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Poipu or Princeville…Which side of Kauai is Your Favorite?

published on December 11, 2013 by

My absolute favorite island of Hawaii is the exquisitely beautiful Kauai. Known as the Garden Isle for good reason… 97% of the island is composed of undeveloped mountain ranges and rainforests. Its green valleys and lush gardens are bursting with vividly colored flowers, and thundering waterfalls cascade down its many mountains. Remember the movie Jurassic Park and all its gorgeous scenery? It was filmed here. You can even visit some of the movie sites (no dinosaurs though!).  Kauai’s beaches are terrific, and you can still find a secluded area to sunbathe and swim. If Kauai isn’t paradise, I don’t know what is!

The two major resort locations are Poipu (referred to as the south shore or sunnyside), and Princeville (the north shore or often called the rainy side).  I like to mix it up…stay in Poipu on one trip and the next time stay in Princeville. Here are two of my favorites.

Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club – Poipu

About the Resort

Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club at night

Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club has one of the best locations on the award-winning Poipu Beach. You can walk out your villa door and walk a few steps to the sunniest beach on the island. The resort is landscaped to reflect the essence of the island with vibrantly colored tropical plants, lagoons, and waterfalls. Fitting perfectly into the landscape are three sparkling pools…one just for the children. There’s also a fitness center and beachfront water sports to enjoy. Casual meals are available at the resort’s Honu Pool Bar and The Marketplace.


This 5-star resort lives up to its reputation. Your family can stretch out in the spacious, perfectly-appointed two-bedroom, two-bath villas. Features include: full kitchens, separate living and dining areas, master suite with king bed, and separate bath with oversized soaking tub and shower. There’s room for more people in the guest suite with a king bed and double sofa bed, in addition to a queen sleeper sofa in the living room.

Favorite Activities

Waimea Canyon
I bet you thought there was only one Grand Canyon! Though Waimea Canyon is not quite as big as the one in Arizona, it’s definitely not to be missed. Mark Twain called it “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and it truly is. You’ll marvel at the panoramic vistas and land formations spreading over ten miles with canyons almost 4,000 feet deep. Drive there in your rental car, or take a half-day tour with a tour company. Along the way enjoy Hanapepe Lookout, Sprouting Horn, and the Poipu Resorts made famous in the Elvis Presley movie, Blue Hawaii.  On other days, drive to Kauai’s many popular beaches to snorkel and surf, and visit quaint towns like Old Koala Town or Hanapepe.

My favorite way to end the day is at world-famous Brennecke’s Beach Broiler at Poipu Beach Park. Order a Mai Tai and watch a fabulous sunset at this casual, low-key restaurant. Then stick around for some of the best fresh fish dinners on the island.

What Travelers Say About Waiohai Beach Club

Review from RedWeek member tonjan:
“The Marriott Waiohai on Poipu beach is the BEST timeshare resort in all of Kauai. We also own the Marriott in Maui at the Ocean Club and I must admit that I prefer the Waiohai to the Maui resort. (Our teenage boys prefer this location too). They say the beach and the waves are much better than at Kaanapali. Its 5 star all the way. You can not beat the beach, the exploring locations and the gorgeous grounds. The timeshare is very spacious and has everything we could possibly need. If you want commercialized Hawaii-go to a different island. If you want pure beauty and lush tropical feel as you’d imagine Hawaii to be-this is the resort to be at and the island of choice! Mahalo!”

Read all Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club reviews >>

Hanalei Bay Resort – Princeville

About the Resort

The Hanalei Bay Resort has a prime location on the north shore of Kauai, overlooking the sparkling waters of Hanalei Bay. The resort encompasses 22 acres of exotic landscaping with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The spectacular sunsets of the north shore are like no other!

Hanalei Bay Resort

Fodor’s Travel has named Hanalei Bay Resort’s pool one of the best in the U.S. Pool designers used the natural beauty of the area to show off the pool to its best advantage.  Guests enjoy unsurpassed views of Hanalei Bay and the Napili Coast while swimming and lounging by the pool. The ocean views from the eight on-site tennis courts aren’t too bad either! Be sure to check out the tennis pro shop. You can walk to the beach in about five minutes, but in case you over-extend yourself with all the water sports, there’s also complimentary golf cart rides to and from the sand 24 hours a day.


Accommodations feature fully furnished one-, two- and three-bedroom villas with full kitchens. The two-bedroom sleeps up to eight people comfortably with a King bed in the master bedroom, two double beds in the second bedroom, and a Queen Murphy bed. It also has 2 bathrooms, a lanai, and an entertainment center.

Favorite Activities

Another plus for this resort is the on-site concierge who can help you plan and
get started on any of the many adventures the area has to offer. The resort is located near surfing and snorkeling areas, horseback riding, golfing, great shopping, dining, and Hawaiian cultural activities.

Kayaking and Hiking
One of my favorite activities on this side of the island is kayaking. Kauai has the only navigable rivers in Hawaii and the Hanalai Bay area has many. You can spend a day meandering peacefully though the inland rivers, or for a more physical challenge try ocean kayaking.  A 17-mile paddle along the ruggedly beautiful Napili Coast, at the base of 4,000-foot cliffs, is an exhilarating experience! You’ll see whales, sea turtles, dolphins, and more.

If you still need more thrills, you can hike the Napili coastline. The Kalalau Trail which begins at Ke’e beach is rated 9 out of 10 for difficulty, but is well worth the effort. The trek takes you along the most breathtaking coast and valley scenery of the island.

What Travelers Say about Hanalai Bay Resort

Review from RedWeek Member dennyw10
“We’ve owned HBR now for 10-years and stayed in the newly remodeled 2b/2b unit in March 2013. What an improvement the remodeled units make. The grounds, newly update pool have always been fantastic and the view looking out at Hanalei Bay is unbelievably beautiful. Truly this resort is on the right path. A great place to relax and enjoy paradise.”

Read all Hanalei Bay Resort reviews >> 

No matter what side of the island or which resort you choose, you won’t be disappointed. Kauai is truly a paradise, and the timeshare experience is the way to enjoy it! Let us hear from you – have you been to Kauai, and where do you like to stay?

The content for this article comes from Denise, a RedWeek fan and avid traveler from San Diego, California. If you would like to write for our blog, please leave a comment below and we will get you the details!