The Best Hotels and Resorts to Book in Lihue, Hawaii

Stroll to the beach right from your apartment at Kauai Beach Villas in Lihue, Kauai
Stroll to the beach right from your apartment at Kauai Beach Villas in Lihue, Kauai | Courtesy of Kauai Beach Villas / Expedia
Photo of Georgia Platman
1 December 2021

Palm-fringed Lihue – on lush Kauai – is a great base for exploring Hawaii’s northernmost island due to its handy location near the airport, proximity to beaches and forest reserves and a good range of accommodation. Known as the Garden Isle thanks to its stunning green landscape, Kauai draws travelers with its volcanoes, forests, historic monuments and more sand beaches per mile of shoreline of any Hawaiian island. It’s worth noting that many of the “hotels” in Lihue double as timeshares and operate more like vacation rentals, meaning they don’t always include hotel extras like daily housekeeping or free parking and may involve a minimum length of stay. But you’ll probably wish you were staying longer once you set foot on this tropical paradise anyway, especially at one of these handpicked hotels in Lihue, bookable with Culture Trip.

Kauai Beach Resort & Spa, for the most pools in Lihue

The lush grounds and multiple pools at the Kauai Beach Resort and Spa in Lihue
Courtesy of Kauai Beach Resort and Spa / Expedia

If there were an award for the most pools among the hotels in Lihue, this one would surely win, since it’s got four pools and two hot tubs! There’s a great water slide and waterfalls for the kids, while mom and dad can supervise from the poolside bar. You’re also coming here for the views: all 350 rooms – all with balconies – overlook a combination of pools, mountains and ocean, as well as the hotel’s verdant landscaped grounds (just six minutes from the airport). Hungry? Choose between seafood dishes at Naupaka Terrace or nachos and burgers at Driftwood Bar & Grill.

Kauai Beach Villas, for wild beaches in Lihue

Lagoon with fountain in front of villa buildings at Kauai Beach Villas in Lihue
Courtesy of Kauai Beach Villas / Expedia

This complex of family-friendly apartments at Kauai Beach sits at the start of miles of coastline that flank the eastern side of the island. Far less populous than Kalapaki Beach, it’s hard to believe this is a hotel in Lihue: it’s just 3mi (5km) north of the airport. The fan-cooled one- or two-bedroom condos decked out with floral print bedcovers and Hawaiian landscape prints are ideal for self-catering families; fire up a barbecue on your balcony overlooking the pool and hot tub. The wind-battered wild beach is just two minutes’ barefoot stroll away.

Timbers Kauai Ocean Club & Residences, for farm-to-table dining in Lihue

Stunning infinity pool with ocean and green cliff views at Timbers Kauai Ocean Club and Residences in Lihue
Courtesy of Timbers Kauai Ocean Club and Residences / Expedia

Perched on a scenic oceanside bluff and encircled by lagoons, Timbers comprises super-stylish one- to four-bed apartments decorated in pastel colors, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking private sun decks and framing ocean-and-mountain vistas. Families will appreciate the quality childcare facilities; you can also soak in the two-tier infinity pool and dust off your golf clubs at the Ocean Course. Unusually, Timbers also has its own farm, which you can tour to learn about Hawaiian produce before enjoying macadamia-crusted monchong or pan-seared opah as part of your sea- and farm-to-table dining experience at Hualani’s, as well as a way to contribute to the local community.

Banyan Harbor Resort, for a sustainable stay in Lihue

Cosy living room space with rattan furniture and sliding doors to lanai at Banyan Harbor Resort in Lihue
Courtesy of Banyan Harbor Resort /

A short walk to the popular Kalapaki Beach, Banyan Harbor Resort is a great choice for independent travelers and families wishing to self-cater. You can look out over the harbor from your private lanai, relax in your cream-and-floral-print living room with wicker furniture or make active use of the tennis and basketball courts as well as the poolside barbecues. There’s a welcome nod towards sustainability, with such eco-friendly features as a saltwater pool and solar panels. While there is no on-site dining, you’re within a seven-minute walk from Duke’s Kauai (Hawaiian), Mariachi’s Mexican Cuisine and Café Portofino (pasta and seafood).

Marriott's Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu'u, for family fun in Lihue

Luxury living and dining space with sliding doors to outdoor lanai with ocean views at Marriott's Kauai Lagoons in Lihue
Courtesy of Marriott's Kauai Lagoons / Expedia

Shielded from downtown Lihue by the Kauai lagoons, there’s nothing much to distract you here from the panoramic views of the ocean and rocky coastline. The luxury two- or three-bedroom villas with full kitchens aim to be your home away from home, and they certainly exceed expectations. You’ll wish that your regular home had a two-tier pool surrounded by palm trees! Friendly staff are happy to arrange excursions to nearby attractions such as Fern Grotto, Huleia National Wildlife Refuge and Opaekaa Falls; if you prefer a less active stay, there’s a golf course a short drive away and an on-site whirlpool where you can simply relax. The resort is justifiably popular with families, thanks to the kids’ activity center and family-friendly fun, such as bamboo pole fishing and ukelele lessons.

Marriott's Kaua'i Beach Club, for great beach access in Lihue

Gigantic circular pool with views of Kalapaki Beach and Nawiliwili Bay at Marriott's Kauaʻi Beach Club in Lihue
Courtesy of Marriott's Kauaʻi Beach Club / Expedia

Location is everything at this glamorous hotel in Lihue that dominates the golden crescent of Kalapaki Beach. Everything in the communal areas is supersize and ornate, including the 26,000sqft (2,415sqm) circular pool. All rooms boast ocean views and kitchenettes, with stylish features scattered throughout, from carved wooden headboards and abstract art to floral prints. You don’t have to wander far for a meal: go for fish-heavy Pacific Rim fare at Kukui’s, specialty rolls and sake at Toro Tei sushi bar, or freshly roasted coffee and breakfast patties at Aupaka Terrace. Head to the very popular Duke’s, with its oceanfront “barefoot bar,” for a tropical-themed cocktail and a side of sunset colors.

Tip Top Motel Cafe & Bakery, for wallet-friendly comfort in Lihue

Simple bedroom with large bed and floral prints at Tip Top Motel, Cafe and Bakery
Courtesy of Tip Top Motel, Cafe and Bakery /

This family-run business in downtown Lihue started life as a bakery over 100 years ago and has developed into a bustling community focal point. Tiled, cream-colored rooms may be spartan compared to the flashier resorts – this is a motel after all – but they are air-conditioned and comfortable. Grab a booth in the cafe for some fluffy pancakes or hearty oxtail soup, or walk down the street to the organic Greenery Cafe or else the Aloha Roastery or Big Monster Sushi & Thai around the corner. You’re a five-minute stroll from the Kauai Museum.

Kauai Inn, for ocean and mountain views

The lush grounds of Kauai Inn in Lihue with green mountains rising behind it
Courtesy of Kauai Inn / Expedia

In contrast to some of the timeshare resorts, this is a traditional harborside hotel in Lihue that prides itself on warm customer service. The tropical grounds are overlooked by the dramatic Haupu Mountains, while room color schemes reflect riotous tropical vegetation – which you can also see from your lanai, along with glimpses of Nawiliwili Bay. On a romantic vacation with your sweetie? Splurge on a soaking tub suite, with a tub big enough for two. The inn is just west of Lihue, where Nawiliwili Bay meets the Huleia River, and within strolling distance of sports fishing charters nearby (in case deep-sea fishing is your passion).

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