Best of Kauai
On any list of the world’s most spectacular islands, Kauai ranks
right up therewith Bora Bora, Huahine, and Rarotonga. All the
elements are here: moody rain-forests, majestic cliffs, jagged
peaks, emerald valleys, palm trees swaying in thebreeze, daily
rainbows, and some of the most spectacular golden beaches
you’llfind anywhere. Soft tropical air, sunrise bird song, essences
of ginger and plume-ria, golden sunsets, sparkling waterfalls—you
don’t just go to Kauai, you absorb itwith every sense. It may get
more than its fair share of tropical downpours, butthat’s what
makes it so lush and green—and creates an abundance of
Kauai is essentially a single large shield volcano that rises 3
miles above the seafloor. The island lies 90 miles across the open
ocean from Oahu, but it seems atleast 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 kidnapping was required to take the Garden Isle: After
KingKamehameha died, his son, Liholiho, ascended the throne. He
gained control ofKauai by luring Kauai’s king, Kaumualii, aboard
the royal yacht and sailing toOahu; once there, Kaumualii was
forced to marry Kaahumanu, Kamehameha’swidow, thereby uniting the
A Kauai rule is 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 beachhotels, is the
attention-grabber. There’s no real nightlife here, no opulent
shop-ping malls. But there is the beauty of the verdant jungle, the
endless successionof spectacular beaches, the grandeur of Waimea
Canyon, and the drama of theNa Pali Coast. Even Princeville, an
opulent marble-and-glass luxury hotel, doeslittle more than frame
the natural glory of Hanalei’s spectacular
4,000-foot-highNamolokama mountain range.
This is the place for active visitors: There’s watersports
galore; miles of trailsthrough rainforests and along ocean cliffs
for hikers, bikers, and horseback rid-ers; and golf options that
range from championship links to funky local courseswhere 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. Hereyou’ll find miles of sandy beaches, perfect for just
sitting and meditating. Thereare also quiet spots in the forest
where you can listen to the rain dance on theleaves, as well as an
endless supply of laid-back, lazy days that end with the sunsinking
into the Pacific amid a blaze of glorious tropical color.
1 The Best Beaches • Kalapaki Beach: Kalapaki is the
best beach not only in Lihue butalso on the entire east coast.
Anytown would pay a fortune to have abeach like Kalapaki, one of
Kauai’sbest, in its backyard. But little
Lihue turns its back on Kalapaki;there’s not even a sign
pointing theway through the labyrinth of trafficto this graceful
half moon ofgolden sand at the foot of theKauai Marriott Resort
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Club. Fifty yards wide and a quar-ter mile long, Kalapaki is
pro-tected by a jetty, making it verysafe for swimmers. The waves
aregood for surfing when there’s awinter swell, and the view
fromthe sand—of the steepled, 2,200-foot peaks of the majestic
HaupuRidge that shield NawiliwiliBay—is awesome. See p. 130.
• Poipu Beach Park: Big, widePoipu is actually two beaches
inone; it’s divided by a sandbar,called a tombolo. On the left,
alava-rock jetty protects a sandy-bottomed pool that’s perfect
forchildren; on the right, the openbay attracts swimmers,
snorkelers,and surfers. You’ll find excellentswimming, small tide
pools toexplore, great reefs for snorkelingand diving, good
fishing, nicewaves for surfers, and a steadywind for windsurfers.
See p. 131.
• Polihale State Park: This mini-Sahara on the western end of
theisland is Hawaii’s biggest beach:17 miles long and as wide as
threefootball fields. This is a wonderfulplace to get away from it
all, butdon’t forget your flip-flops—themidday sand is hotter than
a lavaflow. The golden sands wraparound Kauai’s northwesternshore
from the Kekaha plantationtown, just beyond Waimea, towhere the
ridgebacks of the NaPali Coast begin. The state parkincludes
ancient Hawaiian heiau(temple) and burial sites, a view ofthe
“forbidden” island of Niihau,and the famed Barking SandsBeach,
where footfalls sound likea barking dog. (Scientists say thatthe
grains of sand are perforatedwith tiny echo chambers, whichemit a
“barking” sound when theyrub together.) See p. 133.
• Anini Beach County Park:Kauai’s safest beach for swimmingand
windsurfing, Anini is also one
of the island’s most beautiful: Itsits on a blue lagoon at the
foot ofemerald cliffs, looking more likeTahiti than almost any
otherstrand in the islands. This 3-mile-long, gold-sand beach is
shieldedfrom the open ocean by thelongest, widest fringing reef
inHawaii. With shallow water 4 to 5feet deep, it’s also the very
bestsnorkeling spot on Kauai, even forbeginners. On the northwest
side,a channel in the reef runs out tothe deep blue water with a
60-footdrop that attracts divers. Beach-combers love it, too:
Seashells,cowries, and sometimes even rareNiihau shells can be
found here.See p. 136.
• Hanalei Beach: Gentle waves rollacross the face of
half-moonHanalei Bay, running up to thewide, golden sand. Sheer
volcanicridges laced by waterfalls rise to4,000 feet on the other
side, 3miles inland. Is there any beachwith a better location?
Celebratedin song and hula and featured ontravel posters, this
beach owes itsnatural beauty to its age—it’s anancient sunken
valley with post-erosional cliffs. Hanalei Bayindents the coast a
full mile inlandand runs 2 miles point to point,with coral reefs on
either side anda patch of coral in the middle—plus a sunken ship
that belongedto a king, so divers love it. Swim-ming is excellent
year-round, espe-cially in summer, when HanaleiBay becomes a big,
placid lake.The aquamarine water is also greatfor bodyboarding,
surfing, fishing,windsurfing, canoe paddling,kayaking, and boating.
(There’s aboat ramp on the west bank of theHanalei River.) See p.
• Haena Beach: Backed by verdantcliffs, this curvaceous North
Shorebeach has starred as paradise inmany a movie. It’s easy to see
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Hollywood loves Haena Beach,with its grainy golden sand
andtranslucent turquoise waters. Sum-mer months bring calm waters
forswimming and snorkeling, while
winter brings mighty waves forsurfers. There are plenty of
facili-ties on hand, including picnictables, restrooms, and
showers.See p. 138.
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2 The Best Kauai Experiences• Hitting the Beach: A beach is
beach is a beach, right? Not onKauai. With 50 miles of
beaches,Kauai offers ocean experiences inall shapes and forms. You
can go toa different beach every day duringyour vacations and still
not gettired of seeing them. See chapter 6.
• Taking the Plunge: Rent a mask,fins, and snorkel, and enter a
mag-ical underwater world. Facedown,you’ll float like a leaf on a
pond,watching brilliant fish dart hereand there in water clear as
day; a slow-moving turtle may even stop by to check you out.
Faceup,you’ll contemplate green-velvetcathedral-like cliffs under a
bluesky, with long-tailed tropical birdsriding the trade winds. See
• Meeting Local Folks: If you go to Kauai and see only people
likethe ones back home, you might as well not have come.
Extendyourself—leave your hotel, go outand meet the locals, and
learnabout Hawaii and its people. Justsmile and say
“Howzit?”—whichmeans “How is it?” (“It’s good,” isthe usual
response—and you maymake a new friend.) Hawaii isremarkably
cosmopolitan; everyethnic group in the world seemsto be represented
here. There’s ahuge diversity of food, culture,language, and
• Feeling History Come Alive: It is possible to walk back in
history on Kauai. You can see ancient,ancient history, from the
timeswhen the menehune were around,at the Menehune Ditch
andMenehune Fishpond. Or experi-ence Hawaiian history at the
Kauai Museum, the archaeologi-cal sites at Wailua River
StatePark, and the Ka Ulu O Lakaheiau. For more recent
history,since the arrival of Captain Cook,check out Grove Farm
Home-stead Museum, Kilohana, andWaioli Mission House Museum.See
• Going Deep-Sea, Big-GameFishing: Don’t pass up the
oppor-tunity to try your luck in thesportfishing capital of the
world,where 1,000-pound marlin aretaken from the seas just
aboutevery month of the year. Not look-ing to set a world record?
Kauai’scharter-boat captains specialize inconservation and will be
glad totag and release any fish you angle,letting it go so someone
else canhave the fun of fighting a big-gamefish tomorrow. See
• Exploring the Grand Canyon ofthe Pacific: The great gaping
gulchknown as Waimea Canyon is quitea sight. This valley, known for
itsreddish lava beds, reminds every-one who sees it of the
GrandCanyon. Kauai’s version is burstingwith ever-changing color,
just likeits namesake, but it’s smaller—onlya mile wide, 3,567 feet
deep, and12 miles long. A massive earth-quake sent streams into the
singleriver that ultimately carved thispicturesque canyon. Today,
theWaimea River—a silver thread ofwater in the gorge that’s
sometimesa trickle, often a torrent, but alwaysthere—keeps cutting
the canyondeeper and wider, and nobody cansay what the result will
be 100 mil-lion years from now. See chapter 7.
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• Watching the Hula: The CoconutMarketplace, on Kuhio
Highway(Hwy. 56) between mile markers 6and 7, hosts free shows
every day at5pm. Arrive early to get a good seatfor the hour-long
performances ofboth kahiko (ancient) and auwana(modern) hula. The
real show-stoppers are the keiki (children)who perform. Don’t
• Bidding the Sun Aloha: PolihaleState Park hugs Kauai’s
westernshore for some 17 miles. It’s a greatplace to bring a picnic
dinner,stretch out on the sand, and toastthe sun as it sinks into
illuminating the island of Niihauin the distance. Queen’s Pond
hasfacilities for camping as well asrestrooms, showers, picnic
tables,and pavilions. See chapter 6.
• Soaring Over the Na Pali Coast:This is the only way to see the
spec-tacular, surreal beauty of Kauai.Your helicopter will dip low
overrazor-thin cliffs, flutter pastsparkling waterfalls, and
swoopdown into the canyons and valleysof the fabled Na Pali Coast.
Theonly problem is that there’s toomuch beauty to absorb, and it
allgoes by in a rush. See chapter 7.
3 The Best Adventures• Take a Helicopter Tour of the
Island: Don’t leave Kauai withoutseeing it from a helicopter.
It’sexpensive but worth the splurge.You can take home memories
ofthe thrilling ride up and over theKalalau Valley on Kauai’s
wildNorth Shore and into the 5,200-foot vertical temple of
MountWaialeale, the most sacred place onthe island and the wettest
spot onearth. (In some cases, you can eventake home a video of your
ride.)See p. 172.
• Explore the Na Pali Coast byWater: Unless you’re willing
tomake an arduous 22-mile hike (p. 156), there are only two waysto
see Na Pali: by helicopter (p. 173) or by boat. Picture your-self
cruising the rugged Na Palicoastline in a 42-foot ketch-riggedyacht
under full sail, watching the sunset as you enjoy a
tropicalcocktail, or speeding through theaquamarine water in a
40-foot tri-maran as porpoises play off thebow. See p. 139.
• Kayak Kauai: You can take theHuleia River into Huleia
Wildlife Refuge (located along theeastern portion of Huleia
Streamwhere it flows into NawiliwiliBay). It’s the last stand for
Kauai’sendangered birds, and the onlyway to see it is by kayak.
Theadventurous can head to the NaPali Coast, which features
majesticcliffs, empty beaches, open-oceanconditions, and monster
waves.Or you can just paddle aroundHanalei Bay. See p. 141.
• Duck Underwater: You haven’treally seen Hawaii until you
haveseen the magical world underwa-ter. Beneath those blue waves is
anentire universe in itself. You’ll seeschools of rainbow-colored
fish,dazzling corals, graceful mantarays, lumbering turtles, and
quick-moving silvery game fish. If youare really lucky, you may see
play-ful dolphins or the frequent win-ter visitors to Hawaii,
humpbackwhales. See chapter 6.
• Hike Until You Drop: Kauai ismade for hiking, from the
numer-ous trails in Waimea Canyon tothe high forests of Kokee to
theinterior trails that give the islandits special beauty. See
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4 The Best of Natural Hawaii• Waterfalls: Rushing waterfalls
thundering downward intosparkling freshwater pools aresome of
Hawaii’s most beautifulnatural wonders. Kauai is loadedwith
waterfalls, especially alongthe North Shore and in theWailua area,
where you’ll find 40-foot Opaekaa Falls, probably thebest-looking
drive-up waterfall onKauai. With scenic mountainpeaks in the
background and arestored Hawaiian village on thenearby riverbank,
the OpaekaaFalls are what the tourist bureaufolks call an
eye-popping photoop. See p. 177.
• Gardens: The islands are redolentwith the sweet scent of
flowers.For a glimpse of the full breadthand beauty of Hawaii’s
spectacularrange of tropical flora, we suggestspending an afternoon
at a lushgarden. Na Aina Kai BotanicalGardens, on some 240 acres
sprin-kled with about 70 life-size (somelarger than life-size)
whimsicalbronze statues, lies hidden off thebeaten path of the
Other great gardens are AllertonGarden in Poipu and
Limahulioutside of Hanalei.
• National Wildlife Refuges: Kauaihas three wildlife refuges:
KilaueaPoint, which protects seabirds;Huleia, which shelters
Hawaiianendemic birds and wetlands; andHanalei, which maintains a
shel-tered area for Hawaiian birds andthe watershed. See p. 141 and
• The Grand Canyon of thePacific—Waimea Canyon: Thisvalley,
known for its reddish lavabeds, reminds everyone who seesit of
Arizona’s Grand Canyon.Kauai’s version is bursting
withever-changing color, just like itsnamesake, but it’s
smaller—only amile wide, 3,567 feet deep, and 12miles long. All
this grandeur wascaused by a massive earthquakethat sent existing
streams flowinginto a single river, which thencarved this
picturesque canyon.You can stop by the road to viewthe canyon, hike
down into it, orswoop through it by helicopter.See p. 170.
5 The Best of Underwater Hawaii• Caverns: Located off the
Beach resort area, this site consistsof a series of lava tubes
intercon-nected by a chain of archways. Aconstant parade of fish
streams by(even shy lionfish are spotted lurk-ing in crevices),
brightly huedHawaiian lobsters hide in thelava’s tiny holes, and
turtles swimpast. See p. 142.
• Prince Kuhio Park: This tinypark, across the street from
Ho’aiBay, marks the birthplace of PrinceJonah Kuhio Kalanianaole.
Thispark is across the street from theocean, where the rocky
drop-offinto the water is not very conven-ient for access (although
snorkelingoffshore is great). We suggest that
you go a bit further east to Keiki(Baby) Beach, a small pocket
ofsand off Hoona Road, where swim-ming is generally safe. See p.
• Hanalei Beach: Divers love thisarea because it has an
ancientsunken valley with post-erosionalcliffs. Hanalei Bay indents
thecoast a full mile inland and runs 2miles point to point, with
coralreefs on either side and a patch ofcoral in the middle—plus
asunken ship that belonged to aking, which means excellent div-ing.
See p. 136.
• Oceanarium: Northwest ofHanalei Bay you’ll find this
kalei-doscopic marine world in a horseshoe-shaped cove. From
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rare (long-handed spiny lobsters)to the more common (taape,
con-ger eels, and nudibranches), theresident population is one of
themore diverse on the island. Thetopography, which features
pinna-cles, ridges, and archways, is cov-ered with cup corals,
black-coraltrees, and nooks and cranniesenough for a dozen dives.
See p. 142.
• Haena Beach Park: In summerwhen the water calms down, this
golden sand beach becomes a giant aquarium, great for
snorkeling amid clouds of tropicalfish. See p. 138.
• Kee Beach: Where the road endson the North Shore, you’ll find
adandy little reddish-gold-sandbeach almost too beautiful to
bereal. It borders a reef-protectedcove at the foot of fluted
volcaniccliffs. Swimming and snorkelingare safe inside the reef,
wherelong-nosed butterfly fish flit aboutand schools of taape (blue
stripesnapper) swarm over the coral. See p. 138.
T H E B E S T G O L F C O U R S E S 7
6 The Best Golf Courses• Kauai Lagoons Golf Courses
(& 800/634-6400): Choosebetween two excellent Jack
Nicklaus–designed courses: theMokihana Course (formerlyknown as the
Lagoons Course), forthe recreational golfer, or theKauai Kiele
ChampionshipCourse, for the low handicapper.The 6,942-yard, par-72
Mokihanais a links-style course with a bunkerthat’s a little less
severe than Kiele’s;emphasis is on the short game. TheKiele is a
mixture of tournament-quality challenge and high-traffic
playability. It winds up withone of Hawaii’s most difficultholes, a
431-yard, par-4 playedstraightaway to an island green. See p.
• Puakea Golf Course (& 866/773-5554): This former GroveFarm
sugar plantation just openedup 18 holes in 2003 to ravereviews. The
course was in themiddle of construction whenHurricane Iniki slammed
into it in 1992, rearranging the greensfrom golf-course designer
RobinNelson’s original plan. The firstnine (actually the first 10)
holesfinally opened in 1997 to manykudos; Sports Illustrated
namedPuakea one of the 10 best
nine-hole golf courses in the U.S.The final eight holes were
finishedlast year and now give golferssomething to think about. See
• Poipu Bay Golf Course (& 808/742-8711): This 6,959-yard,
par-72 course with a links-style layoutis the home of the PGA
GrandSlam of Golf. Designed by RobertTrent Jones Jr., this
challengingcourse features undulating greensand water hazards on
eight of theholes. The par-4 16th hole has thecoastline weaving
along the entireleft side. You can take the saferoute to the right
and maybemake par (but more likely bogey),or you can try to take it
tightagainst the ocean and possiblymake it in two. See p. 161.
• Kiahuna Golf Club (& 808/742-9595): This par-70,
6,353-yard Robert Trent Jones Jr.–designed course plays around
fourlarge archaeological sites, rangingfrom an ancient Hawaiian
templeto the remains of a Portuguesehome and crypt built in the
early1800s. This Scottish-style coursehas rolling terrain,
undulatinggreens, 70 sand bunkers, andnear-constant winds. At any
giventime, about half the players on the
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course are Kauai residents, theother half visitors. See p.
• Princeville Golf Club (& 808/826-2727): Here you’ll find
45 ofthe best tropical holes of golf inthe world, all the work of
RobertTrent Jones Jr. They range alonggreen bluffs below sharp
moun-tain peaks and offer stunning
views in every direction. One ofthe top three courses in
Hawaii,the 18-hole Prince provides around of golf few ever forget;
itwinds along 390 acres of scenictableland bisected by tropical
jun-gles, waterfalls, streams, andravines. See chapter 6.
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7 The Best Luxury Hotels & Resorts• Hyatt Regency Kauai
Spa (& 800/55-HYATT): ThisArt Deco beach hotel recallsHawaii
in the 1920s—before theCrash—when gentlemen in blueblazers and
ladies in summerfrocks came to the islands to learnto surf and play
the ukulele. TheHyatt’s architecture and locationon the sunny side
of Kauai makethis the island’s best hotel. Thebeach is a bit too
rough for swim-ming, but the saltwater swimmingpool is the biggest
on the island.An old-fashioned reading room bythe sea houses club
chairs, bil-liards, and a bar well stocked withcognac and port.
Golf, horsebackriding, and the shops of Koloa, aboutiqued
plantation town, arenearby diversions. See p. 72.
• Kauai Marriott Resort & BeachClub (& 800/220-2925):
Thistruly looks like a Hawaiian hotelbecause water is found
everywherethroughout the resort: lagoons,waterfalls, fountains, a
5-acre cir-cular swimming pool (some26,000 sq. ft., the largest on
theisland), and a terrific stretch ofbeach. The lagoons are home
tosix islands that serve as an exoticmini-zoo, which still lends an
airof fantasy to the place and, alongwith the enormous pool and
chil-dren’s program, makes the resortpopular with families. See p.
• Sheraton Kauai Resort (& 800/782-9488): This modern
Shera-ton (since 1997) has the feeling of old Hawaii and a
location on one of Kauai’s bestbeaches. It features buildings
onboth the ocean side and themountain side of the road.
Thehorseshoe-shaped, Polynesian-style lobby has shell
chandeliersdangling from the ceiling. Youhave a choice of three
buildings:one nestled in tropical gardenswith koi-filled ponds; one
facingthe palm-fringed, white-sandbeach (our favorite); and
onelooking across green grass to theocean, with great sunset
views.The rooms overlook either thetropical gardens or the rolling
surf.See p. 74.
• Princeville Resort Kauai (& 800/826-4400): This palaceof
green marble and sparklingchandeliers recalls Hawaii’smonarchy
period of the 19th cen-tury. It’s set in one of the mostremarkable
locations in the world,on a cliff between the crystal-bluewaters of
Hanalei Bay andsteepled mountains. You arrive onthe ninth floor and
go down tothe beach. Opulent rooms withmagnificent views and all
theactivities of Princeville andHanalei make this one of
Hawaii’sfinest resorts. See p. 92.
• Hanalei Bay Resort & Suites(& 800/827-4427): This
22-acreresort is just up the street from ritzyPrinceville Resort
(see above), over-looking the fabled Bali Ha’i cliffsand Hanalei
Bay. It has the samemajestic view, but for as little ashalf the
price. The place recaptures
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the spirit of old Hawaii, especiallyin the three-story stucco
units thatangle down the hill to the gold-sand, palm-fringed beach
it shareswith its neighbor. Rooms are deco-rated in island style,
furnishings and lanais overlookingthe bay, the lush grounds, and
thedistant mountains. Shuttle serviceis available for those who may
haveproblems walking on the steep hill-side. See p. 93.
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O N S 9
8 The Best Moderately Priced Accommodations• Hideaway Cove
Villas (& 886/
849-2426): Just a block from thebeach and next door to an
excel-lent restaurant are these gorgeouscondominiums in a
plantationsetting. Amenities are top-drawer,and no expense was
spared in thedecor. Living areas are spacious,kitchens come with
the best appli-ances and granite-top counters,and the outdoor
lanais are big.You get all of this in a lush, land-scaped tropical
jungle at an afford-able price. See p. 77.
• Poipu Kapili Resort (& 800/443-7714): This quiet,
upscaleoceanfront cluster of condos isoutstanding in every area. We
likethe home-away-from-home com-forts and special touches: a
videoand book library, a spacious pool,several barbecues, tennis
courts litfor night play, and an herb garden.(You’re welcome to
take samples ifyou’re cooking.) A golf course islocated nearby. See
• Garden Isle Cottages Ocean-front (& 800/742-6711): Thesite
is spectacular: a 13-foot cliffoverlooking historic Koloa Land-ing
and an ocean inlet (where youcan see turtles swimming). Nes-tled in
a tropical garden setting,these one-bedroom apartmentshave an
island feel, with rattanfurniture, batiks, and original arton the
walls—and great views.This is a quiet, peaceful place tostay in the
heart of the Poipu area,within walking distance ofbeaches, golfing,
tennis, shopping,and restaurants. See p. 76.
• Turtle Cove Suites (& 866/294-2733): What makes this
property so incredible is not onlythe fabulous location
(overlookingthe stream and ocean) but also thegreat eye of the
interior designer.It helps that owner Joe Sylvesterand his wife own
a furniture andfine arts store from which tochoose the “perfect”
items fortheir four units. Our favorite ofthe units, located on a
quiet streetaway from the crowds, is the1,100-square-foot
oceanfrontsuite with a full kitchen and pri-vate Jacuzzi, original
art on thewalls, and a zillion little touchesthat make this place
seem morelike a home than a vacation rental.See p. 77.
• Kauai Cove (& 800/624-9945):These immaculate
cottages,located just 300 feet from KoloaLanding and next to
WaikomoStream, are the perfect private get-away. Each studio has a
fullkitchen, a private lanai (with bar-becue grill), and a big
bamboofour-poster bed. The cozy roomsfeature beautiful hardwood
floors,tropical decor, and cathedral ceil-ings. The cottages are
closeenough for walks to sandybeaches, great restaurants,
andshopping, yet far enough off thebeaten path that privacy and
quietare assured. See p. 77.
• Waimea Plantation Cottages(& 800/92-ASTON): This
beach-front vacation retreat is like noother in the islands: Among
grovesof towering coco palms sit clustersof restored
sugar-plantation cot-tages, dating from the 1880s to the1930s and
bearing the names of
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their original plantation-workerdwellers. The lovely cottages
havebeen transformed into cozy, com-fortable guest units with
periodrattan and wicker furniture andfabrics from the 1930s,
sugar’sheyday on Kauai. Each has a fur-nished lanai and a fully
equippedmodern kitchen and bathroom;some units are oceanfront.
Facili-ties include an oceanfront pool,tennis courts, and laundry.
Theseclusion of the village makes it anice place for kids to wander
andexplore, away from traffic. See p. 83.
• Wailua Bayview (& 800/882-9007): Located right on
theocean, these spacious one-bedroomapartments offer excellent
value.The bedrooms are roomy, and thesofa bed in the living room
allowsyou to sleep up to four. On-sitefacilities include a pool and
barbe-cue area. Restaurants, bars, shop-ping, golfing, and tennis
arenearby. See p. 90.
• Moloa’a Beach House (& 800/262-9912): Off the beaten
track,hidden in the not-so-well-knownbeach community of Moloa’a,
modern, just-built, multimillion-dollar home is located right on
thebeach. Its unbelievable rates are$225 for the studio and $275
forthe one-bedroom unit (or $500for the entire house). Everythingin
this two-unit home is first-class,from the marble floors to
thegranite kitchen countertop to thetop-of-the-line kitchen
appliancesto the furniture. But the real rea-son to stay here is
the eye-poppingocean view, just steps outside yourdoor. On the
1,600-square-footflat roof are a sun deck, Jacuzzi,and wet bar. You
may never wantto leave. See p. 94.
• Aloha Sunrise Inn/Aloha SunsetInn (& 888/828-1008):
Hiddenon the North Shore, these twounique cottages nestle on a
quiet7-acre farm. They come fully fur-nished with all the great
videosyou’ve been meaning to watch,and an excellent CD library.
Thecottages are close to activities,restaurants, and shopping, yet
iso-lated enough to offer the peaceand quiet of old Hawaii. Rates
are$125 to $130. See p. 94.
C H A P T E R 1 . B E S T O F K A U A I10
9 The Best Bed-and-Breakfasts• Victoria Place (&
9300): This is our favorite bed-and-breakfast on Kauai. The
rea-son to stay here? One name: EdeeSeymour. It’s easy to see why
shewon the Kauai Chamber of Com-merce’s Aloha Spirit Award.
Hermotto is “We pamper!” She lav-ishes her guests with attention
andaloha. Her spacious, sky-lit, U-shaped house wraps around
thegarden and pool, which are sur-rounded by flowering walls
ofbougainvillea, hibiscus, gardenia,and ginger. Edee’s breakfasts
aretruly a big deal: five kinds of fruit,followed by something from
theoven such as homemade bread,
scones, or muffins. Most of herguests are returnees. As a
couplefrom Germany told us, “Once youstay with Edee, every place
else iscold and indifferent.” See p. 79.
• Gloria’s Spouting Horn Bed &Breakfast (&
808/742-6995): Asone guest put it, “Staying heremakes you want to
get marriedagain!” The price is a little high,but a stay here can
be the highlightof your trip. All three spaciousguest rooms are
oceanfront, withhuge private lanais overlooking thesecluded beach.
All of the privatebathrooms feature Japanese-style deep soaking
tubs and sepa-rate showers. There is an oceanside
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pool, and elaborate breakfasts areserved every morning. See p.
• Marjorie’s Kauai Inn (& 800/717-8838): This quiet
property,perched on the side of a hill, is just10 minutes from
Poipu Beach and5 minutes from Old Koloa Town.From its large lanai,
it offers stun-ning views over rolling pasturesand the Lawai
Valley. The best rea-son to stay here is MarjorieKetcher herself.
“Do more thanone fun thing a day!” is Marjorie’smotto, and she
makes sure thather guests are out enjoying one ofthe hundreds of
things she canrecommend. See p. 78.
• Hale Kua (& 800/440-4353):This is for people who love
thebeach––at a distance, and want tosleep in the quiet and cool
climateof the hills of Lawai Valley, awayfrom the maddening crowds.
Ifyou want to stay in a forest, wakeup to bird song, and see
incrediblesunsets each night, this is yourplace. The beach is just
a 10-minute drive down the hill. See p. 81.
• Lani-keha (& 800/821-4898):Step back in time to the
1940s,when Hawaiian families lived inopen, airy, rambling homes
onlarge plots of land lush with fruittrees and sweet-smelling
flowers.This gracious age is still alive andwell in Lani-keha, a
kamaaina(old-timer) home with an open
living/game/writing/dining roomand oversize picture windows
totake in the views. Bedrooms come with private bathrooms.The house
is elegant yet casual, with old-style rattan furniture—practicality
and comfort outweighdesign aesthetics. See p. 89.
• Rosewood Bed & Breakfast(& 808/822-5216): This
lovinglyrestored century-old plantationhome, set amid tropical
flowers,lily ponds, and waterfalls, hasaccommodations to suit
everyone.There’s a Laura Ashley–style roomin the main house, and
two privatecottages on the grounds. There’salso a bunkhouse with
three sepa-rate small rooms with a sharedshower and toilet. See p.
• Hale Ho’o Maha (& 800/851-0291): Kirby Guyer and
herhusband, Toby, have a spaciousfour-bedroom, three-bathroomhome
on 5 acres. It’s filled withHawaiian and South Pacific arti-facts
and features a fireplace, alibrary, and a 150-gallon
saltwateraquarium more entertaining thanTV. The rooms are uniquely
deco-rated and are priced with budgettravelers in mind. The home
isclose to two remarkable white-sand beaches, golf courses,
ridingstables, restaurants, and markets.See p. 96.
T H E B E S T R E S TA U R A N T S 11
10 The Best Restaurants• Casa Blanca at Kiahuna
(& 808/742-2929): Elizabeth“Liz” Foley, the same
culinarygenius behind the Dali Deli andCafé Cara, has just opened
thisstylish, open-air restaurant over-looking the manicured grounds
ofthe Kiahuna Swim and TennisClub. This casual, elegant restau-rant
not only is physically beautifulbut serves some of the best
on Kauai, including a gourmetbreakfast, a creative lunch, a
tapasmenu of small items (each one sodelicious you can make a meal
ofthem), and probably the best din-ner you will eat on Kauai. See
• The Beach House (& 808/742-1424): All reports are good
fromthis beachfront magnet in Lawai,formerly owned by
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Josselin, who sold it to smart Mauirestaurateurs who know a
goodthing when they see it. Subscribingto the
if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-itphilosophy, the new owners leftthe
staff and operation intact.Though there has been a majorcosmetic
overhaul, the food is asgood as ever. Beach Houseremains the south
shore’s premierspot for sunset drinks, appetizers,and dinner—a
treat for all thesenses. See p. 103.
• Dondero’s (& 808/742-1234): Ifyou are looking for a
romanticdinner either under the stars over-looking the ocean or
tucked awayat an intimate table surrounded byinlaid marble floors,
ornateimported floor tiles, and Francis-can murals, this is your
best bet.All this atmosphere comes withthe best Italian cuisine on
theisland, served with efficiency. It’shard to have a bad
experiencehere. Dinners are pricey andworth every penny. See p.
• Hanapepe Café (& 808/335-5011): Now under new manage-ment,
Hanapepe maintains thesame wholesome cuisine in acasual, winning
ambience that hasdrawn foodies for a decade. This is“the place” to
get going in themorning with such draws asespresso, multi-grain
pancakes,and homemade sourdough Frenchtoast. During lunchtime the
placeis packed with businesspeople whodrive 30 minutes to eat here.
Onthe Friday-night dinner menu, theItalian specialties shine:
lasagnaquattro formaggio with spinach,mushrooms, and four
cheeses;crepes; and other goodies. There’sno liquor license, so if
you wantwine, bring your own. See p. 112.
• Caffè Coco (& 808/822-7990):This gets our vote for the
mostcharming ambience on Kauai.Caffè Coco is just off the main
road at the edge of a cane field inWailua, its backyard shaded
byfruit trees, with a view of SleepingGiant Mountain. Gourmet fare
iscooked to order—and at cafeprices. The food is excellent,
withvegetarian and other healthfuldelights such as
spanakopita,homemade chai, Greek salad, fishwraps, macadamia
nut–blacksesame ahi with wasabi cream, andan excellent
tofu-and-roast-veggiewrap. See p. 116.
• A Pacific Cafe Kauai (& 808/822-0013): The first
restaurantJean-Marie Josselin opened in hisburgeoning culinary
empire is stillthe reigning fave. The signatureitems (tiger-eye
sushi, garlic-crisped mahimahi) are staples.Foodies agree: It’s the
way he usesKauai produce and seafood thatgives this dining room the
edge.See p. 114.
• Lighthouse Bistro Kilauea (& 808/828-0481): Even if
you’renot on your way to the legendaryKilauea Lighthouse, this
bistro isso good it’s worth a special trip.The charming
green-and-whitewooden building next to KongLung Store has open
sides, old-fashioned plantation architecture,open-air seating,
trellises, andhigh ceilings. The food is excel-lent, an eclectic
selection thathighlights local ingredients ineverything from fresh
fish tacosand fresh fish burgers to mac nut–crusted ahi and four
preparationsof fresh catch—much more ele-gant than usual lunchtime
fare.See p. 123.
• La Cascata (& 808/826-9644):The North Shore’s
special-occasionrestaurant is sumptuous—a Sicil-ian spree in Eden.
Try to get herebefore dark, so you can enjoy theviews of Bali Hai,
the persimmon-colored sunset, and the waterfallsof Waialeale, all
an integral part of
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the feast. Click your heels on theterra-cotta floors, take in
thetrompe l’oeil vines, train your eyes
through the concertina windows,and pretend you’re being servedon
a terrazzo in Sicily. See p. 121.
11 The Best Shops & Galleries• Tropical Flowers by
(& 800/699-7984): Charles aflower genius who grows a rangeof
tropical flowers, includingsome very rare and unusual vari-eties.
Prices are extremely reason-able. See p. 188.
• Banana Patch Studio (& 808/335-5944): This place has
thebest prices on the island for any-thing artsy and cute like
tropicalplates and cups, hand-paintedtiles, artwork, handmade
soaps,pillows with tropical designs, andjewelry. Plus, they will
pack andship for you anywhere. See p. 189.
• Bambulei (& 808/823-8641):Celebrate the charm and style
of1930s to 1940s collectibles in thistreasure trove at the edge of
a canefield. Fabulous one-of-a-kind vin-tage finds—Mandarin
dresseswith hand-sewn sequins, 1940spake muumuus in mint
condition,Peking lacquerware, and Bakelitejewelry—fill this jewel
of a bou-tique, owned by two women witha passion for the past. See
• Kong Lung (& 808/828-1822):You’ll be surprised by what
youfind inside this 1922 stone build-ing. It’s a showcase of
design, style,and quality, with items from din-nerware, books,
jewelry, and cloth-ing to the finest sake and tea sets onthe
island. Throw in a lacquer bowlor two, a pair of beaded
and a silk dress from the women’ssection, and the party’s on at
“Gump’s of the Pacific.” See p. 192.
• Robert Hamada’s Studio: Wood-turner Robert Hamada makesworks
of art for wood purists:museum-quality bowls and largesculptural
shapes in kou, milo,kauila, camphor, mango, andnative woods he logs
himself. Heworks in his studio at the foot ofthe Sleeping Giant,
quietly pro-ducing luminous pieces withunique textures and grains.
Hisskill, his lathe, and his more than60 years of experience put
him ina class of his own. See p. 190.
• Yellowfish Trading Company(& 808/826-1227):
Surpriseyourself at Yellowfish TradingCompany, where vintage
barkcloth and that one-of-a-kind 1940srattan sofa are among owner
GrittBenton’s short-lived pleasures. The collectibles—1930s
lamp-shades, ’40s vases, ’50s lunch-boxes, antique silk piano
shawls—move quickly. See p. 193.
• Ola’s (& 808/826-6937): Finecrafts from across the country
findtheir way to this temple of goodtaste: lamps, vases, blown
glass,drumsticks, jewelry, hard-to-findbooks, and the peerless
paintingsof award-winning artist DougBritt. See p. 193.
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