It’s hard to believe a year has flown by since I wrote about visiting the Western side of the beautiful Island of Kauai Summer on Kauai; Waimea town, Canyon & surrounding areas.
With the far North of the island still inaccessible to tourists, due to the severe floods last year, we have enjoyed discovering and experiencing new and varied sides of the lush Garden Island.
On our last two visits, we have stayed on the sunny South of the island, in the Poipu area, which boasts an array of stunning beaches, some great shops and eateries, and, most importantly, the best weather on the island!
Read on for more of my experiences and recommendations for Poipu and beyond!
Poipu is around a 30 minute drive South of Lihue airport. There’s a large Safeway supermarket on the way, just off Kaumualii Highway, as well as the Kukui Grove shopping centre, to stock up on supplies.
Where to stay
There is a vast array of accommodation in this area, ranging from 5* resorts to vacation rentals and b&bs. We’ve stayed in two vacation rentals, in slightly different areas of Poipu:
Hidaeaway Cove is an attractive house consisting of 3 condos; a studio, a one bed, and a larger apartment on the top floor. You can book directly through the website, although we called the owner, Herb, as we couldn’t find availability at first. He was able to reserve the Dolphin Studio for our two week stay.
We were pleasantly surprised on arrival to Hideaway Cove. The house is set in beautiful gardens, and the studio was spotlessly clean, welcoming, and very well equipped. There is one room with the bed and sofa/TV area, and a small kitchen off the same room.
The room is tastefully decorated in island style, with a very comfy bed!
There’s good storage and the kitchen is fully equipped for self catering, with large fridge freezer, dishwasher, coffee machine, utensils, etc. There was also a thoughtful welcome pack, with coffee, cookies and all good things. The jug of fresh chilled tropical juice was particularly welcome after our arduous journey crossing 12 time zones!
The private Lanai (with a gas bbq) is given added privacy from the landscaped foliage, with views across the perfectly manicured lawn. There are two Adirondack chairs on the lawn for watching, well, not much go by with a cold beer!
Beach chairs and beach towels are provided, and a lot of thought has gone into the interior design, and making this feel like a “home from home”. Most importantly, there is an air conditioning unit, which you will need in the summer! The owner is on hand by phone, text or email if you have any questions.
The location is perfect, as it’s a short 5-10 minute walk to the popular Poipu Beach, or the smaller Brennecke’s beach (popular for body boarding and sea-turtle watching!).
The only con for Hideaway Cove for me is the potential noise from the other condos, which of course will depend on who is staying there at the time. We had a large loud family above us for much of our visit, who seemed to be packing and unpacking the car for much of the day (while shouting loudly to each other, even in the early morning!). The parking spot for the upstairs condo backs onto the bedroom wall of the Dolphin Studio, which isn’t ideal. At night time it was generally quiet.
During our last week, a vocal family moved into the one bed apartment, which I’m sure consisted of parents, children and grandparents, despite it stating that that maximum occupancy is 3!
None of that spoiled our visit though, and I would recommend Hideaway for a relaxing “home from home” stay in paradise, with excellent proximity to beaches.
We stayed at the Waikomo Stream Villas in May this year. The condos are set in tropical landscaped gardens with, yes, you’ve guessed it, a pretty meandering stream running throughout. Located just off Poipu Road, it’s conveniently close to a large shopping centre.
Because of its location, we chose a condo away from the road, at the top of the building, and on the corner, for more privacy (apartment #433)
The apartment is very well appointed, decorated in tasteful island style, with a private lanai which feels like you’re very much in the jungle! Once inside, it’s hard to believe you’re only minutes from a busy road and shopping centre.
There are two good sized bedrooms with a bathroom off each, plenty of storage, and a fully equipped kitchen with literally everything you could need in a vacation rental. Extra points for the electric kettle, which as an English person who needs her tea, I am very thankful for!
Beach towels, beach chairs and cool boxes, along with floats for the pool, and reusable shopping bags are also provided. There are plentiful cleaning supplies (and a mid stay professional cleaning can be arranged at extra cost).
The apartment also has its own washer and dryer, which is something of a luxury! often there are only communal laundry facilities.
The apartment features a large open plan kitchen with dining area, and restful bedrooms
elsewhere on the property, there is a good sized, attractive swimming pool, (with a small kids’ pool), and a nice bbq area (at the time of our stay another bbq area was also being completed). The pool was a good option to have, as these apartments are slightly further from the beach (a 10-15 minute walk to Baby Beach). There is a staffed reception office open during the week if you have any questions or need any further supplies.
We really enjoyed staying in this apartment – and the owners have created an attractive and welcoming home from which to enjoy the island. As nice as it is, there are a few cons for us:
- The second bedroom is a mezzanine overlooking the main living area. For two couples or a family this could be a privacy/noise issue.
- The downstairs bathroom has a large whirlpool bath (not working at the time). The shower over this bath, with no screen or curtain, wasn’t practical to use, and had hardly any water pressure. We ended up only using the walk in shower in the upstairs bathroom. With only one really functional bathroom, this wouldn’t be ideal for two couples, or families.
- The owners have made the decision to not use spray pesticides in the apartment..
This is a tough one; the fact is that Kauai is crawling with critters (because, The Tropics).. and most people have to spray their residences. Otherwise, you’ll get invaded. While I respect the owners’ opinion, they are not the ones staying in the apartment long term, and many people would rather choose a relatively roach-free vacation, given they may be there only a week or two. Yes, pesticides are probably very bad for your health. But so is a cockroach getting into your food! I spent a couple of nights battling a flying one, and we saw a couple of others around the place.
- There is no air conditioning in the apartments at Waikomo. While you can usually get away with ceiling fans in the slightly cooler winter months, in the summer this is just not going to work. We stayed here during a particularly hot fortnight, and despite deploying all the fans available, it was difficult to deal with the heat. It would unfortunately put me off returning to these properties during the summer months.
Overall, I would recommend this complex and apartment for a relaxing stay in Poipu. Perhaps an air conditioning unit could be considered, and be prepared for a couple of uninvited guests.. although, to be fair, this can happen anywhere in Kauai!
NB: On looking at reviews online before booking this property, we noticed a lot of complaints about the resident frogs keeping people awake! I have to say that they didn’t bother us at all. At night time the apartment was incredibly quiet. Perhaps we had avoided the breeding season and they had quietened down?
We will definitely be trying out other properties from the Parrish Collection in the future!
Buying supplies and dining
As mentioned previously, the Safeway supermarket and Kukui Grove shopping centre are a good place to stop on your way from Lihue airport. From Poipu, it’s around a 20 minute drive. In this area you’ll find Longs Drugs, Macys, UPS store, various eateries, and Starbucks, should you be so inclined (after working at the HQ in London for 3 years I’m more of a Dunkin’ girl these days 😆).
Deli & Bread Connection, opposite Macy’s, deserves a special mention for it’s amazing deli sandwiches.. probably some of the best I’ve had!
Kukui’ula Village Shopping Center is a 5 min walk from Waikomo Stream Villas, with some surf/clothing shops, Longs Drugs and various dining options.
Living Foods Market is a grocery store and deli, serving breakfast, sandwiches and coffee. The groceries and fresh produce are very expensive, even for Kauai. we’re still reeling over the $10 for 3 tomatoes!! And when I saw that a can of tuna was $8, I walked straight next door to Longs Drugs instead! If you’re really into being organic, and really need that vegan baby lotion, then this may be the place for you!
Ruths Chris Steakhouse is (so I’m told by my American husband) a reliable chain for a good steak dinner. I’ve only been to this one, but the petite filet and sides were good, and the restaurant has a nice smart/casual vibe. It’s relatively expensive, but again, this is Kauai! A good option if you want to break out a maxi dress and take a break from the self-catering for the evening.
The Beach House is one of my favourite restaurants on Kauai, and well known for its signature cocktails, inventive, Island-style menu (with fantastic local fish) and stunning sunset views.
It’s best to book ahead as its always busy, and try and get a table before sunset (ask for a booth or a table near the window). We like to walk out onto the grass and catch the last of the sunset after dinner.
The wasabi-buttered fresh Island fish is highly recommended!
Close to the Poipu Bay Golf Course, the Grand Hyatt is a sprawling 5* resort with a spa and several restaurants. We haven’t stayed at the hotel, but we have used the spa (which was Ok but nothing special), and dined there.
The restaurant itself meanders around a “Koi filled lagoon”, and serves Island-style fresh fish and contemporary takes on Hawaiian cuisine.
I had the Macadamia nut crusted Mahi Mahi, but the flavours for me were a little too strong and competing with each other. When the local fish is this good – it doesn’t need to be overpowered by so many other ingredients. However, that’s personal preference.
The staff seem very friendly and knowledgable, and helpful when I couldn’t make a decision at all! The portions are large, but that seems pretty standard in the US. I was a little distracted by the constant stream of fish swimming by right next to our table..
I would definitely go back and try Tidepools again, but it doesn’t rival the Beach House for me.
I hope this has given you some useful ideas if you’re lucky enough to be planning trip to the South side of Kauai.. in my next post I’ll be talking about site seeing, activities and beaches in the Poipu & Koloa area, including the beautiful McBryde botanical gardens.
I’d love to hear from you with any comments or questions on this or other topics on my site and you can sign up below to receive notifications of new posts.
Until then, travel safe