We stayed four nights. We arrived on Christmas night at 10:30. Since no restaurant or grocery store nearby was open, the staff opened the nicely stocked hotel market for us and told us to take our time shopping. This service was representative of what we experienced the remainder of our stay: great and sincerely helpful. The bell hop one day happily directed us to a lovely and quiet "locals" beach when we asked for a recommendation.
Our studio room was a good size, very comfortable, very clean, and quiet, except for the crowing roosters. It had a small washer and dryer, the latter coming in handy after a day at the beach. A ceiling fan kept the temperature comfortable, and our deck door was always open. It also had a two-burner stove, full fridge, dishwasher, microwave, blender, etc. Every kitchen thing we could want and more, but we ate only breakfast there. The view from our room wasn't great -- primarily of the grounds but with a peek-a-boo ocean view -- but we chose the rate, $180 per night, over the view. We didn't plan to spend a lot of time in the room, and we didn't. The grounds are pretty and well taken care of. There are several small pools scattered around, as well as a main pool, a kids pool, and several hot tubs. None were crowded or noisy. It was easy to have a pool or hot tub to ourselves or with just one or two others. Lounge chairs were easy to come by. There are lots of grills on the grounds, and the hotel sells ready-to-grill food -- chicken, burgers, etc. -- in their market. All the guests were friendly.
The resort's location is good if you want to spend most of your time on the north end of the island. A lot is close, including Hanalei, Hanalei Bay and several great beaches. Only one beach is within walking distance, however. You need a car if you stay here, but I wouldn't want to be on Kauai without a car no matter where I stayed.
The biggest downside to the Westin is its restaurant. It's menu is really limited and the food is only so-so. It's also not open for breakfast except for Sunday brunch. The hotel's market sells coffee and pastries, although there were often five or six people waiting in line, and one harried person doing everything behind the counter. We mostly drank the in-room coffee.
The second biggest downside was the noise from the roosters. This is apparently a problem with many places on the north end. They seem to run wild everywhere, and I guess there's nothing short of extermination that would change that.
Local artists had tables set up by the main pool every day. The authenticity of what they were selling was nice to see, and the prices were better than in the stores.
For some reason the resort doesn't make a point of mentioning it, but as a Westin guest you get free use of the health club at the Princeville Golf Resort, including classes. It's a couple miles away, but well worth the drive. The view from the cardio and weight room there is amazing, and they have a 25 meter, four lane lap pool as well as saunas and steam rooms. The massages and facials we had there were heavenly.
The Dolphin in Hanalei is *the* place to have a great meal. Funky, friendly, a wide variety menu, including outstanding sushi, and really tasty food. We saw Meg Ryan there, and it was a generally fun place to watch people. The Hanalei Gourmet is also good, but lower key and simpler than the Dolphin. A place not to eat: Kalypso. They have an enticing ad on the hotel TV, but we found nobody who could say it was better than awful. Another place to miss, the St. Regis. We had visions of sipping cocktails in luxurious surroundings while enjoying a wonderful view of Hanalei Bay and Bali Hai. What we found was a small, crowded terrace, with view-blocking rails, poor service, out-of-line prices, and a tacky, unauthentic lounge that could have been anywhere and designed in the 70s. Truly uninspired. The waiters even wore gray polyester suits, the same ones they probably wear at the Westin in Chicago. What a waste of prime real estate and position. We went to the south end one day and truly enjoyed our lounge experience at the Hyatt. Same prices as the St. Regis, but more worth it. (The waiters there wore shorts and Hawaiian shirts, and the whole lounge was outside and had a fantastic view.)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.