When I learned that I would be spending a few nights at the Hanalei Colony Resort on Kauai's North Shore as part of a September 2010 media trip to Kauai, I had somewhat mixed feelings. All I really knew about the resort was through their website and some promotional materials I had received over the years.
I knew that the resort was somewhat remote - about 15-20 minutes west of Hanalei and an hour away from the Lihue Airport. I knew that the resort's condominium units had no televisions, stereos or phones. While I was eager to experience what the resort had to offer, I feared that it might be too remote and too "disconnected" for my personal taste. I was wrong.
I arrived at the Hanalei Colony Resort just before sunset, having rushed from the airport to avoid having to drive the narrow winding road past Hanalei in the dark. Just before 7:00 p.m., the office had closed for the day, but an envelope was prominently displayed with directions and key to my condominium.
My first impressions upon entering my unit were very positive. It was immaculately clean, roomy with two bedrooms, living area, two bathrooms, full kitchen and lanai (patio). What really took my breath away was the view. Through the unit's large and numerous windows, I discovered that I was just feet away from the beach and the ocean beyond.
I realized right away that I'd be spending a lot of time sitting in the unit's living room listening to the ocean's wave crash upon the beach and gazing at the amazing views. Little did I know then how amazing those views would be at sunrise.
I discovered that, contrary to the resort's website, I would have wireless Internet in my room once I was able to learn the access codes in the morning. In speaking with the resort's General Manager, Laura Richards, I later learned that ever since she realized how much she needed to stay connected while traveling, she recognized that many of the resort's guests would have the same need.
Dinner and Early to Bed
Since it was getting late and my stomach was craving food after nearly 20 hours of travel, I walked over the resort's oceanfront, award-winning Mediterranean Gourmet restaurant for what was to be my first of two superb dinners during my stay. Mediterranean Gourmet.
Chef/owner Imad Beydoun and his wife, Yarrow, have operated the restaurant since 2006 and feature menu selections featuring Greek, French, Spanish, Italian and Middle Eastern influences, along with an assortment of Pacific Rim favorites.
In that short period of time the restaurant has received numerous accolades including Honolulu Magazine's awards for Best New Restaurant on Kaua'i - 2007 and Best Restaurant on Kaua'i - 2008 and 2009.
Even though it was just a little after 9:00 p.m. when I got back to my unit, I headed to bed, since I had been awake for almost 24 hours since leaving Philadelphia in the early morning.
First Day - Check-in and Exploring Kauai's North Shore
As is usual for visitors from the east coast, I woke up prior to dawn, my internal clock thinking it was already late morning. As I sat in my living room and later on my lanai, I watched one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen. I knew then that the resort and I would get along just fine.
When the resort's office opened at 8:00 a.m., I completed my check-in. As I walked from my unit to the office, I was impressed by how well maintained and landscaped the grounds of the resort were kept. I was also impressed by the number of staff I saw throughout what is a relatively small resort - just 48 rental units.
Having arrived a day early for the media trip, I decided to spend the day exploring Kauai's North Shore from Ke'e Beach to Hanalei Town. This is an area that I had visited many times, but rarely had time to explore in-depth since it was always a long drive from other island accommodations. I had to laugh later that evening when, at the opening reception for our trip, a number of the activity providers in attendance commented that they too rarely visit this area despite the fact that they live on Kauai. It's just "too far."
With the full day to spend at my leisure I was able to explore many of the North Shore beaches including Secret Beach, a destination I had long wanted to see. I soon learned one of the reasons that the beach is so "secret." It's a steep and somewhat slippery hike down to the beach and an even more steep and challenging hike back up. I also had time to spend a couple of hours exploring and photographing Hanalei Town and Hanalei Bay. So much had changed since my last visit just three years ago. Many businesses have changed hands.
Welcome Reception and Activities
The welcome reception that evening was held at the resort's pool are which I learned will soon be undergoing some renovation, part of which will be to provide a more attractive and direct means of access for guests.
The reception was catered by Mediterranean Gourmet which pleased all in attendance. The resort's staff was attentive and friendly, especially their General Manager Laura Richards and Wedding/Events Coordinator Bree Deverill. Bree explained how popular the resort is for honeymoon couples, married couples celebrating anniversaries or undertaking vow renewals and folks who just want to spend time with their significant others reconnecting. With such a peaceful and quiet location with little outside noise except the sound of the wind and waves, it's easy to see why.
The following two days were filled with numerous activities including a outing with Photo Safari Hawaii and a visit to Na 'Aina Kai Botanical Garden. I did make sure to have time to visit the resort's Napali Art Gallery & Coffee Shop which has some beautiful artwork and photography for sale and is always popular for morning coffee, espresso and pastries as well as mid-day snacks to go.
I thoroughly enjoyed my three days at the Hanalei Colony Resort and I quickly learned why the resort has so many loyal customers who relish their time at this wonderful resort in one of Hawaii's most beautiful locations. As the resort says in their promotional material "Hanalei Colony is unspoiled...unplugged...unforgettable."
Photos and Fact Sheet
View our gallery of 18 photos taken at the Hanalei Colony Resort.
Check out the resort's fact sheet for more detailed information about the Hanalei Colony Resort.