Kauai Marriott Resort's public spaces display an array of Hawaiian artifacts, such as this koa wood outrigger canoe in the lobby. // © 2016 Dana Rebmann
Feature image (above): Kauai Marriott Resort lays claim to Hawaii’s largest, single-level outdoor pool. // © 2016 Dana Rebmann
Between the pool, beach and resort activities — including yoga, flower lei-making and family scavenger hunts — Kauai Marriott Resort is an attractive property for families, reunions and romantic escapes. It’s located along Kalapaki Beach, just a mile from Lihue Airport, and its complimentary shuttle service makes quick getaways even easier.
Accommodations With a View
The property features 356 rooms and suites. I found my room to be breezy and modern, with well-thought-out perks such as numerous well-placed electrical outlets and bedside reading lamps. The private balcony with a combination ocean and pool view is what most clients will write home (or tweet) about.
With 800 beachfront acres alone, the resort is large, but exploring is part of the fun. Lush, tropical gardens bloom year-round, and statues are scattered throughout the grounds. History buffs will enjoy the Hawaiian artifacts on display, including a can’t-miss canoe in the center of the lobby. The property is also part of the Marriott Vacation Club.
Rooms are stocked with Kauai Coffee, but a steady supply of easy-to-grab morning caffeine can be found on Aupaka Terrace. Guests can purchase reusable Mahalo Mugs that are good for unlimited refills on coffee and fountain soft drinks throughout their stay. Repeat guests should hold on to the mugs, as they’re good for an entire year.
Guests can go from taxiing on the airport runway to jumping in the pool at Kauai Marriott in a matter of minutes. And it’s not just any ordinary pool. It’s the largest, single-level outdoor pool in Hawaii. At 26,000 square feet, it’s what kids’ vacation dreams are made of.
But with five hot tubs, four waterfalls, a separate children’s pool with slide and 500 chaise lounge chairs, you don’t have to be a kid to get excited about taking the plunge. The pool has an impressive 210-foot diameter, with 1.8 million black and light-blue mosaic tiles.
The pool is the focal point of the resort, but the beach also draws its fair share of guests. Nestled in a cove on Kalapaki Bay, the kid-friendly beach is good for a long list of activities including swimming, bodysurfing, paddleboarding and surfing lessons. Equipment rentals are available on the beach.
If clients can’t decide which splashy location to call home, it’s no problem: The pool and beach are only steps away from each other, making going back and forth a breeze.
Restaurants and Gardens
Kauai Marriott has five open-air restaurants that offer a range of options, including island fare, fresh fish, steaks, Italian and the popular Duke’s Canoe Club & Barefoot Bar. Toro Tei Sushi Bar is a must-try.
The restaurant’s beachfront stretch is also home to the resort’s unique herb garden, which is cleverly planted in recycled rain gutters. Kauai Marriott chef Guy Higa has a hands-on approach to growing food for guests — the on-site garden gutters, combined with his home garden, supplies 80 percent of all the herbs used in the hotel’s kitchens. And chef Higa’s green thumb isn’t limited to herbs. He also grows avocados, Hawaiian oranges, figs, plums, lilikoi, kale, purple beans and numerous other crops.
“I try funky things,” Higa said. “If they don’t work, they don’t work.”
But when those funky things do work, they have a fun way of winding up on the resort’s menus for guests to enjoy.