Kauai: Always Renewing

Renovations, additions and changes in management keep Kauai fresh and new even for repeat visitors. Below are some of the recent developments in hotels, attractions and activities.

HOTELS
The Sheraton Kauai Resort [(808) 742-1661] reopened on Dec. 1 after a $40 million rebuilding following its closing in the wake of Hurricane Iniki in 1992. The 413-room property has several new features, including three new beachfront buildings, renovated interiors in the oceanfront and garden sections, new arrival and check-in areas, added function space and new restaurant enhancements.

The 216-room Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort [(888) 823-5111] (previously the Wailua Bay Resort and, prior to that, the Kauai Resort Hotel), reopened early this year after completing a $3 million refurbishment of guest units and public facilities.

Castle Resorts & Hotels has acquired a portion of the Kiahuna Plantation that was previously managed by Village Resorts and has renamed it Kiahuna Plantation Resort and The Beach Bungalows at Kiahuna [(808) 742-2200]. Another section of the beachfront Poipu resort condo is operated by Outrigger.

Marc Resorts Hawaii assumed management of Embassy Vacation Resort Poipu Point [(800) 535-0085], following a merger with Signature Resorts, which has more than 50 resorts in North America and Europe.

The Plantation Hale recently became a Best Western. The 160-unit condo Best Western Plantation Hale [(808) 822-4941] is located in Kapaa.

The Outrigger Kauai Beach Hotel [(808) 245-1955] recently renewed its management agreement with Outrigger Hotels & Resorts for another five years and launched a $2 million renovation of public areas, including the lobby, restaurant, outdoor areas and activity facilities, all slated for completion by July.

Aston Hotels & Resorts took over the management of the Aston at Poipu Kai [(800) 922-7866] (formerly the Poipu Kai Condominium Resort), a 110-acre complex on Kauai's southern shore that has extensive recreational facilities, including nine tennis courts, six swimming pools and walking and jogging areas.

Another Aston property on Kauai, the Aston Kaha Lani [(808) 822-9331] recently completed work on a new putting green and enhanced its landscaping with the addition of 150 palm trees surrounding the property's entrance.

ATTRACTIONS
Poipu Beach Park has been completely restored with new picnic pavilions, sidewalks, wheelchair access and such public facilities as restrooms (replacing the portable toilets) and outdoor showers. Popular with families, this four-acre enclave overlooks the eastern part of Poipu Beach, and has facilities for swimming, surfing and snorkeling.

The National Tropical Botanical Garden [(808) 332-7834] recently opened a new visitor center across from Spouting Horn Park, in Kauai. The center is in a 1,400-square-foot renovated plantation home which was moved from a Kauai plantation to its present site.

The Botanical Garden also opened its science-oriented Lawai Garden to public tours for the first time this year.

Kauai Coffee Company [(510) 533-9040], Hawaii's largest coffee grower, is planning to open a visitor center, currently under construction, in May. The center, which will be in the middle of coffee fields near the coffee processing plant, will be housed in two relocated sugar plantation camp houses and will feature educational displays as well as retail space.

SPORTS
The new nine-hole, par-36, 3,500-yard Puakea Golf Course opened in the Grove Farm Company's new Puako subdivision. Additional holes are expected to be added in the next several years.

DINING
The opening of a number of new eateries in the Poipu Beach area is rapidly transforming the resort community into Kauai's "Restaurant Row." Recent additions have included the first Kauai branch of the famed Roy's Restaurants, Roy's Poipu Bay Grill and Bar [(808) 742-5000] which opened in the Poipu Shopping Village, and Piatti Restaurant [(808) 742-2216], popular in California, opened in the Kiahuna Plantation.

In other dining news, Shang Garden [(808) 742-8888] opened at the Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course, offering a clubhouse-style menu at breakfast and lunch and fine Chinese cuisine at dinner.

Jean-Marie Josselin, creator of the acclaimed A Pacific Cafe [(808) 822-0013], located at the Beach House, has added another Kauai eatery, the Pacific Bakery & Grill in Lihue.

TOUR OPERATORS
Haddon Holidays [(800) 257-7488], which sells Hawaii exclusively, has recently produced a brochure dedicated entirely to Kauai. It also debuted a Web site (www.visitkauai.com) to accompany it. The brochure was designed in conjunction with the Kauai Visitors Bureau. It includes a "Your Vacation, Your Way" menu that allows clients to choose individual vacation components, depending on individual tastes and budgets.

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Agents can now request information and brochures on Poipu Beach hotels and attractions by accessing the Poipu Beach Resort Association on the Internet at: poipu-beach.org. The association may also be contacted at Box 730, Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii 96765; (808) 742-7444; fax: (808) 742-7887; e-mail [email protected].

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  • The largest coffee plantation in Hawaii is the Island Coffee Co.'s 4,000-acre Kauai Estate Plantation.
  • The first major Hawaiian sugar plantation was located near Kohala in the 1830s.
  • With 480-plus acres of guava orchards under commercial cultivation at the Guava Kai Plantation in Kilauea, Kauai is the uncontested guava capital of the world.
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