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“Ahhh...the beach!”

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Barking Sands Beach Cottages
Ranked #39 of 88 Specialty Lodging in Kauai
Princeville
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Ahhh...the beach!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 1, 2012

We had the good fortune to stay at Hale Pueo (owl house) with great friends...the 4 of us Kauai residents from the "otta side" of the island. The cottage was super roomy, clean, well equipped (if a bit worn) but the main draw was the beach front lanai where we settled in daily. We watched the waves and passing tour boats, read books, painted, chatted, laughed and were soon in a tropical torpor. When we moved it was to walk the beautiful, wide, nearly deserted, powdery white sand beach, paddle out on the surfboard or boogie board. Take care with the ocean activities, unless you are very familiar with the ocean, as these were big waves with currents and there are bits of reef under foot. It was June warm and we did appreciate the bedroom's AC at times. The pool (shared with just 2 others) was also a blast with a corkscrew water slide. We dined on the deck of Shenanigans one evening enjoying fantastic views and good, but less than gourmet, food. We intended to see a nightly movie at the outdoor theater, but opted for the returning Wedge tailed shearwaters entertainment. The large birds return to their burrows along the beach, appearing out of the darkness then disappear. If we listened intently, we could hear their "moaning or mooing" throughout the night. The landscaping is left to nature so don't expect green yards around most of the cottages. Kokee is about 40 minutes away so you can cool off up the mountain for a change from beach side living. This is a military facility so some areas are off limits and security is an issue.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank hulalu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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85 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 15, 2012

If you're connected to the military, or traveling with someone who is, it is certainly worth spending a few days at this special spot. This is my opinion, even after having spent 2 previous weeks in a comparatively luxurious condo just prior to spending a week here.

The ocean-front cottage to which we were assigned is named Hale Ua U Kane, which translated means "place of the wedge-tailed shearwater". Shearwaters are seabirds which burrow into the sand, and emit moaning sounds in the evening hours, like the lowing of cows. The sound of the ocean is ever-present, day and night, but the sounds of the shearwaters are predominantly a nightly phenomenon.

As for the furnishings, they are pretty simple (and others have documented them very accurately in their photos). For our family of 4, our cottage provided 2 bedrooms: one with a double bed, and the other with twin beds. Both bedrooms have individual ac units mounted in them, which we didn't use, as the tradewinds cooled us off at night, and we preferred to hear the sounds of the ocean and shearwaters instead of the ac. The beds were comfortable, and the linens provided were of decent quality. There is a single bathroom, but it is fairly spacious, (in fact we noted that it wouldn't take much to figure out how to partition a separate powder room off from it). The living room has a convertible sofa (so the cottage could conceivably sleep 6), and an armchair, and the dining area has a round glass table, with four chairs. There is an ethernet cable for the provided internet, and purportedly there is wifi, but we found the wifi to be spotty. We travel with a travel-router, so were able to use the ethernet and create our own wifi.

The kitchen has a stove, fridge, microwave, and coffeepot (no dishwasher). There are some cooking utensils, but not as much as a conventional condo or timeshare. Pots, pans, bowls range from reasonably good, to "in immediate need of replacement" - we had a set of nesting plastic bowls with lids, where the bowls had holes in their bottoms, so not usable for much more than serving chips. There were no dinner-sized plates. A couple of the plastic beakers had cracks in them. As other reviewers commented that they found their units to be well equipped, I'm guessing that some units are better equipped than others.

Outside there is a lanai with a table and 2 chairs, and a loveseat and 2 armchairs. There is an outdoor shower near the front door, and a charcoal grill a few feet from the lanai. (The Navy Exchange sells briquets).

At the PMRF, but in a different location from the cottages, are other amenities and services available to people staying in the cottages. We never went to the restaurant Shenanigans. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays there are free movies shown in an outdoor theater, and there is a pool which folks staying in the cottages can use. The fitness center is free for people connected to the military, but there is a $2 fee for sponsored guests. As noted by others, Costco (an hour away in Lihue) is essential to stock up at before coming to this remote area. Costco's gas prices also beat the PMRF prices while we were there.

Any perceived shortcoming of these cottages is far out-weighed by the unique location. This is a nature preserve for the shearwater. As it is off-limits to most people, it is safe and serene. The night sky is magnificent, and the moon sets over Niihau.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
22 Thank Catisha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oregon
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 14, 2012

Our vacation was exactly what we planned: enjoying the environment and doing very little. The cottages are "basic" with all amenities except housekeeping. Be prepared to do some cleaning. There was a little wear in our older cottage, especially in the bathroom. We liked being able to put the car out of the sun and having the larger lanai. Each subset of cottages has advantages and disadvantages. They all sleep four comfortably.

Having already experienced Kaua'i, we were content to be away from the busier (and wetter) sides of the island. The NEX is adequate, the Farmers' Market is nearby in Kekaha once a week. Stock up on basic groceries/needs in Lihue before checking in. If you can live with a schedule, the Dining Hall is a lifesaver and too-economical to not eat there sometimes. Shenanagin's All Hands Club is reasonable and predictable. The MWR staff is personable, helpful, and responsive.

This is a clean, quiet, small base with security. We recognized everyone by the end of two weeks. It is not a good place to get in the water unless you are a good swimmer (boogie board or surf) but the beach is unbelievably beautiful and empty. Fishing is reportedly good with locals having permits to fish on base. During the summer, the protected Shearwater is courting and nesting. Once you have read the explanation of the night song, you will enjoy it.

The rental car and gas ($.10/gal less than elsewhere) was the most significant expense. We found traffic to be normal for slow rural highway and adjusted to the time-to-travel. If you plan to visit Ponihale State Park, you will need a 4-wheel drive and no rain for a few days.

This is the place for those ok with no frills, no organized activity, more sun than the rest of the island, a good value, and a reminder of what we liked best about being in the service.

Room Tip: All views are ocean view. Some would prefer the "front row" or being elevated to park the...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
8 Thank Camel_Watcher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
45 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 11, 2012

Breakfast on the patio listening to the waves was very enjoyable. And dinner watching the sunset over the ocean was lovely.

If you are looking for a quiet place to get away with your loved ones, this is perfect. If you're looking for an exciting nightlife, shopping, variety of food nearby, this in NOT the place for you.

We loved it! The staff was very helpful with booking excursions. We loved the full kitchen for preparing our own meals. And having our own washing machine and dryer was very handy.

The birds are VERY loud in the morning, bring earplugs just in case they wake you too early.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Mary D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Danbury, CT
Level Contributor
59 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 6, 2012

Our family of 10 rented 2 of the newer cottages for 5 nights. With 5 people in each cottage, it would have been nice to have 2 bathrooms---otherwise the cottage was comfortable. The kitchen was well equipped and spacious. We used the charcoal grill for evening meals and enjoyed dinner on the porch every night. We had loaded up the cars with provisions from Costco in Lihue
which served us well and saved a bit of money. Watch out for the military police cars: they're hiding and just waiting to catch you committing a minor infraction.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank sunshine1492
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California City, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 28, 2012

Stayed five nights as a family of five. A little cozy for that number, especially when someone goes into the only bathroom for a half hour without warning. But the bushes are conveniently located nearby outside for such situations. The cottage does have everything you need: Refrigerator, stove, microwave, TV, two bedrooms, washer/dryer, and lanai. There's even a shower outside to rinse sand off before going in. Took a while to find the directions for the wireless internet, but it worked fine once we did. There is no daily (or any) housekeeping. In fact, it's a little like living in base housing. They provide a list of the cleaning you have to do before you check out. Our only issues with cleanliness were a bedroom ceiling fan that was so caked with dust that we dared not turn it on & the dryer lint basket being full. The beach is right there, though we had to walk down quite a ways to find an entry point into the water that was not too rocky for bare feet. Lovely sunsets over the forbidden island. Had one dinner at Shenanigans (the base club). Good meal. Note: Every time I drove on base at night I saw at least one security vehicle on patrol. They seem to be on the lookout for drinkers big time. Don't do that & ruin your stay. The base galley is a great value, but it is only open weekdays. The little Navy Exchange is not so tiny. Fairly good selection. Though the base is almost at the end of the road, it's not far from Waimea Canyon & you can easily devote a couple days there to hiking and sightseeing, so it's not like you need to drive to the other side of the island everyday. These cottages are indeed as great value & lovely place to get away from it all. Would definitely return. We had no problem with bugs (except for mosquitoes outside the cottage).

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
9 Thank mhkzak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
Level Contributor
118 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 14, 2012

This was a second stay. The cottage we stayed in last year was newer and had a better lanai. The accommodations are as good any timeshare with all the amenities. The place is really in the sticks, but that's part of its charm. The support staff for this property is on the ball. Very helpful and have a slew of activities and equipment available to the guests. Privacy is not a issue since there is sufficient space separating the units. They even provide a basic charcoal grill for outside grilling. The only drawback is that the winds can be very strong and on our recent visit encountered extreme rainstorms. The coziness of the units compensated for that shortfall. Still would visit again.

Room Tip: Ask for the newer units closer to the entrance
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank Surfside10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Barking Sands Beach Cottages

Property: Barking Sands Beach Cottages
Address: Pacific Missle Range Facility (PMRF), Waieli, Kauai, HI
Location: United States > Hawaii > Kauai
Hotel Style:
Ranked #39 of 88 Specialty Lodging in Kauai
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
Barking Sands Beach Cottages Hotel Kauai
Barking Sands Beach Cottages Kauai, Hawaii

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