Kauai is synonymous with lush, green mountains and valleys. However, those green panoramas come with a price: It takes rainfall, a whole lot of it, to create that verdant landscape. Now, most people don't come to Hawaii looking for a soggy vacation, but luckily, there are two sides to Kauai.
The northern half of the island sees more rain than the southern side; the area around Poipu offers tourists some beautiful beaches and plenty of sunshine. Nestled just east of Poipu Beach, perhaps the most delightful property on the entire island is the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa.
The Grand Hyatt is spread across 50 acres of oceanfront property, and its four-story buildings are built into a hillside, helping it blend in with the gorgeous landscaping. Lagoons and water features dot the grounds, so you're never far from the water.
Rooms are elegant and well appointed, and the expansive bathrooms are airy and bright, with double sinks. There's a mix of white marble, earth tones and plantation-style furnishings, which give a nice throwback vibe that doesn't feel dated and is still luxurious. The 602 rooms include safes, ceiling fans and minifridges as well as a lovely lanai with table and chairs, ideal for watching the waves on the Pacific from our oceanview guestroom. There are 37 suites on property: 26 oceanview, nine deluxe and two Presidential.
Upgrading to the Grand Club gives guests access to VIP service, which includes a dedicated concierge, complimentary breakfast, a beverage service and late afternoon hors d'oeuvres.
Our family's favorite aspect of the Grand Hyatt was the expansive pool area. A kids' wonderland, it includes a main pool, a quiet pool and a lap pool as well as a white sand beach, a huge saltwater swimming lagoon, a lazy river, 150-foot waterslide, an area for small children and hot tubs.
The Anara Spa, located on site, has indoor-outdoor treatment rooms and private lava rock showers, which we found incredibly relaxing. The 46,000-square-foot facility is set amid meandering stone paths and native foliage and also has complete hair and nail service as well as an extensive gym and 25-yard lap pool.
I was impressed with the Grand Hyatt's commitment to sustainability. Each room comes with two sports water bottles that guests can fill at filtered water stations located throughout the resort. There's also 18,500 square feet worth of solar cells on site, green roofs and a hydroponic garden serving the restaurants' needs. And heat produced by the air-conditioning system is used to heat the swimming pools, reducing environmental pollution.
The Grand Hyatt hosts a luau on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. There's a bounty of authentic Hawaiian food, including the traditional pua'a (pig). Our whole family enjoyed the evening entertainment, which tells stories through dance from all of the Polynesian islands.
There are a number of restaurant options on property. Guests can enjoy espresso in the morning at Seaview Terrace in the lobby atrium, evening sushi and drinks at Stevenson's Library, Italian cuisine at Dondero's and contemporary Hawaiian cuisine, seafood and steaks at Tidepools.
We counted 10 restaurants in all, enough to keep guests' interest even for a week's or 10-day vacation. And that's what my family and I loved about the Grand Hyatt: Even with the amazing sights all around Kauai, we never felt guilty for the days we spent at the resort, doing nothing but enjoying its grounds and amenities.