The stunning location and sense of isolation at HCR makes for immediate relaxation. This was our first trip to Kauai and I tossed up between staying at Princeville or HCR. We were so glad we chose HCR as Princeville would have been a very different experience. HCR is a low-key, low rise, laid back resort. Yes, the rooms are a little dated but what does that matter? They are spacious and comfortable. We splurged on a premium ocean front room and it was so worth it. Panoramic views from the huge windows and lanai, including back to Princeville - very pretty in the evenings as the lights came on along the cliff top. Nothing between you and the horizon except the ocean and the waves breaking on the shore. No need for a/c as those "gentle ocean breezes" keep the room cool.
The staff at reception are very pleasant and helpful. There is even a small lending library of good quality books for those days when it's just too wet to be outside.
Very handy to have the coffee bar and restaurant next door for times when we didn't want to drive back to Hanalei. A couple of times we bought fresh tuna from the fish market at Hanalei and cooked a simple meal. Also had good meals at the Mediterranean Gourmet restaurant. When we come back we will know that we can shop at the supermarket at Princeville on the way in, and also get supplies at the organic food store in Hanalei, just 10 minutes drive back down the road. Really enjoyed Hanalei township with its original wooden buildings, shops, some good casual eating places and beautiful setting. Plus Hanalei Bay is beautiful and the beach is great for swimming and body surfing, or surfing and stand up paddle boarders.
Had a traditional Hawaiian lomi-lomi massage at the spa next door - this was an amazing experience and as described, the perfect massage style for emotional rebalancing.
We wanted somewhere for a chill-out, relaxing holiday - HCR was perfect for this.