We came to the Westin Princeville because I have an SPG membership and we were offered one of their vacation packages. I had just been contemplating Hawaii, and it fortuitously arrived--a package stay at the Westin on Kauai. I had never visited Hawaii before but in my brief research, Kauai had always appealed more to me, with its jungles and canyons. Done and done! I booked my stay in January of 2013, and finalised our dates in February, picking October as our vacation time because firstly, it would be our third wedding anniversary, and secondly, prime vacation time would have ended with kids back in school, and thirdly, October seemed more temperate, but lacked the wave swell of the winter months. I had stayed at the Westin Harbourfront in Toronto fairly regularly and had a positive view of them, so I was confident that the property in Hawaii would reflect that.
The facilities are lovely and match the pictures shown on the website. My expectations for the room and resort were well-calibrated by the presentation of literature, website, and review sites. Our studio suite was certainly more than adequate for our needs, and roomy enough for a couple celebrating their anniversary. We lucked out and scored a room facing the end of the golf course and the ocean--quite a boon for this newbie photographer. We also happened to be by the quiet pool/jacuzzi area which was nice.
The suite came equipped with a washer/dryer and kitchenette, both of which were put to good use. I can't emphasise how useful it is to be able to wash clothes in Hawaii. Even on pur mildest days, we were still going through two outfits a day. (Sweat, mud, sand, more sweat!) i had packed extra clothes but it was still handy to switch clothes for dinner or between tours. And swimsuits! Well, you don't want manky swimsuits in your luggage heading back home.
We stocked the fridge and cupboards with cereal, noodles, easily prepared small things. Everything seems to close by nine, so it is good to have backup food for those times when it is late and one gets nibbly. If you don't use everything, they will donate your unopened food to the Kauai foodbank on your behalf.
Parking is expensivish. At first I didn't blink, coming from SF/Seattle where parking is at a premium. But then somebody pointed out that a) they don't lack for room, b) a car is fairly necessary to get about and c) you don't have any parking alternatives. We used the valet once, and while we got the car in a timely manner, we decided we might as well park it ourselves.
The concierge service was fine. Our concierge met us and arranged for us to go horseback riding, which was lovely. I pre-booked most of our tours though ahead of time to finesse our schedule a bit more. We liked the little gift bag and the complimentary beverages that they gave us in honor of our anniversary.
The pools are cute, but a little on the shallow side. This is great if you have kids or are feeling rather floaty, but my 6 ' 2" husband felt like the depth was overly shallow. He couldn't swim comfortably. We realise these are meant to be relaxing pools, not lap pools, but he felt disappointed. Also while the pools themselves generally weren't crowded at this time of year, the jacuzzis are almost always crowded which is not great if one likes a bit of solitude. Fortunately, there are jacuzzi tubs in the suite which worked well enough for my purposes. (Ie. reading and soaking!)
The location is great, if you ask me, but I hadn't expected beach access. The resort is on the cliffs/bluffs a bit east of Hanalei, which soothed my paranoid mind re: tsunamis and flooding. They are in the first section of Princeville which meant that the Foodland was easily reached, as well as numerous scenic overlooks. Plus I kinda totally fell in love with the lush north shore. The beach that is closest is supposed to be Anini Beach which was referenced in Lilo and Stitch.
We initially were going to see the Westin Vacation Ownership program BUT cancelled and turned our vouchers back in. Firstly, the presentation is prohibitively long--90 minutes in prime daytime adventure having time. We decided we'd rather use the time for exploring Hawaii more. And by that point, we had also decided that while the Westin facilities were great, they didn't quite have the local flavour we woukd like to try on our next visit. It is very much a resort...which is great for families with lots of kids, or older folks, chillin' on the lanai. It just doesn't feel quite like our thing, although we were glad to have experienced it for our first taste of Hawaii. (Also I just don't dig onsite sales pitches. Thankfully, there was no further pressure from Wrstin staff--they let me back out gracefully.)
One tiny hitch: on our last day, we recieved notice that the hot water would be out from 9 to 4. So we had to make some plans around that inconvenience. I am really fond of my late night soaks with favourite books and obviously that was out.
In summation: great facilities over-all which would be great for families, older couples, those visiting for their first time. The location is great for photographers looking to capture sunsets in Hanalei or the lush jungly north shore. We were close to Kilauea, the Silver Falls Ranch, and the awesome mini golf course. (I don't golf, but I do mini golf.) it's really far from Port Allen but at least one Napali Coast tour leaves from Hanalei, I think. It's a bit spendy if you don't have a package deal but decent value if you do.