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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 rainbows.
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 islands.
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 & Beach
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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. 136.
• Haena Beach: Backed by verdantcliffs, this curvaceous North Shorebeach has starred as paradise inmany a movie. It’s easy to see why
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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 a
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 chapter 6.
• 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 customs.
• 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 chapter 7.
• 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 chapter 6.
• 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 forget yourcamera!
• 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 the Pacific,
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 National
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 chapter 6.
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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 North Shore.
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 163.
• 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 Poipu
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. 133.
• 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 the
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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.
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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. 158.
• 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 p. 158.
• 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. 160.
• 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 Resort &
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. 68.
• Sheraton Kauai Resort (& 800/782-9488): This modern Shera-ton (since 1997) has the feeling of old Hawaii and a dynamite
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, with rattan
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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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 p. 75.
• 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, this
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.
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9 The Best Bed-and-Breakfasts• Victoria Place (& 808/332-
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. 74.
• 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. 90.
• 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.
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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 cuisine
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 p. 106.
• The Beach House (& 808/742-1424): All reports are good fromthis beachfront magnet in Lawai,formerly owned by Jean-Marie
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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. 104.
• 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 Charles
(& 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 p. 189.
• 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 sandals,
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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