It's a real pleasure to return to a resort where, on a previous visit, I had found a number of problems and find that virtually all of those problems have now been corrected. In addition, further improvements and upgrades have brought the resort up to the high standard of the brand it now represents.
Such is the case with the Kauai Beach Resort which I first visited in the summer of 2006, prior to its re-branding as a Hilton. I again visited the resort in September of 2007, just before to its first anniversary as a Hilton resort and again in 2010 after it came under the Aqua Hotels & Resorts banner.
In July 2009, the hotel's new owners SFI Kauai Operator LLC, a subsidiary of iStar Financial, selected Aqua Hotels & Resorts to assume management of the Hilton Kauai Beach Resort. The resort continues to operate under a license agreement with Hilton Inns, Inc., the franchise subsidiary of Beverly Hills-based Hilton Hotels Corporation.
The hotel has been converted to a fee simple ownership resort where units started at $249,000. These units are primarily investments for the unit owners. The resort, however, continues to operate as a full-service hotel. At any given time over 98% of rooms are available to the public. Owner within the rental pool retain a right to stay in their unit for annual two-week stays.
One benefit of the conversion is that the resort underwent an $18 million renovation project. This included extensive property upgrades as well as the addition of new facilities and services that are standards of the Hilton brand, including a 24-hour business center, executive club floor, Hilton Serenity Collection™ bedding and bath items, expanded fitness center and implementation of the Hilton HHonors® guest reward program.
With that being said, let's move on to our review of the property.
Above all else, I really love the location of this resort. Most condominium rentals, hotels and resorts on Kauai are located either in the Poipu Resort area or in Princeville. Both areas are fantastic, but there's something to be said for a resort that's located not only midway between the major sites and activities on the south shore and those on the north shore, but also close to the Lihue/Kapaa/Wailua areas.
The Kauai Beach Resort.is located right off the the Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56) just four miles north of the Lihue Airport.
For first time visitors to Kauai who want to see the entire island, visitors who plan lots of activities near Lihue, or those who just want to relax and stay close to their resort, there's no better location than the Kauai Beach Resort.
The resort's beachfront location is beautiful, with amazing views to the north and south along the beach and a lovely natural area adjacent to the property on the south.
Swimming in the ocean is not recommended due to the dangerous surf. The nighttime sky from the beach is free from ambient light and filled with stars, which is one thing I look for in a beach resort in Hawaii.
This is a very strong point for the resort. The staff is very efficient, friendly, knowledgeable, polite and, most importantly in my mind, they have a great sense of humor.
My first visit was in the summer of 2006 during the resort's period of renovation prior to its official transition to a Hilton (of which I was then unaware). My itinerary called for me to stay at the Kauai Beach Hotel, but several signs were already reflecting the Hilton brand. I was confused.
When I asked the young lady at the front desk if this was indeed the Kauai Beach Hotel, she laughed and said that they have an identity crisis at the hotel. They were once a Hilton, then an Outrigger, then a Radisson, then independent and were soon to be a Hilton again.
I found her comment charming. It put me at ease and assured me that everything would be OK for my stay. I found the rest of the resort staff equally as good both on that visit and on my recent stay.
RoomsOn my first visit in the summer of 2006, I stayed in an un-renovated room. I was disappointed by the air conditioning controls, bathrooms and a door which was difficult to close. I'm pleased to say, that with the completion of renovations all of these problems have been addressed. Specifically, bathroom fixtures have been upgraded including a new tub grab bar, towel rack and under vanity shelf. Individual climate controls have been installed along with new guest room doors.
In addition guest room and bath interiors have been upgraded with plush new carpeting, Balinese-style wood entry doors, plantation-louvered closet doors, new lighting fixtures and luxurious travertine marble bath and floors. Each bath features the Hilton Serenity Collection™ bath items, with the Crabtree & Evelyn line of La Source® bath amenities.
Guest rooms are outfitted with new furnishings including a large work desk with desk-level outlets and ergonomic chair, the easy-to-set Hilton Family alarm clock radio with MP3 player connectivity and the Hilton Serenity Bed, which features the Serta Suite Dreams® mattress and box springs, Pacific Coast® down duvet and down pillows, Super Topper mattress pads and 250-thread-count linens.
My only complaint is about the clock radios, many of which show inaccurate time and which are virtually impossible for a guest to correct without a screw driver and knowledge of the location of the time controls.
Guest corridors have been transformed with elegant board and baton wainscoting to complement the plantation-style design of the lobby. New carpeting and new antique brass sconces create a softer ambiance with incandescent lighting to replace the previous fluorescent lighting fixtures.