22 December 2020
The Grand Hyatt is set on the south side of the island known as the sunny side. This is the epitome of a five-star family resort with its huge pool, open-air lobby overflowing with tropical plants, Camp Hyatt kids program, six restaurants and six bars, four tennis courts and a world-class golf course.
The hotel is set on fifty acres fronting a white sand beach, which is not ideal for swimming, but if you know how to cut back and pull into a barrel, then this means a shore break is for you. Swimmers will find nirvana in the five acres of pools meandering throughout the resort.
Two-thirds of the 602 rooms have views out over the ocean and sunny Keoniloa Bay, made possible while only building as high as the tallest coconut tree. The resort prides itself on its eco-friendly initiatives such as photovoltaic panels, organic herb garden, waste diversion program, hybrid vehicles and free-range eggs on all menus.
This is swimming pool heaven. There are five acres of saltwater swimming lagoons with islands, a man-made beach, enchanting river pools which wind through waterfalls and grottos in which you can hide as well as a 150-foot water slide. Your children will never want to leave.
Pools are heated by recapturing heat from the air-conditioning system with ozone used for purification which means water free from the odour of chlorine and skin as soft as it can be after spending every waking hour in the pool.
There are 37 suites furnished with hardwood floors, soft rugs and rattan and wood furniture echoing the tropical feel of the island. The views out over the bay are incredible, and your large lanai is just the place from which to stare out to sea.
Hide the details about how to make the electronic blinds go up and down, or your children will be playing with them all day. The Ocean View Suite is spacious, with minimal furnishings and has everything you could want for a family holiday. There is a main bedroom with huge marble shower and bath with a whirlpool, separate toilet with electronic settings for bidet and drying and double sinks. The separate bedroom features a king-size bed and a different view of the ocean.
All the usual suspects you would expect from a premium suite are here including a separate dining table, wet bar, coffee maker with Hawaiian Kona coffee, free wifi, and 42-inch flat screen tv. You can request an extra connecting bedroom for an additional charge or have a rollaway bed set up in the lounge area.
With six restaurants and lounges, where do you start? There are two fine dining experiences at Tidepools and Donderos, both with lush, tropical surroundings. Tidepools serves contemporary Hawaiian cuisine in a thatched hut setting looking over the lagoon and cascading waterfalls, and Donderos serves Italian cuisine either alfresco or inside the villa.
My favourite was the slightly low key Stevenson’s library where you could sip a Mai Tai at the 25 foot long Koa bar.
In some places in the US, children are not allowed to sit at the bar in a restaurant, but they were happy for my son to sit here with us and share in some divine sushi. Dinner is also served in Yumcha and the Seaview Terrace. If you’re feeling adventurous, catch a taxi into Poipu (10 minutes away) for some great choices in restaurants.
I can highly recommend the Dolphin for mouth-watering sushi. You do need to book and will have to wait around, but it is worth the wait – go around 8 or just before 6 pm to lessen the waiting time.
The resort’s Anara Spa is huge, 45,000 square feet to be exact and has its own lava rock shower garden, along with, a 10-headed Swedish shower, and indoor and outdoor treatment rooms. The spa also includes a 24-hour StayFit gym and open-air yoga and fitness classes.
There are water stations infused with tropical fruit almost on every corner and some healthy snacks to tempt you after your treatments. The spa focuses on ancient healing traditions to inspire balance in our body and spirit. My preferred option is the Kauai which is three hours of Hawaiian mana (healing energy) gained through a deluxe Lomilomi massage and a Hawaiian healing pedicure and manicure.
The Presidential suite is more than a whopping 2800 square feet and comes with all the prerequisites such as private terrace, top-level ocean views, and a telescope for whale watching. The decor is Asian inspired and adds to the exotic feel of this far-flung island. Your first point of welcome is the entry foyer which flows into a comfortable lounge room, dining area for six, kitchen, wet bar and a half bath. The king-size bedroom has an ensuite with private bath and four-seat spa tub. It is also possible to organise an extra connecting bedroom for a fee.
The Poipu Wing gets my vote as a teenage parent because it is the furthest wing from the pool and the closest to the spa.
You don’t have to dive into your wallet for entertainment with some great free cultural activities on offer from ukulele lessons to lei making.