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Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

B.C.
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Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

Hello Everyone,

I would really appreciate your advice on a place to stay along with answers to a few other questions, for a trip to Kauai just after Christmas.

My boyfriend and I have decided to stay in the Poipu area, and although we plan to be out quite often relaxing on various beaches or exploring...our "home base" is still important to us. I have been trying to decide what trade offs to make....and now, having 100 pages of guide books and probably another 80 pages worth of forums stuck in my head....am a little lost. I'm hoping to get some clarity!

We want to be able to see a beach from our room, and walk down to it in no more than 5 minutes. Good Swimming is not a necessity as we can always drive somewhere else, but great sand and some space would be nice. We would like a place that has a decent pool and Jacuzzi, nice rooms, somewhere that can offer us beach gear hopefully, and a local or concierge that knows what they���������re talking about! Somewhere romantic, most importantly, as we are going for our 2 year anniversary. We are open to staying in a condo or a hotel. So far I am considering the Hyatt, Kiahuna Plantation or Poipu Kai (making sure to get a unit close to the beach of course), or the Marriott. Alternatively, if anyone knows of a great beach front cottage/house for $300/nt or under, that is a possibility.

I read some bad reviews on poipu kai from trip advisor which scared me off a little. The hyatt...would obviously be expensive and a fair walking distance to brennecke's beach (does anyone know how long a walk exactly?)although a wonderful experience. So I think I am leaning towards Kiahuna Plantation or the Marriott - what are your thoughts?

Also...I am embarrassed to ask but...I read a post that seemed to imply that one could use the pools at the hyatt without being a guest there...is that actually possible?

Other than accommodation....I am hoping the divers can tell me what previous diving exp is necessary before going on an excursion such as the one kwills/cicopo went on. My boyfriend and I have just enough time before leaving to take an intro course (in pools) if it is necessary.

And also, in case the hotel or condo staff are not in the know, and even if they are...Does anyone know of a great local tour guide that could do a custom excursion?

Thanks so much!

B.C.
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1. Re: Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

Oops I forgot I am also considering the embassy...but have heard almost nothing about it. ?

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

Firstly I can't recommend any of the places you have mentioned from a cost standpoint, but my ex wife and several of the group that went to attend my daughters wedding were at the Marriott Waiohai so we spent a bit of time there. It has a great beach, with excellent snorkeling right there as well as more close by, plus the rooms they had had kitchens. They were in a time share so the kitchen may not be a part of every room. The resort & grounds were top notch, with many things that someone might do within walking distance. I only took a few photos while there and they really don't show much about it.

As for getting around, the island is not that big, and it is surprising how fast you can travel from the Poipu area to Lihue or Waimea. It takes a bit longer to get up to the north end, but with all the scenery even that goes by quickly.

In regard to getting to go diving, you should be able to do it if you have some water skills. There is a loophole in the requirements to firstly be a certified diver before going diving called commonly "the resort coarse" or "the discover scuba coarse" and will require you to take a very condensed coarse which teaches basic safety procedures, and learning the equipment & how to use it. The coarse can take from 1 hour onwards, depending on your skills & learning ability. You will be tested to a degree, but not in the way that certification would require. There were 2 dive shops in the area you are considering and I expect both will offer the coarse, so use the internet to contact them for more info. Just a note though, the resort coarse only qualifies you for dives no deeper than 40", but some operators will take you deeper, which is not always a good idea, again depending on your skills AND THEIR WATCHFUL EYE. PLEASE UNDERSTAND, diving is a wonderful way to explore a part of the planet most people never will see, but it does have some dangers, most of which are a lack of knowing and obeying all the safety rules, not from the fish. If you have the time contact a dive shop in your local area for a better understanding of all of this.

Local dive shops to the area you are inquiring about are Fathom Five at www.fathomfive.com, and Seasport Divers at www.seasportdivers.com

Enjoy Kaua'i, and hopefully also my other passion, the world below the surface.

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3. Re: Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

I recently stayed at Kiahuna and thought it was heaven. We were in a downstairs unit only a VERY short walk to the beach and yes, you can see it from the condo.

We rented directly from the owner for considerably less than the management companies. The website is: www.Kiahuna16.com.

It is beautifully decorated with all the amenities. Also a beautiful view of sunsets.

The pool, however, is across the street. But you can easily walk down the beach to the Sheraton, the Marriott or Poipu Beach.

Traverse City...
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4. Re: Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

Happy 2 year anniversary; of dating your boyfriend. I have stayed at Poipu Kai, Kiahuna and am very familiar with the Hyatt and Marriott in Poipu. South shore is the correct choice for this time of year. I will be staying at Kiahuna during Christmas. Guessing you are in the $300, or less price range, I would lean strongly toward Kiahuna. Website mentioned earlier, plus www.VRBO.com, has many rental opportunites from owners. Here's why Kiahuna.

Kiahuna is on postcard perfect, crescent shaped, safely swimmable bay shared with the Sheraton. A short walk to Poipu Beach past the Marriot. Rooms are all a short barefoot walk to the beach. As mentioned before, pool is across the street, if this is important. Acquaint yourself with the site map of the property to make sure you end up in a building as close to the beach as possible. Try to avoid the units near the road as they are close to Poipu Shopping Village (note: NOISY).

Marriot is two properties away from Kiahuna toward Poipu beach but beach is lava rock, but a short walk down the beach to sand. It is otherwise a very, very nice property. I have not stayed there, but looks great.

I have stayed at Poipu Kai and you can find a room with a glimpse of the ocean, although, they are a all a short hike to Poipu Beach. If you are on a budget, you can find a deal here on a great room with a decent location, but again you would not be on the beach and would need to walk across the street, around tennis courts, etc..

Hyatt is highly luxurious, and expensive. They are on Shipwreck beach, usually very rough and dangerous for swimming in winter. I am not aware of any rooms with a kitchen in them, unlike all the other properties you have indicated which are condos.

Aloha, and good luck.

B.C.
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5. Re: Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

Thank you sunnut and detour, on your feedback about the hotels. I am scouting for available Kiahuna condos close to the beach (last minute accommodation is difficult but unfortunately we weren't sure we were going to get the time off until now).

Detour, if price wasn't an issue, would you then go for the marriott? How many minutes would you say it takes to walk to poipu beach from the hotel?

Cicopo thank you as well for all the information, it is greatly valued. I will be sure not to go past 40 feet...I assume it's still worth it, though?

Thanks again.

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

I am not sure what DETOUR means by saying the beach at the Marriott is lava rock, which I may have missed in an area I did not snorkel. The area I entered & exited from was all sand bottom, but there were lava rock areas as well. To verify I checked my photos and put together a small album of the photos relating to that area, and added the captions. to see the album copy & paste this link. http://tinyurl.com/cg8yx

Re going diving no deeper than 40 feet, yes it's worth it, the deeper you go the faster you use up your air, and therefore a shallow dive lasts longer. All divers would say any dive is worth while, but that is much more correct in warm water with good visability, such as in Kaua'i.

Hope all this helps.

B.C.
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7. Re: Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

Thanks Cicopo :)

Those pictures were actually very helpful (and beautiful).

The two are now pretty much a tie in my mind...depending on the Kiahuna units. I will have to wait to hear back from individual owners' availability.

Thank you all again. I'm so much more exicted and relaxed about my trip now that the worrying is over! lol.

Kauai / Los Angeles
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8. Re: Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

If it's important to you, most (if not all) units at Kiahuna Plantation don't have A/C. Shouldn't be too big of a deal in December though. Kiahuna is a huge complex, and you may not even be able to see the ocean depending on the unit you get. It can be more than a 5 minute walk to the beach. But...it is a great beach, shared with the Sheraton.

B.C.
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9. Re: Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

So here is my current situation Due to availability:

Option 1: Stay at an ocean front (truly - I checked the building numbers) Kiahuna Plantation unit on the ground floor for the full time I am there.

Option 2: Split the time between that ground unit and another larger, higher, unit just a few steps back on the plantation.

I have read a few reports that said privacy is hard to come by on the ground level, and that a lot more "creatures" come in. Is this really true and/or troubling?

B.C.
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10. Re: Mariott vs. Kiahuna / Tour Guide / Diving

Sorry to post so much. I am a worrier, if you all couldn't tell. lol.