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Home Travel Grand Hyatt Kauai standard 2 queen parking lot view: Bottom line review

Grand Hyatt Kauai standard 2 queen parking lot view: Bottom line review

by Staff

I just this morning got back to New York after 8 nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, a property that I’ve reviewed glowingly in the past. This time around, we didn’t get any upgrade at all — just a standard 2 Queen Bed parking-lot-view room. You might expect that would leave us disappointed, but to the contrary we extended our stay 3 nights longer than expected because we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave. Despite the fact that this place isn’t the flashiest or fanciest Hyatt property on Earth, it might just be my family’s favorite. There are some drawbacks, but they won’t be enough to keep me from returning.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Bottom Line Review

The Grand Hyatt Kauai is a gorgeous property, with landscaping that is so well manicured that it truly feels like paradise. Facilities aren’t the most modern and it shows some wear here and there, but mostly in ways that give the place a familiar charm that is hard to describe. Absent are the modern touch-panel tight switches where you control each light from a panel next to the bed in favor of physical light switches (where you can actually figure out how to turn off exactly which light you want, which was a nice change of pace!).

However, apart from the grounds being so well kept, what really separates this place from the pack is the warmth of the service. Hyatt is generally known for good service at most properties, but the Grand Hyatt Kauai really stands out in my opinion. And it stands in contrast to the also-excellent but very different style of service you can get in places like the Grand Hyatt Macau or the Grand Hyatt Singapore or the Park Hyatt Vienna in that the service at the Grand Hyatt Kauai is so warm, friendly and personal. That’s particularly true in the club lounge, where Ana and Victoria and the rest of the staff feel like really nice family members who want to take good care of you. Smiles don’t feel faked — it really feels like what I’ve understood the spirit of Aloha to mean and I love it. We randomly met a woman in a park one day last week (our kids were playing with her child) who mentioned that she used to work in the club lounge at the Grand Hyatt Kauai and she spoke as glowingly about working there and about her former coworkers as we felt about it all, which says a lot.

As a Hyatt Globalist, I think the biggest two drawbacks are that upgrades can sometimes be hard to come by (we ended up with the base level room we booked with a parking lot view) and the fact that the food in the club lounge is highly repetitive, with almost everything being identical for breakfast each day (with two rotating dishes) and almost everything being identical for the evening happy hour (again, with two rotating dishes). However, we found enough variety to satisfy us and despite the lounge being relatively small, it never felt overcrowded and I don’t think I ever saw them run out of a dish because the staff were so quick to replenish things.

It’s also worth mentioning that we discovered tons of things to do within a short drive of the hotel. Whereas on past trips we’ve done a lot of driving to other parts of Kauai, we mostly stayed within about 10 minutes of the hotel this time around and we didn’t get bored at all. In fact, we can’t wait to return.

  • Price: 30,000 to 35,000 points per night (my first 5 nights, during President’s Week, were 35K; the next three nights were 30K per night).
  • Value: Fantastic given the cash price of rooms. The first 5 nights of our stay would have been about $1,200 per night all-in for a standard room at the time I booked; a room with club lounge access was ringing in around $1600 per night with taxes & fees. Based on my searches, rooms more typically run between $700 – $1,000 per night all-in, so this place pretty consistently returns 2-3c per point or more.
  • Location: Excellent location on the south shore of Kauai, close to Poipu Beach. The ocean in this spot can be quite rough (the beach was red-flagged each day we were there with sizable waves, though we saw plenty of surfers in the water every evening), but the beach is gorgeous and often relatively empty. There’s a nice little hiking trail going up a cliff from the hotel with a secluded cove on the other side. Within a short drive, there are excellent beaches and plenty of things to do to keep you busy (Poipu Beach, although by far the most crowded we visited, had 15-20 turtles on the beach at a time when we visited; Salt Pond Beach was a bit farther but very peaceful and calm; the Makauwahi Cave trail is within 10 minutes by car and not only did we enjoy checking out the cave, but we also saw monk seals on the nearly-deserted beach there).
  • Room: We had a standard 2 Queen Bed room with a parking lot view, with no upgrade available. I stalked availability looking to apply a suite upgrade, but I never saw a standard suite available and even the premium suites that became available now and then were all gone by the time we arrived. I didn’t press for an upgrade. Somewhat disappointingly, we weren’t even blocked in a room in the same wing with the club lounge, which kind of surprised me and was my only gripe.
  • Parking: Self-parking is complimentary for everyone (it is included in the resort fee, which you do not pay when redeeming points regardless of your status or lack thereof). Valet parking is complimentary for Globalists on an award stay. We used valet and it was convenient and quick — our car was always waiting out front by the time we walked up from our room. Tips for valet service do add up over the course of a week, so you may prefer the free self-parking, but we were happy with valet.
  • Resort/Destination Fee: $55 + tax, but that’s waived when redeeming a free night award (whether using points or a free night certificate). The resort fee includes a bunch of stuff that we mostly didn’t use.
  • Internet: Speedy and coverage around the resort was excellent. I worked on my laptop by the saltwater lagoon one day, which is pretty far outside the building and yet I had no trouble getting a solid WiFi signal.
  • Service: Stand-out good. Eric, our check-in agent, mentioned that he could see that it had been five years since our last visit, so he “welcomed us back” and explained what had changed (a small touch that should be easy given all the data that hotels have, yet in almost 100% of situations, the front desk agent asks whether I’ve been there before rather than seeing that I have been). Jeff, the bellman who carried in our bags, noticed my son’s Jurassic Park backpack and when I told him that my son has seen all of the movies, Jeff shared that he was in the second movie and got eaten by a raptor, which my son thought was awesome. When my 6yr old got a bracelet to ride the water slide but my 3yr old was just about an inch and a half too short, the attendant had a slap bracelet ready to give to my 3yr old to put a smile on his face anyway. But the club lounge is really where the service at this property shines. Everyone in the club lounge treated us more like you would treat a visiting family member than like a customer being served. Smiles were warm and genuine, not forced or stuffy. Rather than feeling like staff were trying to anticipate your needs (which is also nice, but a different kind of service), it felt like staff were trying to make sure you were comfortable and enjoying your time there. And around the resort, most people had the same outgoingly friendly attitude. One of the water slide attendants always had a huge smile on her face. I asked if the view from the top of the water slide ever got old and she replied with a genuine, “No, it does not”. In my opinion, it is a feat of hiring / management / training when you know that everyone around you is “at work”, but it feels like they are happy to be there rather than just doing a job.
  • Turndown service: None.
  • Dining: There are several restaurants, but we didn’t try any of the on-property options. We ate breakfast in the club lounge and the evening happy hour in the club lounge was substantial enough to substitute for a light dinner, so the only meal we ate most days was lunch and we did that off-property each day. The club lounge also had afternoon snacks (mostly cookies and nuts), which was nice since we could get the kids a drink and a snack in the late afternoon.
  • Spa: My wife went to the spa on two separate days, once for a 90-minute massage and once for a facial. Services were very expensive. She was pleased with the quality of the services, but expect it to cost a pretty penny (with tip, the 90-minute massage was about $400 and the 60-minute facial was a bit cheaper, but not much).
  • Fitness Room: While I fully intended to work out during this trip, I unfortunately didn’t make it to the fitness room. My wife stopped by with the kids one day and reported that it looked nice enough and had plenty of equipment, but also said that it was quite busy.
  • Hyatt Globalist Benefits: 
    • Room Upgrade: None offered. I didn’t press for it as there weren’t even ocean view rooms for sale in the app when we arrived.
    • Free Breakfast: This property has a club lounge and as such breakfast is served in the lounge (restaurant breakfast is not offered for Globalists). The club lounge breakfast was mostly the same each day (with bagels / bread for toasting along with croissants / pastries / pound cake / banana or mango carrot bread to round out the carbs section, mixed fruit, daily fresh papaya and pineapple, oat meal, and sliced meats and rotating cheeses available in the mornings. There were also two rotating hot dishes that included options like pancakes, kalua pork hash (highly recommended!) and a daily egg dish (scrambled, frittata, etc).I walked out full each day. I could see some folks getting bored on the same-ness since this isn’t a huge breakfast spread, but we found it perfectly suitable.
    • Club Lounge: The club lounge is small and as such the offerings weren’t broad, but there was enough to keep us satisfied for 8 nights. More importantly, service in the lounge was fantastic and everything was constantly restocked. All-day beverage options included a juice machine (with the Hawaiian staple of Passion Fruit Orange Guava juice!), a Sodastream water machine (that did various flavored waters), both an espresso machine and a Keurig for coffee, sodas (including Pepsi / Diet Pepsi / Starry), and milk (which included 2%, whole, almond, and oat milk). During the happy hour, there were wines (a couple of red options and at least one white) for $5 and liquor/cocktails for $7 with an honor bar system. Note that the alcoholic drinks were only available from 5pm-7pm. There were also cookies, nuts, granola bars, and sometimes potato chips available during the day (which was a good value — the same cookies were $4-$6 each by the pool! On at least one occasion, I think we had two cookies each in the lounge :-).
    • Late Checkout: I didn’t need late checkout, so I’m not sure whether it would have been possible. One note on checkout: we had an ~$80 restaurant tab on our final folio that I didn’t recognize but initially chalked up to my wife perhaps getting something with the kids when I was working at some point. When she told me she hadn’t, I returned to the front desk. They were able to look up the charge and it wasn’t anything we’d ordered. They removed the charge without issue, so I was 100% happy with the response from the desk, though it did make more likely to look over my hotel bills in general more closely in the future. Everything else on our bill was correct.
    • Welcome Amenity: There was a generous spread of snacks waiting for us in our room upon arrival, including a couple of granola bars, a large container of macadamia nut popcorn, a large box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, a bag of cookies, Maui potato chips, and probably more that I’m forgetting. We snacked on a lot that during the week.
  • Would I stay again? Absolutely. The property is kept in great condition, the service is fantastic, the location is terrific. The place just feels like a charming slice of paradise despite being a massive convention property.

Pros

  • Warm & friendly service
  • Beautiful groundskeeping. Well-kept and clean in public spaces.
  • Tons of small conveniences are accounted for — examples include the fact that beach towels are available from the valet; to-go coffee cups are on hand in the club lounge; laundry (washers & dryers) is not only free to do, but they have free detergent and dryer sheets
  • Excellent pool area, including a large lazy river, a good waterslide for kids (must be at least 42″), a couple of hot tubs, and a large saltwater lagoon with plenty of very shallow water and an artificial beach
  • Enough food in the lounge to substitute for dinner if you’d like
  • Grand lobby makes you feel like you’ve arrived in Hawaii.

Cons

  • This property would quickly get expensive without club lounge access given the cost of food on-property and the location being somewhat isolated. We did get Uber Eats delivered one time, but another night when I looked at delivery options around 9pm, delivery options were very slim.
  • Property is VERY big, so the walk to your room or from your room to the parking lot can be very long, particularly if you get an oceanfront view (which we had the last time we stayed).
  • Spa is open-air, which might be a plus since you can hear the ocean but my wife reports that you should bring your sunglasses
  • Poolside chairs were often taken all day despite not really seeing anyone at them (a common resort issue)
  • The ocean was too rough to swim unless you’re a strong swimmer
  • Pool water was very cold (which might be a pro on a really hot day!). Hot tubs got a bit crowded.

Image Gallery

The Room

My son was totally fine with the parking lot view, he was just happy that the room had a bed after a looooong travel day from the east coast.

 

The room was simple, with just the two queen beds, a table with two chairs inside, a balcony with two chairs and a table, and a relatively spacious bathroom. The bench at the foot of one bed was convenient. Light switches and curtains were manual and the shower was an old-school tub with a shower curtain. I actually enjoyed all of those things.

 

The bathroom featured a double-vanity and an old-school tub/shower combo (and the shower included both a relatively low-pressure main shower head and a super high-powered hand-held). I loved that they don’t have that half-shower-door nonsense that I’ve really come to hate at more modern properties. The commode was in a separate room of its own off the bathroom.

 

Toiletries were wall-mounted but stayed stocked.
One thing I absolutely hated about the room was that there were no easy power outlets by the bed! The only available outlet was taken by this wireless charger, which I guess is nice if you typically use wireless charging. I don’t since Pixel phones charge much faster when plugged in. I would have loved for this to have been a bank of regular power outlets instead.
This weirdly-placed little table with two power outlets existed behind the table and chairs across from the bed. That’s where I ended up plugging in phone chargers and my laptop. On the one hand, it was great to have power near the table since I used my laptop there. On the other hand, one of these on the bed stand would have been great!

The Club Lounge

Club lounge seating
More club lounge seating
I loved that the lounge posted a daily list of what would be available for both breakfast and the evening hors d’oeuvres. The “specials” were the things that rotated daily.
Veggies like these were available each evening.
Roasted veggies and mixed fruits were also available every evening.
Olives, hummus, and pesto were also available every evening.
I love Passion Fruit Orange Guava juice, so having it on tap all week was awesome for me. In addition to the espresso machine pictured here, there was a Keurig. There was also a sodastream machine that dispensed regular and flavored waters, sparking or still.

Facilities

This property has FREE laundry, including free detergent and dryer sheets! This is an incredible benefit for a family and because my wife remembered that they had this, it helped us pack lighter than we would have.
I believe this was the on-property luau one night (or it was a large convention party, I’m not positive which) — there was a stage there and a band at the front of that crowd that had just ended before I snapped this pic.
The saltwater lagoon. Pool floaties were available for rent or purchase (a guest who was leaving approached us in the lobby one day and gave us hers through, so we ended up with one for free thanks to her generosity!).
Sitting on a swing on the edge of the property looking out at the Grand Hyatt Kauai’s beach.
There is a large “saltwater lagoon” with an artificial beach between the hotel swimming pools and the actual beach. This is nice because it is shallow enough for a good distance for little kids to splash around and have fun without needing to be held the entire time.
This was the first place where I’ve had the wrist band room key, but I liked it very much. This opened both our room door and the club lounge and we never had to worry about losing the key in the pool or at the beach (or forgetting it in our room!) since it was on our wrists all week.
The main pool had waterfalls flowing into it in a few places and beautiful landscaping around it.
My 6yr old loved the water slide (and truth be told, I had fun on it, too!). The pool at the bottom is 3’11” deep, so he was able to land on his feet and do it all himself despite the fact that he can’t really swim (I was obviously there supervising, but he was excited that he didn’t need help).
While the beach was red-flagged daily, we saw plenty of surfers catching waves every night. It was a lot of fun to watch! We saw some big waves one night.
Although the surf was kind of rough, my kids still loved playing in the sand at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. The short hike at this end of the beach takes you to the top of the rock formation seen in the picture. There’s a sign at the top that our kids asked us to read that said to be careful and noted that jumping off the cliff was dangerous. Not 30 seconds after we read it, a man appeared who jumped and swam back to shore (and did so several times), but that seemed crazy to me and I wouldn’t advise it not knowing where rocks may be hidden just below the surface, etc.
Globalist benefits at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. My wife made use of the 15% off at the Anara Spa’s Boutique (on products). Spa Access included the use of a steam room, a small lap pool, and a hot tub.

Things we did nearby

A quick list of things we did nearby with some pics:

  • Poipu Beach: By far the most crowded we visited, but we saw sea turtles there several times and it was calm enough for the kids (about 5 minutes away)
  • Makauwahi Cave trail / cave: This is about 8 minutes away by car and then an easy (and really beautiful) hike. You do need to be able to get down on your hands and knees to crawl through the entrance to the cave, but it was cool!
  • Anake’s Juice Bar: There’s a pic below. This is inside a little grocery store. Go!
  • Kaua’i Culinary Market at The Shops at Kukui‘ula: This is on Wednesdays and is like a farmer’s marketing in an outdoor shopping center. We got a number of types of fresh fruit here! About 5 minutes by car.
  • Waimea Canyon: “The Grand Canyon of Hawaii”. About an hour by car. Absolutely gorgeous.
  • Salt Pond Beach: This was about halfway between the hotel and Waimea Canyon. We stopped on the way back after lunch at the nearby Chicken in a Barrell location. Very calm beach, great for kids.
  • Kamalani Playground at Lydgate Park: Awesome playground about half an hour from the Grand Hyatt Kauai. Our kids loved it.
Makauwahi Cave (about 8 minutes away by car and a beautiful short hike) — this place “caved in” about 7,000 years ago according to the expert stationed in the cave. There’s still a section that is covered as well that apparently houses some blind type of spider (it has no eyes at all!).
We encountered this monk seal while walking up the beach from the Makauwahi Cave
This little cove is a short hike away from the Grand Hyatt Kauai (hotel is on the other side of the rock formation at the far end of this picture). That’s my wife and kids at the bottom (you can hike down, though it’s a bit steep in spots). To get here, simply walk to the end of the beach from the Grand Hyatt and find the path up into the woods from the beach and it quickly brings you to the top of the rock formation. Then keep going away from the resort to reach this area.
Waimea Canyon was the farthest we traveled from the hotel. This is about an hour west of the Grand Hyatt and it is totally worth the drive (we’ve been a few times before and it hasn’t gotten old!).
Poipu Beach, which is a 5-minute drive from the hotel, had tons of sea turtles. We watched turtles pull up on the beach and go back out to sea a bunch of times over the course of a couple of hours at the beach.
Anake’s Juice Bar inside the Kukuiula Local Market is about 5 minutes away by car (right by Poipu Beach) and is TOTALLY worth a visit. The acai bowls and smoothies were so good that we went back a couple of times over our 8 nights (and we decided to try a different place on our last night and were so disappointed that we didn’t go back here again).
Puka Dogs were delicious and right on Poipu Beach



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