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12 Best Resorts in Kauai, Hawaii

12 Best Resorts in Kauai, Hawaii

The Hawaiian Island of Kauai is one of the most popular places for vacationers to visit in search of sun, sand, and nature. It’s locally called “the Garden Isle” for its abundance of lush flora among miles of untouched mountains, valleys, rivers, and waterfalls. On its shores, sandy beaches and dramatic sea cliffs plunge into the Pacific Ocean, where colorful fish, dolphins, and whales reside.

Does that sound like your kind of island? If so, you’re lucky – among Kauai’s beaches, mountains, and nature, quite a few luxurious resorts exist. The island has long been a family vacation destination and a romantic getaway, but with a fraction of the tourists you’ll find on Oahu or Maui.

Like those on the other Hawaiian Islands, Kauai accommodations are rarely budget-friendly. That’s especially true if you’re looking at true resort atmospheres. Be prepared to adjust your definition of affordable to Hawaii prices when planning your dream trip to paradise, as the best Kauai resorts aren’t cheap.

Now, don’t let that last point scare you – wait until you see the surreal swimming pools, luxurious spas, award-winning golf courses, and beautiful guest rooms the best resorts in Kauai have to offer. I’ve compiled an honest list of them below based on my many trips to the island.

TL;DR

Best Kauai Resorts

1. Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Aerial view of the resort and lagoon pools at the Grand Hyatt Kauai
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa / Booking.com

Address: 1571 Poipu Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa consistently ranks as one of the best resorts in Kauai. This luxury property is on the island’s south shore, near the Poipu resort area, on Shipwreck Beach. This should be an easy choice for anyone with World of Hyatt status, as this loyalty program is among the most rewarding and consistent.

This expansive resort boasts lush gardens, multiple swimming pools, an ocean-fed lagoon, direct beach access, and fine and casual dining. The Anara Spa is one of the most luxurious on the island, and a championship golf course is on-site.

While this makes for a very romantic honeymoon or couples getaway, families are just as happy here, thanks to a lazy river and waterslides to splash in (there’s an adults-only pool, too.)

On top of all the fun and relaxation at the resort, its spot on the south shore is ideal for exploring the unique scenery. There’s a guided south shore hike that starts directly across the street and reveals surreal caves, cliffs, and snorkel spots.

Attractions Near the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Pros

  • Very luxurious rooms, spa, and outdoor areas
  • Great value for Hyatt points redemptions
  • Family-friendly activities on-site

Cons

  • High room rates all year round
  • Resort fee charged nightly

2. Kauai Beach Resort & Spa

Aerial view of the grounds and pool of the Kauai Beach Resort & Spa with mountains in the background
Kauai Beach Resort & Spa / Booking.com

Address: 4331 Kauai Beach Dr, Lihue, HI 96766

If the luxury resorts of the north and south shores are just too expensive, you can find a middle ground in the middle part of the island – on the east shore. The Kauai Beach Resort & Spa is a great option for mid-range visitors who still want space, comfort, and outdoor fun at their accommodations.

There are multiple swimming pools, hot tubs, and waterfalls at the resort, along with easy access to a sandy beach just beyond them. A full-service spa on the property offers Hawaiian-inspired massages and other treatments. At the end of the day, you can enjoy live local entertainment from the bar, the restaurant, or from a distance on your room’s lanai.

An airport and local area shuttle connects guests to nearby points of interest and could make it possible to visit without a car – eastern Kauai is the main population and economic center, making it easy to dine and shop outside the resort. It’s also where you can find the Wailua River and Secret Falls, which I highly recommend kayaking up and hiking to, respectively.

Attractions Near the Kauai Beach Resort & Spa

Pros

  • Central location on the island and away from tourist areas
  • Multiple pools and a waterslide
  • Lower rates compared to other large resorts

Cons

  • Early check-out time (11am) and late check-in time (4pm)
  • Beach not ideal for swimming

See Related: Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

3. Sheraton Kauai Resort

Sheraton Kauai Resort pool and ocean view
Sheraton Kauai Resort / Booking.com

Address: 2440 Hoonani Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

One of my personal favorite places to stay is the Sheraton Kauai Resort, located on Kiahuna Beach and just minutes from Poipu Beach. This is a large, family-friendly resort thanks to its wide range of room types of various sizes, as well as its plenty of outdoor space.

Rooms have been renovated since my most recent stay here, so I look forward to seeing the update on my next visit, and they were already quite nice. The two swimming pools and hot tub are just steps from the sand, making it easy to have a lazy day in whatever water you choose. When the sun starts to go down, the ‘Auli’i Lu’au begins – be sure to try this Hawaiian feast and entertainment one night, and enjoy its music from the bar or beach chairs on the others!

There’s even a rental car desk in the resort in case you decide to go out and explore on your own but didn’t rent a car from the airport. The south shore provides easy access to Port Allen, where many Nā Pali Coast boat tours depart from – don’t miss this if you want to see the world’s most beautiful coastline that’s only accessible by sea.

Attractions Near the Sheraton Kauai Resort

Pros

  • On-site luau
  • Well-kept rooms with recent renovation
  • Free parking

Cons

  • High rates for the product
  • Beach chairs have a fee to use

4. Marriott’s Kaua’i Beach Club

Aerial view of the pool and Kalapaki Bay from Marriott's Kauai Beach Club
Marriott’s Kauai Beach Club / booking.com

Address: 3610 Rice St, Lihue, HI 96766

Marriott’s Kaua’i Beach Club, sometimes called the Kauai Marriott Resort is located just minutes from the airport on famous Kalapaki Beach. That makes it ideally located for exploring the rest of the island as well as surfing and paddleboarding on awesome waves out front.

This is a Marriott Vacation Club property, and the rooms here are mostly condo-style multi-bedroom units that serve as timeshares that can also be booked nightly. That space plus a kitchen and living area can be a big plus for families. There’s a large swimming pool with plenty of lounge chairs, an on-site spa, and a golden sand beach with board rentals just steps away.

The dining at this Marriott is great as well, with a Japanese restaurant as well as the famous Duke’s. The location is perfect for one of my most recommended activities on Kauai – helicopter tours. You can spend the morning soaring above the canyons of Koke’e, the cliffs of the Nā Pali Coast, and filming sites of movies like Jurassic Park, and be back at the pool by lunch.

Attractions Near Marriott’s Kaua’i Beach Club

Pros

  • Beautiful villa-style guest rooms with multiple bedrooms
  • Easy access to and from the airport
  • Duke’s Kauai, one of the best bars on the island, is on-site

Cons

  • No Marriott Bonvoy elite benefits at Marriott Vacation Club properties
  • Food and drink is very expensive

See Related: Is Hawaii Worth Visiting? Everything You Need to Know

5. Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection

Aerial view over the pool and buildings of the Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection
Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection / Booking.com

Address: 2641 Poipu Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

I love staying at Marriott’s Autograph Collection properties – they conserve their boutique hotel identity and freedom but maintain the consistency and standards of the Marriott brand; plus, you can earn and redeem points! Therefore, the Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu is already a great choice for any travelers who agree with that logic.

The resort is spread over 25 acres and is very luxurious. Three massive swimming pools create many spots to lounge in the sun, including an adults-only option and several waterfalls.

Rooms here are a top selling point, as even the entry-level studios are twice the size of a standard hotel room, while multi-bedroom villas add even more space. Free activities like morning yoga on the lawn and evening s’mores are awesome special touches for any stay.

Don’t miss the chance to dine at the resort, as the Holoholo Grill is the creation of local celebrity chef Sam Choy, and the result is absolutely delectable. The Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu is also very close to the starting point of one of Kauai’s zipline routes – a very exciting way to soar over the island’s abundant greenery.

Attractions Near the Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu

Pros

  • Some of the best swimming pools on Kauai
  • Minutes from The Shops at Kukui’ula and many restaurants

Cons

  • Not beachfront, no direct ocean views
  • Limited dining options within the resort

6. Whalers Cove Oceanfront Resort

Room with an ocean view at Whalers Cove Oceanfront Resort
Whalers Cove Oceanfront Resort / Booking.com

Address: 2640 Puuholo Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

Minutes down the road is another popular Poipu Beach resort: Whalers Cove Oceanfront Resort, sitting on a small cliff overlooking Hanakaape Bay. This is an all-condo property with oversize units, including the amenities of a home, which is great for families or long-stay guests.

While the resort and its outdoor areas aren’t as expansive as others on our list, you can expect more peace and quiet from its small oceanside pool. It also has items like beach chairs, umbrellas, and coolers ready to take to nearby spots, such as the calm and relaxing Baby Beach just around the corner.

Much of the great dining and shopping of the Koloa area are within walking distance, such as The Shops at Kukui’ula, and the staff will even go grocery shopping for you on request.

As with the other resorts of Kauai’s south shore, Whalers Cove Oceanfront Resort puts you in a great place to set off on adventures around this side of the island. The Allerton Garden, famous for its rich Hawaiian history, appearance in Hollywood films, and stunning natural scenery is just a few miles away, making for an easy addition to any morning or afternoon.

Attractions Near the Whalers Cove Oceanfront Resort

Pros

  • All guest rooms are condo units, great for families or long-stay guests
  • Views from the cliff above Hanakaape Bay
  • Beach equipment is available for guests to take out

Cons

  • Small swimming pool and outdoor areas
  • No direct beach access

See Related: Best Vacations for a Group of Friends

7. Waipouli Beach Resort

Blue water in the pool at the Waipouli Beach Resort
Waipouli Beach Resort / Booking.com

Address: 4-820 Kuhio Hwy Suite 1, Kapaʻa, HI 96746

If you’d rather be in the center of everyday life on Kauai than in a tourist area, look to the eastern town of Kapaa, where several resorts are found on the Coconut Coast. One popular one is the Waipouli Beach Resort, situated between one of the island’s main shopping centers and the sandy Waipouli Beach.

This is another condo hotel with large, individually owned units rented out nightly. Besides the beachfront bar and grill, guests are a short stroll from shave ice, poke, and other local favorites. You can rent surfboards, bikes, snorkel gear, and other outdoor equipment from Boss Frogs nearby, and retreat to a large living space with balcony views of the ocean at sunset.

Kapaa is a great location to access places like the Wailua River, Secret Falls, and Opaeka’a Falls, as well as for driving both north and south – though note that traffic here can be horrendous. But you can easily walk next door to the Luau Ka Hikina one evening for some great Hawaiian entertainment and cuisine.

Attractions Near the Waipouli Beach Resort

  • Kauai Village Shopping Center
  • Luau Ka Hikina
  • Ho’opi’i Falls Trail

Pros

  • Centrally located for local shopping, restaurants, and getting around
  • Lower price point than some other condo hotels on Kauai

Cons

  • Kapa’a town has some of Kauai’s worst traffic
  • Beach is not very swimmable

8. The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

Pool and gardens at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas / Booking.com

Address: 3838 Wyllie Rd, Princeville, HI 96722

We’ve thus far covered many resorts in east and south Kauai, but there are a ton of beautiful luxury hotels on the iconic North Shore, too. Most are found in the Princeville resort area, which also contains several golf courses and sits just minutes from Hanalei Bay. For my most recent trip to Kauai, I stayed at The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, and I found it to be exceptional.

This is another Marriott vacation ownership property, and the rooms are spacious villas. It sits among manicured gardens high on sea cliffs, with a number of tranquil swimming pools tucked in between them.

A short (but steep) hike takes you down to a sandy beach. There isn’t a huge selection of on-site restaurants, with just one option, but I found the food and the afternoon entertainment to be excellent.

The fitness center was well-equipped and was a nice complement to jogs around the quiet Princeville streets. The north shore is a spectacular place, and you should definitely take advantage of the secluded beaches, scenic kayaking, and great snorkeling, but note that it’s a long drive to the other parts of Kauai. Therefore, stay here for north shore exclusivity, luxury, and seclusion.

Attractions Near The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

Pros

  • Large and luxurious suites with kitchens and living rooms
  • Beautiful swimming pools and hot tubs
  • Clifftop views

Cons

  • Very far from non-north shore attractions and activities
  • Just one on-site restaurant and no sit-down breakfast, just grab and go

See Related: Best Things to Do in Hawaii & Places to Visit

9. Hanalei Colony Resort

Living room and view of the ocean at the Hanalei Colony Resort
Hanalei Colony Resort / Booking.com

Address: 5-7130 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714

Driving a bit further on Kauai’s north shore, you’ll find the Hanalei Colony Resort not long before the end of the road. Visitors come here to get away from the tourist center of Princeville and instead stay somewhere more local and low-key.

It’s just a short drive or bike ride to Hanalei Bay, and you can walk to the famous Tunnels Beach, where colorful reefs make for some of Kauai’s best snorkeling. If you’ve heard of the famous Kalalau Trail, which provides rugged access to some of the Nā Pali Coast, this resort is about as close as you can stay for a day hike. Remember that past a certain point on the trail, a hard-to-get permit is required, and this is taken seriously.

Resort rooms are condo-style with lots of space and local-style furnishings. Plus, rates here are a bit more affordable than the competition when you consider the size. Be sure to try some of the local-favorite restaurants in this area.

Attractions Near the Hanalei Colony Resort

Pros

  • Quiet seclusion at “the end of the road”
  • Near some of Kauai’s best snorkeling

Cons

  • Most rooms are without air conditioning
  • High price point for what you get

10. Kiahuna Plantation Resort Kauai by Outrigger

Living room and lanai at the Kiahuna Plantation Resort by Outrigger
Kiahuna Plantation Resort Kauai by Outrigger / Booking.com

Address: 2253 Poipu Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

If you’ve traveled to Hawaii before, you might be familiar with the Outrigger brand – a local hotel chain highly acclaimed for its mid-range properties around the islands. Its Kiahuna Plantation Resort in the Poipu area is a bit different from the company’s other hotels in that it’s a condo hotel with limited amenities. However, it remains popular thanks to affordable rates and alternative inclusions.

Accommodations here are at least one bedroom in size and offer local-style decor. There isn’t a pool, beach, or restaurant on the property – but don’t be scared off by that. Kiahuna Beach and the Sheraton Kauai Resort are just across the street, meaning the sand and great food are accessible.

A short walk in the other direction brings you to a small shopping center with more restaurants, plus the Poipu Beach Athletic Club, which guests have free access to for using the pool and fitness center, among other amenities.

Ultimately, the Kiahuna Plantation Resort can be a great balance of saving money, getting extra space, and still having access to nice luxuries. Put your savings towards a private tour of Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, just a short drive from this area into the island’s interior – do NOT miss this while on Kauai, private tour or not.

Attractions Near the Kiahuna Plantation Resort Kauai by Outrigger

  • Poipu Beach Athletic Club (free access)
  • Kiahuna Golf Club
  • Kiahuna Beach
  • Scuba diving and surfing on the south shore

Pros

  • Low price point for the prestigious Poipu resort area
  • Large condo-style rooms

Cons

  • No beach or pool
  • No on-site dining
  • Rooms are ready for a refresh

See Related: Best All-Inclusive Family Resorts

11. Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu’u

Aerial view over the pool and golf course at the Marriott's Kauai Lagoons - Kalanipu'u
Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu’u / Booking.com

Address: 3325 Holokawelu Way, Lihue, HI 96766

There’s another Marriott Vacation Club on Kauai called Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu’u, and it’s especially great for large groups or families, as guest rooms are only two or three bedrooms in size. However, guests here may want to use their room’s full-size kitchen, as there are no on-site restaurants.

But thanks to beautifully manicured grounds, a lovely pool, and luxurious rooms, this resort still makes the list. It’s a 20-minute walk or a quick drive to Kalapaki Beach, Duke’s Kauai, and more dining options. Three golf courses in the surrounding area make this resort a top choice for golfers, and active people will be pleased with the fitness center and trail options leading to beaches and viewpoints.

As with the nearby Marriott, the proximity to the airport makes it easy to do things like helicopter tours or even scenic flights on which you can fly the plane. It’s also close to Nawiliwili Harbor, where many sport fishing boats depart from.

Attractions Near Mariott’s Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu’u

Pros

  • Expansive property with great views and no surrounding buildings
  • Beautiful swimming pool, lounge chair, and fire pit areas

Cons

  • No beach or restaurant; long walk or quick drive to access these nearby
  • Very high rates

12. 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

The view from the terrace at the 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay in Kauai, HI
1 Hotel Hanalei Bay / Booking.com

Address: 5520 Ka Haku Rd, Princeville, HI 96722

We’ve saved one of the most luxurious (and newest) Kauai resorts for last. 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay recently opened on the island’s north shore, and it just might have one of the best views and best pool experiences you can find on Kauai.

Kauai regulars might recognize the location as the former St. Regis Princeville, but the property underwent a serious renovation before reopening.

An infinity pool high above the bay, massive guest room windows, and a modern-chic design are some of the top selling points. Again, I can’t emphasize the views enough – it’s one of the kinds where pictures just don’t do it.

A kids club and wellness spa make it very possible for parents to bring along everyone and relax at the same time. An obsession with farm-to-table makes the food and drink delightfully fresh and flavorful. If you can bring yourself to leave for a few hours, Hanalei Bay is a great place for surf lessons.

Attractions Near 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

  • Hanalei Bay and Pier
  • Princeville Makai Golf Course
  • Princeville Botanical Gardens

Pros

  • Possibly the most luxurious (and newest) resort on Kauai
  • Unrivaled views of Hanalei Bay
  • Awesome high-end dining

Cons

  • Prohibitively expensive
  • It’s a very long drive to most other Kauai attractions

FAQ

What side of Kauai is the best to stay on?

This is a tough question; it depends on what you want from your vacation. The south shore has a high concentration of beautiful resorts and, with it, a lot of dining and shopping; there’s also easy access to the rugged west side and island interior, but it’s a very long drive to the north.

On the other hand, the north shore of Garden Island is iconic, quaint, and quiet, with easy access to Na Pali Coast hiking and Hanalei Bay but a painfully far drive to the rest of the island. The east coast of Kauai is a happy middle ground with moderately quick access to the rest of the island, as well as the dining and shopping of Kauai’s main population center.

How long should I spend in Kauai?

This is another subjective question. I’ve squeezed in a bunch of fun and relaxation during a short weekend getaway to Kauai, but I’d also be happy to have a week or more there.

You will probably want to get out and see the amazing nature on the island but also keep time for resort lounging and beach fun. Research what you’re interested in well in advance, and build in extra time, as traffic and driving distances can make getting around Kauai a journey.

What part of Kauai has the most to do?

The western shores of Kauai are very quiet and rural with rugged, sandy beaches, as well as the Nā Pali Coast – a shoreline with some of the world’s most dramatic sea cliffs and inaccessible beaches, which you can visit on a boat tour or helicopter tour. In the south, many resorts in the Poipu area offer wonderful dining and shopping, as well as great beaches for relaxation and swimming.

The eastern side is the island’s population and economic center. The north shore is the other side of the Nā Pali Coast, and its corresponding remoteness keeps it quaint and a surfer’s paradise, with the beautiful Hanalei Bay. Don’t forget to go into Kauai’s interior to see the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

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