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As a little bit of a back-story, my daughter and I flew to Kauai in first class on Alaska Airlines flights thanks to a great (now defunct) deal from Iceland Air. No thanks to some routing and schedule changes, it ended up taking four flights and about 24 hours to get there. However, once we arrived in Kauai and got settled at the Grand Hyatt that was all a distant memory. I’ll be writing a series of posts about our experiences on Kauai, starting with a look at the Grand Hyatt Kauai.
Grand Hyatt Kauai:
I don’t think I have ever read a truly negative thing about this hotel, so I went into this stay with pretty high expectations. That is always way more dangerous than going into a stay with neutral to low expectations, but in this case the hotel lived up to the hype. The Grand Hyatt Kauai is a very popular Hyatt Gold Passport redemption option for families heading to Hawaii, and I think it is safe to say it is one of the very best Hyatt redemption options for families in the world based on location, activities, amenities, and service.
The hotel is located off Poipu Road on the famous sunny south side of Kauai. It is about a 15-20 minute (mostly) scenic drive from Lihue airport. This is a very large resort with over 600 rooms spread out across a very expansive footprint.
Lobby and Check-in:
The lobby is an open air concept that is designed to basically frame the blue Pacific Ocean as the focal point. The view of the ocean takes your breath away and lets you know you have arrived in paradise.
I arrived at the hotel about an hour or so before the official check-in time of 3PM, but I was very hopeful that a room would be ready as my kiddo was officially exhausted and malfunctioning at this part of the journey (which always makes checking in that much more “interesting”). The bad news was that our room was not yet ready, though upon seeing how exhausted Little C was (she ended up laying on the lobby floor while I checked in), they did offer to move us to another room that was ready immediately.
However, they said that because of my Diamond status we had been upgraded to a somewhat larger room, and if we wanted a room right away it would be a smaller room. I decided to tough it out for another hour or so and wait for the larger room. We were also offered a credit toward a couple of drinks or smoothies for the wait (I heard this offered to others checking in at the same time). It was a very nice gesture, though I never saw the credit on our final bill, perhaps a voucher type system might work better.
There were many options presented for the Diamond amenity including the standard food and beverage option which included your choice of: Canvas; two bottles of domestic, imported, or local beer; Ketel One Duo with mixers; spring or sparkling water; sodas or juices. The food options included: market fresh veggies and hummus; seasonal fruit; cheese plate; tropical sliced fruits or macaroon and truffle bouquet. As usual, you would choose one beverage and one food option. They also had some non-traditional Diamond amenity choices that included a Hawaiian music CD, bike rentals for two people, a Kauai photo book, a family fun kit (in-room movie rental + coloring book and crayons), or a one-day poolside or lagoon side cabana rental.
You could also opt for the standard 1,000 points, but I went for the cabana rental. I could get food and drinks in the Grand Club, but the cabana rental would have cost me $50 out of pocket so it seemed to be the best choice for my situation. How to reserve the cabana wasn’t immediately clear, but I just went to the desk by the pool where you obtain towels and they set it up with no issue.
After check-in we had the hotel hold our bags while we changed into swimsuits and enjoyed the pool for roughly an hour while we waited for our room. The pool re-energized both of us, and I was glad we decided to wait for the larger room.
Our room was located on the bottom floor overlooking the pool complex. This was an ideal location for families who will be frequenting the pool and salt water lagoon, but it is quite the hike from the lobby, and an even further hike from the Grand Club. There is no way to be close to everything at this resort, so you kind of have to strategize based on what is most important for your family.
We had been told at check-in that our room was a bit larger, and indeed it was. It had a full sitting area in addition to the sleeping area – we really lucked out.
This was great as it provided a slightly removed area for me to work in while C took her daily naps. It also provided additional room for her to play in with her toys (not that we were in the room much during waking hours). We stayed in early June, likely just before the hotel’s peak busy season, so I certainly would not count on any upgrade even as a Diamond member on a future visit. However, it was a very nice surprise given that we had merely redeemed 22,000 Hyatt points for the room.
The bed was comfortable, the TV was large (and had Disney Channel), and the blackout curtains did the trick. I was a bit concerned about noise from the pool due to our location, but it was a total non-issue.
I did not love that the bathroom sink was so small, and really did not love the lack of a bath-tub. As always, showers with little kids are no fun. Based on photos, it appears that some rooms at the resort do have bathtubs, but ours did not. I’m hitting that issue more and more at various Hyatt Hotels. As an adult I like the trend, but as a parent I do not.
The Lanai and Room Service:
I believe all rooms at this resort have either a lanai or balcony, and this was no exception. Ours over-looked the pool area and made for a lovely spot for enjoying morning coffee or soaking in the last few minutes of the day before going to bed.
Our Diamond status gave us access to complimentary breakfast and snacks in the Grand Club, but it is a good 10-12+ minute walk across the property which isn’t always pleasant with a still tired kiddo. So, on the last morning we splurged and ordered room service. The dining table in the sitting area plus cartoons on the TV made for a much more pleasant breakfast experience then wasting a ton of time hiking to and from the club.
The food was priced about the same as most room service breakfasts, though the kid’s menu is quite reasonable and provided way more pancakes then a little one could ever eat. It was well worth it to start the day off in that manner and then heading straight out of our door to the pools. I think it is worth the splurge at least once while you are there…especially if you are located so far from other food options, but so close to the pools as we were.
The First Night:
For those arriving to Hawaii from the US, you are likely going to deal with some timezone issues the first night on the islands. Hawaii was five hours behind our hometown in Texas, so we were ready for bed when evening arrived. We took it pretty easy the first night by eating in the Grand Club (more on that in a future post) swinging in the hammock, looking a little around the resort, and then heading to bed promptly at sunset.
We didn’t want to go to bed too early and deal with a 4AM wake-up the next day as a result, but we certainly didn’t want to stay up longer than necessary. We had a busy day ahead of us the next morning, and we were more than ready for sleep, Stay tuned for the next post in this series where I will focus on the Grand Club, the spa, Camp Hyatt, the pools, and many other amenities at the Grand Hyatt Kauai.