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The Best Hotels in Kauai

Photo credit: Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

Lush, mountainous, and ruggedly gorgeous. The Hawaiian island of Kauai, surrounded by 50 miles of shoreline, is nicknamed the Garden Isle with good reason—especially if you come here to hike, swim, or just explore the Na Pali Coast or see Wailua Falls. The best hotels on the island, though, offer experiences that are far from roughing it, balancing beautiful settings with creature comforts and luxurious amenities. Here are the best hotels in Kauai.

Royal Sonesta Kaua’i Resort (3610 Rice St.; 808-245-5050) Lihue

Located on Kalapaki Bay near Kauai’s airport, this 345-room resort offers a family-friendly pool area, a spa, and easy access to 18 holes of Jack Nicklaus championship golf next door. But some travelers find the ambience a little tired. “Good place for stand up paddle board and beach fun. Staff is super friendly. Quiet at night. However, our room was BEGGING for a renovation,” says a Tripadvisor user. “Be aware this resort shares its space with a Marriott timeshare. There is a reason this hotel’s Instagram shows mostly outdoor photos.” One Google reviewer likes the resort’s unique qualities, as well as the free airport ride: “Can’t get enough of the beautiful, sprawling gardens. The sounds of the roosters early morning is so interesting and a wonderful experience.”   >> Book this hotel for less

Koʻa Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach (2251 Poipu Rd; 844-236-3817) Poipu

While it exudes a lot of romance, this 121-room boutique hotel also offers a lot of convenience, located by the beach as well as the shops and eateries of the south side community of Poipu. “This elegant property in the heart of Poipu has a relaxed, peaceful vibe,” says Forbes, “with a pool set on the ocean, fire pits, and the destination restaurant Red Salt. Rent bicycles, beach chairs, umbrellas, snorkels and stand-up paddleboards right on the beach out front.” One Tripadvisor user loves the instant paradise: “The property has a truly intimate feel, with easy access to the excellent public beaches. Oceanfront rooms are truly ‘oceanfront’ and definitely the way to go.”   >> Book this hotel for less

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa (1571 Poipu Rd; 808-742-1234) Poipu

Set on 50 lush acres along on Kauai’s sunny south shore, this branch of the Grand Hyatt also offers golf, a spa, a family-friendly pool complex, and six restaurants. “This Art Deco beach hotel recalls Hawaii in the 1920s, when gentlemen in blue blazers and ladies in summer frocks came to the islands to learn to surf and play the ukulele,” says Frommers, adding that “the beach is a bit too rough for swimming, but the saltwater swimming pool is the biggest on the island.” Google reviewers agree. “The pool area is incredible with hammocks, swings, tasty food, and a lazy river to name a few,” says one. “Our main issue was how spread out everything is. It took us 5 to 7 minutes to go from our room to the pool every single time.”   >> Book this hotel for less

Sheraton Kauai (2440 Hoonani Rd; 808-742-1661) Poipu

Set along Poipu Beach, this crowd-pleasing resort has easy beach access as well as a big pool and five restaurants. The 394-room Sheraton “has a dynamite location on one of Kauai’s best beaches,” says Frommers. “The horseshoe-shaped, Polynesian-style lobby has shell chandeliers dangling from the ceiling. ” Google reviewers like that the beach doesn’t feel too busy. “Great for snorkeling, not completely crowded, and the water is beautiful,” says one. “It’s within walking distance of many shops and restaurants and the luau on Mondays and Thursdays is very entertaining. We also saw a lot of whales off the shore!”   >> Book this hotel for less

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas (3838 Wyllie Rd.; 808-827-8700) Princeville

Get above it all at this North Shore blufftop Westin resort comprised of one- and two-bedroom villas with kitchens, barbecues, and big views—close to Hanalei Lookout and the Limahuli Garden. Forbes calls it “an ideal combination of resort amenities and residential living. Place your grocery order before you arrive, then grill dinner overlooking the ocean or dine at its Nanea Restaurant & Bar, one of the best spots on the North Shore.” While you have access to golf, a spa, and plunge pools, many travelers like the resort best for its condo-style living. “The full kitchens are a win when you are traveling with four kids!” says a Tripadvisor user. “Our room had a washer and dryer, and the multiple BBQ grills and outdoor dining space were our favorite.”  >> Book this hotel for less

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