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The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
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Reviewed June 23, 2010

Ah...the great debate: Priceville or Poipu? Poipu or Princeville? I've stayed in both areas recently (reviewed the Sheraton Kauai as well), so perhaps I can offer some advice. First of all, Kauai is not Waikiki - or even Maui. Kauai is beautiful, lush, serene...but it is quiet. And the North Shore/Princeville area is even quieter than the South. By quiet, I mean that by 9pm, restaurants were closing. And by the time we arrived back at the Westin (around 10pm), there was barely a soul around. Still, Kauai is a spot for daytime activities, so going to bed early and waking up early is the way of life here. As many say, the North Shore is more scenic and more lush, while the South is more continously sunny (and has a bit more activiity). There are some beautiful beaches on both sides. Whichever side you choose, you really can't go too wrong - and it's a small island, so anywhere you want to go is a short drive.

As for the Westin - yes, it's quiet, but very pleasant. Room and beds are very comfortable. Large bathroom. Clean. Spacious. In many ways, this feels like a nice apartment building as opposed to a hotel. No direct beach access here, but there are views out to the ocean and a nice pool. Plus, you can use the facilities at the St. Regis (we didn't get a chance to due to limited time). Overall, nice hotel. However, for a longer stay, I'd pick a hotel that's right on the beach (that's what you come to Hawaii for, right?).

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Sunny77777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2010

My husband and I had been looking forward to this anniversary trip for sometime and we weren't disappointed by our resort choice of Westin Princeville. This is quite possibly the nicest t/s resort we have ever stayed at and can't wait to return!!! This north side of Kauai is just something else; truly an amazing place and will always be our preferred side to stay on when visiting Kauai. The closeness of the emerald green mountains and the views of them are just breathtaking. Plus this side of the island has a slower, more relaxed rhythm than the Poipu or Lihue areas, but still offers plenty of things to do like excellent snorkeling, good beaches, horseback rides, some great restaurants in Hanalei and at St. Regis.
The resort was easy to find and check-in went very smooth. The valet/bellman completely unloaded our car for us and delivered all our stuff, which was a lot including all our groceries and the $20 tip we gave him was worth every penny. He also valet parked our car which is complimentary the first night. What service! Everyone at the front desk is so nice and it wasn’t crowded or busy, so we were very relaxed from the beginning of our arrival! We were in our room within 10 minutes of arriving.
We went by Wal-mart in Lihue for supplies right after arrival at the airport and then stopped at the Safeway in Kapa’a on the way to Princeville. Even though we were pretty tired, I’m glad we did this because then we didn’t have to go back another day later and do it. I would highly recommend this when you arrive since traffic on the island going to and from Lihue area is slow.
We had an entire 2 bedroom unit on the second floor at the end of building #2 overlooking the "quiet" pool with a couple of peeks of the ocean. Very few units have full ocean views so I was quite pleased with our room location. The only locations you really don't want to be in are anything in building 1, the rooms looking toward BBQs and parking lot in building 2 (the rooms facing the pool are fine) and any first floor rooms facing the parking lot in building 5. Other than these few bad locations I think all the other rooms have nice views to look at. The amenities in our unit were spectacular; high end, gorgeous materials that you would expect from Westin and I have nothing bad to say about the unit. The kitchen does lack an oven, though this was not an issue for us since our kids were not in tow and we only cooked a few dinners. When I had the urge to make an apple tart though, the kitchen at the restaurant cooked it for me! The microwave is also a convection oven I guess, but since I don’t know how to use that, I didn’t use it as anything other than a microwave. The bathroom was very spacious with his and hers sinks and plenty of room to move around. There were drawers in the vanity, thank goodness since us women always like to have drawers for our “stuff”. There was a jacuzzi tub also. The heavenly bed was heavenly, we slept great! Flat screen TVs throughout and even a Bose CD player in the family room that you can also hook up to your iPod, so that was pretty cool because my husband has great music we were able to listen to! I was very happy with the size of unit, I’m guessing around 800 sq. ft for the master bedroom side, probably 1250 or so for the whole 2 bedroom unit. The family room had comfortable seeting for 5 and included a sofa bed.
The second bedroom has a queen bed which is disappointing and surprising. I expected a king size like we encounter in most Marriott second bedrooms. It also had a sofa bed so potentially you could sleep 4 people although for a week this would be way crowded. The kitchenette is very nice. It has a full size refrigerator, a 2 burner cooktop, all the utensils you’d need, a sink and even a small dishwasher! Very nice! There is a small table with two chairs for eating and a nice bathroom again. Plenty of closet space too. Even the 2nd bedroom here has a washer/dryer unit. Our end unit had extra space in the entry area and a very large pane glass window looking toward the pool which was lovely. If you are staying in a lock-off unit, ask for an end unit if possible.
The resort grounds here are immaculately kept and very pretty. Lots of native plants and palm trees and it’s just so clean. Maybe the chickens help to keep it cleaned up of bugs too since I saw very few of those which is strange for a tropical place! This property is very spread out and very relaxing feeling. There are wonderful views of the ocean from the main pool area which was really beautiful. Westin did a fabulous job in designing this resort to really feel like a paradise away from home! There is even a darling kids pool with turtles which squirt out water and a small pool slide. The pool temperature was lovely and there always seemed to be shade available, but then again, the resort didn’t feel crowded since a lot of rooms were being used by the film crew working on George Clooney’s new movie “The Descendants”, and they were often not on the property. On the first morning we took the walking nature tour around the property led by one of the very nice employees here. That was fun and I learned some things about local plants and places.
They offer lots of great activities here like an informal language class about the beautiful Hawaiin language. I didn’t attend any other classes beyond that but they had lei making classes, yoga classes in a stunning location overlooking the ocean and LOTS of kids activities if your children are with you. They have a nice kids camp you can send the kids to for a half day or even full days. I think they also have just an evening kids night “in” so mom and dad can have a quiet evening together.
Now to one of our favorite parts about staying here! Because the St. Regis is just down the street and both the Westin and them are owned by Starwood, we had privileges at the beach in front of the St. Regis, along with shuttle service right to the resort! They have nice lounge chairs and market umbrellas for our use, but you do need to take your own towels from the Westin. There are also glasses and ice water available for our use. If you make friends with one of the pool/beach attendants when you first get there be ready to be pampered on the beach like never before! We tipped one fellow $10 one morning after he helped us move an umbrella. For the remainder of our day, my glass of ice water was never empty and I even had a cup of fresh pineapple delivered to me. He was so nice! There is cocktail and food service available as well, although it is very expensive, but I admit the $15 mai tais were excellent. Another big plus about going to this beach was we also had use of the poolside bathrooms at the St. Regis pool area. Even though this isn’t much of a swimming beach (it’s mostly shallow reef), there are areas where you can enter the water to go snorkeling and if you have young kids they will love the calm, shallow waters to play in. If you have water shoes, bring them as it is fun to walk out onto the reef and you can go quite far because it stays really shallow for a long distance. You can also walk out to some better snorkeling locations. If you want a good swimming beach we’d recommend Hanalei Bay beach and for really good snorkeling there is Anini Beach and Tunnels nearby. We came to the St. Regis beach two days and loved every minute of it. If you want to have a pampered beach experience, this is it! My only note about coming here is if you bring any food to the beach to eat, be discrete. The St. Regis doesn’t want Westin guests toting ice chests through the lobby and down to the beach. Fortunately I had a small “cooler bag” I was able to pack sandwiches and fruit into for our lunches. I just wasn’t going to pay $17 for a turkey wrap from their pool side restaurant.
In the adorable town of Hanalei be sure to not to miss Hanalei Dolphin and Postcards for dinner. Both restaurants were wonderful and the riverside location of the Dolphin is really pretty. Be sure to arrive a little early and enjoy mai tais at the table located right next to the river. The Dolphin also has a nice sushi bar (which actually has the nice river view seating) and a fish market in the back in case you want to cook your own wonderful fish dinner one night like we did. Be sure to look at the Trip Advisor restaurant reviews of other restaurants in the area. If you want to go to dinner one night at Makana over at the St. Regis be sure to find out what nights they are closed and when their Luau dinner is because we got shut out of having dinner there due to too many nights it wasn’t available!
Be sure to check out Princeville Ranch stables if you desire to go on a horseback ride. They are located very close to the Westin and I loved the 3 hour ride to a private waterfall and pool. It was an amazing experience and I’d highly recommend it. The only catch with that ride is you need to be in fairly good physical condition to do the hiking down to the waterfall that’s required. The trail was extremely steep and they did have rope to hang onto, but if you’re not pretty strong physically, you may want to consider the ocean bluffs ride instead.
Our overall experience at Westin Princeville was absolutely wonderful. I would highly recommend this resort to couples looking for a relaxing getaway or families looking for a great trip. I think it offers the best of all worlds.
Please feel free to contact me via PM if you have any specific questions.
Aloha!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled on business
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3  Thank applejanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2010

My husband and I booked this hotel through a great deal on Westin's website. We were not disappointed. We booked a studio. It was absolutely beautiful, well-maintained and a great size. The kitchen had everything we needed plus more. The TV with digital cable was an added bonus and helped a lot when we got sick and had to stay in.

The service was very good as well. We were greeted immediately. Even though we were a couple hours early and our room wasn't ready, we were given 2 options of other rooms. Our concierge was really nice and didn't even mention the time share until my husband. The only issue we had was with check out (our bill was left in the hallway and we were billed something wrong) was addressed quickly and without having a manager involved.

The other reviews are correct with the Princeville location. We were okay being away everything and having to drive far to get the "sites," but be aware choices with everything (restaurants, activities, etc.) are limited.

Overall I would recommend these villas.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank michellef16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2010

We just got back from the Westin for 7 nights and had a wonderful experience. Everything was perfect. We never had to use our umbrellas or rain coats. At night, Tiki torches lit up the pool and BBQ area which were great to look at from our lanai. The pools were clean and nice to swim in. We especially enjoyed the “adults only” pools. The staff were nice and friendly.

We went out and did activities, discovering the many beaches around and had fun exploring Hanalei for shops and food. We took the one hour flight/tour with Air Ventures which was great. Enjoyed the Fern Grotto and Smith Family luau.

The rooms have full kitchens with pots, pans, dishes, silverware, etc. A full refrigerator and ice maker allow you to go to the market and stock up for things like breakfast and snacks or any preparations for other meals. There are lots of gas grills around the property where you can cook your own meal. We even warmed up a pizza on the grill. The little market in the hotel sells meat for grilling (chicken, fish, beef, etc).

I highly recommend this resort and would stay here again. The best exchange we have made so far. The rooms are spacious and well appointed. Facilities and grounds are kept very neat and clean. Location is terrific. Enjoyed the shuttle service to Hotel, St. Regis Princeville on the beach at Hanalei Bay.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Andrew611
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2010

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas have a great location overlooking the ocean. We loved our trip and would highly recommend the resort, but you need to know a couple of things. First, there's no beach directly at the resort. The resort sits on a bluff about 100 feet above the ocean. You can use the beach at the St. Regis, but you have to drive or take a shuttle there. That being said, the St. Regis has a great beach.

There is a small beach at the base of the cliffs at the Westin, but you have to walk down a steep foot trail to get there, and the footing is not very good. Nor is there a life guard.

Second, the resort is on the north side of the island, which gets more rain than the sourthern part of the island. We had beautiful weather when we were there with just an occasional shower. The area is very beautiful and scenes from the movie South Pacific were filmed nearby.

The concierge staff is great. Keep in mind that this is primariy a time share, so you will probably be approached at least once about buying a time share, but they won't hound you.

The rooms were very comfortable, very clean and very quiet. We had a full kitchen, and there are numerous gas grills and tables around the property. We grilled out several nights and ate overlooking the ocean. It doesn't get much better than that.

This iis a great place if you want to relax. If you want to be very active our catch a lot of night life, you'll have to drive towards the southern part of the island.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled with family
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Thank Boy_Scout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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