Favorite Family Resort Vacation
Travel and Leisure came out with a list for best family resorts and though we think the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa the best family resort EVER, we’ve only been to a handful on that list including DisneyWorld and Atlantis. We didn’t consult the list either when we booked out trip but we were excited to find that it made the #17 spot!
We first visited the Grand Hyatt Kauai nearly 20 years ago. My husband’s post-college roommate used to be the Head Pro at Grand Hyatt Kauai’s golf course, Poipu Bay.
Now, years later, we wanted to take our kids to Hawaii, back to the resort we remembered so fondly.
My kids were dazzled by their first impression in the lobby. It’s completely open with a spectacular view down to the ocean!
Behind that open space is a winding path to the back of the hotel where there are restaurants, pools, a salt water lagoon and finally, the beach.
Here’s another view of the back of the hotel from a different angle.
We arrived at a hotel hungry ready to eat. It’s our typical M.O. We were excited about the local food; a fusion of homestyle Asian flavors. There’s Musubi. That’s Spam sushi. Loco Moco is a hamberger patty on top of rice with gravy and a fried egg. Saimin is a version of ramen noodles in soup. And this is the tip of the iceberg!
I will freely admit that we are picky about our food. The food at Grand Hyatt did not disappoint starting with the extensive buffet breakfast at Ilima Terrace that was included in our room package. There are hot and cold stations that include an omelette bar. I always had the steel cut oats but my son preferred the pancakes or waffles. Breakfast proteins included an omelette station, cheese and sliced meats, and bacon or Portuguese sausage.
The fresh fruit platters reflected the bounty of Hawaii. There was yellow seedless watermelon, kiwi, pineapple and papaya, my favorite! Multiple kinds of cereal including granola, yogurt, pastries, bread and bagels rounded out the buffet.
One caveat for Ilima Terrace. Be careful of the birds! We figured out why there were metal covers for the plates on each table. Birds are able to fly into the Terrance and will eat your food if you leave it for a second!
After breakfast, we headed for the pools.
There seemed to be a mile of winding but connected pools. There is also a lazy river, an area to play water polo or water basketball, an adults only pool, and many, many jacuzzis. I headed for a lounge chair but there are also cabanas for rent.
The 150 foot water slide was the highlight for my kids. It’s carefully monitored by hotel staff above to make sure kids are safe. They also do fun things like hold contests for fastest time down the slide.
It seems impossible to get tired of the pool area but eventually my kids wanted to explore. Behind the pool is this huge salt water lagoon. My kids wanted to rent a kayak to paddle around ($10/half hour) but the lagoon has a long and gently sloping area that makes it great for young kids. Beyond the salt water lagoon is the beach, but I don’t recommend it for kids. The coral reef is sharp and the waves are rough.
We ate lunch pool side. There is a self-serve restauran, The Dock, next to the pool or a wait staff will bring you lunch. I wavered between the plate lunch specials (Kalua Pig, Garlic Shrimp and Chicken Katsu) and the salads (Jerk Spiced Seared Ahi Salad, Cantonese Chop Salad and Caesar Salad). My husband had the Kauai Fish Tacos. There is also a kids menu with typical kid fare.
Because the beach is too rough for kids, we headed out just a mere 10 minutes from the resort to Kauai Surf School where my girls took lessons. They take their surfing seriously. PickyKidPix learned to get up on her board in two steps (lying down to up) though she’d been taught the three step method at all previous classes (lying down, one knee, to up). It was amazing to watch her surfing progress in nice durable beach chairs and relax on the beach.
One night, we booked tickets for the luau which is held on the property twice a week. It’s quite an extraveganza with a dancers that showcase the history of the Polynesian islands via dance. The buffet was amazing too. The Kalua pig roasted for hours in a pit and was brought out ceremoniously on a board. We sampled local delicacies like poi, Lomi Lomi salmon and Huli Huli chicken. I was worried my kids would be bored but they actually really enjoyed it!
In the name of research, I checked out the Anara spa. (I’m all about my readers!) It’s a peaceful oasis with an additional pool, outdoor lava showers, sauna, and jacuzzi. You have access to these amenities all day if you book an appointment. I had a facial which was great!
Requisite sunset and palm tree shots that my husband shot.
… and sunset in Kauai.
It was the best family vacation we’ve ever had, we all agreed. The kids said that they’d give up all other trips to go back again. We miss it already!