Poipu Pads

You’d think a condominium in perpetually sunny Poipu would need air-conditioning, but at Kiahuna Plantation Resort it’s not necessary. Like so many other aspects of this South Kauai property, the in-room cooling system tradewinds, ceiling fans and screened sliding doors is natural and refreshing.

By: Marty Wentzel

You’d think a condominium in perpetually sunny Poipu would need air-conditioning, but at Kiahuna Plantation Resort it’s not necessary. Like so many other aspects of this South Kauai property, the in-room cooling system tradewinds, ceiling fans and screened sliding doors is natural and refreshing.

Kiahuna management is split between Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, which has 195 units in its rental program, and Castle Hotels & Resorts, with 120. While I stayed in an Outrigger unit, I could see virtually no division between the Castle and Outrigger programs, except for the location of the check-in area. Poipu is warmer and sunnier than much of Kauai, but it’s blessed with breezes most of the year. Throughout my visit I was comfortable whether inside or outside.

At Kiahuna, people tend to gravitate to the great outdoors from predawn until post-dusk. All units are within walking distance of a terrific swimming beach. Non-swimmers lounge on chairs on perfectly manicured lawns dotted by coconut trees. Others relax on their open-air lanais playing cards, reading, sipping drinks or just napping. The property is well situated for popular South Shore activities such as biking, horseback riding, golf and tennis.

Kiahuna’s tidy white buildings with long sloping brown roofs recall the architecture of Kauai’s sugar plantations of a century ago. Structures are no taller than three stories, and there are no elevators for the upper units.

Inside, Kiahuna’s one- and two-bedroom condominium units include living and dining areas and private lanais opening to garden or ocean views. One-bedroom units sleep up to four people, with two-bedroom units sleeping up to six. Rooms come with VCRs, and movies can be rented from the front desk.

Units are identical in terms of floor plans, amenities and services. Fabrics and art vary within a tropical or Hawaiian theme, and furniture is rattan, bamboo or wicker.

My kitchen was so well-equipped that it was a shame I was traveling alone. I could have hosted a small dinner party thanks to the dishwasher, microwave oven, range, refrigerator, coffee maker and cooking supplies. For groceries, guests can go across the street to the convenience store at Poipu Shopping Village.

If guests don’t feel like cooking in their units, Kiahuna features outdoor barbecue and picnic facilities, well-suited to families and friends traveling together.

While it’s a condominium, Kiahuna provides such amenities as daily maid service, free parking, a beach activity center, a tour desk and a seasonal children’s program. The staff is quick to please. For instance, I didn’t have a hair dryer in my bathroom, but when I called the front desk, someone brought me one within minutes of my request.

In keeping with the architectural theme of the resort, the 1930’s building housing Outrigger’s front desk and reception area has an open-air garden setting. There, you’ll also find Plantation Gardens restaurant, which offers Pacific Rim cuisine.

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