My husband and I would like to take a quick 3-night trip to Hawaii in November and are trying to find a resort on or very close to the beach. All inclusive and/or family-friendly are fine, but we'd like to find somewhere reasonably fun with good food, drink, and style. Neither of us have been to Hawaii and have no island preference (yet!) We're in our early 30s. Thank you!
Agreed on Kauai. I've only been there and the Big Island, and Kauai blows the big island out of the water on views, food, and style. I'd second The St. Regis Princeville Resort: a bit impersonal given its scale, but definitely a glamorous and highly scenic spot. Plus the cocktails were fairly good vs. the super sweet stuff most other places.
As someone who was blessed to live in Wainiha just west of Hanaleifor a couple years, I'm going to recommend Kaua'i's North Shore. Unless you're staying on SPG points, and many people do, you may find The St. Regis Princeville Resort that many have recommended on the pricey side, although no doubt it's "the best" and the beach view is superb. Hanalei Bay Resortis right next door and shares the same iconic view of the bay and Bali Hai mountain, for about 1/3 the price. They'll take you down to the St. Regis beach in a golf cart. Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villasalso have reciprocal beach privileges with the St. Regis. We stayed at both HBR and the Westin and the Westin has the quality edge in our opinion, but HBR has the view.
Princeville, which is perched on high cliffs overlooking Hanalei and open ocean, is where these resorts are located. It could seem a bit sanitized, however, so you may want to look up renting a beachfront house via AirBnB or sierrapacific.com on Hanalei Bayitself. You will want to venture out of your resort cocoon and "down the hill" to Hanalei town for great eats and drinks. Hipsters seem to prefer Bar Acuda in Hanalei, but be aware the whole town closes up early by comparison with mainland, with the exception of Tahiti Nui (famous set from the Descendants, but service and food can be a little spotty lately). And also, be aware "hipster" itself has a different definition, or maybe the better way to say it is: manifests differently on Kaua'i.
Best beachfront stay experience on the North Shore to get the "Old Hawaii" vibe is Hanalei Colony Resortin Ha'ena, far from the madding, touristy crowds at name brand resorts in Po'ipu (sorry! many visitors never leave the south side - we met a couple who'd been coming to Kaua'i for twelve years and had never been to Hanalei - amazing!). Here you'll be close to Ke'e State Beach Park, the end of the road where Pele is said to have emerged from the ocean to walk to the summit of Waialeale. On the way, she fell in love with a handsome human and birthed the first Kaua'i royal. You can see the birthing stone a few steps into the iconic Kalalau Trail The Wainiha Valley and Ha'ena are mystical places where you can hear about the legendary menehune (little people) and night marchers. The drive from Hanalei west to Ha'ena is one we made almost every day. It is breathtaking; hugs the cliffs with incredible ocean views.
If you do stay at Hanalei Colony, walk next door to the Mediterranean Gourmet, say hello to our friend Chris from us and ask him to mix you a "local kine" cocktail, something with lilikoi, guava or the like.
Back down the highway toward Kapaa is Kilauea where the Lighthouse Bistro has an interesting variety of spirits and liqueurs, good for lunch. Get there before Zuckerberg buys the whole town.
Currently, the North Shore is under high surf warnings, so you'll want to keep those in mind before you venture into the water.
Three days is only going to give you a taste of Kaua'i, unfortunately. We always recommend at least ten. ;-) Something is better than nothing, though.
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Also recommending Kauai here. :) Less touristy and developed, and more naturally beautiful (beaches and otherwise) than Oahu or Maui, in general. As JR mentioned, your price point is key - you can spend anywhere from $100 - $1,000+ a night for beachfront. If you are in the $2-400+ per night range, try the Sheraton Kauai Resort or Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spain Poipu, also known as the sunny south. Great lounging, snorkeling, surfing, SUP beaches in front and nearby both resorts, as well as good eats and drinks.
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Not sure what your price range is, but the The St. Regis Princeville Resort on Kauai is amazing. Kauai itself is the most beautiful island imo and the St Regis is very close to Hanalei which is an awesome little hippyish beach town. So you get a little cool little town with all the comforts of 5 star resort. Tough to beat imo.
For 3 days in November, I recommend Maui. I like to stay in the Honua Kai, which is on the beach in Kaanapali. Buy the book 'Maui Revealed'. Rent some snorkel gear at a dive shop and get to Honolua bay, Turtle Town, or even Black Rock (just get out past the crowds). All beaches must allow public access, and there are tons of places to snorkel right off the shore. If you like hiking, I recommend hiking the bamboo forest above the seven secret pools.
Kauai is also good, but there is a reason it is called the green island. There can be a lot of rain- especially in November and December.
In 2014 it seems the word is out on hawaii's best island, do no use in hiding. go Kauai! We keep a yearly timeshare at the Kaua'i Marriott Resort in lihue, and find the location to be perfect. You're able to travel north to hanalei easily, and it's 30 min from the more touristy south side of the island, poipu.
Assuming you like to get up/get out, this is one of my favorite resorts for easy access to canyons, hiking, sleeping giant etc...It's also close to the airport so swapping an economy car for a jeep for the day is easy..Lastly, the worlds best breakfast sandwhich is served right there every morning at Kalapaki Beach.
Aloha Kristen! Since you are looking for a quick 3-night trip I'd like to suggest The Modern Honolulu. Because it's in Honolulu you won't spend too much of your limited time getting there and back. This is a very stylish place in Waikiki with a fantastic pool and bar area. You can watch the Friday night fireworks right from the bar. I used to live in the building next door and spent many afternoons and evenings just hanging out there drinking wine. It's within walking distance to great beaches, yet removed from the usual craziness of Waikiki. The Modern has a chill spa-like vibe by day, and a Euro-hip scene by night. Wherever you go, have a great trip!