Ordinarily we feature hotels on Popular Cruising that make for comfortable and convenient pre- or post-cruise stays, but in the case of this review, the Kauai Marriott Resort was a gem we discovered during a Hawaiian cruise years ago. We always say cruising is a fantastic way to get an overview of an area’s ports-of-call, with the option to return to one’s favorites for a longer time on or off a cruise, and we fell so in love with Kauai and the Marriott that we have since returned for a half dozen plus visits.
The resort was already close to paradise before, and $50-million worth of recent improvements now certainly makes it heaven on earth. In fact, as I write this, I’m sitting at the hotel’s open air terrace that overlooks the luxurious pool, pristine beachfront and grand harbor on a beautiful sunny day. The symmetrical layout of guest towers surrounding and waterfalls spilling into the circular pool, flanked by five hot tubs, perfectly mirrors the dramatic mountains and natural bay across the way. At a constant depth of 4-feet, the lazy river-like pool is delightfully family-friendly as is the dedicated kiddie pool and water slide.
Stretching inwards past the lobby are the hotel’s expansive ballrooms, garden and koi pond, collectively setting the scene for wonderful wedding ceremonies and receptions among other events. Here also you’ll find the resort’s fitness center, Alexander Spa and Salon, kids club, business center, rental car and helicopter sightseeing services, shops and gallery, itself quite the oasis for purchasing island-inspired fine art. Back at the beach, available activities include surfing, kayaking and volleyball, and just steps away are onsite tennis and seaside golf at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Kauai Lagoons Golf Club. Private beachfront and poolside cabanas are also available for rent.
Dining shines at the resort with an abundance of choice ranging from quick service to elegant. Kukui’s Poolside Restaurant & Bar is open for breakfast and dinner and features international cuisine and an all-you-can-eat morning buffet. Attached to the bar is Toro Tei for casual sushi and sashimi for dinner. The Aupaka Terrace, where I currently reside and Wi-Fi is complimentary, offers quick takeaways in the morning and tapas and cocktails in the evening. Always a favorite of ours for lunch around the pool is Kalapaki Grill for delicious burgers and sandwiches, plus cool island drinks.
Rounding out the resort restaurants are the seafront Duke’s for American and seafood and Cafe Portofino for Italian. The terraced Duke’s offers a bar setting below for lunch and an al fresco patio above for dinner. Signature specialties include mouthwatering macadamia nut-encrusted fresh fish and hearty steaks. Cafe Portofino brings Italy to the islands with traditional pastas and entrees for dinner. And if all of that isn’t enough, there is always convenient room service for breakfast and lunch as well.
The Kauai Marriott Resort is comprised of 345 rooms and 11 suites, and we’re being pampered in a lovely Ocean View Guest Room. These 425-square-foot accommodations feature one king or two double beds and a balcony that overlooks both the beach and pool. The living area includes a couch and table plus a desk and roller chair, and the 25-inch flat panel TV sits atop a dresser with plenty of storage and a welcome mini-fridge. Wireless and wired internet is also available at a charge.
The modern decor features rich mahogany-toned furniture and warm reds and oranges across the couch cushions, bed coverings and headboard. The darker hues are pleasantly paired with white sheets and light wall and carpet colors, and the overall effect is very homey and welcoming with just the right touch of tropical flare. For the most part, lighting is typical for rooms of this kind, and the posable reading lights above the bed are a nice extra. Thankfully, all the rooms and suites are non-smoking as well.
Towards the bathroom and entry door is the closet complete with a safe and ironing board and a little divider wall with a bonus ledge perfect for storing sunscreen and other beach necessities during your stay. A sliding door with fogged-glass inserts opens to the bath area with a separate toilet compartment. An additional inner pocket door for added privacy would be nice to have here.
Nonetheless, the area is spacious for getting ready in front of the mirror, and the black countertop with raised white sink basin makes for a handsome look. The marble-tiled shower/tub combo is nice and roomy with a curved shower rod and offset side wall.
It’s truly the overall atmosphere that sets the Kauai Marriott Resort apart with the sights of its architectural symmetry and natural surroundings; sounds of surf, waterfalls and local music; the touch of sand beneath your feet; smells of tropical flora; and tastes of exotic and familiar cuisine that equally excite and relax the senses; all like no other property I’ve known.
For more information on the Kauai Marriott Resort and to arrange for your own stay, visit the hotel’s website here.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: JASON LEPPERT