I drove halfway around the entire island to get to the small town of Poipu on the South Shore. Exhausted from the two-day hike and covered in mosquito bites, I wearily pulled up to the temporary lobby parking and limped inside. After a brief wait in line, I was helped by an incredibly friendly front desk attendant who took one look at me asked if I was feeling alright. I explained the mud, grime, and bug bites, and mentioned that I had just returned from the most amazing experience on the Kalalau Trail.
Sheraton Kauai Resort lobby
It's funny because I noticed whenever I mentioned Kalalau to any of the locals, their faces always seemed to light up and their first response was always 1) how much they loved doing the hike themselves or 2) how they really want to do the hike someday. The charming lady helping me was in the latter camp, and we proceeded to have a fun chat about my experience.
Often times, I find that being friendly and engaging with the front desk staff can be the ultimate impetus for earning some nice perks at check-in, including the highly-desired upgrade. Not that I was being friendly and engaging merely for an upgrade... I was genuinely excited about the hike, having literally just stepped off the trail a few hours before. But as the agent began typing away at the computer looking for my room, I had a feeling she might be a little extra nice to me. It probably also helped that I told her I didn't care if the room had a king bed, two beds, or no bed at all, I just wanted a hot shower!
A few minutes later, she smiled and told me she had upgraded me to an ocean-front room. I thanked her profusely, and told her how much I appreciated the gesture. Before I left, she stuffed six complimentary welcome Mai Tai certificates into the key holder and told me I looked like I could use a few extra drinks. I had a feeling this was gonna be an awesome stay.
Like the Westin, the Sheraton Kauai Resort is very spread-out, occupying multiple low-rise buildings and a very nice stretch of white-sand beach. I was in the furthest building east of the lobby, which was quite nice since it had its own mini-parking lot, and was actually closest to the beach. The room itself was pretty standard and showing a bit of wear and tear, although it had more than what I needed for a perfectly pleasant stay. The flat-screen TV looked fairly new, and a small refrigerator below had two bottles of complimentary water. I appreciated the private balcony, which I used frequently to read and relax.
The first thing I did was unload my backpacks and hop into the shower. The tub was a little dirty, but the water pressure was wonderful. I noticed that the bathroom area also had an ant problem, but luckily, they were of the tiny variety and didn't bother me much. Afterwards, I climbed into bed, which felt absolutely heavenly, and konked out for about half an hour.
When I woke, I realized that happy hour at the Lava's bar downstairs was about to end, so I scurried down and traded in a certificate for a refreshing Mai Tai. Right next to the bar was the small-ish pool, plenty of lounge chairs, and cabanas for rent. Although it would have been nice to take a dip, I didn't want to scare away the other guests with my swollen leg full of nasty mosquito bites, so I refrained.
I almost never eat at hotel restaurants, especially when there are so many delicious places to try nearby. Poipu, along with the rest of the South Shore, had plenty of good eats, and I will talk about some of them in the next post. The weather was beautiful the following morning, so I walked about the beach and resort grounds and back into the lobby area. The adjacent Link@Sheraton business center was very well done, with a nice lounge feel to it. There were modern desktops for guest use, complimentary WiFi, and printing services.
After a day of driving around the South Shore, I returned to the hotel in mid-afternoon and relaxed at the beach with a few more Mai Tais. The sun was out and it was the perfect way to wind down the day. A little later, a sea lion even showed up on the beach and parked itself on the sand for a nap. It was nice that the hotel (or maybe the local wildlife protection agency) put up some perimeter signs so no one would bother the big guy.
Overall, I had a very comfortable and relaxing two-night stay at the Sheraton Kauai Resort. While a little worn around the edges, the rooms were still very nice, service was excellent, and the location couldn't be beat. The rooms were definitely not as modern and full of amenities as the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, but I thoroughly enjoyed my stay, and would highly recommend it. I have read about the spectacular reviews for the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort just down the street, however, so maybe next time I will get to stay there and do a comparison review.