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Destination I Do

Discover Kaua’i For Yourself

Words by Courtney Kellar

Once you’ve made the wonderful decision to have a destination wedding or a honeymoon, comes the daunting task of picking a locale. Here at Destination I Do, we’ve traveled the World looking for the most adventurous nooks and romantic crannies which will suit you and your guests perfectly. While we’ve scoured the globe, we find ourselves coming back to one destination again and again: Kaua’i, Hawaii.

If you’ve never been to Hawaii before, we recommend Kaua’i because it strikes the perfect balance between modern amenities and maintaining the quintessential Hawaiian lifestyle. For example, you can opt for any number of luxurious hotels, but none of them are going to be taller than a coconut tree – per island regulations.

Termed the “Island of Discovery” and “The Garden Isle,” there’s something for everyone – you just have to decide what fits your style, or budget, best. We visited some of the island’s biggest hot-spots, each of which offers something totally different. Spend time for your destination wedding or honeymoon at one or all of them, either way you’re guaranteed to have a memorable experience.

STAY

Waimea Plantation Cottages
This unique property resulted from the remaining sugar cane plantation cottages from around Kaua’i being transported to a single, gorgeous piece of land. The charming cottages date back to the early 1900s and are perfect for large groups or families on a tight budget. The full kitchens and multiple bedrooms are ideal for those comfortable with sharing, but keep in mind these cottages haven’t been recently renovated. Waimea Plantation Cottages are for the more rustically inclined who are willing to drive to the best beaches.

Grand Hyatt Kaua’i
Located on the south side of the island near Poipu, the Grand Hyatt is a sprawling property with beautiful gardens, large ponds and more than enough ceremony and reception options to go around. The level of luxury here is sure to please the adults, but it’s definitely still kid-friendly. The Hyatt’s pool is unlike any I’ve seen before and offers a winding “lazy river” and multiple private deck areas. If you’re looking to relax with a book and a cold beverage, the resort’s salt water lagoon is a happy medium between the nearby ocean and pool.

The St. Regis Princeville
If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, then the St. Regis should be at the top of your list. Located on the north side of the island and overlooking Hanalei Bay, this cliffside resort cleverly sidesteps the coconut tree height requirement to offer the most breathtaking views possible. The beach here is undoubtedly one of the best I’ve ever seen (see pg. __ for our round-up of the best beaches) and the service is excellent. The St. Regis has partnered with a single local vendor, Martin Roberts Design, to handle all of the décor and flowers for their on-site weddings, making things logistically simple and absolutely stunning.

EAT

Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt Kaua’i
This romantic restaurant resembles waterfront bungalows and features waterfalls, an open-air atmosphere and circling koi fish. The setting and fantastic seafood make this a great option for an intimate dinner for two or a rehearsal dinner.

Gaylord’s Restaurant
This historic spot at Kilohana Plantation is great for a lovely lunch and also frequently caters, no pun intended, to the wedding crowd. Thirsty? Stop by next door at the Koloa Rum Co. for a tasting and some Kaua’i rum souvenirs.

Makana Terrace
The stand-out restaurant at the St. Regis Princeville, the views from Makana Terrace alone warrant a romantic dinner here. They are open all day, but we recommend an evening meal of hand-crafted sushi and a signature Bloody Mary.

PLAY

Napali Coast Sail
When it comes to discovering the island, the Napali Coast is an absolute must-see. Kaua’i Sea Tours offers a coastal sail on which you’ll not only see the stunning cliffs and valleys of Napali, but plenty of wildlife along the way. However, stick to the summer months for calmer waters and take the helicopter tour instead if you’re prone to seasickness.

Photo Safari Hawaii
If you’re a budding photographer, this company provides tours of the island geared toward capturing the best light to help improve your photography skills and exploring hidden gems of the island.

Scenic Helicopter Tour
If you only do one thing while visiting Kaua’i, take a scenic helicopter tour. I took a doors-off tour with Jack Harter Helicopters and it was one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had. Fly in and out of velvety-green canyons, under rainbows and try to keep track of how many waterfalls you spot. I lost track around 20…

Whether you’re looking for adventurous activities, world-class beaches or take-your-breath-away unspoiled beauty, Kaua’i has all of this and more. No matter where you end up opting to celebrate your love or say “I do,” the “Garden Isle” of Hawaii is waiting to please.

This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2014 issue. You can order a copy here.

Photos courtesy of Courtney Cox (first, second, & third), Grand Hyatt Kaua'i (fourth) St. Regis Princeville (fifth & last).  
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