A Week in Kauai: Where to Stay in Kauai
Full disclosure: I went on this trip for my day job. The tourism board of Kauai sponsored the trip, but all opinions are my own because seriously Kauai is amazing!
About a month before my husband and I tied the knot, we went on what I’m calling a pre-honeymoon. Honestly the wedding process was so stressful, and it actually got way worse right before our wedding, but it was nice to disconnect and reconnect as a couple before we got married. Weddings can be a very stressful time, and it is so important to remember it is about the marriage, not one day.
Anyways we set off for a week in Kauai. There is a direct flight via United from Denver to Lihue, Kauai, which was very convenient. It was about 7 1/2 hours to get there and 6 1/2 hours to get back. As the plane descended out of the clouds, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the island. This was both my and my husband’s first time in Hawaii, and I couldn’t get over the fact this stunning place is still the US. We rented a Jeep Wrangler, which is not only a great way to get around the island but also super fun to drive with the top taken off. I almost felt like I was in Jurassic Park, which wasn’t too far of a stretch since much of the classic movie was filmed on Kauai!
A Week in Kauai: Where to Stay in Kauai
Waimea: South Shore
Waimea is a quaint town about 50 minutes from Lihue. The drive was absolutely gorgeous, as is almost every drive around the island. If you are looking for a relaxing time and a true break from the busyness of life then Waimea is for you. If you are looking for tons to do and lots of restaurant options, you might be better suited for a different town. We did the best of all worlds and stayed in Waimea for three days to kick off our trip before heading to more bustling towns. This truly gave us time to disconnect and take in the sheer beauty of Kauai.
For our first stop, we stayed at the Waimea Plantation Cottages in Waimea, Kauai on the X end of the island. The hotel is made up of more than 60 unique cottages that have been resorted from their original 1800s state. We stayed in one of the one bedroom, ocean-front cottages. Just steps from the oceans, we loved opening the windows at night and letting the soft sound of the waves lull us to sleep. We seriously felt like we had the property to ourselves, and it was the perfect time to recharge. Oversized banyan trees and palm trees cover the 27-acre property, which features multiple manicured lawns, flowering trees and hammocks strung up to enjoy the ocean views.
Koloa: South Shore
Koloa is located in the southern part of the island, and about 30 minutes from Waimea or 25 minutes from Lihue. This town had a ton to do! There is no shortage of restaurants with insane sunset views, surf spots and shopping. We strolled around Kukui’ula Village Shopping Center, which was a short walk from our hotel, before eating dinner and enjoying a rooftop sunset.
For our next stop, we headed east to the town of Kōloa and checked into Whalers Cover Resort, which features a variety of condos each with an ocean view. Our condo had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, laundry and a full kitchen. If you are looking to stay for an extended time or wanting to make your own meals, this is the perfect resort. They will even stock the fridge with all your necessities!
It is also conveniently located close to tons of shops, restaurants and beaches. If you visit from October to April, you may even spot a humpback whale playing off the coast of Hanaka‘ape Bay from your patio!
Lihue: South Shore
As we worked our way across the island, we ended where we started at Lihue. Lihue had more of a city feel than any of the other towns we visited even though it was still quite small. It is also continently located next to the airport for our helicopter excursion and very sad departure on the last day of our trip.
For our final stop, we went for all out luxury at Hōkūala Kaua’i. We were greeted with a Happy Madison cocktail and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Ninini Point Lighthouse. The 47-unit ocean front property stretches over 480 acres including a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course with holes that run parallel with the ocean. This resort had everything we could possibly want or need, and we never wanted to leave. We stayed in a 4-bedroom ocean-front suite, and it was a dream!
From dining to spa treatments, excursions to golf, Hōkūala was an experience we will never forget. One of my favorite moments was having the resort’s chef create a custom 6-course meal in our room. I nearly died when he let me hold his chef’s knives! This is absolutely one of the top 5 meals of my life. The resort features a stunning infinity pool, three walking trails and a fully equipped gym. As a final farewell, we indulged in an in-room massage on our balcony which soothe our sore muscles before heading to the airport to fly home.
We actually stayed in a Timber’s property right after we got engaged so it felt (fun) to bookend our engagement at a Timber’s property.
Where to Stay in Kauai – Other towns
Kapaa: East Coast
About 20 minutes from Lihue lies the largest town on the island. Kapaa offers a large variety of resorts, restaurants and shopping. We met some really nice people at a sports bar that was staying in Kapaa, which they raved about the town. One of the main attractions is Kamokila Hawaiian Village, which is a recreation of a historic Hawaiian village, to learn more about the Islander’s culture and history. We wanted to drive up to both Kapaa and Princeville on our last day, but a tropical storm had other plans for us.
Princeville: North Shore
With some of the best surfing (for professionals) on the island and stunning views, Princeville is your spot. Wind along the eastern coast of the island for about 45 minutes to the northernmost city. Along its rocky shore, Princeville is home to iconic Hanalei Bay and Queen’s Bath.