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“comfort, convenience, economy”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Garden Island Inn

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Garden Island Inn
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Lihue
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles CA
Level Contributor
167 reviews
106 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 809 helpful votes
“comfort, convenience, economy”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2011

Having stayed on the north shore at the posh Princeville Resort (now the posher St. Regis) for my last 2 visits to Kauai, I knew that for my latest trip to my favourite HI island, the focus would be on the island itself and its diverse scenic wonders. While north shore views are unabashedly beautiful, its quite a schlep to south shore sites like Waimea Canyon. So for this trip I wanted to be more centrally located in Lihue, Kauai's largest town with several inexpensive local-y places to eat, and did not need a luxurious resort with a pool, spa, and beach to loll about in or spend time at. After researching TA reviews and individual hotel websites, I chose the Garden Island Inn for a 6 day stay ending on Memorial Day, and it fit the bill perfectly. I even eschewed a private sale website offer at TA's #1 Lihue hotel, the Kauai Beach Resort. Like the Inn's brochure says, it offers "comfort, convenience, and economy".

The Inn is located about 5 min. from the airport; no airport noise was noted, however. It's a 21 room, 3 story inn with lots of added touches that elevate it far above a basic motel. The exterior explodes with island colour--local artist Camile Fontaine individually painted the door to every room, every lanai partition, and several public walls. Her canvases hang in every room and the lobby (some are for sale). The doormats are shaped like a cluster of beach flip-flops. The 1st floor room doors and windows face the street, but are shielded by a lushly landscaped "front yard" complete with a lawn, some chaises, and tables with chairs. The 2nd and 3rd floor rooms are entered from the rear (where there is a 3 story waterfall), with lanais facing the front, with ocean views in the distance. The 3rd floor rooms have the largest floor plans. There is a large outdoor lanai on the 3rd floor set up with sofas and tables where games can be played.

The island flavour continues inside the rooms. I had probably the smallest (and least expensive) room on the 2nd floor, but it literally had all the amenities of the other standard rooms, except for the kitchen sink. The rooms, which are tiled rather than carpeted, have walls and ceilings painted with a palm tree finish; the ceilings are plastered for a 3-D palm tree effect. The light switch plates have palm trees. There is a vase with a fresh tropical arrangement, wall-mounted A/C, ceiling fan, kitchenette with mini-fridge, microwave, coffee-maker (with Kona coffee) and sink (except my room), DVD player, free WiFi, free local calls. The bathroom was small but functional with a shower (no tub) and liquid toiletries contained in wall-mounted dispensers in the shower and by the sink . The suites may have individual toiletry bottles, at least they do on the inn's website photos.

The Inn's staff exudes island hospitality; an owner and/or manager has an on-site apartment. The small lobby with its indoor/outdoor koi pond offers morning coffee and all day snacks, plus a variety of beach equipment, board games, towels, coolers, sunscreen, guidebooks, etc. There are no guest laundry facilities on-site; you are directed to a nearby laundromat. There is no pool and of course no spa, but Kalapaki Beach and Park are across the street--this beach also fronts the large Kauai Marriott Resort. The street you cross to get to the beach is a busy one (Nawiliwili Ave.), but there are crosswalks where locals actually stop to let you cross! The Anchor Cove mall is also across the street, and it has, most importantly, and ABC store. Another mall (Harbor Mall), is up the street. Both malls have restaurants, and Marriott's pricey beach-side restaurants are also adjacent. The Nawiliwili Harbor is also across the street--the large Pride of America cruise ship docks here on Thursday morning until Friday afternoon--you may see lots of tour buses leaving the harbour for excursions.

Lihue and the Inn are basically a midway point between north and south shore sites--very convenient. Also, Lihue is where Costco, Walmart, Kmart, Macy's and Hilo Hattie are located, plus many restaurants, some of which have large local followings as well as tourist "invaders". We tried several a few minutes drive or walk from the inn: Mark's Place, Tip Top Cafe, Hamura's Saimin, Lihue BBQ Inn, Kalapaki Beach Hut. We also aimed for value and local flavour (over ambience and comfort) when dining elsewhere on the island: Duane's Ono-Char, Kilauea Fish Market, Sueoka's Snack Shop, Puka Dogs, Shrimp Station, Jo Jo's Shave Ice. We became accustomed to eating outdoors amidst sudden but brief rainstorms and marauding flies, chickens and other fowl. I found the well-known guidebook with the blue cover essential.

We took a peek at the renovated St. Regis, our former haunt. The lobby is smaller now with the addition of an on-site spa, and everything else has been upgraded, including the prices. I also took a peek at the Kauai Inn, the closest comparison to the Garden Island Inn in terms of cost, location, and TA reviews (the 2 places flip-flop between #2 and #3). The Kauai Inn, in a residential area more off the beaten path, is larger--about 48 rooms in a cluster of four 2 story buildings surrounding an small pool. They offer a free continental breakfast and laundry facilities. Apparently, some rooms don't have A/C (these are cheaper) and I'm not sure about WiFI.

The Inn is definitely a place to consider for its location and cost, and if you want to explore all the adventures and beauty Kauai has to offer. If you are looking for a lazy, resort-potato experience, I would suggest the St. Regis the Grand Hyatt, or the Marriott.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank pillowsofwanderlust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (209)
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English first
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 June 2011

The highlight of all of our accomodations in hawai'i. The room was beautiful, the owners were so nice and very ressourceful. If you are on Kauai, you definatly want to stay there!!
Nathan&Alex

  • Stayed May 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Kaldayen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 June 2011

We only stayed overnight after a long travel day. We decided to find a place near the ariport instead of driving to the other side of the island when we arrived in the evening.
We arrived around 10 pm and found our key on the office door... we had a nice second floor room which we go a great nights sleep. It was so beautiful to wake up in the morning and open the slider to a pretty ocean view. It seemed so tropical. There is a busy street in between the Inn and the beach, but it did not disturb our view. The hospitality was wonderful, we were warmly welcomed to the island by Steve, and he made sure we had everything we could possibly need. The room was a good value, and we would stay there again.

Room Tip: Upstairs has a better view
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  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank BellaaSunshine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lompoc, California
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 June 2011

We needed a place to stay as it was our last night on the island! We wanted a place to the airport and very economic! We found a friendly staff,especially Steve,the hotel manager who assisted us with useful information about the area!

Room Tip: Friendly staff
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  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank philip1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 June 2011

Great stay for the active island visitor. Walked to Kalapaki beach swam daily beautiful grounds surf shop and lessons and choice of beach resurants. Played golf, rode bikes, and sailed amenities all here. Always glad to get back to comfortable room with beautiful grounds and enjoy chilled bottle of wine from my room after day of sightseeing.

  • Stayed May 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank luckyski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 June 2011

We had a great stay at Garden Island Inn. It is not fancy but it does the trick.
The staff is very friendly. They provide coffee and breakfast bars in the morning.
The location is great. It is a 5 minute drive from the airport. The bay is right across the street. There are restaurants and shops nearby. Marriott is a short walk. There are cliffs and tide-pools to explore.
The windows do let a lot of noise in but I didn't find ti to be a problem.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ejmrtraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
86 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 June 2011

We needed to stay in Lihue for one night since we had to travel one day earlier than planned due to lower air fares - what a bummer to have to spend one more day in paradise :) The GII fit the bill just fine. Right across the road from Kalapaki Bay and within walking distance of Dukes for dinner. The room was very clean and equipped with a separate kitchen type sink, small refrigerator and microwave.

We were worried a bit about road noise since it is right on the main highway, but there wasn't much traffic at night so it wasn't a problem. For one night, this room was just fine, but it would be pretty cramped for a longer stay.

Although we could connect to the wi-fi, there was no connectivity to the internet.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DesertBeachLover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Garden Island Inn

Property: Garden Island Inn
Address: 3445 Wilcox Rd, Kalapki Beach, Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766-9590
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Hawaii > Kauai > Lihue
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Lihue
#1 Family Hotel in Lihue
#1 Romantic Hotel in Lihue
#4 Business Hotel in Lihue
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Garden Island Inn 2.5*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Garden Island Inn is a quaint, affordable boutique hotel by the lovely Kalapaki Beach and Bay, the Kauai Marriott and Lagoons and the Nawiliwili Harbor. Kalapaki Beach offers safe surfing, stand up paddle boarding, canoing, kayaking, sailing for beginners to intermediate, fishing or just plain relaxing and sunning.This is Kauai's center for shopping, live music and dining with a choice of 10 of Kauai's finest restaurants all within a short leisurely walking distance from the Garden Island Inn Hotel.The Garden Island Inn has quick and easy access from the Lihue Airport and to all the sights and activities Kauai has to offer. Let us be your home away from home while you discover Kauai! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Garden Island Hotel Lihue
Garden Island Lihue
Garden Island Inn Kauai, HI

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