The weather system which had been soaking Maui had also been causing rainy weather on the island of Kauai, although to a much lesser degree. Nevertheless, our arrival at Lihue Airport was met with cool, rainy and windy conditions.
Luckily, despite our morning arrival, we called ahead to our hotel and learned that we could check-in immediately, rather than wait until the normal mid-afternoon check-in time. We are staying at the Sheraton Kauai Resort, located on Poipu Beach, on the southern coast of the island.
The Sheraton Kauai is a beautiful resort, situated on the beach that was chosen in 2001 as "Best Beach in the World" by renowned beach expert Dr. "Beach" Steve Leatherman. The resort was largely reconstructed after severe damage in Hurricane Iniki in 1992. It is well deserving of the praise it receives as one of Hawaii's finest resorts. We'll be doing an in-depth feature on the resort in future weeks.
With some time to spare we decided to drive west along the southern coast of Kauai. It was the only area of the island where the sun was actually shining. Our trip took us to the famous "Spouting Horn" on Lawai`i Road and then north to Highway 530 where we proceeded west through the towns of Koloa, Lawa`i, Kalaheo, Hanapepe and finally Waimea where we took time for a shave ice at Jo-Jo's Clubhouse, often considered the best place to buy shave ice on Kauai.
By far, the highlight of our drive was a visit to the lovely beach in Hanapepe called Salt Pond Beach Park. This is a great beach for family gatherings with lots of pavilions for eating and plenty of flat space on the beach for games. The water is relatively calm and the sun bright and warm. During the summer months they say that you can still see Hawaiians making salt in the only natural salt pond in Hawaii still used to make salt. Seawater is pumped into containers and allowed to evaporate in the sun.
We returned to the Sheraton Kauai Resort in time to change and meet the resort's Director of Communications, Tanya "Tani" Bova for dinner at the resort's Shells Steak and Seafood Restaurant. Award-winning Executive Chef, Scott Kealoha Lutey, is known for his expertise in combining flavors of the Pacific with such traditional foods as potatoes, vegetables and seafood. Scott prepared a special multi-course dinner for us which was absolutely fantastic. This is one restaurant that you won't want to miss on Kauai.
"Tani" Bova has a extensive background in the hospitality industry, having overseen the opening of numerous hotels and resorts throughout the world. Her home, however, is on the north shore of Kauai and her obvious passion is the Sheraton Kauai Resort and the Poipu area. With a strong belief that the best way to promote a single resort is to work in conjunction with the neighboring resorts in the area, "Tani" is a strong voice in the Poipu Beach Resort Association which represents the majority of businesses, hotels, resorts and restaurants in the area. With such a strong association under the leadership of Executive Director, Margy Parker, there is little question as to why the Poipu resort area is renowned as one top vacation destinations in the world.
As we indicated, we'll be doing a much more in-depth features on the Sheraton Kauai Resort as well as the Poipu Beach Resort Association once we return to the mainland.
Tomorrow morning we're off to Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. In the afternoon we are scheduled for a 90 minute helicopter ride with Jack Harter Helicopters.