Posted by Ric Garrido

Watching the surf roll into shore while taking a shower in a luxury hotel room is a very different experience than my last stay on Kauai 35 years ago when I lived on the beaches of Kauai.

st regis princeville-1 010

Hanalei Bay view from St. Regis Princeville, Kauai.

In 1977 I flew from California to Honolulu with a 6-inch hunting knife in my carry-on backpack and in my possession was an open date ticket to fly standby between the Hawaiian islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii. The times have changed travel and me. I have no memory of what airline I flew to Hawaii back then.

For the weeks I stayed in Kauai I lived on the beaches seen in the distance in the photo I snapped today. In 1977 I hiked the infamous Na Pali coast to Kalalau Valley where I was out of reach of Hawaii Five-O, the beach police who harassed me frequently arguing I was not allowed to camp without a state camping permit as I argued back that the State of Hawaii would not allow me to purchase a camping permit since I was a minor at 17 years old.

I’ll probably share more about my youth in the coming days as I reminisce about life on Kauai and the major alterations of travel in general and my personal travel style specifically.

st regis princeville-1 044

The Bar, St. Regis Princeville

Where will you go with 50,000 Starpoints?

This post is my SPG Amex Star giveaway while I am staying at the USA Starwood Hotel of my choice. 50,000 Starpoints, to be precise, is what I have been authorized to give away to one lucky reader who can use the points for their own special hotel getaway.

One of the hotel stays as part of my SPG Amex Star contract benefits was two complimentary nights at any Starwood Hotel I desired in the USA.

St. Regis Princeville on Kauai was my Starwood Hotel preference of any Starwood Hotel in the USA. I picked this location in combination with an American Airlines ticket I purchased to pick up double elite qualifying miles and double redeemable miles on a trip that will earn me American Airlines 50,000 mile Platinum elite status for 2013.

Kauai Day 1 043

Flying over the vast Pacific Ocean on American Airlines to Lihue, Kauai.

In addition to picking up American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum elite status, this stay is my third stay at a Starwood Hotel this week in my quest for SPG Platinum elite status for 2013.

Enough about me and my loyalty plans. It is time for you to think about what you would like to do with 50,000 Starpoints.

Rules to enter the Loyalty Traveler 50,000 Starpoints Sweepstakes:

1. Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter.com.

2. Post a tweet sharing which Starwood Hotel in the USA you would choose to stay with 50,000 points. NOTE: Winner of this prize receives 50,000 Starpoints and there are no restrictions to how you use the points. You can stay in any Starwood Hotel you choose or transfer them to airline miles or whatever. I simply am interested to know which hotel you would choose, if like me, you had to choose one hotel in the USA for a Starwood Hotel stay.

3. Use the hashtag #SPGAMEX in the tweet and use @LoyaltyTraveler in the tweet. This allows me to filter tweets and see all the entries on Twitter to pick a random winner.

4. Eligible entries accepted from 9 pm Pacific time Monday, December 3 through 11:59pm Pacific time Friday, December 7, 2012. Note #2: This giveaway is open to SPG members worldwide.

5. Limit of one tweet entry per calendar day.

6. Prize winner will be chosen at random.

7.

Sample Eligible Tweet:

@LoyaltyTraveler St. Regis Monarch Beach #SPGAMEX

Here are some Twitter Guidelines I read over to help with this sweepstakes:

  • Creating multiple accounts on Twitter to win a contest can result in all your Twitter accounts being suspended. I discourage you from doing this.
  • Posting the same tweet over and over is discouraged by Twitter. Try and change up the order of words or hotel. One #SPGAMEX tweet per calendar day for my Loyalty Traveler sweepstakes is acceptable. Posting more than one tweet per calendar day for this contest is discouraged and may result in your elimination from the prize.

Every winner is surprised. Back in 2000 I won a prize for 50,000 Starpoints. It happens. But, I have not won any big prizes since.

Good luck.

st regis princeville-1 043

Lobby view at St. Regis Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

26 Responses

  1. Love giveaways! Crazy hearing you had a knife in your carry on baggage!

  2. Esta es la mejor entrada que has escrito en mucho tiempo.En serio, mola millonetis la foto.

  3. Posted my tweet. Loved hearing about your adventures in younger days as we plan our move to Kauai in February. Like you, we are now built more for comfort so it’s adventures of a different kind. Can’t wait to get to Princeville and begin our search for more permanent digs. Napali is on the list to see. Aloha!

  4. I was at the St Regis earlier this year and would live to go back.

  5. Posted my tweet. Would love to stay at the Sheraton Zurich in June with those 50K points. :)

  6. I really wish Starwood would stop requiring Twitter spamming in order to win these prizes. Do all of one’s Twitter followers really want to see these posts?

  7. @TravelSummary – My knife was confiscated by security in Hawaii on the flight back to California. As I recall it arrived at my house about six weeks later.

  8. So, What experience did you enjoy more: being 17 and camping on the beach, or a night at the posh St Regis?

  9. [...] Loyalty Traveler is giving away 50,000 SPG points. [...]

  10. In one way the St. Regis was like camping in my old tent with the screen mesh that I could stare up at the stars on nights when it was not raining.

    Last night was so beautiful at Princeville with more starlight visible than electric light. This place is dark at night.

    The location of my room in the resort allowed me to lay in bed and not see a single electric light outside. The sky was totally clear for hours and the stars so bright over the silhouette of the mountains on the other side of Hanalei Bay.

    The St. Regis Princeville is like glamping. The room windows open up to about 30 square feet of space looking out over Hanalei Bay. The waves shining white in moonlight were mesmerizing. I am tired today from spending so much of the night staring out the window.

    The beach is close here at the St. Regis. I am listening to the constant sound of waves.

    Another interesting observation for me is a few times while walking around outside I have caught a whiff of a smell from some plants that takes me back to 1977. I heard recently that our sense of smell is one of the strongest memories we have as humans. The smell I have sensed in Kauai is definitely a better memory and fragrance than the whiffs I picked up in Barcelona in September that took me back to 1975 in a not so pleasant way.

    Living on the beach is rough and safety is the number one concern. I have been in contact with a number of hard-living characters the past few days while riding the public bus and walking the beaches. I feel like many of the people who lived on the beaches with me in 1977 are still here struggling to survive.

    My observations when outside the resorts and hearing locals in their conversations is there is widespread lack of employment right now here on Kauai as winter settles in.

    Camping permits look like they are only $3 per night per non-resident adult now. I could legally camp for six months on Kauai for the price of two nights at the St. Regis Princeville.

    http://www.kauai.gov/government/departments/parksrecreation/campinginformation/tabid/176/default.aspx

    My biggest issue so far was whether to pay St. Regis bar prices for beer or hike two miles to Princeville Shopping Center for supermarket beer. Walking a flat road two miles to the St. Regis with a 12-pack of Beck’s beer in my backpack at the age of 52 is my idea of roughing it these days. The beer hike was certainly easier than hiking the Na Pali coast at the age of 17 carrying all my worldly possessions on my back.

    And having sufficient money to eat at a restaurant when I choose is another nice convenience these days.

    Which is more enjoyable between camping on the beaches of Hawaii at 17 and resort living at 52?

    I am thinking of the Tom Hanks movie Castaway. My memory of not having sufficient food to eat is not enjoyable. The kindness of strangers I encountered in 1977, locals and tourists, who helped me survive to enjoy the privileges I have now holds a special memory.

  11. That’s what I call a good answer: you could hold dear the memory of the past while not getting too nostalgic. And it seems like you are really living in the moment at your shiny new digs.

    Too me, a place like the St Regis (or Grand Hyatt on the south side of the island) actually *detracts* from my experience. I don’t want the sanitized, Disney-esque experience but I also don’t want to rough it too much either…okay, I *could* maybe handle it but the wife…not so much. It’s hard to find that magic intersection of “authentically local”, “comfortably nice”, and “cheap”. In our hooby, we usually just get the latter two…

  12. My first trip to Hawaii, I stayed in a youth hostel (back in the days they were called youth hostels instead of Backpackers). Next year, we are staying at Sheraton Waikiki and Royal Hawaiian! Would love to add Westin Maui! They don’t seem to release Points and Cash though.

  13. I was at the Princeville back before it was the St. Regis and I would love to see what they’ve done with the place.

  14. [...] at Loyalty Traveler is giving away 50K SPG [...]

  15. @Tara – I wanted to go to Maui for this trip initially but the lack of SPG Cash & Points and the high cost of other hotels made Kauai more favorable since both the Westin Princeville and St. Regis Princeville had wide open availability of Cash & Points nights.

  16. Good post and comments. Love to hear about your experiences in Kauai back in the 70s, gives this blog a real personalized feeling. Thx for posting!

    BTW, don’t they still have those St Regis Escalades out front that will drive you to the Princeville Shopping Center for free? No need to hike the 2 miles roundtrip. You are living in luxury now there at the Reg. You snap and they make it happen. Love that place!!! Have a great rest of your stay in Kauai!!!

    Comment by gregorygrady on December 5th, 2012 at 2:17 pm
  17. @ed LOL only the blog owner can edit comments. I’ve had to edit out some stuff from spammers on my own ecotourism blog but I got a new spam blocker that appears to be working. I just hope it isn’t blocking humans as well!

    @Ric It’s driving me nuts that that is the ONLY hotel in Hawaii that hasn’t released C&P. I may have to use Priceline for that one, people seem to get one of 3-Westin, Sheraton or Hyatt.

  18. I’ve been wondering why my Gravatar wasn’t showing, just testing (Tara again)

  19. St Regis does not offer free rides to the shopping center. In fact the Westin shuttle will take guests to St Regis and shopping center, but they are not allowed to pick up St Regis guests to go to shopping center.

    It cost $10 today to take the Escalade taxi 2.3 miles to the bus stop.

    Comment by ric garrido on December 5th, 2012 at 9:36 pm
  20. I deleted comments in this post since I started a personal story of my 1977 trip without adequate context to the place and time. And no real relevance to SPG and St. Regis Princeville.

    I will write up a post about KalalauTrail hike and how the hippie commune Taylor Camp documentary helped me better understand what I actually experienced 35 years ago on Kauai.

    If not for this trip to St. Regis Princeville, I might never have understood how pivotal a time this was in Kauai’s history.

    Travel is a journey in self-exploration and this trip to Princeville helped me piece together a significant time of my history.

    The story in the context of Kalalau Valley should be more respectful to the people in the time I was there.

  21. @Tara – Both St. Regis Princeville and Westin Princeville had wide open C&P for the past several weeks before and after Thanksgiving. I came specifically to Kauai for the wide-open SPG Cash & points availability so I could plan extra nights at a highly reduced cost using Starpoints.

    But Princeville actually is low enough at under $400 per night to make paying about as good an option as using points.

    20,000 points is only $20 per 1,000 points redemption value and that is really low compared to SPG potential value in the $35 to $60 range commonly available at many hotels.

    St. Regis Cash & Points at $150 and 8,000 points is a good deal when the rate is above $400 per night.

    Comment by Ric Garrido on December 7th, 2012 at 1:16 pm
  22. Winner of 50,000 starpoints was emailed today.

    Awaiting a response.

  23. Admirable blog! I’ll almost certainly be referencing some of this facts in my next speech. I would appreciate it in the event you visited my weblog at

  24. I have not understood in what language article is written:(translate a blog on other language!!!

  25. Virtuous what I used to be seeking and very thoroughgoing as surface. Thank you for placard this, I saw a yoke unique associated posts but yours was the optimum so significantly. I outlook it stays updated, appreciate dread.

  26. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog? My website is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my users would definitely benefit from some of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Thanks!

home top