I don’t even know where to begin with Kauai. It is everything you picture when you picture Hawaii and more. It’s probably the most breathtakingly beautiful place I have ever been. Countless movies have been filmed on Kauai, and I understand why. While every island we went to was gorgeous, Kauai was just on a different level. Maybe it was the most rural in a way, it just seemed so naturally lush, like a giant rainforest.
We stayed on the northside of the island in Princeville at the St. Regis. The hotel was very grand and had a more stately feel than the others we stayed at. However, it had by far the most beautiful views. The lush mountains rising out from the sea had me totally mesmerized, I literally could have stared out my hotel window all day. The views are definitely the reason to stay at the St. Regis. The hotel itself was very nice, not quite as fabulous as the others, but the views were worth every penny. Sadly, I don’t have a single picture that does it justice.
The other highlight of the St. Regis was the nightly champagne saboring. Every night at sunset there was free champy for honeymooners on the terrace.
Probably the thing we’d most highly recommend in Kauai is a helicopter tour. 98% of the island is impossible to see unless your in a helicopter or doing a 12 day hike, so in just an hour, you see some of the most magical places on the island. We opted for Blue Hawaii and we really loved our pilot. He was very friendly and knew a lot of history of the island. He even played the jurassic park music when we were flying through places that were filmed on Kauai. The helicopter wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it might be; it was like floating in a little bubble.
After the tour, we explored the south side of the island (we were staying in the north which as about an hour drive away). We saw the “blow hole.” We checked out Puka Dog –Frank loved it.
We also had a light lunch at the Beach House , a highly rated restaurant. Then it was time to head back up to Princeville. Finally, we took a look at the Grand Hyatt just to get a taste for hotels on the south side of the island. We may end up staying on the south side next time, it’s a bit closer to the action.
The crowd at the Princeville was more social than at the other hotels, so we made some friends in the hot tub. There was one guy who literally met everyone on property and was a total hoot, we called him “the mayor.”
While we did eat at both the restaurants on property, Kauai Grill (a Jean-Georges) and Makena Terrace, Kauai was the first place we tried out smaller local places. I have to tell you the local places were the best places we ate the whole trip–shocker I know!
A few standouts were The Dolphin in Hanalei and Tiki Taco in Kapaa.
While the photographer sucked, this was the best tuna roll we’ve ever had. OMG. The Dolphin was just a chill local place with great food.
Tiki Taco was a total whole in the wall that turned out to be like winning the lottery. Seriously, we ate fish tacos at 8 different places, none compared to these. This was the best thing I ate on the whole.dam.trip. Honestly, I wish I could eat there every single day.
Our final formal activity in hawaii was ziplining in Kauai. We took a great tour with Outfitters Kauai. We couldn’t have had better tour guides (Star and Muppy). While it was fun, it was about a 3 hour round trip drive from our hotel, so I think we would have probably skipped it had we known ahead of time. We returned home to enjoy our last afternoon by the pool, seeing our last saboring and enjoying some live music in the lobby before having a sushi dinner at the Makena Terrace. It’s kind of amazing that I never would have eaten sushi five years ago and know I can’t get enough.
It was definitely hard to leave Hawaii. It’s such a beautiful place with an interesting history. It’s culture is so different from that of the mainland and I hope that it stays that way. I can’t wait to go back!