All of Hawaii has a special place in hearts because we lived on Oahu for 3 years and our son was born there. We've spent time on several islands and found Kauai to be what one would expect Hawaii to be.
Our family stayed at the Kauai Marriott Resort a couple years ago. We booked 2 rooms and had 2 of my wife’s sisters join us (love having babysitters along). I’m a little torn on how I feel about this resort, but overall, how can you complain about being on Kauai, probably the most beautiful Hawaiian island. Perhaps that is the reason I feel torn because Kauai is so beautiful and so pristine, yet this hotel lacked some charm due to its age and the development around the resort. I think I was hit with this feeling after visiting the north shore of Kauai that “next time I come to Kauai, this is where I want to stay,” and perhaps for that reason I might judge the Kauai Marriott a little unfairly.
The resort is in Lihue, the largest town on the island. For convenience sake it is nice since you have easy access to a Costco, restaurants and other conveniences. That said, the resort is right next to the airport so you will hear jets landing and taking off (although they’re not massive 747s flying in and out of little Lihue airport). If you packed light, you could literally walk to the resort from the airport.
The resort seemed quite old, but the grounds and common areas have been kept up quite nicely. They had some beautiful gardens, tons of vegetation and the crowing roosters that Kauai is famous for. I know at one time the hotel boasted the largest swimming pool in all of Hawaii. I’d be surprised if there is one larger. It was immense and there were plenty of lounge chairs to accommodate everyone. There were also 4 large hot tubs.
The bay that the Marriott sits on is quite special. It is surrounded by mountains with just a small opening to the open ocean and thus the waters are generally quite calm. The beach is fairly wide with very soft sand. However, it also happens to be the port where cruise ships anchor brining in the hustle and bustle of all the tourists disembarking. It kind of takes some of the charm away from the location and you have the feeling of this special location being a little overdeveloped. This may be the one place on Kauai that feels that way.
The rooms were not great while we were there, but in fairness the hotel was doing a remodel and having looked at Tripadvisor, I haven’t seen any complaints about the rooms so I’m guessing that is all complete.
As for what we did in Kauai, we just tried to take in as much of the scenery as possible. We spent a couple amazing days at Ke’e Beach snorkeling and admiring some of the monk seals we saw there. We also went to Poipu Beach because it’s the sunny side of the island and where most of the newer resorts have located. Hanalei Bay is an amazing place that must be seen by anyone visiting Kauai. My wife and left the kids with their aunts a couple times and had some amazing meals at Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant. We also visited Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. We also had a lot of fun eating at this great little food truck parked up by Hanalei Bay. I also got to play golf at the Kauai Lagoons Golf Course which had some of the best holes of any course I’ve played in Hawaii.
Kauai is a place I’d love to go back to. It embodies exactly what I pictured Hawaii to be as a kid thinking “I want to go to Hawaii someday.” The Kauai Marriott Resort isn’t the best place we’ve ever stayed. It sort of falls in that category of “think how amazing this would be if this location hadn’t been developed in the 70s.” That said, the staff was kind, the scenery beautiful and our kids loved the pool. Those are generally 3 ingredients for a great vacation.
|Gwen with Aunt Cori and Aunt Kara at Ke'e Beach|
|Gwen feeding the fish at Kauai Marriott Resort|
|The massive pool at the Kauai Marriott Resort|
|Ke'e Beach and a glimpse of the Napili Coast Line|
|North Shore Kauai|
|Monk Seal at Poipu Beach|
|View of Waimea Canyon "The Grand Canyon of Hawaii"|
|Wailua Falls, Kauai|