1) the famed Na’Poli Coast from a lookout along the Kalalau Trail
2) the sunsets on Kaua’i at Hanalei Bay are amazing each and every night
After a spell in Honolulu we flew up to Kaua’i, rented a car, and took up residence for a week at the stunning St. Regis Princeville which overlooks Hanalei Bay (probably best known as the home of Puff the Magic Dragon). If you surf Hanalei Bay, which we did lots of, you can see the outline of Puffy from the Bay.
3) Hawaiian Airlines gets us there; 4) the view from our room at the St. Regis
5 & 6) our room
7) greetings and chocolate from the Hotel GM; 8) our room even has a hook to hold the leis we received upon arrival – classy!
9) the St. Regis Lobby Bar; 10) the lobby
11) the pool; 12) each morning we had all manner of birds greeting us (actually hoping for some crumbs more likely)
13) I spent a lot of time lying right here with this view!
14) down by the beach; 15) I spent a lot of time lying here too
16) looking across Hanalei Bay; 17) greens everywhere
18) even when threatening a brief shower; it’s beautiful
We did a whole lot of nothing while at the St. Regis. We ate (of course) – trying the hotel’s John George Vongerichten restaurant, Kaua’i Grill (which was disappointing – good food served in a cavernous, busy, noisy room with hurried [if professional] service), the Makena Terrace (which was infinitely better Kaua’i Grill [take note John Georges!] and spent Thursday evening with most of the hotel’s guests in the lobby bar when the entire island suffered a complete blackout, conveniently enough just as the champagne was being sabred (a St Regis tradition that we’ve enjoyed both in Singapore and Washington) and the sun set.
20) dinner was best on the Makena Terrace – this was our view one night with a splendid bottle of California chardonnay
21) sunset that same night
22) we ordered sushi to finish one meal; 23) the view first thing in the morning with lots of volcano ‘mist’ in the air
24) moi, sur la plage avec MaiTai; 25) wanna surf?! … we did … lots
26 & 27) ahi tuna sliders and pizza at the beach one afternoon
28) me in my rash guard heading out to surf the day; 29) our uber good surfing guide, Eli, assists some young surfers as we depart
30) the dock at Hanalei Bay; 31) paddleboarders and surfers head out
32) sunset one night from my room with the telephoto lens
We spent a few days exploring Kaua’i and headed south then west to the island’s famed Waimea Canyon (known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and which was utterly breath-taking) and drove from there up to Koke’e State Park and the lookout at Kalalau Valley where you can gaze out onto the splendour that is Kaua’i’s Na’Poli Coast (I cannot more highly recommend this should you visit – pack a light jacket as it is cold up on top).
33) lunch at the Shrimp Station where we had, 34) fish tacos
35) and coconut shrimp; 36) Chicken in a Barrel BBQ another day where we had …
37) their combo platter – the chicken, amazing! the beef rib, less so; 38) at the beach at Kapa’a
39 & 40) on the Kokee Road up to Waimea Canyon and Kalalau Lookout
41) looking back south to the Waimea; 42) Captain Cook of course
43) looking West to the island of Ni”ihau (which is privately owned by descendants of the Scottish Robertson Family, who bought it from the Kingdom of Hawai’i back in 1864
44) heading into the canyon
45) arriving in Waimea Canyon
46) a Hawaiian stilt; 47) rice or poi field?
48) on the way up to hike the Kalalau Trail; 49) G dwarfed in Wet Cave
50) the famed Lumaha’i Beach from South Pacific; 51) looking across Hanalei Bay from Lumahai’ Beach to our resort
52) G on Lumaha’i Beach
53) the Kalalau Lookout
54) the Kalalau Lookout
55) the Kalalau Lookout – worth the drive for sure
56) Kapa’a beach; 57) Waimea Falls (aka Fantasy Island falls)
58 & 59) me just outside Princeville looking into the valley
60) the Kilauea Lighthouse
61) the Kilauea Lighthouse
62) G hiking the Kalalau Trail (this is far steeper than it appears here let me tell you; 63) looking down onto Ke’e Beach (where we started hiking)
Kaua’i has a population of some 67,000 souls and it is Hawai’i as it was before rampant tourism consumed all (witness: Mau’i). We also spent a day hiking the Kalalau Trail that winds itself from Ke’e Beach along the Na’Poli Coast to several lookouts and Kalalau Beach. As an aside, Kaua’i is home to one of the rainiest places on earth – the summit of Kaua’i main mountain, called Mount Wai’ale’ale. It seem to be always covered in mist and fog whilst we were there and I’m still not convinced it has a top!
Kaua’i is famous for the movies that have been filmed on its shores including “The Descendants” (right in Hanalei Bay); “South Pacific” (again featuring Hanalei Bay – the house where George Clooney first meets his wife’s lover is right on the beach there); “Blue Hawaii” (at the now, sadly, hurricane swept Coconut Grove Hotel); “Jurassic Park”, and is even home to the (in person underwhelming) double waterfall from “Fantasy Island”.
Suffice to say that G and I adored – utterly, simply and completely adored Kaua’i. This is saying a lot as, since the first day I breathed air, I have had no desire whatsoever to visit Hawai’i. So, go figure. After a week of complete indulgence, we flew back down to Honolulu to complete our holiday with some surfing on Waikiki Beach and a stay at the iconic grand old lady of Oahu hotels – the Luxury Collection’s Royal Hawaiian Hotel (aka, the Pink Palace).
64) aloha till we return to catch the waves again!