A Romantic Tour of KauaiWords by Courtney Kellar
If you’re considering Hawaii for your destination wedding or honeymoon, it can be difficult deciding which island to visit. Asking friends and family, “What’s your favorite island?” is hardly helpful because everyone has a different, passionate response. The truth is, there is no wrong answer – so rest easy! But, if you’re looking for quintessential “Hawaiian” landscapes and lots of options when it comes to restaurants and accommodations, Kauai is the island for you. I was fortunate enough on a recent visit to get a thorough tour of the island, so here is my recommended “360° Tour of Kauai.”
The St. Regis Princeville Resort
Start your destination wedding or honeymoon off right at The St. Regis Princeville Resort. Set into a ridge overlooking Hanalei Bay, the views are some of the best on the island. The beach is truly breathtaking, so be sure to set aside some serious sunbathing time. If you can drag yourself away from the sand, the Halele’a Spa at The St. Regis Princeville Resort is well worth it. Take some time for you and your loved one by booking a couple’s Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage. According to Don Chock, Director of Sales and Marketing, roughly 85 percent of guests at the St. Regis Princeville Resort are celebrating a special occasion. It’s no surprise as this is one special place.
Princeville Makai Golf Club
Recently ranked one of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest, zip around Princeville Makai Golf Club in style by renting a GolfBoard. “Surf the earth” on one of these electric boards that are the brainchild of big wave surfer, Laird Hamilton. After you’ve hung-up your clubs, stick around for the Sunset Golf Club Tour. Take in the sunset with a romantic spin around the course to some of the most scenic spots.
Stroll the friendly streets for a food truck lunch or shopping. More importantly, run – don’t walk – to Wailua Shave Ice. Don’t let the sweet faces of the adorable teens running the place fool you. With flavors like Lilikoi Cream and Uala Niu (sweet potato), this shave ice is no joke.
In addition to being a popular wedding venue on the island, Kilohana Plantation also offers historic train tours that are sure to be a hit – especially with the kiddos! While the little ones are on the tour, stroll next door to the Kōloa Rum Company for a free tasting of their award-winning rums and be sure to try the Koloa Kauai Coffee rum! If you’re considering treating yourselves or your guests to a traditional Hawaiian lu’au, Kilohana’s Lu’au Kalamaku takes it to the next level. Be sure to make a reservation and request a private section for your wedding party.
Grand Hyatt Kauai
The pool scene at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu can’t be beat! It’s an endless maze of lava-rock lined lazy rivers, waterfalls, secret caves and even a water slide. They also have a sandy-bottom, saltwater lagoon. For your “I do’s,” the Grand Lawn Gazebo is breathtaking. To celebrate, be sure to make a reservation at the hotel’s signature Tidepools restaurant. Commonly considered the most romantic restaurant on-island, you’ll enjoy contemporary Hawaiian cuisine and craft cocktails.
Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach
If it’s a boutique hotel with a super relaxed atmosphere you’re after, then Ko’a Kea Hotel in Poipu is for you. Their on-site restaurant, Red Salt, will no doubt be a highlight of your trip with cheat-meal-worthy dishes like Kona Lobster Gnocchi and the Red Salt Burger, which is topped with lobster and foie gras!
Capt. Andy’s Sailing Adventures & Raft Expeditions
You can’t come to Kauai and not see the Nāpali Coast – and Capt. Andy’s is the way to go. You can hike, sail or raft, but we recommend the Nāpali Snorkel Picnic Sail. There’s a catch, though. If you’re prone to motion sickness, you might want to keep your feet on solid ground or opt for a helicopter tour instead. Also, be sure to book the early morning sail – it will be cooler and the waters will be calmer.
After you’ve seen the wonder that is Nāpali, swing by Hanapēpē Town for OnoPops or fresh ahi poke from one of the local markets.
No matter what Hawaiian island you choose for your destination wedding or honeymoon, you won’t be disappointed. But, we have to admit, we sure have a soft spot for Kauai.
Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): The St. Regis Princeville Resort (1st & 2nd), Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach (3rd), Courtney Cox (4th-6th), Grand Hyatt Kauai (7th)
This article originally appeared in the 2017 Fall/Winter Issue. You can order a copy here.
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