I received one of those SPG offers and I couldn't pass it up. (It offered 5 nights in a one bedroom "villa," $185 toward an Avis rental car and $75 of resort credit - this is not what I got, but I'll take that out on SPG). I had only been to Kauai once before (during a very RAINY week over Thanksgiving) so decided to give it another shot. I asked a girlfriend to come along because she loves sun and scuba too (don't go to Kauai to scuba - ill review that separately).
First, Princeville is lovely, but it's a haul - from anywhere. About an hour from the airport - 90 minutes from Poipu - and there is ONE single-lane road and virtually no streetlights at night. Bring your patience and excellent vision. Second, upon arrival to the resort (about 2 pm) the lobby was moderately impressive. The staff were nice. I thought this could work. I presented my documents and was told that only a studio was available - despite my paperwork clearly stating I reserved a one-bedroom villa. After much back and forth, I was offered the one bedroom - for $500 extra dollars ($100 per day). We were told check in wasn't until 4pm, but they'd see what they could do for us after a very long, early morning journey. They made us wait until 430 and only told me our room was ready after I bugged the front desk 3 times. Once the checked us in, I was told the room wouldn't be "cleaned" at all during our stay, cut would be given a "light tidy" once during our stay. What? What hotel or resort does that? This means they don't replenish your in-room coffee/tea and if you need a clean towel, you have to call the front desk and wait. And wait. And wait. Island time. You get the idea.
The room was basic, the kitchen was higher end than expected and the place was unnaturally jammed with furniture. It's a small space and they try to cram a big dining table, couch, chairs, end tables, etc into the little space. We had a view of the parking lot and air conditioning unit. A teeny balcony overlooking that lovely site off the one bedroom space. The bed was comfy and the shower was nice - consistent with the Westin brand. The hallway was unusually hot every day.
The property is well maintained. There are three pool areas. The main pool is theist packed with kids, so we tended to avoid it. The other pools were small- ish but fine. The property has no direct beach access. You can hike down to it, but it's quite an uphill walk back. If it rains, you're muddy and it's slippery. The beach, once reached, was full of hippy types, lots of pot smokers and quite a few campers/homeless "Lord of The Flies" types. There were a few unsuspecting families, but it's mostly 20 something grungy folks. We only needed to visit once.
The property is heavily timeshare/family populated. Think lots of people with floaties, a gaggle of kids and dads cooking up burgers and dogs on the multiple outdoor grills for guest use. This is fine, but what I'm getting at is that this place gives off a very string "do it yourself" vibe. It's no resort. It's like a pretty cul de sac in the suburbs. It's the kind of place that doesn't expect, want or can even accommodate guests who don't do their own cooking, shopping and cleaning. Sure, there is a (slightly less overpriced) grocery store nearby, but I don't want to cook on vacation. And if you do want to go off property to eat, be ready for a long drive and bring a sober driver. Forget about calling a taxi - the drivers either go to bed at 8 or are a minimum of an hour or two wait away (because they are all at the airport).
The wifi service at the hotel was generally terrible, unless you're in the room or the lobby. Not at all handy for those that don't have the freedom to unplug entirely. Downright frustrating when you're just trying to get directions somewhere or look up restaurants.
The Westin grants "privileges" to the St. Regis and you should visit. They have a beach! They also have nice pools and a great sunset view (when it's not raining) and do a cool sabering of champagne nightly at sunset.
The hotel charges $18/night for parking, regardless if you self park or valet (you see how the Avis car credit gets quickly eaten up). They don't even give you one courtesy bottle of water for free. They charge for EVERYTHING. There is one restaurant and one pool bar. The latest you can hope to get food is 930 pm and that on weekends, friends. The food is pricey and totally average. Happy hour is a wee bit better (cocktails are a deal at $8). The market came in handy for quick breakfasts and coffee/tea - they make a great acai bowl.
I was offered, but passed on, the timeshare presentation. They offer you $175 worth of resort credit to attend, but I couldn't see sitting through it nor hanging around the "resort" long enough to spend $175.
Just as an FYI, they don't call this the "garden isle" by accident. It rains. A lot. Almost every day. In June. I would say a conservative estimate was that it rained 40% of our stay. When it's raining, everyone takes cover and there is not much to do. They say you can always head south and it's usually sunnier in Poipu. We found that to be hit and miss too. More like intermittent passing rain. And it's a really long drive to go chasing decent weather. If you don't care about sun, this may be the place for you. If you do, choose another Hawaiian island. The island is really pretty, the Na'Pali coast is otherworldly, but frankly I think I'm done with Kauai.
Last gripe: check out was at 10:00 a.m. and it's not negotiable. Who does that? For a laid back island with little to no service, you'd think they'd be a bit more flexible.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas are atop the lush, emerald cliffs that line Kauai, this retreat is perfect to savor refreshing Pacific breezes while gazing at the sparkling ocean. Stay in spacious one and two-bedroom villas with up to 1,310 square feet accommodating up to eight adults. Each villa includes fully equipped kitchens, washers and dryers, generous living and dining room areas, and complimentary Wi-Fi. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Travel Republic (UK), Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Evoline ltd, Cancelon, 5viajes2012 S.L. and getaroom.com so you can book your Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas Hotel Princeville
- Westin Princeville Ocean Hotel
- Princeville Westin
- Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas Kauai, Hawaii