Perched on the south shore of the isle of Kauai is a resort that is perfect place to relax, recharge, and enjoy the beauty of Hawaii as a couple.
After a few hectic days on Oahu, driving to the Grand Hyatt was like beginning our very own episode of Fantasy Island. We were immediately greeted with a warm welcome, by opening our doors and offering us chilled, fruit infused water, cold towels to refresh our faces, and an all flower-orchid lei for Luci. Stress was already melting from our bodies and minds! Exiting the car, our eyes were drawn to the open-air lobby that framed the ocean like a painting. That image would become a metaphor for our stay.
The entire property focuses on water from the “living ocean painting” in the lobby to the hotel rooms and swimming complex.
First: the rooms. The majority of the rooms face the ocean. The hotel is tucked into an enclave that showcases lava rock beds on one side and cliffs on the other. It’s the Fantasy Island spot. In our room, the ocean was so loud; you could hear it even with the balcony door closed.
The swimming complex is massive. We use “complex” for a reason. It’s not just one pool. It’s several pools, an ocean water lagoon, and a well-maintained private beach. Our favorite part were the swimming pools, not only because they were a tropical paradise, but also because there was an adult-only section. We’ve been to several resorts with gorgeous pools, but little serenity. We adore children, but we left ours home for a reason. We wanted some adult time. The beauty of the adult pool is you could chillax without kids splashing, rough-housing and asking their Mom to take them potty. Definitely spend some time at the adult pool! What’s also nice about the terraced swimming pools is a lazy river carved out of lava rock that connects all the pools. Along the river enjoy private enclaves (perfect for couples) a twisty water slide, waterfalls you can swim under and of course tropical surroundings. Luci had a route where she started at the adult pool, floated her way through the lazy river, took the stairs up to the water slide and then slid into the other pools and followed their lazy rivers. Each trip took about 25 minutes.
For the sun worshipers, there are plenty of sun beds or private cabanas for rent. Drink service is a given on every inch of the property.
Service is king at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. Every staff member during our entire stay was friendly and attentive. Housekeepers, bellman, bar tenders each offer a sincere hello. Bar staff offers a sincere hello. We loved the chocolate on our pillows each evening! Every service is thoughtful and purposeful. Even the check out (they eventually made us check out…) was customer focused.
While the resort is not all-inclusive, couples could spend their entire vacation there and never leave, as there are plenty of dining options. There are three anchor restaurants at the resort:
Tidepools– Traditional Hawaii fish as well as steak offerings. The setting is incredible. It is built right over the pools. The award-winning restaurant serves dinner only and is open 5:30.p.m. to 10 p.m.
Dondero’s– The resorts token tribute to Italy has great views of the sea and the pool area. The fare is casual Italian. Dinner service is also from 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Iliama Terrace- What about lunch and breakfast you ask? Our fave dinning option was the Terrace. This open-air café is surrounded by koi ponds and water falls. They offer a huge breakfast buffet and a wide array of sandwiches and burgers for lunch.
There are a number of other watering holes, small snacks, and of course a strong room service option. For a few meals during our stay, we elected to drive and explore the areas around the resort. The concierge was extremely helpful in recommending restaurants in the area.
If you want more than swimming, eating, and relaxing at the beach, the resort offers just the right amount of activities.
The Grand Hyatt Luau
If you are staying at the resort on a Thursday or Sunday you are in luck! The resort plays host to its very own Luau, Kauai Style! The evening is filled with live island entertainment, native crafts and hula lessons if you are up for it. But what you are really there for is the food! The spread is impressive by any standard. The food is served buffet style with every fruit and vegetable imaginable. The meats are succulent and expertly prepared. Come hungry!
What to do?
Tucked away to the east of the hotel, is the crown jewel of the entire property: Poipu Championship Golf Course. The PGA played their grand slam event here 1994 to 2006. The Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed course is special in every way. It is one of the courses that around every turn you see an incredible view. Seven of the holes have ocean views. Mike was in “Mike’s Zone” the entire day! He elected to play in the afternoon. (The club offers discounted rates for afternoon play.) Carts, clubs and gear are all easily acquired at the spacious clubhouse.
If golf is not your thing, the property also features a world-class tennis facility. Mike spent some time with Coach Chris who helped work out some kinks in his volley play. Forget your racquet? No problem, the club can outfit you with all the equip you require. The club can even arrange a tennis partner if needed. You do need to make your court reservations early in your stay as the courts do fill up.
What? You are on vacation; why are you going to the gym? Why not? Luci went to a Zumba class and water aerobics in the separate gym building with a lap pool. Her instructor, Jennifer, was top-notch. Jennifer was fun, knowledgeable about the island and the resort and wasn’t intimidating to the ill-coordinated Luci. Jennifer also guides the morning hikes. The hike was a great way to start the day. Starting at the resort, and then walking the ridgeline, the path wound through neighborhoods and to the public beach area. It helped familiarize us with the area and Jennifer offered us a great restaurant recommendation as well. We ate lunch on our way out-of-town at Brennecke’s Beach Broiler thanks to Jennifer’s recommendation.
The resort features local artists in the lobby that sell quality, hand-made items like jewelry, baskets, and woodworking. There are also several staple stores that offer convenience store type items to clothing, collectables, and Hawaiian goods.
What this Property is Not
As you might expect, the entire Grand Hyatt experience is catered to honeymooners and mature couples. What surprised and impressed us was the integration of families into this setting. But we did see a number of families with young children. The pool structure with its winding river set up made for a prefect setting. The resort is low-key and far from pretentious. Families should feel welcome.
Get Your Aloha on!
Again, the contrast between Oahu and Kauai could not have been greater. In Kauai we finally felt like we were finally on vacation. There were so many options to see, do, and eat. We were always headed swimming, golfing or eating. We got our wish on this episode of Fantasy Island: the stress and weight of the world melted away during our stay. For the first time in years, we were relaxed!
You should know, we partnered with the Grand Hyatt during our recent visit to Kauai. Certain services and amenities were provided us for review. Does this affect our impression of the resort? Not one bit. Aloha!