Review: Sheraton Kauai Resort, Hawaii, USA
Our travels to Hawaii hadn’t yet taken us to groovy and soul filled Kauai which is the quietest of the Hawaiian Islands. As an island that has a reputation for wet weather and being off the beaten path, it takes less of the shine than Oahu or Maui which have much larger resorts and hotels. Our visit would have us based in Poi’pu at the sunny south end of the Island of Kauai. We would be at the Sheraton Kauai Resort for 5 nights. How did the quieter environment of Kauai measure up?
This post is one chapter on our trip on the United Island Hopper and to Oahu & Kauai, Hawaii, United States. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan, United Airlines Mileage Plus and Marriott Bonvoy. It was further enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.
Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: The United Island Hopper via Honolulu & Kauai, on United Airlines and Alaska Airlines First Class
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Vancouver – Seattle
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Seattle – Honolulu
- The Sheraton Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
- The United Island Hopper – Flight #1: Honolulu – Majuro
- The United Island Hopper – Flight #2: Majuro – Kwajalein
- The United Island Hopper – Flight #3: Kwajalein – Pohnpei
- The United Island Hopper – Flight #4: Pohnpei – Chuuk
- The United Island Hopper – Flight #5: Chuuk – Guam
- The United Island Hopper – Top 5 Tips and Tricks
- The Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort, Guam
- The Sagan Bisita VIP Lounge, Guam
- United Airlines: Guam – Honolulu
- Bill’s Sydney, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
- Hawaiian Airlines The Plumeria Lounge, Honolulu, USA
- Hawaiian Airlines First Class: Honolulu – Lihue
- The Sheraton Kauai Resort, Poi’pu, Hawaii, USA
- Visiting Kauai Coffee Estate, Kauai, USA
- The Views at the Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauai, USA
- Sailing the Napali Coast, Kauai, USA
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Lihue – Seattle
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Seattle – Vancouver
Review: Sheraton Kauai Resort, Poi’pu, Kauai, United States of America.
“The Sheraton Resort Property in Hawaii for those looking to be off the beaten track with a minimum of excitement”
Having previously visited Honolulu and Maui several times, it was time to explore further afield in the Hawaiian Islands. This led us to exploring the westerly Hawaiian Island of Kauai. Most of the resorts on Kauai are located around the central southern shore, as it tends to get the sunnier weather.
Booking the Sheraton Kauai:
We ended up at the Sheraton Kauai Resort, as it was a great property that was available on Marriott Bonvoy points at the right price.
At the time of our stay, it was a Marriott Bonvoy 5 property, one of the lowest categories of available Hawaii properties. As a result, we booked in on an award stay for five nights.
In order to pay for our “free” stay, we used a variety of methods:
- Two Free Night Award Certificates from the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Personal and Business credit cards,
- One Certificate from an additional free night award, as a result of meeting Titanium status after 75 nights in a year,
- Two nights from Marriott Bonvoy from points alone at 30,000 points per night totalling 60,000 points for the stay.
On a typical Marriott Bonvoy points redemption, you get the 5th night free when you redeem 4 reward point nights. Marriott Bonvoy doesn’t like to offer a free night when you apply a combination of certificates, points and vouchers to pay for your free night certificates. Accordingly, we had to “pay” for all 5 nights and didn’t get any free.
Aside from that, it was a very good value as the paid rate was about $300 USD a night at the time of booking and climbed to over $660 USD a night shortly before our stay. Our total spend was $172.45 USD in resort taxes and fees, along with 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. There was also a resort fee which affects many Hawaiian Resorts of $30 USD per day (for supposed cultural activities) which was included in the rate.
Applying Suite Night Awards:
Marriott Suite Night Awards are given to Marriott Bonvoy Elite Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador level members that stay fifty, seventy five or one hundred nights a year.
Since I always end up with several leftover at the end of the year, I had applied Marriott Bonvoy Suite Night Awards this the reservation.
The hotel did not offer a traditional suite in the Suite Night Award pool but instead offered an upgrade to a better room. I don’t usually use Suite Night Awards for non suites, but I figured we would be on the property quite a bit and would appreciate the extra space.
A few days before our stay, the Suite Night Awards cleared from the base level room into a Luxury Oceanfront Guest Room; the best room available under the program.
Several days before arrival, I received a welcome email indicating that valet parking would be complimentary for Titanium members. We were also informed of the welcome amenity of 1,000 points or complimentary continental breakfast for two in Lava Restaurant.
It is too bad that many of the older Starwood hotels are being less generous than in the glory dates of past by limiting the breakfast to a continental version.
Getting to the Sheraton Kauai Resort:
We arrived to Kauai Airport Lihue on Hawaiian Airlines First Class Honolulu – Lihue. We picked up a rental car with Hertz at the nearby rental car center. We were given a pretty standard Hertz President’s Circle upgrade to a large Chevrolet Impala from our mid size booked.
From the Kauai Airport, it was a 14 mile drive lasting about twenty six minutes over to the Sheraton Kauai Resort.
Arriving to the Sheraton Kauai Resort:
The Sheraton Kauai Resort consists of what appears to have been the original resort located right on the beach, and a newer complex across the road that consists of larger vacation ownership resort under the Sheraton Kauai Resort Villas name.
On arrival, we were greeted by the valet team and checked into the front desk in the Sheraton Kauai Resort Villas area. The lobby is located in the newer complex in an open air concept and features decorative pools that over look the vacation ownership portion of the property.
We were given a map of the resort and a schedule of the events for the week.
The front desk explained that the room was “over there”, in that building (across the street representing the original Sheraton Kauai Resort property but we somehow got lost getting there not realizing it was actually two properties.
It appears that the Sheraton Kauai Resort was initially a beach / ocean front building, but they’ve moved the check in over to the newer vacation ownership Sheraton Kauai Resort Villas building across on the landlocked side of the street.
We left the land side check in and headed over to the ocean front building. The old check in appears to be used for concierge and tour desks, and the old loading zone is now saved for valet parking.
Meandering through the grounds of the Sheraton Kauai Resort, the grounds were nicely landscaped in a way that inspired a resort feel. There were outdoor passage ways across well manicured lawns that were really pleasing to look at.
The Room: Luxury Oceanfront
We eventually found our Luxury Oceanfront room. The Luxury Ocean Front Room was a large size at 532 sq feet. Unfortunately, the two queens look smaller than we had initially expected. The room was freshly renovated and was in excellent condition.
The room featured everything that you would expect from a larger Sheraton hotel room. There was a larger desk area, a flat screen television, and proper glassware; something that is missing out of hotel rooms too much these days.
The seating area of the room consisted of two occassional chairs and a table. While it’s not the most comfortable, we didn’t spend any time seated inside the room, thanks to having access to an excellent deck just steps away.
The bathrooms were quite large and much larger than expected. Two sinks were offered in the bathroom, something that made MrsWT73 very happy. This was accompanied with a shower and tub combination.
The Luxury Oceanfront Room featured an outside deck with a view of the ocean. The outdoor deck was quite large, although it wasn’t nearing anything expansive like an overwater villa. It had two chairs and would have been quite crowded with private loungers, which were not offered. Still, the space provided a great view from the room and a terrific place to enjoy a morning coffee without disturbing your sleeping partner.
For those interested, there does not appear to be many suite upgrade opportunities in the ocean front hotel. As a representative chunk of the hotel, there appears to be one suite per section compared to ten regular rooms.
Food and Beverage:
Lava’s in Poi’pu Beach Restaurant
Breakfast was offered in Lava Restaurant, which is an open air all day dining restaurant near the outdoor pool.
Every day of our stay, we used our Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Breakfast Benefit to have breakfast. In further experience in life in the new Marriott world, during our visit, the hotel was offering continental breakfast strictly to the terms and conditions of the program. The offering is simple, allowing for bagels, banana bread or toast.
The regular breakfast menu was interesting, and contained a number of more regional features. All the breakfast items on our visit was “a – la – carte” and there was no breakfast buffet offer at this property.
The Marriott Bonvoy Elite Breakfast benefit also offered a $10 USD buy up to a regular breakfast which was much more my speed. The regular breakfast portions were very generous and meat filled. I ended up doing a buy up most days and skipping a lunch. Kalua Pork Benedict with sriracha hollandaise AND a side of bacon is pictured below. Tasty and filling!
On some days, the hotel had run out of breakfast potatoes; would I be okay with substituting with white or fried rice, or salad? I ended up accompanying some breakfasts with salad with a sesame dressing. It seems that most of the food for Kauai is important from the larger islands and there were occasionally supply chain issues.
During our stay, the American Football main event of Super Bowl Sunday was on. Lava’s Restaurant / Bar was lined up full of people watching the came from 1:30 PM Hawaiian Standard Time. The game was located in Miami right at the other side of the United States country on Eastern Standard Time at 6:30 PM. It was a close game with a lot watching of the flat screen televisions in the Lava Bar in the last 6 minutes of play with an ultimate Kansas victory.
Sheraton Executive Club Lounge:
There is no Sheraton Executive Club Lounge at this property given its resort orientation. There is no additional benefit provided to those with Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status whom are seeking a lounge. While this can be a deal breaker for some, we didn’t happen to notice it as much as we though that we might.
Restaurants around the hotel:
Aside from the on property restaurants, there isn’t a lot of independent food and beverage within close walking distance from the hotel. I would recommend having a car with you as there are lots of options available with your own wheels.
If you’re absolutely going to visit without a rental car, the hotel is located about 1 mile and fifteen minutes oceanfront walk from The Shops at Kukui‘ula. The Shops at Kukui‘ula feature a number of restaurants, in addition to limited outdoor dining along with a Living Foodsgrocery store, making this your closest option for dining off resort. Given the distances of getting food to Kauai, I wouldn’t expect much pricing relief by dining here as it’s still wholly in the resort zone.
Around the Property:
The Sheraton Kauai Resort offers an outdoor pool. The pool area is best described as a family space with both pools and tubs that are accessible to all. The outdoor pool doesn’t have any aspirational features to it. There is no infiniti pool water feature, or beach views across the pool. As a result, it’s quite a utilitarian space. We tended to prefer the beach space across the pathway, instead of lounging around the hotel pool.
There was also a gym located in the central part of the resort property. It doesn’t make sense to be running inside with such great scenary outside, but there are some rainy days where this could come in useful.
The Sheraton Kauai Resort Beach at Poi’pu
In addition to some areas which are lava beds, The Sheraton Kauai Resort is set on a beautiful sandy beach in a bay that curves naturally along the hotel grounds and beyond. The beach was among the nicer hotel beaches that I have experienced in Hawaii.
The hotel did not offer or maintain a set amount of lounge chairs on the beach itself. If you preferred a lounge chair to relax in, you were relegated to the grassy area on the resort property with a view of the beach (instead of being on the beach itself).
The beach here has strong waves and you’d have to be a strong swimmer as a youngster in order to swim here independently.
During our stay, I took a walk mid way through the day down the beach. There wasn’t any paved beachfront trail here similar to the Sheraton Maui Resort that leads through Kaanapali. All the walking at the Sheraton Kauai is on the beach itself.
There was some major water erosion happening against the neighbouring KoiKo Hotel. I would be a bit concerned as a hotel manager if this was on my doorstep.
As with many Hawaii beaches there were a few areas that contained natural rocks on the beach itself. While it’s always nice to look for a perfect stoneless beach, it was cautionary for something too look out for if you were playing in the sand.
During our time at the Sheraton Kauai Resort, we were able to get out to visit the Napali Coast and a visit to the Waimea Canyon. While those coming to this property probably appreciate the standard nature of the Sheraton brand, there isn’t a lot of partying or other late nights around the property.
The Bottom Line: The Sheraton Kauai Resort
I really enjoyed our stay at the Sheraton Kaua’i. It wasn’t the St Regis but it was a nice quiet place to exist for several days in Poi’pu on Kauai. It looked more peaceful than the mega resort Marriott Kauai which we passed by on our last night of our stay. The beach was reasonable but a little rough for family swimming. MrsWT73 found the suburban nature a little quiet for her tastes but we both enjoyed the break.