The Garden Island – Plan your trip to Kauai


Kauai is the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands. With a tropical rainforest as well as the beauty of the Na Pali Coast and the Grand Canyon of the Pacific – Waimea Canyon – the scenery here is outstanding. Taro fields in the north and a coffee plantation in the south, waterfalls everywhere, and quaint towns all afford the island with a travelers’ delight.

The Grand Hyatt Kauai

“The Great Escape” is the name of a 1963 classic film, however it can also be attributed to the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Koloa. If you’re looking for a locale to wind down and relax, this is it. Of course, there are plenty of activities to take advantage of at the resort, however it is a great place just to hang loose, as they say in Hawaii.

While it is a destination for honeymooners, weddings, and families, it can also be a nice place for a simple getaway. The Anara Spa is highly rated and not only provides several services (try one of their specialty massages or a couples massage) there is a lap pool where exercise classes are given, steam and sauna rooms (one of each for men and women), hot tubs, and a variety of showers. My personal favorite is the lava rock shower, which is open on the top but situated so no one can look in. Starting or ending a day with a relaxing steam sauna and shower makes every day here one of tension relief.

There is a river pool that winds around the lower part of the resort. The top portion is reserved for adults only, so noisy children won’t bother you. The lower area has a fun slide. Here’s a secret tip — if you don’t want to go too fast down this slide of water, simply put your hands on the inside wall next to your body and you can control the speed.

The resort has several Flowater stations throughout the property which dispense purified and chilled water. Just place your glass or water bottle under the spout and press the button. It’s complimentary and a nice way to save on purchasing those plastic water bottles all the time.

It’s always recommended to wear sunscreen daily, so don’t forget to pack plenty of sunscreen however they do sell it on the premises as well as have a sunscreen booth poolside. It’s kind of like suntan booths however instead of spraying fake tan on your body, it sprays sunscreen. Goggles are provided by the resort. Ingenious? I think so!

Dining at the resort is another experience, especially at Tidepools Restaurant. This beautifully situated restaurant sits on the water and has amazing views from everywhere inside. And the food is just as amazing. There are several other restaurants on the property as well, and for a delicious breakfast, take advantage of the buffet at Ilima Terrace. Splurge a little and put some coconut syrup on your French Toast. It’s decadent.

The Island of Kauai

Complimentary self-parking is part of the resort, making it easy to grab your rental car and explore the rest of the island. Kauai has been the location for several movies throughout the years. Up north in Hanalei Bay, they filmed the 1958 musical “South Pacific.” Elvis visited the island in 1961 for “Blue Hawaii.” The beautiful home in 1992’s “Honeymoon in Vegas” sits on this island. The Jurassic franchise has taken advantage of lush tropical landscapes. Mount Waialeale is one of the wettest spots on earth with an elevation of 5148 feet!

While exploring the island, check out Old Koloa Town, situated just down the road from the Hyatt. And I highly recommend the Garden Island Grille here, which has a great menu, delicious food, and evening entertainment.

Another cute town is Hanapepe, west of the Hyatt. This is a quaint little town that was the fictional setting for “Lilo and Stitch.” It’s here you can walk across a swinging bridge (not for the faint of heart), watch crafters painting pottery at the Banana Patch studio, and on Friday night enjoy the craft/food fair. This Friday Night Art Walk is filled with local arts and crafts, as well as really great food. It’s a fun way to blend in with the locals.

If you’re a coffee drinker, take the tour at the Kauai Coffee Estate. And even if you don’t take the tour, you can taste varieties of coffee in their tasting room and purchase bags to bring back in their store.

Another interesting place to visit is the Kilohana Plantation. This gorgeous 105 acre old-Hawaii plantation has shops of all kinds, a short train ride around the tropical beauty of the land, Gaylord’s Restaurant for a flavorful dining experience, the Koloa Rum Company where they have tastings as well as a shop to purchase your own libations and other items, and a Lu’au. The Kilohana Plantation was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and has interesting buildings to explore on this old Hawaiian estate.

Up north the Kiluea Lighthouse is a nice place to walk around and take in the beauty of the cliffs, landscape, and all the birds in the area.

Kauai is a tropical beauty. While there are plenty of activities all around (scuba diving, snorkeling, golf and sports, etc.) it is also just a wonderful place to unwind from the stress of life. Whether you’re on a second honeymoon, a quick getaway, or need some downtime, you can’t go wrong in Kauai.

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About Author

Francine has been covering the entertainment industry, products, and travel for over 20 years. She has been published internationally in newspapers, magazines, and on websites. Her book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, looks at all aspects of being an entertainment journalist.

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