I visited Kauai a few months ago to attend a destination wedding – a welcome reprieve from the Chicago winter. The events took place at the St. Regis Princeville Resort so that’s where I stayed for a few days during the festivities.
The St. Regis Princeville Resort is located on Kauai’s north shore, overlooking Hanalei Bay. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful part of Kauai. The weather on the north shore is more rainy than the rest of the island but that also makes everything greener.
The resort is a long drive from Lihue Airport – about 45 minutes to an hour. A taxi from the airport costs about $100 one way, so it makes sense to rent a rental car. Having a car in Kauai is useful anyway.
The Princeville Shopping Plaza and Foodland Supermarket are about a 10 minute drive from the property. Other nearby attractions include the Napali Coast and the Kilauea Lighthouse, which are less than a 30 minute drive.
Check-In and Lobby
Upon driving up to the hotel, we left our rental car with the valet. The St. Regis Princeville uses valet-only parking for a fee of $34 a day. This includes free bottles of water so we would grab a couple of cold bottles every time we took the car.
When I first walked into the lobby, I thought the hotel was really beautiful and elegant.
There are several stores in the lobby, including boutiques selling clothes and jewelry so you do not need to go far if you forgot to pack something. The lobby also has a decent size sundries store to stock up on drinks, snacks, souvenirs, sunscreen, etc.
The St. Regis Princeville Resort does not have a traditional check in desk. Instead, there are small desks with chairs for guests to sit while checking in. We were immediately assisted as there was no wait. The employee checking us in was friendly and explained everything the resort had to offer. Although we had a reservation for a garden room, we were upgraded to an ocean view room on the seventh floor.
Upon entering our room, I immediately noticed the great view. There was no balcony (some ocean view rooms have a terrace) but there was a cushioned window seat where you could enjoy the view.
A platter of fresh fruit and two free bottles of water were waiting at the desk.
There was also a couch by the windows with a handful of magazines at the coffee table.
The closet was located at the front of the room. It was stocked with a robe, slippers, several hangers (including soft hangers for women’s clothes) and an umbrella.
A small empty refrigerator/wine chiller with an adjustable temperature was next to the closet. I prefer when hotels have an empty fridge to store your own drinks rather than a pricey minibar. Although I don’t have kids, I would imagine this would be a plus for families.
An armoire in front of the beds contained the entertainment center, including a flat screen television.
The marble bathroom had double vanity sinks and Remède products including the usual soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner.
There was window between the bathroom and the bedroom with a switch that changed the window to shaded for privacy.
Beach and Pool
The St. Regis Princeville is oceanfront so guests have easy access to the beach. I did not spend much time hanging by the beach and pool as I was out exploring Kauai but the beach looked decent. Unlike some other beaches in Kauai, the water here is calm and safe for swimming. You do have to be careful not to step on the coral when standing in the water though.
There is an activities desk that rents water gear, including snorkeling gear (there is nice snorkeling at the beach). In addition to chairs and umbrellas, cabanas are available for a steep fee.
The pool is open 24/7.
In addition to the main infinity style pool, there is a small children’s pool and a whirlpool.
The St. Regis Princeville offers the following dining options on the premises:
• Makana Terrace – Main dining room and outdoor terrace which serves breakfast and dinner
• Nalu Kai – Casual restaurant by the pool open for lunch
• Napali Café – A deli located on the main lobby level which offers take-away espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, freshly baked pastries, sandwiches and salads.
• Kaua’i Grill – Open for dinner only and featuring the cuisine of chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
• St. Regis Bar – Bar off the lobby with outdoor and indoor seating.
Here is a link to the St. Regis website for more information on the hotel’s dining options.
Breakfast is served at the Makana Terrace restaurant. The outside terrace is covered and has a great view of the ocean.
There is a choice of the breakfast buffet or you can order a la carte. I thought the breakfast buffet was good with many choices including a made to order omelet station.
I had dinner one night at the Kauai Grill and I thought the food was good there too.
The outside part of the St. Regis Bar is a popular spot to watch the sunset. You don’t have to walk through the bar or sit down to enjoy the view – you can use the door from the lobby, right near the elevators, to reach the terrace. Here is a sunset photo I took from the hotel:
Additional hotel amenities include a business center, ATM, fitness center and spa.
The business center is in the lobby and basically consists of two small rooms with desktop computers – with an ATM between the two doors.
The fitness center is open 24 hours a day. It is fairly large with several cardio and weight machines and free weights. A bottle of water and a fresh towel were conveniently left on each machine.
In the front of the gym, a small fridge was full of cold bottles of water.
The concierge can arrange for guests to play at the Makai Course, a beautiful golf course on the premises. The Makai Course was designed by Robert Trent Jones II and has been named as one of the best golf courses in Hawaii by several magazines. I am not a golfer but a few members of my family love golf and snapped a photo for me. I did not have time to do this but there is a sunset golf tour for $50.
Ambiance and Service
I thought the service was great and had no complaints. In addition to housekeeping service, there is a nightly turndown service – 2 bottles of water and chocolates were left in the room and the slippers placed by the bed. The hotel also offers butler service, but it is only for those in suites so I did not have the opportunity to use it.
I did read reviews before my stay and several reviews complained that the hotel’s design and decor is dated and that needs to be updated. That is not something that bothers me at all or affected my stay in any way.
I liked the size of the resort because it was not too large or too small. At 251 rooms, the St. Regis Princeville is smaller than other nice resorts and you don’t have to walk very far to reach the pool, beach, dining and other common areas.
Because of the location, the St. Regis Princeville is a great honeymoon or romantic getaway destination. During my stay, the guests were mostly adults with a lot of couples but I saw plenty of families with young children. The hotel seemed fairly kid friendly and even had a Young Voyagers Club.
I usually find really expensive hotels overrated but I enjoyed the St. Regis Princeville more than I thought I would. The St. Regis Princeville is located in the most beautiful part of Kauai and has amazing views from the bar, dining areas and many of the rooms. A stay here is very pricey, whether you use cash or points, but I would stay here again if I was willing to splurge. Personally, I had no complaints other than the high cost but I did read a lot of reviews that the property was dated and in need of a renovation. I don’t disagree but that is not something that bothers me at all.
For those looking to use points, St. Regis Princeville is a Category 7 SPG property (the highest Starwood category) requiring 30,000 (or 35,000 Starpoints) per night for a free night in a standard room. For those willing to splurge, The St. Regis Princeville is a great hotel for couples because of the romantic setting but also good for families because of the pool, beach and fridge in the room.
Again, St. Regis is definitely pricey so some people might prefer to rent an Airbnb nearby and visit for dinner or drinks. Another somewhat more affordable option is to stay at the nearby Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas (SPG Category 6 requring 20,000 or 25,000 Starpoints) which has a free shuttle service to the St. Regis and access to the beach in front of the St. Regis.
Has anyone else stayed at the St. Regis Princeville and if so what where your thoughts?