Monday, October 5, 2009

Aloha Kauai!

My favorite island without a doubt...no ABC stores everywhere...super charming!

Where to stay: To the north there is the St. Regis Princeville (http://www.princevillehotelhawaii.com/) or Pure Kauai Custom Luxury Vacations
(http://www.purekauai.com/). I loved using Pure Kauai, they have fantastic villas to chose from and take care of every last detail. Chef Megan made the most delicious and fresh dishes and the surf instructor Ian has serious skill and patience. He managed to teach me!

The Sheraton Kauai Resort (http://www.sheraton-kauai.com/) in Poipu was a pleasant surprise. The rooms are updated and very spacious, a beautiful beach, mai tai receptions, and ocean-front yoga. This little gem is a real steal. (but you have to stay in the ocean-side buildings the other side is not so nice)
Hiking: On the West Coast are Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park. After some trial and error with some boring hikes, I took the Pihea Trail which is located in Koke'e State Park starting at the Pu'u o Kila overlook. The vistas are beautiful especially on a clear day.

On the way back Jo-Jo's Shave Ice is essential. Seriously?!?! The mac-nut ice cream/pineapple and mango shaved ice/shredded coconut combo is a reason to go to Kauai in itself.My favorite hike was the Kalalau Trail along the Na pali Coast. This hike is stunning. I stopped at the secluded beach, however you can go further and even camp overnight. It's pretty intense so...let's just say...I wouldn't do it.

Scuba diving: Not the most amazing coral however there are so many species of fish endemic to Hawaii, it's worth checking out. It was perfect for getting certified. Super cute Travis Higgins at Bubbles Below Scuba (http://www.bubblesbelowkauai.com/) made it very easy and enjoyable!

Golfing:
North Shore: The Princeville ( http://www.princeville.com/golf.html ) course at the St. Regis in Hanalei is absolutely gorgeous, my favorite...too bad I'm not very good.

South Shore: Poipu Bay at The Grand Hyatt. (http://www.poipubaygolf.com/) If you aren't staying there just have your concierge call and get $100 off. If you are looking for a budget course check out Kiahuna Golf Club. (http://www.kiahunagolf.com/homepage/start_page.php) It's challenging and easier on the wallet.

Eateries:
North Shore: Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza. Both located in Kong Lung Center, Kilauea Rd. (off Hwy. 56 on the way to the Kilauea Lighthouse) Oh my...the macadamia nut shortbread cookie and the macadamia nut roll, heaven! Also a great place for gluten-free and vegan options that are actually very tasty. At the pizzeria I loved both the Pesto Mystic and Classic Scampi. I ate every bite. I need to do some more hiking! Bar Acuda (http://www.restaurantbaracuda.com/) has incredible tapas and a fantastic wine list.
South Shore:Poipu Fish Market is a must!! This little locals spot has the freshest poki and yummy seaweed salad. My most favorite: The Beach House (http://www.the-beach-house.com/) for an amazing sunset and delicious food. Their signature Mai Tai is amazing. ;-)

I am a fan of Roy's but it can be skipped this trip. With all the fantastic scenery who wants to dine in a strip mall?!

Spas:
North Shore:
The Hanalei Day Spa at the Hanalei Colony Resort in Haena gives one awesome Ayurvedic massage. Mmmmm! The Halele'a Spa at the St. Regis is a very decadent option. Their Voyage from the Sea signature 4 hand massage and marine repair facial is pure bliss!
South Shore:
Anara Spa
at the Grand Hyatt has the seriously dreamy Island Pupu package: pineapple papaya body polish, mango butter massage and a facial. Worth every penny!

Aloha!