #358 on: June 22, 2012, 10:29:45 AM »
That's because I haven't gotten around to typing up the notes from my stay there :)

They gave us an extra fridge upon request.  We brought 2 burners and a few tinfoil pans and heated up food ourselves as we always do.
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #359 on: June 22, 2012, 02:34:39 PM »
Returned last week from 4 nights at the GHK. Not having any free nights (got AAd by Chase) I bid on Priceline. If you choose the 'Poipu - Koloa' area of Kauai on Priceline and select resort as the hotel type you're pretty much guaranteed to get the GHK. Priceline currently has no other hotel in the area classified as resort. Using free rebids I got what I know is the absolute lowest price of $145 per night + $25 daily resort fee - definitely the lowest possible one could pay (other than free of course). I'm sure this varies based on availability and season but the lowest published rate was $330 for our dates - so I'm happy.

As a diamond (thanks to the 60 day diamond challenge which I got matched from  Hilton Gold which I got from the Visa infinite promo thanks to the great info on DD) I asked at check-in for a suite. Originally they booked us in a club ocean view, but she offered to use my 4 suite upgrades for a suite which I'm pretty sure is only for Hyatt booked eligible stays...but I'm not complaining. I was told I could get a garden suite  but an Ocean suite would be $300+. I'm not sure where that logic came from, but when we saw the suite, the ocean was quite clearly visible along with lots of garden. That's ocean view enough for me. I think an ocean view is technically on one of the higher floors but if you're room/suite faces the ocean you'll be able to see it from any floor AFAIK. Either way, I actually preferred our ground floor suite as you can walk right out of the 3 walk-outs without going into the corridors or using the elevators. The suite was huge and very impressive to say the least.

The GC gave us the kosher list, sorry did not keep a copy. Had things like hard-boiled eggs, salmon and other stuff, use your own judgement. The staff said they put it together as a courtesy for their kosher guests. There's plenty of drinks, cereal, whole fruit and bagels plus paper and plastic utensils. They're very accommodating, just ask and they'll find a way or at least act very apologetic if they can't.  You won't starve. We vacuum-packed and froze our own food and they provided us with a microwave (easily kosherable) to warm everything up.

I won't review the GHK as there is not much I can add to everyone else, but it truly is a unique property on a unique island. The service and grounds are just different. As soon as you arrive you'll know why Dan has been promoting this hotel. Thanks to him and the others who brought it to our attention. We hope to be back.

To top it off, somehow my 4 suite upgrades now say 5 with one used. So I still have 4. Does this take time to be updated?

As a follow-up to the above, I actually received Hyatt points (base and diamond bonus) and a stay credit even though it was booked on Priceline. Pretty sure that wasn't supposed to happen. And 3 weeks after we returned I still have 4 suite upgrades available. Looks like I was given the upgrade but the upgrades never actually used. Not complaining.