The last time we (my wife and I and our two children) came to Kauai in 2004, we stayed at the Princeville resort, which was great. However, the price for the resort has increased since then, and recent reviews have been less than stellar. We wanted a different experience this time, and a condo seemed like a good solution.
We checked the various condo offerings on the Princeville property, and there are many. The Nihilani condos intrigued us because they are newer, spacious, and have a nice looking pool, as we enjoy swimming when we go on vacation. I booked the condo (18C) through VRBO, which worked fine. I initially called the condo owner, who was very helpful in answering questions about the condo, and suggested a great restaurant in Hanalei (Baracuda), which turned out to be our best meal during our vacation. The booking was handled by ReMax, which took care of the paperwork, directions, etc. It is a bit different for me to lock in a booking so far in advance that is non-refundable. However, all was smooth and we arrived as planned.
One thing to mention when we arrived: it was dark outside, and very difficult to find the condo. The street signs within Princeville aren't well marked at night, and we had a hard time finding the unit, and it was challenging to use the lock box for the key in the dark. ReMax may want to make certain that a flashlight is available for those guests who show up late.
When we opened the door of the condo, we were blown away. It's huge! A large living room, 50" plasma TV, beautiful kitchen, family room, 2 good sized bedrooms with queen beds, huge closets, and beautiful bathrooms (3 of them). We were very comfortable the entire stay, and were never in a hurry to leave the condo. It was nice just to hang around, sit on the lanai, and enjoy the beauty of Princeville.
The pool area was fine. It's a nice pool with a waterfall, lots of lounge chairs, and 2 bbqs. We used the grill several times and spent a lot of time at the pool.
The Nihilani condos are a good value, and I'd recommend for families and those who want an alternative to the resorts. We did go by the Princeville resort for old times sake, and it was surprising to see how worn it looks. I understand it's closing for renovation, but it's a bit disconcerting that they're charging top dollar for sub par conditions.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.