St. Regis Princeville Kauai Pools, Beach, and Family Activities

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I was excited when we scored an upgrade into an ocean-view Junior Suite at the St. Regis Princeville in Kauai (full review here), but viewing the ocean from the room was far from the highlight of this stay in Kauai. If you go to Hawaii just for the room I would advise visiting a much closer to home destination. However, if you come to Hawaii in part for insane views, intoxicating sunsets, and time in the water, then this is your spot so read on.

We recently enjoyed a stay at the St. Regis Princeville in Kauai as part of the SPG Amex Stars Program so we could try out this spot of paradise for ourselves and report back to you all.  As such, our hotel stay was provided. All other meals, activities, etc. we participated in on the Garden Island were on our own dime.

United 777-200 Business Class to Hawaii

St. Regis Princeville Overview and Junior Suite Review

Video Review:

If you want to know a little bit more about the pools and on-site beach from our in-house pool professional, check out this video review!

Dinner with a view:

Our first order of business after checking into our room was dinner. It had been a long travel day and was well after 11PM back home, but just 6PM in Hawaii. We certainly didn’t have the energy to head off property, so dinner at Makana Terrace started off well with a fresh sushi appetizer, incredible views, and tons of excitement thanks to finally making it to Hawaii and starting our family trip.  This place can get busy right at sunset, so I advise making a reservation if you want to dine at the “peak sunset time”.

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Free bread with delicious butters

Free bread with delicious butters

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However, our four year old traveling trooper quickly faded as the sun went below the horizon. Given that it was almost midnight her time I can’t say I blamed her, but it did lead to a very quick end to an otherwise nice meal.

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Sunset on a long travel day

Luckily, this restaurant is the same one that we had the SPG Platinum breakfast each morning, so we got to enjoy the great scenery several times. As I highlighted in the first video review we did, the upgrade from the included continental breakfast buffet to the full breakfast buffet was $19 per person. I’m a cheapo at heart so I passed on the $19 upgrade that would include things like an omelet station and bacon and enjoyed included fruit and pastries, but my husband enjoyed the full buffet.

SPG Platinum Breakfast

SPG Platinum Breakfast

Kids three and under eat at no additional charge, but they didn’t charge my 4 ½ year old when she didn’t order an entrée of her own and instead just snacked from our buffet plates.

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Breakfast buffet

Heated pool and on-site ocean with tons of chairs and umbrellas:

Now the good stuff, the hotel has a relatively large pool area with a main pool, small toddler pool, and hot tub. The pool was heated, so it was the perfect temperature to cannon ball into, which my kid did over and over again. I’m all for safety, but it was nice to have kids be able to play in the pool without being told don’t do this and don’t do that to the point where all they can do is float silently without splashing.

St. Regis Kauai Pool

St. Regis Kauai Pool

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St. Regis Princeville toddler pool

That said, the staff was pretty proactive about shooing the kids out of the adults only hot tub with some regularity. It was a little bit futile while we were there in August as there were so many kids in the pool during the day, but they did make a good effort.

Kids about to get kicked out of the hot tub

Kids about to get kicked out of the hot tub

The chairs and umbrellas (other than the cabanas of course) were set-up free of charge either by the pool, or down the hill closer to the beach. It’s also worth mentioning that the pool had a very smooth tiled bottom so it wasn’t rough on your feet.

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St. Regis Princeville beach view

Plenty of chairs at St. Regis Princeville

Plenty of chairs at St. Regis Princeville

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There was also a wagon full of beach toys set-up that kid’s could borrow to dig in the sand which I so appreciated as they are hard to pack and can be pricey to buy just for a few days of use.  This was just one example of the little things that the hotel got right and that made the trip just a bit nicer.

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Beach toys, free to use

Speaking of the beach, the beach right off from the hotel was very calm during our summer time visit. The sand was soft, the sunsets were incredible, the waves were gentle, and you could walk under the trees on the shores, but it is worth mentioning that there were a fair number of rocks in the water. This likely made for some fun snorkeling, but it wasn’t overly comfortable to walk on past the first few feet of sand.

St. Regis Princeville soft sand

St. Regis Princeville soft sand

We didn’t take advantage on this visit, but there were kayaks and the like on-site that you could rent to take out into calm Hanalei Bay. There were also snorkeling and scuba classes and tours available.

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Kid’s Club

As much as I love family time on vacations, it is great to be able to have some time where the kids are catered to in the kid’s club while adults head to the spa, dinner, or in our case surfing. While the St. Regis is not cheap on the whole, the Kid’s Club prices were pretty reasonable as far as Kid’s Club’s go at $49 for a half day, $98 for a full day, and $69 for the evening (5:30 – 8:30P with dinner included).

St. Regis Princeville Kid's Club

St. Regis Princeville Kid’s Club

The morning that our daughter went to the Kid’s Club there was just her and one other boy around her age in attendance. She had a good time and wanted to stay longer when we went to pick her up, so that is always a good sign. In addition to playing in the room she said they had gone on a nature hike and learned about some flowers growing at the resort.  I wish that the morning hours went until 1PM as they do at the Grand Hyatt Kauai since that gives you a little more leeway to do a morning activity without having to speed back, but they were very understanding when I called to let them know I was running a few minutes late at pick-up time.

Is the St. Regis Princeville a good hotel for families?

It’s not surprise that a St. Regis offers solid service and nice amenities, but I naturally wondered if this would be a hotel where families would feel comfortable and whether my cannon balling four year old would disturb fancy folks in boat shoes and St. Regis monogrammed polo shirts. As a Category 7 SPG Hotel, it is a bunch of points to gamble on whether or not the hotel is the right fit for your family.

After being greeted with a St. Regis backpack with toys and a stuffed animal at check-in, having an understanding waitress when my daughter melted down the first night at dinner, a butler that delivered bandaids quickly when asked, not being charged for the two ounces of breakfast were able to get her to eat, and running into many other traveling families in the pool, I can say that we were very comfortable at the St. Regis, even with our rambunctious four year old. Since the resort only has 251 rooms (compared to 602 at the Grand Hyatt Kauai), it had the very real added benefit of not requiring an unreasonable amount of walking per day to go to the pool, dinner, and the beach.

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The pool area isn’t huge like the Grand Hyatt Kauai, the Kid’s Club isn’t included like the Andaz Maui, and there isn’t a club to raid of snacks and drinks like at the Hyatt Regency Maui, but it is still a Hawaiian hotel that I would very happily return to with my family.   I was completely obsessed with the view, loved the laid back North Shore location (yes, even though it rains more there), and think the “reasonable” size of the resort made it very manageable for families.  This is the kind of place that keeps our Starwood Preferred Amex card in real rotation in our wallets, as we need those SPG points to bring resorts like this into the realm of affordable for our budget!

All smiles at St. Regis Princeville

All smiles at St. Regis Princeville

Next up in this series on our most recent Hawaiian adventure are some details about the North Shore activities and restaurants we enjoyed off of the lush grounds of the St. Regis Princeville.

If your family has stayed at the St. Regis Princeville I’d love to hear your thoughts on the beach, pools, and other activities!

Comments

  1. Just a comment on the breakfast, we booked the St Regis Princeville using Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts and it included full breakfast for 2. We had access to the full buffet and were not charged anything. As for the kids, we were told at the check in that kids under 6 do not pay breakfast and between 6 and 12 they pay 1/2 but at the time we went for breakfast we were surprised that they charged our 5 years old and our 8 years old and it was way more than just 1/2 of the adult cost. We complained and they were not very happy but charged what we were told at the check in. It seems that the communication between the restaurant and the check in people is not the best since each tells you something different.

  2. Santastico, good point about FHR if you are spending $ to stay here! I am pretty sure I read on a sign or somewhere that it was kids 3 and under free at breakfast, but too bad it was not clear for you. The day my daughter ordered off the kid’s menu it was charged as stated on the kid’s menu. The day she shared on my plate it was free. I think that was a courtesy though more than a real policy.
    Maury, thanks. It really was a great time and a great place to visit.

  3. I understand hotels have to make money but I cannot understand that a hotel like the St Regis has to charge breakfast for a 4 year old kid when we are paying $600/night to stay there. How much a 4 year old can eat in a breakfast buffet that will ding the revenues of a hotel like that? I was also very disappointed that a St Regis in Hawaii did not offer fruit juices as part of their breakfast buffet and when we ordered a glass of juice we were charged $8 for it. I much rather prefer the way Trump treated us in Honolulu where we paid $600/night but they did not charge a penny for any of us to eat breakfast and kids could order anything they wanted from a huge menu on top of the buffet. Not sure about you but while I hate the “all inclusive” concept since the quality is almost never there I would expect that when you pay over $500 to stay in a hotel you don’t need to pay for every extra you need to make your stay a nice one.

  4. Santastico, that would stink paying for juice on top of $600/night on top of having having breakfast included! We did not experience extra charges for juice/coffee with the SPG Plat breakfast but I agree with you that little charges like that can be quite annoying when you already have so much invested.

  5. Did you venture past Princeville to the edge of the Napali coast? I found the north shore completely different from Poipu and the rest.

  6. Stannis, I loved the North Shore so much and will share some of what we did in the next post, however we didn’t make it as far as the Napali Coast on land. We did fly over in a helicopter, though. We only had one full day on the North Shore so not enough time to do it all this trip. We will be back though!

  7. North Shore is amazing and we did explore most of the beaches there. The small towns of Kilaueua and Hanalei are amazing and they have very good restaurants. You can drive from the St Regis up to Ke’e Beach which is the last beach you can access by car and where the Kalalau Trail to Napali Coast starts. We did not go in the helicopter tour but did an amazing sailing tour to the Napali Coast. Most of the boats leave from Eleele which is south of Poipu so very far from the North Shore. I would recommend to book that tour if you are staying in Poipu since the boats leave very early in the morning and it could take almost 2 hours to drive from the St Regis to there. In our experience the sailing tour to the Napali Coast was amazing but my wife and kids got seasick so that was not fun at all.

  8. We stayed here for 3 nights in February 2013 – after spending 4 nights at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu. I agree with you that the views were great and I felt very comfortable at the pool with my then 6 year old son – the attendants were all super friendly. I did, however, feel very uncomfortable in the rest of the hotel with my full of energy little boy. It felt like the type of hotel where people expect children to be seen and not heard and I constantly was telling him not to climb on things, jump off things, use his inside voice, etc. I loved the hotel and would definitely go back, but it’s hard for me to recommend it for most families unless you really don’t care about getting nasty looks from fellow guests (that don’t have kids with them).

    • Nadine, I wonder if the time of year plays into it. I haven’t been in February, but I am guessing that there are fewer families there in February than in the summer. I think we also didn’t spend too much time inside the hotel with our daughter outside of our room (other than walking to/from car and pool), so that might have also helped. Thankfully we didn’t notice any nasty looks – that is always a bummer. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Another tip that you wouldn’t want to overlook is the ever present Kama’aina discount. Plenty of the regular tourist venues, (Polynesian Cultural Center, Wet and Wild, Haunama Bay, to name a few) as well as plenty of the hotels, offer generous discounts (often up to 50%) if you are Kama’aina (local) and have the ID to prove it. Mainlanders can secure one using a local address and getting either a state id card, or a drivers license.

    Steve
    http://www.things-to-do-in-maui.com

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