by Diana Lambdin Meyer
Hawaii is renowned for its beautiful sunsets and they don’t get a lot better than what you’ll see from the terrace at the Princeville Resort. Snuggled into a cliff side on beautiful Hanalei Bay, most rooms and all restaurant views face west, making the closing of the day a magical time at this luxury resort.
Located on Kauai’s north shore, the Princeville resort area was so named to honor the 1860’s visit of Prince Albert, the son of Hawaiian King Kamehameha IV. It’s a pristine development of hotels, private homes, golf courses and a beautiful view of Hanalei Bay.
If you’ve ever seen the 1958 movie South Pacific or perhaps you’ve starred in a high school rendition of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, you know the area that is Princeville. The movie was shot here on the north shore and Bali Hai is indeed Mount Makana, the dominant mountain in every view you’ll have as you vacation here.
This hotel property closed for a year in 2008 to be upgraded and rebranded as the luxury at Princeville Resort. Known for its attentive individual service and personal butlers, the resort is positioned on a protected cove of Hanalei Bay.
The “protection” is provided by the Honoiki Reef, the largest coral reef in Hawaii that wraps the island’s north shore. For your family, that means snorkeling in the waters just steps from your room at the resort is outstanding. For those who want to try stand-up paddling or other water sports, the water here is extremely calm.
When you enter the hotel, you’re actually on the ninth floor of the hotel. Most of the guestrooms and activities are below the lobby. But this is where you’ll find the concierge who will coordinate activities for your family, such as stargazing, lei making, and outings to Princeville Ranch that include zip-lining, kayaking and hikes of Mount Makana.
Our Editor Loves
- Four pools and a beach
- Personal butler services
- Organic baby food made in house
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
This hotel is 11 stories tall with 251 guestrooms, including 51 premium ocean view suites. The first through third floors are the most popular for families. If you want a walk-out terrace with a private path to the pools, book early for a first floor room.
About 90 percent of the rooms have an ocean view. The remaining 10 percent overlook the golf course or the mountains. On a good day, you may be able to see as many as 30 waterfalls descending from Mount Makana and the nearby sea cliffs.
If a standard size bathtub is important to bathe your toddlers, be sure to express that when you book your vacation. Many rooms come with whirlpool tubs, but not standard bathtubs. Infant tubs are available. Cribs and rollaway beds are available free of charge.
The 540 square feet of the standard guestrooms offer either a queen bed and fold-out couch or two queen beds. The terraces or balconies are spacious enough for one chaise lounge and two chairs with a table.
Beginning at 820 square feet and going up to more than 1,800 square feet, all suites come with personal butler services. The television/entertainment system disappears into the console that is the division between bedroom and living area. Kitchens and kitchenettes can be fully stocked with whatever your family prefers for breakfast or late-night snacks. Most of the suites are in the top three floors of the hotel property and have ocean views.
Jared took our engagement photos in Kauai, Hawaii at the Princeville Resort. Despite being the first time my fiance and I have had professional photos taken of us, Jared made the process very smooth and enjoyable. We wanted him to provide guidance and he did.
Jared captured many spectacular photos of us in various settings. He was creative with the shots, and even encouraged us to try out new locations with him (which were some of our favorites!). We appreciated how much variety there was to the photos in terms of style, settings, poses, etc.
Overall, our experience with Pacific Dream Photography was very positive and resulted in many beautiful photos we will be sharing with friends and family. We're very thankful for Jared to have been able to so beautifully capture this special time in our lives.
by Elizabeth H
We have avoided this hotel based on the recent negative reviews on both of our visits to Kauai this year. Despite the amazing location and reputation prior to the change in ownership we opted to stay at other luxury resorts including Koloa Landing and Grand Hyatt. Due to a snafu in our booking we inadvertently had no hotel for one night of our stay this time around. We took this opportunity to try out this hotel. We couldn’t be happier and so happy we did. We were sad we only had one night and had to leave so early. Waking up to a beautiful sunrise overlooking Hanalei bay from our room was unbelievable. Just a stones throw away from our room was the stunning infinity pool and private BEACH. It was quiet, clean, opulent and inviting. After reading reviews we did pay attention to the exterior of the building and decor and yes it is dated but who is looking at that when you walk out to see Hanalei bay. Rooms were huge and offered a private lanai with sunbathing chairs. We will be back! This has been our favorite hotel on Kauai to date.
Located poolside, you'll find a cabana with all the resources you'll want for beach and water activities -- kayaks, snorkeling gear, Hawaiian sailboats and surf boards. You've always wanted to try stand-up paddleboarding? Orientation lessons are offered every morning.
Street bicycles in sizes for the entire family are available at no charge to explore the Princeville property. Check in with the concierge to reserve yours. Infant seats are available, as are a few fat tire mountain bikes.
Robert Trent Jones designed the original golf course here in 1971 and his son revamped it in 2010 to become the splendid 18-hole course it is today. The Makai course is open to other guests and visitors at Princeville resorts, so reserve your tee times in advance, if possible.
Kid's Club/ Pa'ani Fun Lounge
The fourth floor is the location for the kids program called Young Voyageurs. The director is a marine biologist, so you know those walks along the beach are going to be something special. A telescope in the room is indicative of the extra emphasis placed on learning.
Young Voyageurs is open to children 5 to 12 years old. It is also open late, until 8:30 p.m., with a meal included for parents who would like a grown-up dinner alone.
Here's something a little different: Parents can make arrangements for the kids' club staff to create a video of their child's week, including walks along the beach and pool time. There's an extra charge, but it showcases to parents what your child has done in your absence, and makes a great souvenir.
With four pools to choose from, and the beautiful Pacific Ocean, the resort is indeed all about the water.
The Keiki pool or children's pool is a quiet place just 18 inches deep and round.
Nearby is the Watsu Pool. It's the same round size as the Keiki pool, but 3.5 feet deep -- perfect for older children who are still intimidated by a bigger pool.
Two additional pools are 4 feet deep and surrounded by lovely gardens and colorful cabanas, and they are just steps from the bar and the Nula Kai Grill. You can enjoy lunch in your cabana or in your lounge chair.
Four hard surface courts are located at the Princeville Makai Golf Club for a fee. The shuttle provides free service.
Families with infants will be delighted to try the organic baby food made onsite in the kitchen. Your room will be stocked with it in advance of your arrival.
A children's menu is available at all restaurants; it includes all of the kids' favorites like organic chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. There are plenty of healthy child-sized servings of salads and raw vegetables with dipping sauces.
The resort is all about individual service, so if there are any allergies and dietetic needs in your family, just let your personal butler know. It will be taken care of with no inconvenience at all.
This is the property's signature restaurant offering perhaps the best view available anywhere in Hanalei Bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond. From fresh sashimi to pepper-crusted ahi tuna and bacon-wrapped Kauai prawns, the focus is on fresh seafood and authentic Hawaiian cuisine. But Hawaii is also a state known for its beef cattle, so the prime rib and filet mignon will not disappoint.
The wine menu has a distinct European flair with emphasis on Italian red, French whites and German Reislings.
Remember to pack some nicer clothes for the kids if you plan on them joining you at the Kaua'i Grill. Reservations are required for this dinner-only restaurant.
This is the main dining room of the Princeville Resort and, as such, has a remarkable view of Hanalei Bay. Breakfast is available a la carte or by buffet as early as 6:30 a.m. with the exception of Sunday. That's when the resort's Champagne Brunch demands your attention, allowing you to sleep a little later and eat enough shrimp, lilikoi, Portuguese sausage and coconut crÃ¨me brulee to last all week.
Closed for lunch, the Makana Terrace opens again at 5:30 p.m. for a casual dinner with an Asian-American flair. No dress code or reservations required here.
Mailani Dinner Show
This once-a-week special event features the food and dance of Hawaii in a two-hour show that may be a highlight of your stay at the Princeville Resort. Dinner is a buffet interspersed with hula and storytelling in the midst of the hotel's water features.
Reservations are required. The show is just 45 minutes long, but a little pricey, so if you think your children might get bored, a babysitter might be the way to go.
Nula Kai Grill
This lovely open-air restaurant overlooking the pools and the bay is open 11 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. With casual rattan seating and a fresh breeze all around, you'll enjoy healthy Mediterranean salads and sandwiches here and other light, but filling mid-day treats, appropriate for dining by the pool.
This is your grab-and-go spot, be it for coffee and muffins, ice cream or cookies. If you plan on spending a day away from the hotel, exploring the island or in Napali Coast State Park, this is where you can pre-order a picnic lunch for everyone in the family.
In-room dining is available 24-hours a day from the Makana Terrace.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The property has a good Wi-Fi signal throughout. However, if you need additional bandwidth for your family's electronic devices, stronger Wi-Fi coverage is available at a daily rate of $20.
Nanny services and in-room babysitting are available for all ages at an additional charge whenever the Young Voyageurs Club is not open. The first child is $25 per hour and additional children are $5 each per hour.
The fitness center, adjacent to the spa, is equipped with Matrix Fitness Equipment and at 1,000 square feet, is a bit on the small side. However, it is closest to the showers, steam rooms and saunas, if that's a part of your work-out regime. If so, a $50 fee per day is incurred. A larger fitness center is located on the 8th floor.
Children of all ages are allowed to enjoy the facilities. Yoga and Pilates classes are available at an extra charge.
During summer months and the holidays, each child receives a backpack upon check-in. The treats inside vary, depending on the season, but usually are a water bottle, a coloring book, and sometimes a little disposable camera for use in the pool.
You may wish to pack a few flashlights for your family, particularly if you are visiting Kauai's North Shore from September through December. A number of endangered sea birds that fly only by the light of the moon visit the North Shore during these months.
In order to not confuse the birds with artificial light sources, the resort and many other businesses keep their lights very low this time of year. You'll find printed notices in your rooms advising you to keep your drapes and blinds closed at night. Talk about it with your kids as an environmental lesson from this vacation.
The Art of Smart Timing
Kauai is an international destination with visitors from throughout North America, Asia and Europe. As a result, every season is a busy season. You may find your best deals in October and November.
Princeville is a development on Kauai's north shore, about 45 minutes from the Lihue Airport (LIH). You can arrange transportation from the hotel if you like, but it will be pricey. Rent a car instead with the freedom to enjoy all of Kauai. Note that there is a nightly fee in excess of $30 to park your car at the hotel.
A free shuttle runs on the hour between the Princeville Resort and Westin, as well as the two golf courses in the Princeville development. Taxis are available, but your best option is the rent a private vehicle in order to enjoy nearby Hanalei and other fun, out of the way destinations on Kauai.
For Mom and Dad
On the east edge of the property, a grove of kamani trees canopy the beach, providing an intimate escape during the day. But in the evening, the beach becomes a candlelit destination for adults who prefer an evening alone. Book ahead because just two cabanas are available.
The Hawaiian word means "joyful house," and this 11,000-square-foot space is indeed a place to be joyful. How does a Taro Butter Body Polish sound? It's one of the many treatments that incorporate Hawaiian medicine and the natural resources of the islands. The 12 treatment rooms are complemented by two oceanside cabanas for outdoor massages. Ask about Hawaiian Wellness Retreats offered occasionally throughout the year. Spa services are also available for children 14 and over.