Hanalei Bay Resort is not the worst place to stay in Kauai, but it is nowhere near the best. And, depending on the purpose of your visit, that makes a big difference.
The resort is blessed by a magnificent location. The grounds are generally nice, even if they are overgrown and in need of some care. There are apparently some excellent rooms and our room (although at the farthest reaches of the resort's SE corner) was comfortable. But the negatives far outweigh the positives. There are almost no beach towels provided for guests. The tennis courts are becoming run-down and there is no tennis pro on site to take care of them (the lower tennis courts, nearer the beach, are in poor shape). The jacuzzi is often overcrowded and lukewarm. At night, the bar is crowded (not surprising given the size of the resort) and difficult to get into. The staff was constantly rude to us and the concierge was unhelpful (I asked to make a tee time at Princeville's Prince golf course and she suggested I look up the number and call myself).
HBR's parking lot is way tooo small: guests were forced to park illegally, in the driveway or behind other cars every night of our visit. One guest complained to the front desk and was told she would have to park down the street and walk back to the resort in the dark. As a number of others have mentioned, the beach is located at the base of the cliff, requiring a 5-10 minute walk through the jungle. This might be worth the effort if you were walking to, say, Kihei or Lumahai Beach, but the Princeville beach is unspectacular by Hawaiian standards, small and rocky, murky and generally unswimmable. The only chairs on the beach are provided for guests of the Princeville Resort, meaning you had to bring yours on the walk down, and will have to take it back up as well (unless you can get a ride from the one HBR shuttle, which I saw once). The sunset view from the beach is nice, looking out past Bali Hai, but you can't linger long because you have to walk back up the hill to the HBR and there are no lights on the trail.
The HBR seems to have found a niche serving customers who don't want to pay $3-4,000 to stay at the Princeville Resort for a week but want to experience the beauty of Kauai's North Shore. But you should still get what you pay for, and the fact remains that the HBR is not cheap. Quite simply, they do almost nothing well. You might get a decent room and love the view, but there are better options for the money. For example, after three disappointing days, we moved to the Kiahuna Plantation in Poipu, with a great staff, great beach, ample amenities and facilities and universally happy guests. That saved our vacation.
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- Also Known As:
- Hanalei Bay Hotel Princeville
- Hanalei Bay Princeville
- Hanalei Bay Resort Princeville, Kauai