By Greg Aragon
Winter is here and I thought it would be a great time to look back on my last visit to the beautiful tropical island paradise of Kaui, Hawaii, where I stayed at a luxurious ocean-front resort and sailed in a catamaran along the beautiful Napali Coast.
The getaway began when my friend and I landed at the small airport in Lihue and hopped a complimentary shuttle to the Kauai Beach Resort. With a warm tropical breeze blowing through rows of palm trees and 25 acres of lush Hawaiian gardens, we checked into a deluxe king room, overlooking the resort pool area and the majestic Pacific Ocean. Within minutes we were relaxing poolside with sand on our feet and mai tais in our hands.
After our Hawaiian siesta, we returned to the room and rested on a comfy king bed, admiring our spacious suite. The room was highlighted by bright, modern décor and featured a sofa, large flat screen TV, coffee maker, shower and tub, and office area with desk and free wireless internet. The room had everything we needed for our three-night stay. Add to this a large balcony with mesmerizing views and it helped make a truly memorable experience.
Once acquainted with the room, we walked to the beach, located steps from the resort. On the way to the sand, we grabbed a couple more mai tais at the pool bar, then strolled along the shoreline, watching colorful fish swim through coral in the emerald colored water. Continuing on, we examined the rocky outlines of the islands many mountains, discovered a small, hidden canal flowing through dense vegetation next to the resort, and encountered the ubiquitous wild island chicken.
Back at the hotel, we watched a traditional Hawaiian dance and music performance at the pool area. Called E Komo Mai, or welcome reception, the weekly event features free mai tais, Polynesian music, hula dancing and an unforgettable sunset experience. After the reception, we had dinner at Naupaka Terrace, the resort’s signature restaurant.
Inspired by Hawaii’s indigenous naupaka flower, the plantation-style restaurant features creative Hawaiian and Pan Pacific cuisine, Asian-inspired dishes, fresh island catch, aged-beef, salads, pastas and delightful desserts. Our meal began with Kauai shrimp skillet, with garlic, capers, green onion, andouille sausage, butter and lemon. For the main course I had furikake crusted salmon with bok choy, steamed rice, carrot-cucumber salad, and lemon butter sauce. My friend devoured island fried chicken kimchee with fried rice, long bean, barbecue sauce and cilantro.
In the morning we drove across the island to Port Allen Harbor and climbed aboard a sleek, 28-foot-wide catamaran for a sunset dinner sail along the legendary Napali Coast. Led by Holo Holo Charters, the voyage cruised past Hawaiian landscapes made famous in movies such as Jurassic Park, King Kong, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
With its jagged peaks, secluded beaches, lost sea caves and sapphire waters, it’s easy to see why Hollywood directors regularly pay $10,000 per day to film along the Napali Coast. During our sail we also saw wild goats, sea turtles, dolphins and lots of colorful fish. The voyage was topped off by a great lasagna dinner while watching the sun set into the sea.
The next day we rented a Jeep Wrangler at the hotel’s activity desk and drove to Wailua Falls, a spectacular 170-foot double-barreled waterfall. Made famous in the television show Fantasy Island, the falls are located in a lush, bowl-shaped canyon and tumble into a serene pool.
Back at Kauai Beach Resort, I toured the property. The island of Kauai features a main road connecting the north, east, and south, and Kauai Beach Resort is situated at about the midpoint of the road, down a tree-lined drive that leads to the ocean. The location is an ideal home base for Kauai adventures to the north and south and across the island.
The resort is highlighted by four swimming pools — three with lagoon styling and waterfalls, and one pool for kids. The resort also boasts two hot tubs, poolside lounges, a full-service spa and salon; fitness center; gift shop; and the Driftwood Bar & Grille casual diner.