Where to Book a Stay in Kauai, Hawaii

Choose between a dip in the pool and a swim in the ocean at Marriotts Kauai Lagoons
Choose between a dip in the pool and a swim in the ocean at Marriott's Kauai Lagoons | Courtesy of Marriott's Kauai Lagoons / Expedia
Siobhan Grogan

Say aloha to the oldest and least developed Hawaiian island – used as the idyllic location for various Hollywood blockbusters including South Pacific and Avatar – that is a natural wonderland of remote vanilla beaches, tropical valleys, and cloud-nuzzling mountains. Hotels are largely scattered along the coast, from the sunnier south to the scenic and, often, pricier north. Choose between large resorts with plenty to do, beachfront boutiques for laid-back days, or historic inns – these are the best places to stay in Kauai.

1. Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy

Apartment

A yellow and cream-toned twin room at the Kauai Coast Resort, with a terrace
Courtesy of Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy / Expedia

Don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere? This beachfront resort, on the east side of Kauai, is the perfect compromise. Coconut Marketplace is just steps away from the hotel with more than 30 shops, galleries, restaurants, and even a farmer’s market. The hotel itself has a large swimming pool and separate children’s pool, an ocean-side spa, a fire-pit area, and a fine-dining restaurant with Pacific Ocean views.

2. Kauai Shores Hotel

Independent Hotel

An outdoor pool at Kauai Shores Hotel, surrounded by sun loungers and with a view of the ocean
Courtesy of Kauai Shores Hotel / Expedia

Lazy days on the beach are a doodle at this boutique property in Kapa’a. Golden sands are moments from the bright, budget-friendly bedrooms, splashed with lime-green accents. Guests can enjoy two swimming pools, a hot tub, bicycle rentals, and daily outdoor yoga on a seafront lawn. If you really can’t leave the sands, the hotel’s beach club restaurant is right by the waterfront, serving up ahi burgers and coconut shrimp.

3. Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay

Chain Hotel

A restaurant and bar at Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay with long communal tables and blue chairs
Courtesy of Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay / Expedia

This Hilton hotel, adjacent to the family-friendly Lydgate Beach Park and just 15 minutes from Wailua Falls and Lihue Airport, is ideal if you have extra needs on holiday. The hotel’s impressive list of accessible features includes adapted rooms, wheelchair ramps for lobby access, accessible public areas, and a swimming pool hoist. Elsewhere, the hotel offers a 24-hour mini-market, car rental desk, and two restaurants including a poolside tiki eatery serving handcrafted cocktails.

4. The Kauai Inn

Bed and Breakfast, Inn

A bedroom at the Kauai Inn with a turquoise colour scheme and direct garden access
Courtesy of Kauai Inn / Expedia

Welcoming guests for over 100 years, the family-owned Kauai Inn offers a traditional Hawaiian charm unrivaled by any of the big-name hotel brands. The hotel is located three miles (4.8km) from the airport near Kalapaki beach, where Nawiliwili Bay meets the Huleia River. Some rooms come with private balconies, kitchenettes, or soaking tubs – but all include complimentary continental breakfast, parking, and use of the tranquil, palm-lined outdoor pool.

5. Marriott's Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu'u

Chain Hotel, Resort

A living area at Marriotts Kauai Lagoons with a seating space, four-person dining table and garden-side patio
Courtesy of Marriott's Kauai Lagoons / Expedia

Boredom is not an option for guests at Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons. This ideally located oceanfront resort is a short drive from stunning Kalapaki Beach, while three top golf courses are moments away. Fern Grotto, Huleia National Wildlife Refuge, and Opaeka’a Falls are also on the doorstep. If a lazy day is in order, lounge by the resort’s own two-level pool, before retiring for cocktails on the private balcony of your two- or three-bedroom villa.

6. Kauai Beach Resort & Spa

Independent Hotel, Resort

A common space at Kauai Beach Resort with four armchairs and indoor plants
Courtesy of Kauai Beach Resort / Expedia

There’s no need to leave the 25-acre (10ha) Kauai Beach Resort if you don’t fancy it. The oceanfront hotel gives guests a taste of the island without the hassle of traveling by offering complimentary classes in everything from hula dancing to ukulele playing. It’s easy to sample the finest Hawaiian produce at the resort’s excellent restaurants too, including fish tacos and local beer at Shutter’s Lounge.

7. Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort

Chain Hotel

An ocean-view dining and living room at the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort, with a table and chairs in the foreground and sofa behind
Courtesy of Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort / Expedia

A resort with added wow factor, this Kapa’a property is built around a show-stopping infinity pool that leads straight to a vast expanse of ocean past fire pits and a seafront café. Once the sun goes down, sample locally caught fish at the al fresco Moamoa Hawaiian Fish House or celebrate island culture at the twice-weekly Luau Makaiwa; guests can watch Hawaiian music and dance performances before a banquet of local dishes, including green coconut curry.

8. Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach

Boutique Hotel, Resort, Luxury

Wooden deck chairs surround firepits in the ocean-side grounds at Koa Kea Hotel & Resort
Courtesy of Koa Kea Hotel & Resort / Expedia

Steps from Poipu Beach – voted one of America’s best beaches – it’ll be hard to find a better location on Kauai than Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort. The resort is close to the ocean with a coastline peppered with unique reef formations, yet close to attractions including a shopping village. For guests who want to stay within the resort, there’s a blissful pool, spa, yoga, and fitness studio, plus a restaurant and watersports hut.

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