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“5 Star Hotel, 4 Star service, but give it 3 months”

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St. Regis Princeville Resort
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Princeville
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 15, 2009

We stayed at the St. Regis for a "soft" opening. September 27-October 2nd. The hotel has breathtaking views of Hanalei Bay, but is still not quite up to par with our expectations of a St. Regis. Despite being members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program, American Express Platinum members, and booking our stay through a Virtuoso Travel Agency, we were not given the "upgrade upon availability" at check-in. Our itinerary stated that we were to receive a welcome fruit basket, as well as breakfast included every day, but we did not receive these. When we noticed this on our check out day, we did bring it to the attention of the sales department and they kindly adjusted our bill to take care of the breakfasts that we had paid for in the hotel. In a nutshell, here is my review: The hotel lacks a personality because they do not have soft music playing and they limit the live entertainment in the main bar area to two hours. They do not include yogurt in the continental portion of the buffet. If you want to have yogurt, you need to pay $5 extra. We were not given a NY Times Digest, even though we requested one to be delivered daily upon our check-in. There was no welcome card from the manager or fresh flowers in our room to welcome us. There are no balconies at this hotel. The bathrooms have a strange smoked glass effect to give privacy, otherwise, one can see right through from the bathroom into the main bedroom area. The light at night can disturb the other resident in the room if someone needs to use the restroom in the middle of the night. There was also no coffeemaker in our room. In addition, the couples massage is very expensive and they did not tell us if a tip was included in the price or if that would be extra. Another frustration were the in-room clock radios. They were difficult to understand and an appropriate explanation was not given to us as to their operation.
All in all, the hotel is beautiful and we think that in about 3 months, they will have worked out all of the kinks. In the meantime, the management could take a lesson from the way that they run things at Pelican Hill, a Newport Beach hotel in California.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LJLisa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,815 - 2,821 of 2,916 reviews

Reviewed October 14, 2009

My husband and I recently spent 4 nights at the hotel early October. I wish I could report that our stay was everything we hoped it would be but there were quite a few problems mainly, we felt, due to the hotel not be quite ready for guests. The location is so magnificent and the staff are trying very hard were sure given time it will be up to the 5 star standard of a St Regis . We were greeted on our arrival by very friendly and efficient staff and shown through to the reception area to check in. The view from the lobby to the mountains and across Hanalei Bay was just beautiful as was our room on the first floor. A walk along the beach at sunset - paradise! Lovely touches during our stay seemed to be mainly from the housekeeping staff - a birthday cake on the first night, a note each night with the weather for the next day, flowers being placed along our bed and through the bathroom on our last night, the service from the butler service who moved our things to the new room was exceptional and our room was always spotless. Our room was generous & decor tasteful, bed and pillows really comfortable, nice products and of course the view! On the down side, not one day of our stay was a full breakfast available (apparently they were still waiting for equipment to arrive?), we had to move twice due to some sort of pump outside our first room, A/C failing in the lifts, lengthy delays for most things as staff were not yet familiar with operations and procedures. The food at the pool side was expensive and not up to standard but staff were great - iced water and refreshing towels brought around. The concierge, Hannie, was wonderful - very knowledgeable and helpful. The spa treatment, facilities and staff excellent. On checking out we found numerous errors with our account which took over an hour and a half to sort out. Given the premium charged for our stay, I wouldn't say it was great value. We lodged our concerns with Starwoods on our return home and to the hotels credit, we received a prompt reply and the promise of an investigation. Hopefully some sort of reimbursement will be offered! With any luck the teething issues will be sorted out quickly and this hotel will be worthy of its magnificent location.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank LucyIntrepid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2009

My husband and I stayed at the newly re-opened Princeville Resort for our anniversary on the second weekend after they reopened. Overall, our experience was wonderful. The renovations are gorgeous, the service (mostly) is fantastic, and of course, you can't beat the natural beauty of the area.

We were especially impressed with our check-in. From the moment we were greeted at the security stand, every single staff person greeted us by name and told us "Happy Anniversary." Within minutes of arriving at our room, room service brought up a complimentary bottle of Moet.

The room was tastefully elegant. We were totally blown away by the magic window separating the bathroom from the bedroom that could change from clear to opaque with a flip of a switch. The bed was seriously one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept in, with an abundance of big, fluffy pillows.

The pool and beach area was relaxing, and the service out there was wonderful. Although if you've never been to Princeville, you should know that it's definitely the cloudier/rainier side of the island. If you're looking for a sunny beach vacation in Kauai, I would suggest Poipu instead.

The only blemish in our otherwise perfect trip was the service in the lounge area. We sat and waited to be served for probably 10 minutes. There were tons of servers/bartenders/managers there (probably more staff than guests), but no one ever stopped to serve us, or even say that they would be with us in a minute. The manager and one of the servers even started moving furniture around us, but no service. We eventually just left and drove to Bar Acuda in Hanalei for a drink.

Overall, our trip was wonderful and minus the lounge incident, I would highly recommend it for a quiet getaway.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank princesschopsuey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2009

We were one of the first people to stay in the newly renovated St Regis Princeville. Here are our thoughts:

The good:
Beautiful, beautiful view (the sunsets are breathtaking)
The food was fantastic
The pool area was great - large main pool, as well as smaller pools for kids, numerous whirpools and other heated pools
The cost of drinks and wine was reasonable

The bad:
The bar fridge in our room didn't work and smelled mouldy
No coffee machines in the rooms
The hot water in our room was sporadic at best - I had a few icy cold showers!
The power in our room kept cutting out and all the lights in our room would switch on in the middle of the night
The TV in our room stopped working a few times (probably related to the power cuts?)
The staff wear the most atrocious uniforms that belong in a Waco Cult - they look home made and are just plain creepy!
While the food is good, it is way over-priced, even by Kauai standards

The ugly:
When we complained about the hot water, the electricity, the TV and bar fridge the staff at the front desk just shrugged their shoulders and looked at us blankly
The breakfasts are awful - I've had better at a 2-star Marriott. Don't waste your time and money, head to Java Kai in Hannalei for a much better breakfast

Overall we had a good time, but the hotel is very over-priced. We also stayed at the Hannalei Bay Resort during our vacation and found it way nicer. The prices are lower, the facilities are better and it shares exactly the same beach as the St Regis.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled with family
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8  Thank Clairicie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2009

We stayed at the recently remodeled St. Regis the last week of september '09. The hotel itself is nice, and fairly elegant inside. Not as stunning as you would expect from a St Regis, however. We've been to others, even though we prefer other Starwood brands - W's, Westin's and various Sheratons, depending on the location. The service was top notch, as it always is at a St Regis, but almost to the point of annoying. I don't mind walking down the hall to get my own ice, I don't need it brought to me, but to each his own.

The rooms themselves are very nice, with the always wonderful beds, nice electronic setups with big flat screen tvs, dvd players and even an ipod dock so you can listen through the stereo and tv. No balconies for most rooms, but the windows do open fully with gorgeous views of the beach/mountains/pool. The bathrooms have a very cool feature - a window between the shower and bedroom that can be clear or opaque at the flip of a switch. To nitpick, I didn't like the shower heads at all....small and poor water pressure.

The lobby is wide, expansive and is the highlight of the hotel. Long, floor-to-ceiling windows show one of the best ocean views on the entire island. The windows stretch all along the bar/lounge, which is comfortable, relaxing and decorated well, including a large painting of the same view over the bar area. They have live hawaiian/island music nightly, and the drinks are good....if you don't mind paying $16 for a mixed drink or $8 for a beer.

And this is my biggest complaint. The prices. It's one thing if you're getting something out of the ordinary for your money. The hotel is very nice. NICE. Not overflowing with elegance and eye opening design. The pool is wonderful, big, and has comfy lounge chairs, some of which are in one shallow section which is bliss, and all face "that view."

However, it seems like they just took the regular price for everything and multiplied it X 10, simply because they can. The breakfast buffet, for example. Eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns and pancakes, the quality of which was on par with IHOP or Denny's, was $32/person. Outragsous. Now, if you're serving stuffed french toast...or maybe had an omelette station....or ANYTHING out of the diner food ordinary genre, MAYBE I could see it. But waaaaay overpriced. For everything.

The location is okay, you're close to golf and a 10 min drive to Hanaleil, which has a few good restaurants and some shopping. And it's on the way to Tunnels Beach and Ke'e beach, two of the more popular beaches, especially on the North side.

But when you order a simple quesedilla at the pool which would've been a few bucks at any local mexican restaurant, and the same quality, and they charge $20, it does affect your perception of the hotel as well as your vacation.

I guess if you're staying at a St Regis, you don't care about paying $32 for 2 mai tais at the pool. You probably don't even look at the check. But when visitors are charged $16 to valet just to eat at the restuarant, something isn't right.

So i'd recommend this hotel if you have bottomless pockets, and prefer the north side of the island, and want to be close to the golf course.

Stayed: September 2009, traveled with family
8  Thank Jeff C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2009

Our visit was during a five-day soft opening prior to the grand opening on October 1. It should be noted that this review is from the perspective of someone who has stayed at the hotel many times.

At this point the hotel is a St. Regis in name only. Frankly, it is still a Luxury Collection with a new dress.

The changes to the lobby are disappointing. It reminds me of a Hyatt. Also, the lobby no longer expresses the vastness that it used to exhibit. The living room, fortunately, has been left alone except for new furniture, which has some colors that are inappropriate for the setting.

Cafe Hanalei, now Makana Terrace, has also fortunately been left the way it was. It has the most spectacular view in the state (from any public facility), and this will always be the hotel's strong point.

The decor has improved in the rooms, though they still have not captured a Hawaiian motif. Our room could have just as easily been in LA, NY or Chicago. Additionally, there is an insufficient amount of hot water in the evening. This had been a recurring problem during previous stays, so even after being closed for a year this problem has still not been solved, and I doubt it has even been addressed.

The pool has been improved by the addition of numerous palm trees, but removing the bridge added nothing.

As for the food ... it is no better or worse than when it was a Luxury Collection. The presentation could be a lot more imaginative, as well as the menu. And the service ... pretty much the same staff as before, but with a much better attitude. Unfortunately, the staff is being handcuffed by management by implementing procedures that slow down service. For instance, if a guest needs another cup of coffee, the server has to go to the kitchen to get the coffee pot. Also, the kitchen is very slow putting out food. At our first breakfast, the chef refused to split an order. After reporting this to the Food and Beverage Director, the problem did not reoccur.

One staffer in the front office asked how we were enjoying our stay. I said there were numerous issues. Her reply was, "Well, it is a soft opening." I wonder if there are any problems that wouldn't be solved by this reponse.

A long-term employee expressed to me that he was shocked the hotel was opening before everything was in order. That, of course, was a management decision, and therein lays the problem - management isn't up to speed.

As I said, the hotel's strong point will always be the view. It's one of the great views in the world. Even if you don't stay there, if you are on Kauai, drop by and have a drink or a meal. If you can afford a room, stay there, but don't expect St. Regis.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank AnseVictorin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2009

Just came back from trip to Hawaii, which included trips to Oahu, Big Island as well as Kauai, where this hotel is located

Hotel is clearly new - when we arrived, they are still setting up shops in lobby, and a couple of restaurants are still not opened.

We arrived at 10am, and were hoping to check into our room. The woman who checked us in initially told us we would have to wait for our room until 3pm. ( So.. we are starwood platinum members and this is a new hotel which should not be full... needless to say, we were nonplussed at this service. ) SInce the hotel is not located close to anything, we asked what we should do. The woman said she could find us a new room, which would be upgraded. Doing us a favour, I guess

Our room was a basic room, overlooking the pool. Very similar to St Regis room I stayed at in China.. however, this was smaller. Room was still set up for nightime turndown service, so we waited to have the room cleaned up. Again, a poor first impression.

We had lunch at the restaurant - food was OK but I was still suprised at prices... $16 for a cocktail, which seems high, even for this hotel. Speaking of gauging, I got a large coffee to go in the shop and was shocked at the $5 sticker price.

Anyhow. beach is just ok... and noisy...

I think that if you like the St Regis type of hotel, you will like this.. but otherwise, I would look at other hotels.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank constantia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about St. Regis Princeville Resort

Address: 5520 Kahaku Road, Princeville, Kauai, HI 96722-5214
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Kauai > Princeville
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Princeville
Price Range: $588 - $1,108 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — St. Regis Princeville Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 251
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on one of the most beautiful sites in the world, The St. Regis Princeville Resort is Hawaii’s address for life’s special moments. Elegantly appointed, the resort offers 251 spacious guest rooms including the exclusive Crown Suite Collection. Overlooking beautiful Hanalei Bay, the St. Regis Princeville provides bespoke service amid magnificent natural surroundings. Experience the pursuit of sport, culture and fine dining. For connoisseurs who desire the finest expressions in luxury. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
St. Regis Princeville Hotel Princeville
St. Regis Princeville Resort Kauai

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