Recent Guests Top Picks
Names: Bryan & Barbara
Hometown: Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Best hidden Gem: Mediterranean Grill
Favorite Restaurant: Truth be told, we did not have that many dinners out where we needed reservations. Many times we would have a big lunch and just snacks/drinks in the evening, either at a local bar or on the lanai of the condo (the beauty of having condo).
Keep in mind that the St. Regis in Princeville is about an hour drive from the airport (with no traffic). Many of the big name, more advertised restaurants are on that side of the island and would be an hour to hour and half drive.
Here are some of the places that we ate:
Makena Terrace: St. Regis Princeville: This is the outside area of the main restaurant at the St. Regis. I made reservations with the concierge so that we could ensure a good table for viewing the sunset on Barb’s Birthday.
Kalypso Bar & Grill: Hanalei Town. No reservations. Had Lunch and went to breakfast there – Blackened Mahi Mahi Eggs Benedict = yummy!
Tahiti Nui: Hanalei Town. No reservations. This is the “dive bar” that Richie talked about. I wouldn’t call it a dive bar, it is more authentic and unpretentious. This place was featured in the movie “The Descendants” with George Clooney so it gets a lot of traffic. If you go in the evening you have to sit at the bar or get shoveled off to the bar next door if you tell the hostess that you are not ordering food. Richie was right, the shrimp pizza is super. We watched the second half of super bowl at the bar. After the game the owner bought the house a drink.
Mediterranean Grill: Hanalei Town: This is actually well past the center of town, on the right in the Hanalei Colony Resort – it is easy to miss. We had drinks and lunch/snacks here. It is the only bar/restaurant on the North Side other than St. Regis which actually has an ocean view. They take reservations, primarily to guarantee table next to windows looking out to the ocean. They also have a luau and show. Wednesday and Friday nights are ½ price on bottles of wine. The menu is primarily Greek/Mediterranean so we didn’t go for dinner…
Hideaway Pizza: Princeville. You will pass this on the way in to St. Regis. It is in an area called Pali Ke Kua. This is where we stayed. They take reservations, but they aren’t needed. This is only a 2 minute walk from the front door. They do have a pretty full menu other than pizza. You can get pizza to go as well. I was surprised to see Aperol Spritz on the drink list. We were first introduced to this drink during our Italy trip. As it turns out almost every place that we went on Kauai had Prosecco drinks on the menu…
Beach Walk Restaurant: This is a great little place that is easy to miss when driving through town. It is on the second level of the building and overlooks the walk, park and ocean (one of the pics I posted on FB was from our seat in Beachwalk). Best Mai Tai’s – they use a macadamia nut flavored rum. They are famous for breakfast, seafood omelet, They pass out binoculars to watch whales…cool.
Brenneke’s Beachfront: in Koloa: You will hear this advertised a lot as kind of sports bar. It too, is on second level giving great views of the park, beach and ocean below. We saw a lot of whales from here (but you won’t be there during whale season). You can make reservations, but the reservation doesn’t guarantee that you get the time you want. We just walked up and never had more than like a 15 minute wait for a table. This place is great for people watching. It gets a lot of traffic due to advertising and large public beach across the street (we lounged on beach and saw seal and giant sea turtle on the beach). Full menu with Seafood and burgers.
Beach House Restaurant: in Koloa: We were going to go here for Barbara’s birthday dinner but she decided that she would rather eat someplace closer so that we could enjoy a couple of drinks and some wine with dinner without worrying about an hour and half drive back to the condo. It is a fine dining restaurant, not far from Spouting Horn. We checked it out while touring the area. It is very nice restaurant with great ocean views from the dining room. Reservations are recommended.
Favorite Beach: Anini Beach – the reef keeps the water pretty calm for swimming/wading/snorkeling – plus there is abundant shade and bathrooms.
Travel Tip: Traffic can sometimes back up. If you have a reservation for an event in the Lihue, Poipu, Waimea areas you might want to allow at least 1 to 1 ½ hours. If no traffic you will be early, but that is better than the sunset cruise leaving without you!!
Was this your first time to Princeville/ Kauai? Yes, first visit to Kauai.
What did you like most about the condo?All physical aspects of the condo were terrific but what drew us initially was the location. This was our first longer term vacation and we needed the comfort of knowing that amenities were close by (shopping, restaurant, recreation, spa, etc.)
Top 5 picks of things to do: Horseback ride on the trail and beach (CJM Stables; Helicopter tour of Waimea Canyon (we used Safari); Sunset at the Makena Terrace in St. Regis; Drive to overlooks in Waimea Canyon and then to Spouting Horn; Relax on the beach or at the pool.
Top 3 places to take a picture: Common area along coast of Pali Ke Kua; Waimea Canyon overlooks; Scenic overlook across from Princeville Center.
What was your favorite thing to do in morning? We had coffee and breakfast on the lanai EVERY morning.
Highlights / any other good information from this trip? Brenneke’s in Poipu is a fun spot to grab lunch and people watch. Kapa’a is a fun little town to walk through. There is access to a paved walk that runs the full length of the beach. It is an easy walk with several historic markers and great views of and access to the beach AND if you get tired or hungry you area only a block away from main street with restos and bars.
Names: Tom & Cathy
Hometown: British Columbia
Best hidden Gem: Manini Holo Dry Cave Kauai
Favorite Restaurant: Not a restuarant, but Pat's Tauqueria at Hanalei Beach
Favorite Beach: Ke'e Beach
Travel Tip: Relax
Was this your first time to Princeville/ Kauai? Third time and back again next year!
What did you like most about the condo? It has everything you could ever need, including snorkeling gear and an electric BBQ.
Top 5 picks of things to do: Visit the museum, snorkel at Poipu, Hike the Napali Coast, Hang out at Hanalei, Taco Tuesday at Duke's.
Top 2 places to take a picture: Pali Ke Kua sunsets, Waimea Rodeo, flowers- anywhere and everyhwere!
What was your favorite thing to do in morning? Drink some of the islands best coffee.
Names: Judith & Ken
Hometown: Northridge, CA
Best Hidden Gem: Not so hidden anymore, but we thoroughly enjoy visiting Queen’s Bath. It is a wonderful place for families to visit, if they go during low to mid-tide. It is a safety hazard for anyone during high tide. The hike down is nice and the swimming in the tide pool is so much fun.
Another aspect for the Queen’s Bath area, is that we have found the Hawaiian Green Turtles love it. Before one arrives at the Bath, there are several sections where the Turtles gather, eat, swim and this year, we saw two of them mating. What an experience that was! Kids and Adults will enjoy watching the Turtles. If one goes in the morning, the water is quite transparent, and the turtles can be seen so easily. That was really a surprise for us….and I do believe that most people are unaware of the amount of Turtles that can be seen there.
Was this your first visit to Princeville? No, it was our 2nd. Our first was May 2012. We are already anxious for our 3rd visit. Both of our visits, we have stayed in Princeville. Great location to all of the things we wanted to see, and the beauty is outstanding!
Favorite Restaurant? Actually, we base that on location. In Hanalei, we HIGHLY recommend Hanalei Dolphin. It is located by the Hanalei River as one enters Hanalei Town. It is open for lunch and dinner. At lunch, one can eat at the tables with canopies alongside the River or just inside at the table by the bar area. At night the inside restaurant opens at 5PM…We suggest getting there early, as it is a very well known and frequented restaurant. They have the freshest, most scrumptious sushi dishes. We’ve had lunch and dinner there, and were quite satisfied with both visits. The 2nd one in Hanalei is Kalypso….It is an experience everyone should try at least once. We visit there at least three times each time we’ve visited Kauai. Great food, fun ambience too. They have live music on Friday nights, and a special happy hour offering each day. They are open for lunch and dinner, but on the weekends, they are also open for breakfast. We tried the breakfast this time, and it was great! My husband had one of the fluffiest omelet’s to be had. I had the Banana pancakes…mmmm In Lihue…We love to go to Duke’s Canoe Club. It looks upon Kalapaki Bay. Wonderful ambience downstairs and upstairs in main dining room. Downstairs is open for lunch and dinner, but the menu is different for the main dining room menu. That is their barefoot bar area, and also offer live entertainment at different times. The Main Dining Room is open for Dinner Only. It is upstairs and offers such a wonderful menu, including some very fresh fish courses that are so scrumptious. The Highlight for dessert is the Hula Pie….Be prepared to Share!
Favorite Beach? Lumahai and Ha’ena. Both are just past Hanalei. Lumahai is between markers 4 & 5 and Ha’ena is just across from the Dry Cave further down the road. Both are quite special to visit. Ha’ena has the most awesome color water! Also has lifeguard station. If one has small children, they may wish to go to Annini Beach, which is just a short drive south of Princeville.
Travel Tip? Slow Down, Relax, and enjoy oneself. The unit has a W/D so take clothes for half the stay and wash in between. Also, we have found that sending a box or two home with souvenirs and gifts for others, by way of Post Office is great! Doesn’t affect one’s luggage, etc.
What did you like most about the Condo? What’s not to like? Loved the tropical foliage surrounding the unit, as well as the fact that it was separated from the others...just one person sharing a wall with us. So nice and quiet too. Loved having a nice open unit, with large windows, as well as nice Washer and Dryer! Came in quite handy, especially with the Hot and Humid weather we had this visit. All of the fans provided were quite helpful too. There is too much positive about this unit to list it all! Absolutely LOVE it.
Top 4 Things to do?
1- Take a hike from Ke’e Beach along Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi’ai Beach and Stream. One can and will see some awesome views of the NaPali Coast. It is a rugged and strenuous trail, but so very worth it. Take lots of water, some lunch, and after having a dip in the stream, one can also take the trail on to the Waterfall that feeds the stream. Start early. It is a day to remember. Not for small children though.
2- Waimea Canyon… We’ve been in spring and late summer. Different each time. Such beauty and views to be seen. Take the drive past the 17 mile to 18 mile marker. Park car and walk up the small hill. Take the wide trail down a bit and be rewarded with the very best views of Kalalau Valley. You will see this view on many postcards, but to view it with your own eyes is fantastic.
3- Catamaran-Snorkel Trip Down the Na Pali Coast. There are many that take off out of Port Allen, but we highly recommend the NaPali Sail out of Hanalei Bay. It holds only 16 people, and takes you to almost the end of the Coast. One see’s sights one did not expect. Photos of this area do NOT do it justice. We saw so many waterfalls, beaches, arches, and then snorkeling. The 6-hour sail includes lunch, snacks, water & fruit beverages, snorkel gear and a great day of awesome memories! They also offer a sunset sail for those that want to go out for the sail without snorkeling. It leaves mid-afternoon. This is a tour one wants to book early…before getting there even, as it is quite popular.
4- Kayak the Wailua River and hike to Secret Falls. We took the tour through Kayak Wailua. We were able to provide our own lunch and they provide dry sacks, etc. Our 4-5 hour trip was quite memorable. Our guide, Forrest was quite humorous, easy going and knowledgeable. It was quite a day, and we had a great time.
5- Smith’s Tropical Paradise in Wailua….. One can have different adventures to choose from which are fun. They offer a boat to Fern Grotto, which comes with Hawaiian entertainment. They also offer a self-guided tour amidst 30 acres of lush beauty. There are ponds, fountains, Polynesian area, Japanese Garden area as well. It was quite relaxing to walk through and photo ops galore. They also offer a Luau. One can have the full package including dinner and the show, or just the show itself at a reduced price. Well worth it.
Top Three Places to Take a Picture? 1- Pali Ke Kua Bluff at Sunset Time! It’s beyond spectacular. 2- Waimea Cyn and Kalalau Valley 3- Along the Na Pali Coastline 4- Wailua Falls
Favorite thing to do in the morning? Drink coffee on Lanai and view the tropical ambience at our doorstep. We could see the mountains, clouds, waterfalls, rainbows after a shower, and birds looking for a hand out. The fragrances from the flowers and trees were just the icing on the cake.
Highlights and good information from this trip? Highlights….Catamaran along NaPali Coast, Kayak Trip up Wailua River to Secret Falls. Also enjoyed stopping in at the Koloa Rum company and Kauai Coffee Company. Still enjoying our purchases from both….