The Sheraton Kauai gets 4 stars from me because we managed to politely argue our way into the best room. But if we had been stuck in a different room, I would only give the Sheraton 3 stars.
We booked a Deluxe Ocean front room in the "Ocean Wing", which is further away from the sandy beach and pool, but very close to the ocean where it breaks on the rocks. In our opinion, this building feels more private. We booked a Pleasant Hawaiian package with AAA, and booked a King room on a higher floor for an anniversary celebration.
When we arrived to check in, the front desk told us we were being "upgraded" to a room on the 1st floor with 2 double beds. NO NO NO! No Way! I tried to be friendly but also firm. It was our anniversary and we didn't want double beds nor did we want the 1st floor. The King rooms were all full, we were told. In my opinion, being put in a room with 2 double beds on the 1st floor is actually a downgrade, NOT an upgrade for a couple.
I politely stood my ground, and pulled out my Starwoods Preferred guest card. It was this card, in addition to good service from Betty at the front desk, that got us the King bed on the 4th floor, Ocean Wing, Deluxe Ocean Front room. In my opinion that's as good as it gets at the Sheraton Kauai, and it's a wonderful room because it's so close to the ocean. I always try to check into a hotel as early as possible, because if you check in late, your options will become even more limited!
I asked Betty what is the best way to make sure you end up with the room you have booked? She explained it's best to book directly with the hotel, as a Starwood Preferred member, and NOT through a package. She also said you should call again, before your arrival, to reconfirm the type of room you want. Not sure if she meant a couple days ahead or a couple weeks ahead. She said packages pre-book a bunch of rooms. Seems to me that packages promise you the room you want, even though they know you may NOT get it. Packages are promising too many people the King beds.
Note that in the elevators, it does say that the 4th floor is for Starwood Preferred members only. Fortunately we are Starwood Preferred members. The 4th floor is the top floor in the Ocean Wing.
BEST thing about this property is you can sleep closer to the ocean than in any of the other Kauai hotels! That's what matters to us. This was a winter trip, and in February, it's a cooler month, so we slept with the lanai door slightly open, so we could hear the loud, soothing, romantic sound of the ocean! The air conditioning automatically turns OFF when the lanai door is open, but in the winter, with the ocean breeze, we didn't need any air conditioning at night. (Not sure if this would be the case in summer.) There were NO bugs or mosquitoes during our stay, but note the lanai doesn't have any screen, so if you happen to stay during a buggy season, the bugs can come in when the lanai door is open.
We never head ANY OTHER SOUNDS from this room, except for the sound of the ocean. Our room had excellent sound proofing. In fact if you close the lanai doors, you can barely even hear the ocean, even though it's loud against the rocks outside the Ocean Wing.
The Sheraton has a sandy beach (Kiahuna Beach or sheraton beach), and whether or not you can swim at their beach depends totally on the weather. During our stay we actually snorkeled at the Poipu beach park, which is a very short drive away, and is more protected. During our stay, not too many swimmers were in the water at the Sheraton's beach, because it was too windy and a little too rough for swimming. But calm snorkeling was possible at the Poipu beach park. You COULD walk to the Poipu beach park, but we felt it was too far to walk, when it's such a very short drive. We didn't have any trouble with parking either.
The grounds and the pool of the Sheraton are pleasant, but NOT spectacular. The best thing about the Sheraton is how close to the ocean it is! (See my photo of the Ocean Wing)
If you have booked a Deluxe Ocean front room, you could also be put in the "Beach Wing". Some people like the beach wing better because it's closer to the sandy beach, pool, and bar. HOWEVER we prefer the Ocean Wing, because it's more private, and quieter (except keep in mind the Ocean SOUND isn't quiet...it's loud, but we find that soothing and romantic.)
King bed was comfortable, except the Sheraton doesn't have any fitted sheets with elastic, they only use flat sheets, which means your sheets may come loose while sleeping. I hate this, but some other hotels are doing this too. Annoying. But we would still stay there again. LOVED our room.
BREAKFAST AT RUMFIRE; Our package included breakfast at Rumfire. It was ok, but NOT great. Rumfire is indoors with lots of glass windows. One morning we saw whales in the ocean while having breakfast at Rumfire! Very cool!!! Our breakfast package included coffee, which was very good, and a choice of juice or fruit, plus one entree. We always chose fruit which was a small piece of ripe papaya. Avoid ordering the waffle because it resembles a cheap frozen waffle. The omelettes are good, and you get your choice of fillings. Omelettes come with potatoes, which aren't too great. I substituted toast, but the toast was on cheap bread. So did we enjoy our breakfast? Sure, it was enjoyable, but definitely NOT the highlight of our stay at the Sheraton. Based upon the quality of breakfast, we chose not to eat any lunches or dinners at the Sheraton.
Garden rooms are across the street, and definitely look like they are almost a different hotel. Because we wanted a romantic stay, and like being close to the ocean, I would NOT stay in the garden rooms. But they could be a good choice for families on a budget, in my opinion. However if you have kids, consider whether they will be disappointed it's too windy for them to swim in the ocean. There is always the pool.
Front desk staff was outstanding...the bellmen out front, and the free shuttle drivers, were all great. They went out of their way to be helpful. The only staff we had any difficulty with was 1 of the concierges, who told me I was underdressed for my romantic dinner. This bugged me, as I hadn't asked her to judge my outfit. She then offered to call the restaurant where we were headed for dinner, and right in front of me she described how I was dressed to the hostess at the restaurant! It was rather demeaning. The restaurant kept assuring her that they had no problem, no worries, they just didn't want people showing up in their bathing suit. I ended up going to the restaurant dressed as I was, and they made me feel very welcome. We were dressed as well as the other patrons at the restaurant. Not sure why our concierge had a problem. We consulted the concierges several times, and they were sometimes helpful, sometimes not. I suggest you do your own research in advance.
How does the Sheraton compare with the HYATT next door? We had a romantic walk on the grounds of the Hyatt and went there one night for dinner. The Hyatt feels more tropical and upscale and gracious overall. But none of the rooms at the Hyatt are as close to the ocean as our room at the Sheraton.
We were pleased with our stay at the Sheraton overall. On a return visit to Kauai, we would definitely consider staying there again. On the other hand, we may stay on the north shore too, as the north shore of Kauai is beautiful and greener! I'm happy to answer any questions.
I'd like to say that if you don't like planning your own trips, AAA travel agents are friendly, and they do offer a good package for Hawaii. Just keep in mind you may have to accept the fact that you cannot have the room you think you are booking. This happened to us last year as well, when we booked a AAA Pleasant Hawaiian package for Big Island, and a different hotel also tried to "downgrade" us, calling it an "upgrade". I appreciate the friendly service of the AAA travel agents I have used, but I will probably just book directly with the hotels on our next trip to Hawaii.
Happy to answer any questions. All my photos are for the Deluxe Ocean Front room, but I may have mistakenly labelled some of them as "Deluxe Ocean View", which is incorrect. We booked "Deluxe Ocean Front". They aren't the same.
Based on the hotels that I saw...when we stay in the Poipu area of Kauai again, we might consider either the Sheraton, the Grand Hyatt, or the Kiahuna Plantation. We would base our choice on what is being offered for the price. (Free nights? free breakfast? price of ocean view or ocean front rooms?) Forgot to mention we also walked through the lovely gardens of the Kiahuna Plantation, which is very close to the Sheraton.
You can't get the 4th floor Deluxe Ocean Front rooms unless you are a Starwood Preferred member...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.