Best of Kauai by latenite1002

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                             Best of Kauai

On any listHuahine, and Rarotonga. All theislands, Kauai ranks right uprainforests,
Bora Bora,
            of the world’s most spectacular
                                            elements are here: moody
                                                                        there with

majestic cliffs, jagged peaks, emerald valleys, palm trees swaying in the breeze, daily

rainbows, and some of the most spectacular golden beaches you’ll find anywhere. Soft
tropical air, sunrise bird song, essences of ginger and plumeria, golden sunsets,

sparkling waterfalls—you don’t just go to Kauai, you absorb it with every sense. It may
get more than its fair share of tropical downpours, but that’s what makes it so lush and
green—and creates an abundance of rainbows.
    Kauai is essentially a single large shield volcano that rises 3 miles above the sea floor.
The island lies 90 miles across the open ocean from Oahu, but it seems at least a half
century removed in time. It’s often called “the separate kingdom” because it stood
alone and resisted King Kamehameha’s efforts to unite Hawaii. In the end, a royal kid-

napping was required to take the Garden Isle: After King Kamehameha died, his son,
Liholiho, ascended the throne. He gained control of Kauai by luring Kauai’s king,

Kaumualii, aboard the royal yacht and sailing to Oahu; once there, Kaumualii was
forced to marry Kaahumanu, Kamehameha’s widow, thereby uniting the islands.
    A law on Kauai states that no building may exceed the height of a coconut tree—

between three and four stories. As a result, the island itself, not its palatial beach hotels,
is the attention-grabber. There’s no real nightlife here, no opulent shopping malls. But
there is the beauty of the verdant jungle, the endless succession of spectacular beaches,
the grandeur of Waimea Canyon, and the drama of the Na Pali Coast. Even Princeville,

an opulent marble-and-glass luxury hotel, does little more than frame the natural glory
of Hanalei’s spectacular 4,000-foot-high Namolokama mountain range.

    This is the place for active visitors: There are watersports galore; miles of trails
through rainforests and along ocean cliffs for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders; and
golf options that range from championship links to funky local courses where chickens

roam the greens and balls wind up embedded in coconut trees. But Kauai is also great
for those who need to relax and heal jangled nerves. Here you’ll find miles of sandy
beaches, perfect for just sitting and meditating. There are also quiet spots in the forest
where you can listen to the rain dance on the leaves, as well as an endless supply
of laid-back, lazy days that end with the sun sinking into the Pacific amid a blaze of
glorious tropical color.

 1 The Best Beaches
  • Kalapaki Beach: Kalapaki is the best            Kalapaki, one of Kauai’s best, in its
    beach not only in Lihue but also on             backyard. But little Lihue turns its
    the entire east coast. Any town would           back on Kalapaki; there’s not even a
    pay a fortune to have a beach like              sign pointing the way through the
                                0             100 mi                                                                                                    ANINI BEACH PARK
          KAUAI                                                                                                                     Hanalei
                                0        100 km
NIIHAU                                                                                                        Haena                  Bay                 Princeville
            OAHU                                                                                                                   560
            Honolulu                                                        NA PALI COAST

                                     MAUI                                                                                                                                 Kilauea

                       LANAI                                                 STATE PARK                         THE NORTH Hanalei
                        KAHOOLAWE                                                                                 SHORE                                                                                  56
      PACIFIC                                                     THE NA PALI                                                                                                                                           Kuh i o

                                                                                                                                                             lei Valley
                                                                                        l al                                                                                                                                      Hw
         OCEAN                                                                              au
                                          HAWAII                                                   lle
                                                                                                      y                      MAMALAHOA HALELEA                                                             ts   .

                                                                                                                               FOREST RESERVE                                                          a M                            Anahola
THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS                                                                                                                                                                          l   eh

                                                                                       KOKEE                                                                                           a

                                                                                     STATE PARK

                                                                PUU KA

                                                                                                                                                                                                  THE COCONUT


                                                                                                                                                        i R
                                                                FOREST     WAIMEA

                                                                RESERVE                                                                                                                                                                   Kealia

                                                                                                                                                   en   Mt. Waialeale
         P A C I F I C                                                    STATE PARK                                                          Ke                                                          581                        Kapaa

                                                                                                                              Mt. Kawaikini
          O C E A N                                                                                                                                                                                        580                Wailua
                                                                                                                                                                                WAILUA RIVER
                                                   Mana                                                         NA PALI-KONA                                                     STATE PARK

                                                                                                               FOREST RESERVE                                                                                              Waipouli

                                Sands                                                                                                          LIHUE-KOLOA

                                                                      552                                                                     FOREST RESERVE





                                                                                                                                                   Mt. Kapalaoa

           K a ul a ka hi                                                                                                                                                              LIHUE
                                                                     Kekaha                                                                                                                                                 Lihue Airport
            C ha nne l                                                                                                                                              u alii Hwy. Puhi                          51
                                                                                                                                                             a   um

                                                                                     Waimea                                                                                       Nawiliwili
                                                                      Waimea                                                                                                                                            Nawiliwili
                                                                       Bay                                                                                                   HAUPU                                       Harbor
                                                                                                                       Kalaheo           Lawai 520                        FOREST RESERVE
                                                                                                 Hanapepe        50
                                                                                                                             540               530
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           THE BEST BEACHES

  0             5 mi                                                                                                                                              THE POIPU
                                                                                                          Hanapepe                                                                                                                   K au ai
                       N                                                                                                                                         RESORT AREA                                                        Ch annel
  0      5 km

      labyrinth of traffic to this graceful half   • Anini Beach County Park: Kauai’s
      moon of golden sand at the foot of             safest beach for swimming and wind-
      the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach              surfing, Anini is also one of the island’s
      Club. Fifty yards wide and a quarter           most beautiful: It sits on a blue lagoon
      mile long, Kalapaki is protected by a          at the foot of emerald cliffs, looking
      jetty, making it very safe for swim-           more like Tahiti than almost any other
      mers. The waves are good for surfing           strand in the islands. This 3-mile-long,
      when there’s a winter swell, and the           gold-sand beach is shielded from the
      view from the sand—of the steepled,            open ocean by the longest, widest
      2,200-foot peaks of the majestic               fringing reef in Hawaii. With shallow
      Haupu Ridge that shield Nawiliwili             water 4 to 5 feet deep, it’s also the very
      Bay—is awesome. See p. 153.                    best snorkeling spot on Kauai, even
    • Poipu Beach Park: Big, wide Poipu              for beginners. On the northwest side,
      is actually two beaches in one;                a channel in the reef runs out to the
      it’s divided by a sandbar, called a            deep blue water with a 60-foot drop
      tombolo. On the left, a lava-rock              that attracts divers. Beachcombers love
      jetty protects a sandy-bottomed pool           it, too: Seashells, cowries, and some-
      that’s perfect for children; on the            times even rare Niihau shells can be
      right, the open bay attracts swim-             found here. See p. 161.
      mers, snorkelers, and surfers. You’ll        • Hanalei Beach: Gentle waves roll
      find excellent swimming, small tide            across the face of half-moon Hanalei
      pools to explore, great reefs for snor-        Bay, running up to the wide, golden
      keling and diving, good fishing, nice          sand. Sheer volcanic ridges laced by
      waves for surfers, and a steady wind           waterfalls rise to 4,000 feet on the
      for windsurfers. See p. 156.                   other side, 3 miles inland. Is there
    • Polihale State Park: This mini-                any beach with a better location? Cel-
      Sahara on the western end of the               ebrated in song and hula and featured
      island is Hawaii’s biggest beach: 17           on travel posters, this beach owes its
      miles long and as wide as three foot-          natural beauty to its age—it’s an
      ball fields. This is a wonderful place         ancient sunken valley with post-ero-
      to get away from it all, but don’t for-        sional cliffs. Hanalei Bay indents the
      get your flip-flops—the midday sand            coast a full mile inland and runs 2
      is hotter than a lava flow. The golden         miles point to point, with coral reefs
      sands wrap around Kauai’s north-               on either side and a patch of coral in
      western shore from the Kekaha plan-            the middle—plus a sunken ship that
      tation town, just beyond Waimea, to            belonged to a king, so divers love it.
      where the ridgebacks of the Na Pali            Swimming is excellent year-round,
      Coast begin. The state park includes           especially in summer, when Hanalei
      ancient Hawaiian heiau (temple) and            Bay becomes a big, placid lake. The
      burial sites, a view of the “forbidden”        aquamarine water is also great for
      island of Niihau, and the famed                bodyboarding, surfing, fishing, wind-
      Barking Sands Beach, where foot-               surfing, canoe paddling, kayaking,
      falls sound like a barking dog. (Scien-        and boating. (There’s a boat ramp on
      tists say that the grains of sand are          the west bank of the Hanalei River.)
      perforated with tiny echo chambers,            See p. 161.
      which emit a “barking” sound when            • Haena Beach: Backed by verdant
      they rub together.) See p. 160.                cliffs, this curvaceous North Shore
                                            THE BEST KAUAI EXPERIENCES               7

 beach has starred as paradise in many         snorkeling, while winter brings
 a movie. It’s easy to see why Holly-          mighty waves for surfers. There are
 wood loves Haena Beach, with its              plenty of facilities on hand, including
 grainy golden sand and translucent            picnic tables, restrooms, and showers.
 turquoise waters. Summer months               See p. 162.
 bring calm waters for swimming and

2 The Best Kauai Experiences
• Hitting the Beach: A beach is a              Menehune Ditch and Menehune
  beach is a beach, right? Not on Kauai.       Fishpond. Or experience Hawaiian
  With 50 miles of beaches, Kauai              history at the Kauai Museum, the
  offers ocean experiences in all shapes       archaeological sites at Wailua River
  and forms. You can go to a different         State Park, and the Ka Ulu O Laka
  beach every day during your vaca-            heiau. For more recent history,
  tions and still not get tired of seeing      since the arrival of Captain Cook,
  them. See chapter 6.                         check out the Grove Farm Home-
• Taking the Plunge: Rent a mask,              stead Museum, Kilohana, and the
  fins, and snorkel, and enter a magical       Waioli Mission House Museum.
  underwater world. Facedown, you’ll           See chapter 7.
  float like a leaf on a pond, watching      • Exploring the Grand Canyon of the
  brilliant fish dart here and there in        Pacific: The great gaping gulch
  water clear as day; a slow-moving tur-       known as Waimea Canyon is quite a
  tle may even stop by to check you out.       sight. This valley, known for its red-
  Faceup, you’ll contemplate green-vel-        dish lava beds, reminds everyone who
  vet cathedral-like cliffs under a blue       sees it of the Grand Canyon. Kauai’s
  sky, with long-tailed tropical birds         version is bursting with ever-chang-
  riding the trade winds. See chapter 6.       ing color, just like its namesake, but
• Meeting Local Folks: If you go to            it’s smaller—only a mile wide, 3,567
  Kauai and see only people like the           feet deep, and 12 miles long. A mas-
  ones back home, you might as                 sive earthquake sent streams into the
  well not have come. Extend your-             single river that ultimately carved this
  self—leave your hotel, go out and            picturesque canyon. Today, the
  meet the locals, and learn about             Waimea River—a silver thread of
  Hawaii and its people. Just smile            water in the gorge that’s sometimes a
  and say “Howzit?”—which means                trickle, often a torrent, but always
  “How is it?” (“It’s good,” is the usual      there—keeps cutting the canyon
  response—and you may make a new              deeper and wider, and nobody can
  friend.) Hawaii is remarkably cosmo-         say what the result will be 100 mil-
  politan; every ethnic group in the           lion years from now. See chapter 7.
  world seems to be represented here.        • Watching the Hula: The Coconut
  There’s a huge diversity of food, cul-       Marketplace, on Kuhio Highway
  ture, language, and customs.                 (Hwy. 56) between mile markers 6 and
• Feeling History Come Alive: It               7, hosts free shows every day at 5pm.
  is possible to walk back in history          Arrive early to get a good seat for the
  on Kauai. You can see ancient,               hour-long performances of both
  ancient history, from the times when         kahiko (ancient) and auwana (modern)
  the menehune were around, at the             hula. The real showstoppers are the

      keiki (children) who perform. Don’t        • Soaring Over the Na Pali Coast:
      forget your camera! See chapter 9.           This is the only way to see the spec-
    • Bidding the Sun Aloha: Polihale              tacular, surreal beauty of Kauai. Your
      State Park hugs Kauai’s western shore        helicopter will dip low over razor-
      for some 17 miles. It’s a great place to     thin cliffs, flutter past sparkling
      bring a picnic dinner, stretch out on        waterfalls, and swoop down into the
      the sand, and toast the sun as it            canyons and valleys of the fabled
      sinks into the Pacific, illuminating         Na Pali Coast. The only problem is
      the island of Niihau in the distance.        that there’s too much beauty to
      Queen’s Pond has facilities for camp-        absorb, and it all goes by in a rush.
      ing as well as restrooms, showers,           See chapter 7.
      picnic tables, and pavilions. See
      chapter 6.

    3 The Best Adventures
    • Take a Helicopter Tour of the                tropical cocktail, or speeding through
      Island: Don’t leave Kauai without            the aquamarine water in a 40-foot tri-
      seeing it from a helicopter. It’s expen-     maran as porpoises play off the bow.
      sive but worth the splurge. You can          See p. 163.
      take home memories of the thrilling        • Duck Underwater: You haven’t
      ride up and over the Kalalau Valley          really seen Hawaii until you have
      on Kauai’s wild North Shore and into         seen the magical world underwater.
      the 5,200-foot vertical temple of            Beneath those blue waves is an entire
      Mount Waialeale, the most sacred             universe in itself. You’ll see schools of
      place on the island and the wettest          rainbow-colored fish, dazzling corals,
      spot on earth. (In some cases, you can       graceful manta rays, lumbering tur-
      even take home a video of your ride.)        tles, and quick-moving silvery game
      See p. 198.                                  fish. If you are really lucky, you may
    • Explore the Na Pali Coast by                 see playful dolphins or the frequent
      Water: Unless you’re willing to make         winter visitors to Hawaii, humpback
      an arduous 22-mile hike (p. 183),            whales. See chapter 6.
      there are only two ways to see Na          • Hike Until You Drop: Kauai is made
      Pali: by helicopter (p. 198) or by           for hiking, from the numerous trails
      boat. Picture yourself cruising the          in Waimea Canyon to the high
      rugged Na Pali coastline in a 42-foot        forests of Kokee to the interior trails
      ketch-rigged yacht under full sail,          that give the island its special beauty.
      watching the sunset as you enjoy a           See chapter 6.

    4 The Best of Natural Hawaii
    • Waterfalls: Rushing waterfalls thun-         best-looking drive-up waterfall on
      dering downward into sparkling               Kauai. With scenic mountain peaks
      freshwater pools are some of Hawaii’s        in the background and a restored
      most beautiful natural wonders.              Hawaiian village on the nearby river-
      Kauai is loaded with waterfalls, espe-       bank, the Opaekaa Falls are what the
      cially along the North Shore and in          tourist bureau folks call an eye-pop-
      the Wailua area, where you’ll find 40-       ping photo op. See p. 203.
      foot Opaekaa Falls, probably the
                                       T H E B E S T O F U N D E R WAT E R H AWA I I   9

• Gardens: The islands are redolent              Hanalei, which maintains a sheltered
  with the sweet scent of flowers. For a         area for Hawaiian birds and the
  glimpse of the full breadth and                watershed. See p. 188, 165, and 189.
  beauty of Hawaii’s spectacular range         • The Grand Canyon of the Pacific—
  of tropical flora, we suggest spending         Waimea Canyon: This valley, known
  an afternoon at a lush garden. Na              for its reddish lava beds, reminds
  Aina Kai Botanical Gardens, on                 everyone who sees it of Arizona’s
  some 240 acres sprinkled with about            Grand Canyon. Kauai’s version is
  70 life-size (some larger than life-size)      bursting with ever-changing color,
  whimsical bronze statues, lies hidden          just like its namesake, but it’s
  off the beaten path of the North               smaller—only a mile wide, 3,567 feet
  Shore. Other great gardens are Aller-          deep, and 12 miles long. All this
  ton Garden in Poipu and Limahuli               grandeur was caused by a massive
  outside of Hanalei. See chapters 6             earthquake that sent existing streams
  and 7.                                         flowing into a single river, which then
• National Wildlife Refuges: Kauai               carved this picturesque canyon. You
  has three wildlife refuges: Kilauea            can stop by the road to view the
  Point, which protects seabirds;                canyon, hike down into it, or swoop
  Huleia, which shelters endemic                 through it by helicopter. See p. 196.
  Hawaiian birds and wetlands; and

5 The Best of Underwater Hawaii
• Caverns: Located off the Poipu                 (taape, conger eels, and nudi-
  Beach resort area, this site consists of       branches), the resident population is
  a series of lava tubes interconnected          one of the more diverse on the island.
  by a chain of archways. A constant             The topography, which features pin-
  parade of fish streams by (even shy            nacles, ridges, and archways, is cov-
  lionfish are spotted lurking in                ered with cup corals, black-coral
  crevices), brightly hued Hawaiian              trees, and nooks and crannies enough
  lobsters hide in the lava’s tiny holes,        for a dozen dives. See p. 167.
  and turtles swim past. See p. 166.           • Haena Beach Park: In summer
• Hanalei Beach: Divers love this area           when the water calms down, this
  because it has an ancient sunken val-          golden sand beach becomes a giant
  ley with post-erosional cliffs. Hanalei        aquarium, great for snorkeling amid
  Bay indents the coast a full mile              clouds of tropical fish. See p. 162.
  inland and runs 2 miles point to             • Kee Beach: Where the road ends on
  point, with coral reefs on either side         the North Shore, you’ll find a dandy
  and a patch of coral in the middle—            little reddish-gold-sand beach almost
  plus a sunken ship that belonged to a          too beautiful to be real. It borders a
  king, which means excellent diving.            reef-protected cove at the foot of
  See p. 161.                                    fluted volcanic cliffs. Swimming and
• Oceanarium: Northwest of Hanalei               snorkeling are safe inside the reef,
  Bay you’ll find this kaleidoscopic             where long-nosed butterfly fish flit
  marine world in a horseshoe-shaped             about and schools of taape (blue
  cove. From the rare (long-handed               stripe snapper) swarm over the coral.
  spiny lobsters) to the more common             See p. 163.

 6 The Best Golf Courses
 • Kauai Lagoons Golf Courses                    Golf. Designed by Robert Trent
   (& 800/634-6400): Choose between              Jones, Jr., this challenging course fea-
   two excellent Jack Nicklaus–designed          tures undulating greens and water
   courses: the Mokihana Course                  hazards on 8 of the holes. The par-4
   (formerly known as the Lagoons                16th hole has the coastline weaving
   Course), for the recreational golfer;         along the entire left side. You can take
   or the Kauai Kiele Championship               the safe route to the right and maybe
   Course, for the low handicapper. The          make par (but more likely bogey), or
   6,942-yard, par-72 Mokihana is a              you can try to take it tight against the
   links-style course with a bunker that’s       ocean and possibly make it in 2. See
   a little less severe than Kiele’s; empha-     p. 186.
   sis is on the short game. The Kiele is      • Kiahuna Golf Club (& 808/742-
   a mixture of tournament-quality               9595): This par-70, 6,353-yard
   challenge and high-traffic playability.       Robert Trent Jones, Jr.–designed
   It winds up with one of Hawaii’s              course plays around four large archae-
   most difficult holes, a 431-yard,             ological sites, ranging from an
   par-4 played straightaway to an island        ancient Hawaiian temple to the
   green. See p. 184.                            remains of a Portuguese home and
 • Puakea Golf Course (& 866/773-                crypt built in the early 1800s. This
   5554): This former Grove Farm                 Scottish-style course has rolling ter-
   sugar plantation opened up 18 holes           rain, undulating greens, 70 sand
   in 2003 to rave reviews. The course           bunkers, and near-constant winds. At
   was in the middle of construction             any given time, about half the players
   when Hurricane Iniki slammed into             on the course are Kauai residents, the
   it in 1992, rearranging the greens            other half visitors. See p. 186.
   from golf-course designer Robin Nel-        • Princeville Golf Club (& 808/826-
   son’s original plan. The first 9 (actu-       5070): Here you’ll find 45 of the best
   ally the first 10) holes finally opened       tropical holes of golf in the world, all
   in 1997 to many kudos; Sports Illus-          the work of Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
   trated named Puakea one of the 10             They range along green bluffs below
   best 9-hole golf courses in the U.S.          sharp mountain peaks and offer stun-
   The final 8 holes were finished last          ning views in every direction. One of
   year and now give golfers something           the top three courses in Hawaii, the
   to think about. See p. 184.                   18-hole Prince provides a round of
 • Poipu Bay Golf Course (& 808/                 golf few ever forget; it winds along
   742-8711): This 6,959-yard, par-72            390 acres of scenic tableland bisected
   course with a links-style layout is the       by tropical jungles, waterfalls,
   home of the PGA Grand Slam of                 streams, and ravines. See p. 186.

 7 The Best Luxury Hotels & Resorts
 • Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa                to learn to surf and play the ukulele.
   (& 800/55-HYATT): This Art Deco               The Hyatt’s architecture and location
   beach hotel recalls Hawaii in the             on the sunny side of Kauai make this
   1920s—before the Crash—when                   the island’s best hotel. The beach is a
   gentlemen in blue blazers and ladies          bit too rough for swimming, but the
   in summer frocks came to the islands          saltwater swimming pool is the
                   T H E B E S T M O D E R A T E LY P R I C E D A C C O M M O D A T I O N S   11

  biggest on the island. An old-fash-                marble and sparkling chandeliers
  ioned reading room by the sea houses               recalls Hawaii’s monarchy period of
  club chairs, billiards, and a bar well             the 19th century. It’s set in one of the
  stocked with cognac and port. Golf,                most remarkable locations in the
  horseback riding, and the shops of                 world, on a cliff between the crystal-
  Koloa, a plantation town offering                  blue waters of Hanalei Bay and
  numerous boutiques, are nearby                     steepled mountains. You arrive on the
  diversions. See p. 89.                             ninth floor and go down to the
• Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach                      beach. Opulent rooms with magnifi-
  Club (& 800/220-2925): Water is                    cent views and all the activities of
  found everywhere throughout this                   Princeville and Hanalei make this
  resort: lagoons, waterfalls, fountains,            one of Hawaii’s finest resorts. See
  a 5-acre circular swimming pool                    p. 114.
  (some 26,000 sq. ft., the largest on             • Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort
  the island), and a terrific stretch of             & Spa (& 800/OUTRIGGER): The
  beach. The lagoons are home to six                 lap of luxury, this $200-million con-
  islands that serve as an exotic mini-              dominium project on 13 acres
  zoo, which still lends an air of fantasy           (between the historic towns of Wailua
  to the place and, along with the enor-             and Kapaa) is located right on the
  mous pool and children’s program,                  beach within walking distance to
  makes the resort popular with fami-                restaurants, shops, and recreational
  lies. See p. 84.                                   activities. The resort, which opened
• Sheraton Kauai Resort (& 800/                      in 2007, has hotel rooms, as well as 1-
  782-9488): This modern Sheraton                    and 2-bedroom units. Each unit is
  (since 1997) has the feeling of Old                furnished with top-of-the-line ma-
  Hawaii and a dynamite location on                  terials like granite countertops; stain-
  one of Kauai’s best beaches. It features           less steel appliances by Sub-Zero,
  buildings on both the ocean side and               Wolf, and Fisher/Paykel; double dish-
  the mountain side of the road. The                 washer; full-size Whirlpool washer
  horseshoe-shaped, Polynesian-style                 and dryer; whirlpool bathtub in the
  lobby has shell chandeliers dangling               master bathroom; and 37-inch
  from the ceiling. You have a choice of             flatscreen TVs in the living room and
  three buildings: one nestled in tropi-             bedrooms. The resort features a long
  cal gardens with koi-filled ponds; one             list of amenities like complimentary
  facing the palm-fringed, white-sand                high-speed Internet access, a 4,000-
  beach (our favorite); and one looking              square-foot Aveda spa, fitness center,
  across green grass to the ocean, with              and a 300,000-gallon heated salt-
  great sunset views. The rooms over-                water fantasy pool, with flowing river,
  look either the tropical gardens or the            garden, dual serpentine waterslides,
  rolling surf. See p. 90.                           sand-bottom children’s pool, and
• Princeville Resort Kauai (& 800/                   three sand-bottom whirlpool tubs.
  826-4400): This palace of green                    See p. 106.

8 The Best Moderately Priced Accommodations
• Aloha Sunrise Inn/Aloha Sunset                     They come fully furnished with all
  Inn (& 888/828-1008): Hidden on                    the great videos you’ve been meaning
  the North Shore, these two unique                  to watch and an excellent CD library.
  cottages nestle on a quiet 7-acre farm.            The cottages are close to activities,

     restaurants, and shopping, yet iso-           at budget prices (from $105). See
     lated enough to offer the peace and           p. 96.
     quiet of Old Hawaii. Rates start at       •   Kauai Country Inn (& 808/821-
     $175. See p. 116.                             0207): Fabulous location (nestled in
 •   Garden Isle Cottages Oceanfront               the rolling hills behind Kapaa), ter-
     (& 800/742-6711): The site is spec-           rific prices (from $95 a night), won-
     tacular: a 13-foot cliff overlooking          derful accommodations (big suites,
     historic Koloa Landing and an ocean           hardwood floors, kitchen or kitch-
     inlet (where you can see turtles swim-        enette, your own private computer,
     ming). Nestled in a tropical garden           comfy beds, and great views), and
     setting, these one-bedroom apart-             friendly hosts make this a “must-
     ments have an island feel, with rattan        book” place. See p. 111.
     furniture, batiks, and original art on    •   Kauai Cove (& 800/624-9945):
     the walls—and great views. This is a          These immaculate cottages, located
     quiet, peaceful place to stay in the          just 300 feet from Koloa Landing and
     heart of the Poipu area, within walk-         next to Waikomo Stream, are the per-
     ing distance of beaches, golfing, ten-        fect private getaway. Each studio has
     nis, shopping, and restaurants. Rates         a full kitchen, a private lanai (with
     start at $281. See p. 93.                     barbecue grill), and a big bamboo
 •   Hanalei Surf Board House (& 808/              four-poster bed. The cozy rooms fea-
     826-9825): If you are looking for a           ture beautiful hardwood floors, tropi-
     moderately priced ($175 a night),             cal decor, and cathedral ceilings. The
     adorable studio just a block from the         cottages are close enough for walks to
     beach in Hanalei, get on the phone            sandy beaches, great restaurants, and
     and book this right now. If you have          shopping, yet far enough off the
     a great sense of humor and enjoy              beaten path that privacy and quiet
     whimsical little touches in the decor,        are assured. From $135 a night. See
     you will love this place. See p. 118.         p. 96.
 •   Hideaway Cove Poipu Beach                 •   Poipu Kapili Resort (& 800/443-
     (& 886/849-2426): Just a block                7714): This quiet, upscale oceanfront
     from the beach and next door to an            cluster of condos is outstanding in
     excellent restaurant are these gor-           every area. We like the home-away-
     geous condominiums in a plantation            from-home comforts and special
     setting. Amenities are top-drawer,            touches: a video and book library, a
     and no expense was spared in the              spacious pool, several barbecues, ten-
     decor. Living areas are spacious,             nis courts lit for night play, and an
     kitchens come with the best appli-            herb garden. (You’re welcome to take
     ances and granite-top counters, and           samples if you’re cooking.) A golf
     the outdoor lanais are big. You get all       course is located nearby. Starting at
     of this in a lush, landscaped tropical        $230 a night. See p. 95.
     jungle at an affordable price (from       •   Wailua Bayview (& 800/882-9007):
     $170 a night). See p. 93.                     Located right on the ocean, these spa-
 •   Kauai Banyan Inn (& 888/786-                  cious one-bedroom apartments offer
     3855): Off the beaten path, but still         excellent value. The bedrooms are
     just a 10-minute drive to the beach,          roomy, and the sofa bed in the living
     this four-unit inn has the amenities of       room allows you to sleep up to
     a much more expensive property                four. On-site facilities include a pool
     (kitchenette, views, in-room massage)         and barbecue area. Restaurants, bars,
                                            T H E B E S T B E D & B R E A K FA S T S   13

  shopping, golfing, and tennis are            into cozy, comfortable guest units
  nearby. See p. 112.                          with period rattan and wicker furni-
• Waimea Plantation Cottages                   ture and fabrics from the 1930s,
  (& 866/77-HAWAII): This beach-               sugar’s heyday on Kauai. Each has a
  front vacation retreat is like no other      furnished lanai and a fully equipped
  in the islands: Among groves of tow-         modern kitchen and bathroom; some
  ering coco palms sit clusters of             units are oceanfront. Facilities include
  restored sugar-plantation cottages,          an oceanfront pool, tennis courts, and
  dating from the 1880s to the 1930s           laundry. The seclusion of the village
  and bearing the names of their origi-        makes it a nice place for kids to wan-
  nal plantation-worker dwellers. The          der and explore, away from traffic. See
  lovely cottages have been transformed        p. 104.

9 The Best Inexpensive Accommodations
• Aloha Plantation Kauai (& 877/ gardens, is for the traveler who wants
  658-6977): Walk back in history at           a “real” Hawaii experience living in a
  this old, 1920s plantation home              residential area, like a local resident.
  decorated with Hawaiian antiques in          The house (with full kitchen) has
  Kilauea. Prices start at $69 double.         antique furniture re-covered in old
  See p. 120.                                  Hawaiian print fabric, with paddle
• Brennecke’s Beach Bungalow                   fans to keep the house cool, TV,
  (& 888/393-4646): Attention hon-             washer and dryer, barbecue, and
  eymooners (or honeymooner wanna-             everything you can think of to make
  bes): This is your place—so close to         your vacation. Just a mile and a half
  Poipu Beach that you can see it from         to the beach and walking distance to
  your private lanai (about a 45-second        Koloa town’s shops and restaurants.
  walk from the front door to the              See p. 96.
  waves). Tucked into a large two-story      • Garden Island Inn (& 800/648-
  house is this private-entrance studio        0154): Centrally located (a couple of
  decorated with bamboo floors, maple          miles from the airport, walking dis-
  cabinets, and lots of Hawaiian               tance to the beach), this small (21
  decor. This studio also has a small          rooms) inn has comfortable accom-
  kitchenette (microwave, toaster oven,        modations at budget prices (from
  blender, coffeemaker, and fridge),           $99). See p. 88.
  cozy sitting area, and a comfortable       • Kalaheo Inn (& 888/332-6023):
  bed. Outdoors there’s a beach shower,        What a deal! This boutique inn (15
  barbecue area, and a big, green lawn.        units), located in the community of
  Restaurants, dining, tennis, and golf        Kalaheo (10 min. to the beach, walk-
  are just minutes away. See p. 95.            ing distance to great restaurants) is
• Ellie’s Koloa House (& 808/635-              comfy, clean, and terrific for families.
  0054): This two bedroom/two bath-            Prices start at $65 (p. 102).
  room home, surrounded by tropical

10 The Best Bed & Breakfasts
• Hale Ho’o Maha (& 800/851-                   located on the North Shore in the
  0291): Kirby Guyer and her husband,          Hanalei area known as Wainiha. Over-
  Toby, custom-designed this B&B               looking the mountains, waterfalls, and

   pristine Wainiha Bay, the Hawaiian            swimming. Former owner Marjorie
   antiques–filled home is just 110 steps        Ketcher has sold her popular inn to
   to the beach (and a 10-min. drive to          the new owners, Mike and Alexis,
   golf courses, shops, restaurants, and         who have kept the motto “do one fun
   two riding stables). This spacious five-      thing a day” (and have a treasure-
   bedroom/five-and-a-half-bathroom              trove of beach toys from mask-fins-
   home features an elevator (something          snorkels to kayaks, even bicycles and
   you don’t often see on Kauai). Guests         bike racks for cars to help you live up
   are welcome to use the gourmet                to the motto). See p. 97.
   kitchen, gas barbecue, washer/dryer,        • The Palmwood (& 562/688-3433):
   refrigerator with ice maker/water, and        This is a unique property: tranquil
   TV/VCR/DVD in the “great room.”               (located atop a hill of a 4-acre estate),
   Use of the boogie boards and snorkel          fabulous views (360-degree view of
   equipment, beach chairs, towels, and          the rolling hills of Moloa’a Valley and
   coolers is all complimentary. See             out to the ocean), and unbelievably
   p. 117.                                       beautiful rooms and surrounding
 • Lani-keha (& 800/821-4898): Step              landscaping. From the stone entry-
   back in time to the 1940s, when               way to the leather/palm-wood chairs
   Hawaiian families lived in open, airy,        (so comfortable you will be hard-
   rambling homes on large plots of              pressed to leave them) to the sound of
   land lush with fruit trees and sweet-         water falling—this is the lap of lux-
   smelling flowers. This gracious age           ury in a tiny (only two units) inn
   is still alive and well in Lani-keha,         with a full breakfast (crab cakes with
   a kamaaina (old-timer) home with              sliced mango and banana bread). The
   an open living/game/writing/dining            amenities are endless: comfy beds,
   room and oversize picture windows             flatscreen TV on a swivel, double
   to take in the views. Bedrooms come           doors leading to a large lanai with
   with private bathrooms. The house is          your own personal water feature, hot
   elegant yet casual, with old-style rat-       tub and Japanese Zen gardens outside
   tan furniture—practicality and com-           (with barbecue area). Relax in the
   fort outweigh design aesthetics. See          free-form hammock—why leave—
   p. 113.                                       this place is paradise. Yes, it is pricey
 • Marjorie’s Kauai Inn (& 800/717-              (from $280) and worth every penny!
   8838): This quiet property, perched           See p. 116.
   on the side of a hill, is just 10 minutes   • Rosewood Bed & Breakfast (& 808/
   from Poipu Beach and 5 minutes                822-5216): This lovingly restored
   from Old Koloa Town. From its large           century-old plantation home, set amid
   lanai it offers stunning views over           tropical flowers, lily ponds, and water-
   rolling pastures and the Lawai Valley.        falls, has accommodations to suit
   Every unit has a kitchenette with din-        everyone. There’s a Laura Ashley–style
   ing table, ceiling fan, and lanai. The        room in the main house, and two pri-
   new Sunset View unit has a separate           vate cottages on the grounds. There’s
   sitting area and a futon sofa for extra       also a bunkhouse with three separate
   guests. On the hillside is a huge, 50-        small rooms with a shared shower and
   foot swimming pool, perfect for lap           toilet. See p. 112.
                                                   T H E B E S T R E S TA U R A N T S   15

11 The Best Restaurants
• Bar Acuda (& 808/826-7081):                   fish wraps, macadamia nut–black
  After two successful restaurants in           sesame ahi with wasabi cream, and an
  San Francisco (The Slow Club and              excellent tofu-and-roast-veggie wrap.
  42°), chef/owner Jim Moffat moved             See p. 140.
  to the tiny town of Hanalei and           •   La Cascata (& 808/826-9644): The
  opened this sleek, romantic restau-           North Shore’s special-occasion restau-
  rant specializing in his favorite tapas       rant is sumptuous—a Sicilian spree
  dishes from the Southern European             in Eden. Try to get here before dark,
  regions along the 42° latitude (south-        so you can enjoy the views of Bali
  ern France, Italy, Spain, and Portu-          Hai, the persimmon-colored sunset,
  gal). In an atmosphere of candle              and the waterfalls of Waialeale, all an
  lights and exotic mouthwatering aro-          integral part of the feast. Click your
  mas coming from the open exhibi-              heels on the terra-cotta floors, take in
  tion kitchen, wonderful food and              the trompe l’oeil vines, train your eyes
  terrific service make this a “must”           through the concertina windows, and
  stop on your trip. See p. 148.                pretend you’re being served on a ter-
• Blossoming Lotus (& 808/822-                  razzo in Sicily. See p. 146.
  7678): Even if you are not a vegetar-     •   Dondero’s (& 808/742-1234): If
  ian, you will be pleasantly surprised         you are looking for a romantic dinner
  at the creative cuisine in this elegant       either under the stars overlooking the
  eatery in Kapaa. Most people can’t            ocean or tucked away at an intimate
  believe that healthy, non-meat dishes         table surrounded by inlaid marble
  could be this delicious, and even the         floors, ornate imported floor tiles,
  desserts look sinful (but aren’t). See        and Franciscan murals, this is your
  p. 144.                                       best bet. All this atmosphere comes
• The Beach House (& 808/742-                   with the best Italian cuisine on the
  1424): All reports are good from this         island, served with efficiency. It’s hard
  beachfront magnet in Lawai. Though            to have a bad experience here. Din-
  there has been a major cosmetic over-         ners are pricey and worth every
  haul, the food is as good as ever. The        penny. See p. 128.
  Beach House remains the south             •   Duke’s Canoe Club (& 808/246-
  shore’s premier spot for sunset drinks,       9599): Tropical atmosphere over-
  appetizers, and dinner—a treat for all        looking the ocean, great fresh fish at
  the senses. See p. 128.                       attractive prices, and dependably
• Caffè Coco (& 808/822-7990):                  good meals. Don’t miss the wallet-
  This gets our vote for the most               pleasing drink prices at happy hour.
  charming ambience on Kauai. Caffè             See p. 126.
  Coco is just off the main road at the     •   Hanapepe Café (& 808/335-5011):
  edge of a cane field in Wailua, its           Now under new management,
  backyard shaded by fruit trees, with a        Hanapepe maintains the same whole-
  view of Sleeping Giant Mountain.              some cuisine in a casual, winning
  Gourmet fare is cooked to order—              ambience that has drawn foodies for
  and at cafe prices. The food is excel-        a decade. During lunchtime the place
  lent, with vegetarian and other               is packed with businesspeople who
  healthful delights such as spanako-           drive 30 minutes to eat here. On the
  pita, homemade chai, Greek salad,             Friday-night dinner menu, the Italian

   specialties shine: lasagna quattro for-      to go with its toothsome dishes. See
   maggio with spinach, mushrooms,              p. 145.
   and four cheeses; crepes; and other        • Roy’s Poipu Bar & Grill (& 808/
   goodies. There’s no liquor license, so       742-5000): This is a loud, lively
   if you want wine, bring your own.            room with ceiling fans, marble tables,
   See p. 136.                                  works by local artists, and a menu tai-
 • Kilauea Fish Market (& 808/828-              lor-made for foodies. The signature
   6244): Perfect for a takeout lunch or        touches of Roy Yamaguchi (of Roy’s
   dinner on the beach, this tiny deli          restaurants in Oahu, Big Island,
   (with a handful of tables outside)           Maui, Tokyo, New York, and Guam)
   pumps out incredibly delicious meals         are abundantly present: an excellent,
   (even dishes for vegetarians) with           progressive, and affordable wine
   fresh, healthy, locally grown and            selection; fresh local ingredients pre-
   caught ingredients. See p. 152.              pared with a nod to Europe, Asia,
 • Mermaids Cafe (& 808/821-2026):              and the Pacific. See p. 130.
   This tiny sidewalk cafe, with brisk        • Tidepool Restaurant (& 808/742-
   takeout and a handful of tables on           1234): An ultraromantic setting (lit-
   Kapaa’s main drag, serves healthy,           erally hanging over the water), fabu-
   organic, home-cooked meals. Mer-             lous creative cuisine, and quick,
   maids uses kaffir lime, lemon grass,         efficient service with a smile make
   local lemons (Meyers when avail-             this restaurant in the Grand Hyatt a
   able), and organic herbs, when possi-        stand out. See p. 131.
   ble, to make the sauces and beverages

 12 The Best Shops & Galleries
 • Banana Patch Studio (& 808/335-            • Kong Lung (& 808/828-1822):
   5944): This place has the best prices        You’ll be surprised by what you find
   on the island for anything artsy and         inside this 1922 stone building. It’s a
   cute like tropical plates and cups,          showcase of design, style, and quality,
   hand-painted tiles, artwork, hand-           with items from dinnerware, books,
   made soaps, pillows with tropical            jewelry, and clothing to the finest
   designs, and jewelry. Plus, they will        sake and tea sets on the island. Throw
   pack and ship for you anywhere. See          in a lacquer bowl or two, a pair of
   p. 214.                                      beaded sandals, and a silk dress from
 • Bambulei (& 808/823-8641): Cel-              the women’s section, and the party’s
   ebrate the charm and style of 1930s          on at “Gump’s of the Pacific.” See
   and 1940s collectibles in this treasure-     p. 217.
   trove at the edge of a cane field. Fabu-   • Ola’s (& 808/826-6937): Fine crafts
   lous one-of-a-kind vintage finds—            from across the country find their
   Mandarin dresses with hand-sewn              way to this temple of good taste:
   sequins, 1940s pake muumuus in               lamps, vases, blown glass, drumsticks,
   mint condition, Peking lacquerware,          jewelry, hard-to-find books, and the
   and Bakelite jewelry—fill this jewel of      peerless paintings of award-winning
   a boutique, owned by two women               artist Doug Britt. See p. 218.
   with a passion for the past. See p. 215.
                                                             T H E B E S T S PA S   17

• Robert Hamada’s Studio: Wood-                who grows a range of tropical flowers,
  turner Robert Hamada makes works             including some very rare and unusual
  of art for wood purists: museum-             varieties. Prices are extremely reason-
  quality bowls and large sculptural           able. See p. 214.
  shapes in kou, milo, kauila, camphor,      • Yellowfish Trading Company
  mango, and native woods he logs              (& 808/826-1227): Surprise your-
  himself. He works in his studio at the       self at Yellowfish Trading Company,
  foot of the Sleeping Giant, quietly          where vintage bark cloth and that
  producing luminous pieces with               one-of-a-kind 1940s rattan sofa are
  unique textures and grains. His skill,       among owner Gritt Benton’s short-
  his lathe, and his more than 60 years        lived pleasures. The collectibles—
  of experience put him in a class of his      1930s lampshades, ’40s vases, ’50s
  own. See p. 216.                             lunchboxes, antique silk piano
• Tropical Flowers by Charles (& 800/          shawls—move quickly. See p. 218.
  699-7984): Charles is a flower genius

13 The Best Spas
• ANARA Spa at the Grand Hyatt                 body treatments, and body wraps, but
  Kauai (& 808/240-6440): This is              also specializes in ayurvedic treat-
  the place to be to get rid of stress and     ments to soothe and comfort your
  be soothed and pampered in a                 weary body. Spa owner and ayurveda
  Hawaiian atmosphere, where the               practitioner Darci Frankel is a recog-
  spirit of aloha reigns. An elegant           nized expert in the field of ayurvedic
  25,000-square-foot spa, ANARA (A             treatments. See p. 117.
  New Age Restorative Approach)              • Princeville Health Club & Spa,
  focuses on Hawaiian culture and              Princeville Resort (& 808/826-
  healing, with some 16 treatment              5030): This spa offers good value.
  rooms, a lap pool, fitness facilities,       Not only are the treatments a full 60
  lava rock showers that open to the           minutes (versus the standard 50 min.
  tropical air, outdoor whirlpools, a 24-      in most spas), but prices are also quite
  head Swiss shower, Turkish steam             a bit lower (hour-long massages and
  rooms, Finnish saunas, and botanical         body treatments are way less than
  soaking tubs. Recent renovations             what many spas charge). Just a short
  make this spa even more serene and           7-minute drive (via the free resort
  relaxing. The new menu of treat-             shuttle) from the Princeville Hotel,
  ments includes a four-handed mas-            this 10,000-square-foot boutique spa
  sage (two therapists at once), which is      has amenities like an 82-foot heated
  not be missed. See p. 89.                    lap pool, outdoor whirlpool, sauna,
• Hanalei Day Spa (& 808/826-                  steam room, five treatment rooms
  6621): Located on the grounds of the         (plus massage cabanas poolside at the
  Hanalei Colony Resort in Haena, this         hotel), exercise classes, a weight
  small but wonderfully effective spa          room, a cardio room, and even
  not only has a full menu of massages,        babysitting services. See p. 114.

     Pampering in Paradise
     Kauai’s spas have raised the art of relaxation and healing to a new level.
     The traditional Greco-Roman–style spas, with lots of marble and big tubs in
     closed rooms, have evolved into airy, open facilities that embrace the Tropics.
     Spa-goers in Kauai are looking for a sense of place, steeped in the culture.
     They want to hear the sound of the ocean, smell the salt air, and feel the
     caress of the warm breeze. They want to experience Hawaiian products and
     traditional treatments they can get only in the islands.
        The spas, once nearly exclusively patronized by women, are now attract-
     ing more male clients. There are special massages for children and pregnant
     women, and some spas have created programs to nurture and relax brides
     on their big day.
        Today’s spas offer a wide diversity of treatments. There is no longer plain,
     ordinary massage, but Hawaiian lomilomi, Swedish, aromatherapy (with
     sweet-smelling oils), craniosacral (massaging the head), shiatsu (no oil, just
     deep thumb pressure on acupuncture points), Thai (another oil-less massage
     involving stretching), and hot stone (with heated, and sometimes cold,
     rocks). There are even side-by-side massages for couples. The truly decadent
     might even try a duo massage—not one, but two massage therapists work-
     ing on you at once.
        Massages are just the beginning. Body treatments, for the entire body or
     for just the face, involve a variety of herbal wraps, masks, or scrubs using a
     range of ingredients from seaweed to salt to mud, with or without accom-
     panying aromatherapy, lights, and music.
        After you have been rubbed and scrubbed, most spas offer an array of
     water treatments—a sort of hydromassage in a tub with jets and an assort-
     ment of colored crystals, oils, and scents.
        Those are just the traditional treatments. Most spas also offer a range of
     alternative healthcare like acupuncture and chiropractic, and more exotic
     treatments like ayurvedic and siddha from India or reiki from Japan.
        Once your body has been pampered, spas also offer a range of fitness
     facilities (weight-training equipment, racquetball, tennis, golf) and classes
     (yoga, aerobics, step, spinning, stretch, tai chi, kickboxing, aquacize). Sev-
     eral even offer adventure fitness packages (from bicycling to snorkeling).
     For the nonadventurous, most spas have salons, dedicated to hair and nail
     care and makeup.
        If all this sounds a bit overwhelming, not to worry, all the spas in Hawaii
     have individual consultants who will help design an appropriate treatment
     program to fit your individual needs.
        Of course, all this pampering doesn’t come cheap. Massages are gener-
     ally $95 to $195 for 50 minutes and $150 to $250 for 80 minutes; body treat-
     ments are in the $150 to $250 range; and alternative healthcare treatments
     can be has high as $200 to $300. But you may think it’s worth the expense
     to banish your tension and stress.

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