Hanalei Colony Resort: This Ain’t Your Kid’s Summer Camp
On the far north side of Kauai lays a camp for grownups. Kids are more than welcome, but mom and dad will flash back to their younger years of summer camp in bunk houses as they pull into the parking lot of the Hanalei Colony Resort. Guests are in for a big surprise. I don’t know about you, but my camp never had huge picture windows with sweeping ocean views, a cushy king bed for mom and dad, and a separate bedroom with bath just for the kids.
State of Mind
One thing you may remember is the no TV, no phone policy. There is free internet access throughout the resort, but that is the only technology you will be hit with at this quiet oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Kapa’a, and even the smaller town of Hanalei, as the resort is actually in Haena, about a 10 minute drive from Hanalei. The resort encourages you to unplug, unwind, and let the island seep into your bones with walks on the beach, a dip in the pool, or massage after hiking the Napoli Coast.
Our Rooms (Unit J-1)
Open spaces and light were the main theme of our unit at the resort. When headed to your room you may think you are going into a bunk house, but it is anything but. There were very few full floor to ceiling walls in our 2 bedroom + 2 bath unit with living room/dining room combo, and the always necessary kitchen when traveling with kids. The living room sliding doors brought you right out onto the lanai (small porch in this case) with direct access to the beach and a nice lawn for Dek to run around first thing in the morning. The master bedroom had sliding shutters that opened out into the living room while the 2nd bedroom had folding doors to keep the kids in.
The lack of floor to ceiling walls separating the bedrooms did make our mornings a little noisy, but it was a good excuse for one parent to get up with the kids and head to the coffee shop/gift shop by the front office. They served up great hot chocolate and a fine mocha according to Mike. We could hear our upstairs neighbors, but it wasn’t overly loud or distracting. We just knew when their own kids were up and running. The master bed was comfy, with enough space in the closet to lay 2 medium suitcases down so we didn’t have to unpack for our 2 night stay. There was plenty of storage in the cabinets in front of our bed as well.
The kid’s room was the perfect configuration with its own bathroom. Two beds were set up perpendicular to each other. One bed could slide halfway into a corner table, leaving room for the baby’s travel crib to be set up, out of the way from his big brother, but also not in our room if we didn’t want him there. The lack of blackout curtains did make it hard to sleep in too much in the morning, as my toddler is up with the sun no matter how early. When you are at the beach sometimes you just have to embrace the island life of waking with the sun and going to bed with it.
The resort may not have a TV for your kids to sit in front of, but they do have a great pool, several pool toys to play with, a hot tub, and fantastic covered BBQ space right next to the pool. There is plenty of room for parents with little ones to hang out in the shade when they aren’t in the pool, and enjoy a bite to eat.
There were also travel cribs and high chairs available for our room, making that two less thing you have to pack. Mom and dad could also take turns escaping to the Hanalei Day Spa (more info below) for a little pampering while the kids nap. Never did this resort seem like it was trying to keep you in; they just wanted to make your travels a little easier to enjoy without having to run all over the island to do it.
The water on the north side of the island can get pretty rough in winter, and the beach outside of the resort was no exception. We took glorious walks along the beach, but the surf was much too strong for even Mike and I to go in. In the summer months it should be a bit calmer. If you are looking for other beaches to check out close by make sure you head down to Tunnels Beach for some of the best snorkeling on the island (check conditions. We saw warning flags every day of our trip in January 2013), and Ke’e beach at the very end of the island at the trailhead for the Napoli Coast.
Probably our favorite part of the resort was its proximity to the Mediterranean Gourmet restaurant, which was right in the resort parking lot. This is not to diminish the resort, it is just to applaud how amazing the food was with their inventive flavor combinations, and fresh, many times locally sources, ingredients. Watermelon bruschetta was among our favorite appetizers. The special of the night is always worth a look, but I couldn’t get over the local white fish with quinoa and pomegranate seeds. Top off your meal with the coconut baklava. Even if you don’t want to sit down to eat get an order to go. It is that good.
Hanalei Day Spa
Facial lovers beware, I am no connoisseur, but my first facial left me feeling relaxed, and my skin rejuvenated. I indulged in a massage/facial package that the spa offered. Sydney, my talented massage therapist and facial expert worked her magic on my back, which had been killing me after over a week of hauling kids around the beach, and then made me feel 5 years younger on my face. The spa uses natural Aveda products that left my skin tingling, and feeling like a splash of water had settled into my skin. Sounds weird doesn’t it? I’m not sure how else to describe this experience though. Let’s just say it was all good and I wanted to go back for more the next day.
If you want the true Hawaiian experience you can have your massage out by the beach for an additional fee, and I highly recommend springing for the deep tissue massage. Sydney was able to work out a few knots that had taken up residence. I can’t stand a light massage that does nothing more than gloss over my problem areas; I need a woman who can get in there and give me the relief my shoulders and back deserve. Sydney did just that, but I wasn’t sore at all afterwards. Now that is a sign of a good massage in my book.
Know Before You Go
- Hanalei Colony Resort, 5-7130 Kuhio Highway, Haena, HI 96714
- Travel cribs and high chairs are available from the hotel
- Coffee shop is on site located inside a small art gallery
- Gated pool and hot tub available for guests to use
- The beach is a bit too rough to swim in, but gorgeous to stroll along as the sun sets.
- Hanalei Day Spa is across from the resort, and a blessed relief after a long day of hiking or laying on the beach.
Many thanks to the Hanalei Colony Resort for hosting my family for 2 nights while we were on Kauai. As always my opinions are my own; when they aren’t you will be the first to know.