Kaua‘i Guide: 8 Places to Stay on Kaua‘i
Plus, the best spots to go camping.
Kaua‘i Shores Hotel.
Photo: Lora Lamm
Marriott Beachfront Properties
Marriott offers Hawai‘i residents great deals at five beachfront properties, from $139 per night.
East Side: Kapa‘a & Līhu‘e
Līhu‘e is the island’s business district—home to shopping malls and the airport. Ten miles up the coast, Kapa‘a is a funky central hub with eclectic eateries, cheap hotels and superb sunrise views.
Kaua‘i Palms in downtown Līhu‘e offers no-nonsense studios with kitchenettes for $85.
2931 Kalena St., Līhu‘e, (808) 246-0908, kauaipalmshotel.com
Kaua‘i Shores (an Aqua Hotel) has deals galore on its website; kama‘āina rates start at $118 and include discounts at the Lava Lava Beach Club. The two-story motel’s lime-green paint may not be your cup of tea, but sunrise at the beach here is worth setting the alarm for.
420 Papaloa Road, Kapa‘a, (808) 822-4951, kauaishoreshotel.com
West Side: Waimea, Hanapēpē, Kekaha
Locals will love the less-touristy west side. Tiny Hanapēpē is vintage Hawai‘i with cafés and galleries. Waimea is equally inviting, with a black-sand beach, a fishing pier and a view of mysterious Ni‘ihau. Further west, Kekaha marks the start of 15 miles of golden, mostly empty beach that stretches all the way to the cliffs at Polihua.
West Kaua‘i Lodging
West Kaua‘i Lodging manages a historic inn, three plantation-era cottages and the rustic cabins at Koke‘e State Park. Rooms at Inn Waimea start at $135 and are just steps away from charming Waimea town, the beach and the pier. Across the street from the Inn, the two-bedroom Beach Cottage offers more privacy. Up the hill, the Ishihara Home and Pali Cottage are nostalgic retreats.
4469 Halepule Road, Waimea, (808) 652-6852, westkauailodging.com
South Shore: Po‘ipū, Kōloa, Kalāheo
Po‘ipū is the island’s posh and sunny resort area, with an array of restaurants, beaches, snorkeling, the “Spouting Horn” blowhole and access to the Atherton and McBryde botanical gardens. Kōloa and Kalāheo are small neighboring villages.
Ko‘a Kea Hotel & Resort at Po‘ipū Beach
Whip out your Hawai‘i ID and book a room at this boutique resort stat. Through the end of 2017, kama‘āina get 50 percent off luxurious rooms here, plus discounts at Red Salt and the spa. Wow, laulau! Use code DISKAMA when booking and splurge on an ocean view. The resort sits at the edge of Kiahuna Beach, a short walk from Po‘ipū.
2251 Po‘ipū Road, Kōloa, (844) 236-3817, meritagecollection.com/koakea
Kalāheo Inn has simple studios and one-to three-bedroom units with kitchenettes, starting at $82. From here, you can walk into town for pie, or get a head start on the drive up to Waimea Canyon.
4444 Papalina Road, Kalāheo, (808) 332-6023, kalaheoinn.com
North Shore: Kīlauea, Princeville & Hanalei
Kaua‘i’s north shore is peak Hawai‘i: panoramic views, one-lane bridges through friendly towns, and hidden tide pools, caves and surf spots. Kīlauea is a small, charming village anchored by a lighthouse and wildlife refuge. Nearby Princeville teems with luxury hotels and private homes perched above Hanalei Bay. Hanalei itself sits in a verdant valley full of heart-shaped kalo leaves, between jagged peaks and the serene Pacific. You’ll find restaurants, boutiques and farmers markets here, plus private vacation rentals you’ll never want to leave.
St. Regis Princeville
The panoramic view from this resplendent cliffside resort won’t fit in your camera frame. The infinity pool that dissolves into Hanalei Bay, the cozy booths in the exquisite Kaua‘i Grill—it’s almost too much. Kama‘āina get discount room rates and 25 percent off at restaurants. (Check north-america.starwoodoffers.com/kamaaina.) If nothing else, come for cocktails or afternoon tea and gorge on the scenery.
5520 Kahaku Road, Princeville, (808) 826-9644, stregisprinceville.com
Photo: Mike Coots
Camping on Kaua‘i is A+. Pitch a tent at one of seven county parks (free for residents; visit kauai.gov/camping for locations and permit application) or one of three state parks ($12 per night, dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/camping-lodging/kauai). Sweet spots: ‘Anini Beach, Salt Pond Beach Park and Lydgate State Park.
While not officially sanctioned, you can pull up anywhere along Kekaha Beach, where locals stoke bonfires and fish under a spread of stars. If you have a four-wheel-drive, continue on to Polihale Beach and drive past the sand dunes to a stretch of empty sand bordered by spectacular cliffs.
Bring plenty of warm clothes to camp at Kōke‘e State Park, or book a cabin with a wood-burning stove (from $79 per night, two-night minimum). Check in at the Inn Waimea.
(808) 652-6852, kokeelodge.com
Shhhhh! The YMCA’s Camp Naue is one of Hawai‘i’s best-kept secrets. The campground sits at the edge of Tunnels—a prime snorkeling spot that wraps around the scenic coast to become Hā‘ena Beach. For $15 per night, you can claim a bed in the bunkhouse or a tent site on the wide lawn. It’s protected and private; all campers must check in by 6 p.m.
Alealea Road, Hanalei, (808) 826-6417, ymcaofkauai.org
For a home on wheels, contact Idan Avni, the accommodating owner of Camperventures Kaua‘i. His camper vans are outfitted with cozy beds, outdoor showers, beach gear and mood lighting. You’ll be the envy of everyone on the road. $140 per night, three-night minimum.
(808) 205-7799, camperventures.com