Monday, May 27, 2013

Kauai/Kalalau Trail May 2013 - The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

***This post is part 3 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***

After driving up from Lihue, I arrived at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas around 3:00 pm. Located on the North Shore of Kauai, Princeville is a planned community of resorts, hotels, condominiums, and single homes catering to locals and tourists alike. Although the neighborhood has a very non-paradise feel to it, its proximity to Hanalei and other North Shore attractions makes the Westin a perfect base for exploring the area.

The lobby was elegantly decorated and provided views of the resort grounds behind the main building. There was a separate check-in line for SPG members with status, which was much appreciated. I wasn't given an upgrade despite my Gold status, but it didn't matter since all the rooms were basically junior suites or better. In addition, I was offered a $10 voucher to be used at any of the resort restaurants for declining housekeeping the following day. A welcome amenity of 250 Starpoints was also provided.

The resort was very large, with seven buildings spread out among four different pools and golf courses on either side. I re-parked the car closer to my building and carried my luggage up to the second floor. Upon entering, I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious it was. Practically a small apartment, the room had features not seen in typical resorts, including a washer/dryer and kitchenette with a full-size refrigerator, mini-stove, and dishwasher. The best part was that they even provided detergent, dishwashing liquid, paper towels, and all the utensils and cookware you could ever need. This was definitely the perfect place to stay for families and groups of friends.

The bathroom was of decent size, with a soaking tub and a spacious shower. There was a separate room for the toilet. A window opened up into the bedroom area, but at least there were shutters to maintain a little bit of privacy. Plenty of towels, soaps, and amenities were provided. The bedroom was more typical of a hotel room, with a king bed, flat-screen TV, and sitting area. For larger groups, it was nice that the couch also converted into a pull-out bed. Every room had their own balcony, and mine overlooked the beautiful inner courtyard area.

There is no beach access at the Westin Princeville since it is located on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Instead, guests are free to use the beach at the St. Regis Princeville Resort just a few minutes away, and there is even a complimentary shuttle service. The pool there, however, is off-limits.

I didn't bother checking out the St. Regis beach since Hanalei Bay was so close and a lot nicer. The pools at the Westin were large and beautiful, but constantly filled with kids. Understandably, this is a very family-friendly resort, so be aware that there will probably be children screaming and running around the grounds during your stay. The pool attendants were very friendly, consistently coming by to ask for orders and clearing cups.

With so many amazing places to eat all over Kauai, I didn't try any of the resort restaurants, but I did use my $10 voucher at the market just below the lobby for a breakfast wrap, which was delicious. On the second evening, I walked around the grounds of the resort and ended up on a golf course overlooking the ocean. This was a great place to watch the sunset and changing colors in the sky. Heading back to my room, the tiki torches were all lit, and it made for a beautiful and memorable night.

Overall, I would highly recommend the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, especially for families and groups. It is a beautiful hotel with amenities that you typically won't find in Hawaii, even for much higher prices. Best of all, they don't charge a resort fee (there is, however, a $13 per day parking fee). Service was friendly throughout my stay, and I even had a pleasant chat with the concierge about the Kalalau Trail. She gave me some good advice, and wished me luck before I checked out the following morning.

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