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Kapaa vs. Princeville: location & condo trade offs

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Kapaa vs. Princeville: location & condo trade offs

I had a heck of a time finding ocean front ,renovated/updated condos with A/C in Kauai for a late May 2013 trip with my parents, my husband and 4 year old son. I also initally envisioned staying 5 nights in Princeville (at PUa Poa) and 3 nights in Poipu.

I became intriqued by a great beachfront (A Building Ocean Front -3rd floor) option at Waipouli Beach Resort that is attractive b/c I have a 4 year old. However, Kapaa feels like you're not getting the best of any world b/c you're not close to anything. I initially liked the idea of being close to the best swimming beaches (all in the north) (Ke'e, Hanalei, etc), and then relocating to the south to explore Waimeia, but am now drawn to the idea of evening entertainment for my son (pool) and hot tub for my Dad, etc.

What are your thoughts? The PUA Poa Unit is 401. What am I giving up if we stay in Kapaa and vice versa, if I stay at Pua Poa in Princeville?


San Diego...
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1. Re: Kapaa vs. Princeville: location & condo trade offs

There are defn. pros and cons to the two spots.

WBR gets rave reviews -- tons of them -- even though it's right in ticky tacky Kapaa. Families love the size of the units and the pool. Read the negative reviews too though. There are some warts in the area of service it seems.

The beach there is fine for walking/wading/playing in the sand. Very iffy for swimming especially when the wind and surf are up. There is no reef protection.

You do have easy access to shopping across the street and to the many shops and restaurants in the Kapaa area. Kapaa is central so driving north or south/west is pretty easy. If you plan to just lay around, it's a great pool area esp for a little one.

Puu Poa has stunning views. It's an older condo but very upscale from what I've seen. Shame about the architect... Not sure what angle 401 is but it's probably not the best view wise. Read this older thread (the search function here is great)


Beach access is poor IMO. You either have to go down a very steep trail to Hideaways:


or go down the long concrete path to the beach in front of the St. Regis. Not that great a beach and it's a 10 min walk with a pretty hefty elevation change. If you are schlepping beach toys and other gear up and down -- I'd rather just drive to the much much nicer beach at Hanalei Bay. Check out a Bing/Google or other map and you'll see what I mean. Just put in Princeville and zoom in at the end of Ka Haku Road. The St. Regis is a the end and Puu Poa is just north/east across the parking lot.


Princeville is not that convenient for seeing the rest of the island. It's 30 miles and roughly an hour back to Lihue and then you start racking up more miles to go to Poipu or the Canyon/Kokee area. It's the main visitor destination area for the North shore, but I find it a bit overgroomed. Kind of a white bread version of Hawaii. It's population is mainly tourists or WASPy mainland retirees. Not very many locals live there. People are nice and it is clean and tidy. Princeville Corp has a rule book and they enforce it. Some love Princeville. Others not so much. Hanalei is more "Hawaii" to me, but your desire for a condo with A/C excludes Hanalei. A/C really isn't that important in May IMO, but you have to make that judgement for yourself.

In the end, you have to decide how much you plan to travel around the island vs. just hanging near where you sleep. Splitting your stay is a good way to minimize road time, but at the expense of packing and perhaps 2 cleaning fees.

Check out Koloa Landing as well if you are looking for higher end condos with lots of space. Again, not the best beach access but the units are stunning and they have a/c.

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2. Re: Kapaa vs. Princeville: location & condo trade offs

The only reason to stay at WBR is the great kiddie pool. When I was there for lunch it was LOADED with 2-5 years old. As long as you don't care about being in the most crowded area of Kapaa, they are nice units. I was struck by how small the interiors were. They remind me of Westin Villas in Maui.

401 will be above the pool. Puu Poa doesn't have air conditioning except a very few. 412 has central air and the price reflexes it. The interiors are large, all 2 bedrooms, the outside is not Hawaiiana, and pool is very small. Views are outstanding and you can walk to St Regis.

Thousands of people stay in Princeville to enjoy the North Shore activities. It is a planned community and doesn't have the funky vibe of say, staying in Hanalei, but for a variety of accommodations and for the outstanding views it is wonderful. You might want to check The Westin. Great pool for kids.

San Carlos...
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3. Re: Kapaa vs. Princeville: location & condo trade offs

The Westin Princeville is ideal for kids. It's swarming with them!

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4. Re: Kapaa vs. Princeville: location & condo trade offs

Thanks for all the helpful comments and links. 401 has A/C - as does 413, but 413 hasn't been renovated/updated. Regardless of whether Kapaa or Princeville, my husband very much wants to relocate to Poipu for a portion of the trip, so we already decided on Koloa Landing for 3 nights and one of the below options for 5 (despite the fact that it will cost a bit more to do this). I'll look further into the Westin. It's proximity to the ocean didn't seem ideal when I first checked it out, but I'll take a 2nd look.

I can't stomach staying there the whole trip and facing having to drive 1+ hours to go to Kee Beach, Hanalei, Secret Beach, to go to the North Na Pali boat dock, to hikeetc. I've been to Poipu previously, and the beaches, quite frankly, scared me due to their harsh surf, so I personally only want to stay there to be able to adequately explore Waimea.

I'm not so worried about being walking distance to a beach. I've been to Maui severral times and Kauai once before (albeit 12 years ago) and know you spend a lot of time driving to beaches. The difference to me (now that I have a 4 year old and parents in tow) is whether I value a 10 minute drive to Hanalei or Ke'e beach (from Princeville) or constantly having to drive 30-40 minutes to go anywhere. I also agree that you don't get a lot of living space at WR - and it's nice to spread out when there's family involved.

We strongly considered a lovely beach home with A/C in Aliomanu Bay/Beach, that's literally a few steps to the beach. Any comments on this area? Still far from Princeville and 10 minutes from Kapaa. No pool and no curtains on bedroom windows (and it faces east for the sunrise). It's the priciest option of all, with 3 bedrooms, and the rental policies are extremely strict (no refunds on the deposit if plans change even if they are able to re-rent it).

Our options:

Pua Poa/Koloa Resort

WR/Koloa Resort

WR for the entire time

Beach House Aliomanu Bay/Koloa Resort

Unfortunately, A/C is always a deal breaker for my husband on non-camping/non mountain vacations, so I don't have the option of staying in some of the lovel ocean front Poipu condos or in Hanalei. His perpsective is when you spend precious time off from work, and invest financially and pyschologically in rare vacation such as this, the last thing he wants to find out that he can't get a good night's sleep b/c it's too hot (or it cools down too late at night to make a difference). He doesn't want to take the risk. We went to Maui and stayed in a condo in a condo complex right on the water (literally 20 feet from our lanai) in early October timeframe a few years back where ours was the only unit to have A/C - and we used it (especially so b/c we were in a back room, as my parents had the ocean front master).

I know this is a nice problem to have - where to stay in one of the most beautiful places in the world!

5. Re: Kapaa vs. Princeville: location & condo trade offs

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