Posted by Ric Garrido

Princeville on Kauai’s north shore is a resort development with two golf courses, Westin Princeville, St. Regis Princeville, and hundreds of timeshare properties, some Wyndham branded and several independent places.

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Most people rent a car when arriving on Kauai. A car is highly advisable as a tourist for getting to the Princeville area and around the island since public transportation is limited in space, stops and schedule. Since my travel purpose was to hang out at a resort and not spend my vacation driving around the entire island of Kauai all day, I opted to  not rent a car.

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A taxi from Lihue Airport 30 miles to Princeville is about $100.

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There is a public bus that costs $2.50 to travel from the airport to Princeville Shopping Center. The public buses are small with no dedicated luggage space and you are not allowed to bring luggage on the bus over the size of 10” x 17” x 30”. I was the only tourist on my flight who rode the Kauai public bus out of the airport.

Princeville Shopping Center is a location for a few restaurants, ACE hardware store and the Foodland supermarket. Westin Princeville is one mile from Princeville Shopping Center. Foodland will likely become your go to spot for supplies to stock up your kitchen at the Westin Princeville Villa. There is also a WalMart in Lihue to stock up before driving the 30 miles north to Princeville.

A kindly local named Tom stopped on the road as I was looking up the directions on my phone to walk from the shopping center to the resort. Tom drove me to the Westin entrance. Kauai has always seemed a friendly place to me.

I was checked into my Westin room about two hours after getting off the plane.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort consists primarily of 173 Studio and 173 One Bedroom Villas. The room styles alternate in the building so you can combine a studio with a one bedroom villa. There are also a limited number of 2-bedroom villas available on request.

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My stay was booked with Cash & Points at $90 and 4,800 points per night. As an SPG Gold member I was upgraded from a studio to a one bedroom unit.

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One bedroom villa living room has sofa couch, chair, TV, balcony, and six-chair dining table.

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The kitchen has all modern conveniences with full size refrigerator, stove, microwave, dishwasher and cooking utensils.

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Princeville Market at the Westin resort carries basic food items and even beer and wine. There is a fresh foods deli in the market too.

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The prices are about double the price of food at the Foodland supermarket in Princeville Shopping Center. Foodland is a standard size supermarket and offers a large deli with sushi, fresh meats and seafood.

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The closet door on left contained vacuum, broom, iron and board. There was also a washer and dryer near the front door.

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Utility closet and washer/dryer unit.

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Westin Heavenly Bed. I preferred the softer pillows at the Westin to those at the St. Regis.

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The bedroom is an open space with the bathroom.

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A spa tub is beneath the shutters. The toilet is in the distance and the separate shower is to the right of the toilet.

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Double sink bathroom vanity.

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The tub view also reveals that this unit on the ground floor of Building 1 has a patio facing the parking lot. Fortunately this was not the room for my stay. I was in Building 2 on the second floor of a three floor building.

The drawback to Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas is lack of ocean views from most rooms.

Most rooms at Westin Princeville did not appear to me to have ocean views. The resort is built on a bluff and there is actually no beach access from the resort. Westin operates an hourly shuttle during the day to take guests to the beach at the St. Regis Princeville three miles west.

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View from my room 2206. I could get a small glimpse of the ocean through the trees from the proper angle on my balcony.

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This is the center of the resort with separate room buildings around the complex.There are ocean views from some rooms.

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And the grounds offer locations with ocean views from atop the resort property’s location on a bluff.

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The Pools at Westin Ocean Resort Villas

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My vote for best hot tub at Westin Princeville.

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This photo is looking away from the Westin Princeville to another property. The photo shows why you can’t access the beach from the Westin.

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Westin Princeville lobby building and main pool.

The fitness center seemed rather small and is located on the second floor to left of main building. Princeville Market is on ground floor left. Nanea Restaurant is located on right with indoor and outdoor seating.

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I attended a Vacation Kick Off informational meeting and won a prize for a complimentary day use of the covered Papa’i rental.

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The main pool is two levels and the children’s pool is a separate unit.

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The children’s pool was frequently utilized. The Resort seemed heavily geared to servicing children as well as adults.

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Children’s pool with turtle fountains and water slide.

There are numerous barbecue units around the property for grilling up some hot food.

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Grill 4 at Westin. Most of these photos were taken just after a morning rain shower. The rain held off for another two days, although the skies were cloudy much of the time. The weather was a wonderful 70s to low 80s in early December.

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Wailele bar by the pool was the active hub for adult guests most of the day. Happy hour from 3:30 to 5:30 offered discount drinks and food.

Golf is a major activity at Princeville with two top courses including Makai and Prince golf courses.

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Majestic tree at Makai Golf Course adjacent to Westin Princeville.

Wild Chickens of Kauai

The island of Kauai is occupied by thousands of feral chickens. They are all over the Westin Resort. Aside from cars there are no predators. You will see chickens and likely hear the roosters crow early in the morning during your stay.

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This fowl family decided to leave the golf course to explore the Westin parking lot.

Westin Princeville Resort is a good option if you have a family and you desire to make your own meals.

But when it comes to ocean views and beach access the Starwood sister property, St. Regis Princeville three miles down the road has the better location.

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St. Regis Princeville, Kauai.

And I’ll leave you with a sunset photo from Westin Princeville.

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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.

14 Responses

  1. I considered this property but lack of view, lack of beach and condofeeling was too much for me. Preferred the Princeville, although the beach there is nothing great (Hanalei Bay, 10 minutes north is a great beach though you do need a car). I actually preferred Poipu to Princeville for the weather and more casually vibe and loved the Grand Hyatt and Sheraton properties more…

  2. [...] on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. … Link: Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas – Loyalty Traveler ← Family Vacation Ideas: Daily Deals Roundup 12-5-12 | Family [...]

  3. I’ll bet 1977 Ric would try to catch some of those chickens for dinner. Heck, seeing as you rode the bus to your resort and shop at the supermarket to save some bucks (and you are probably the only one at the resort that has done those two things), even 2012 Ric might be tempted to lay a trap for some fresh chicken dinner!

    :-)

  4. @ed: They confiscated his hunting knife this time before his flight to Kauai. A butter knife out of the utensil drawer in his room just wouldn’t have done the trick properly to get those chickens methinks!!!! :)

    Comment by gregorygrady on December 5th, 2012 at 2:30 pm
  5. Stayed here in the Summer, would have made a better choice to stay at the St. Regis. It wasn’t that pleasant of an experience: the staff made it clear this wasn’t a regular hotel and the platinum benefits were useless. Nice room and well maintained grounds, but it ends there. Unless you’re traveling with a family, I’d go somewhere else…

  6. I stayed here during my honeymoon, I wrote a trip report on my blog about it if interested. It was a great relaxing hotel! I visited St. Regis, but it seemed too posh for me. I only have SPG Gold though. If you deny room service, you get a 10 dollar voucher which was enough for breakfast! Definitely recommmend this hotel.

  7. @gpaya – St. Regis not worth it, 20K points a night is way too much. I paid 4800 points + $90 per night at Westin.

  8. Great review, Ric!

    We stayed at both the Westin and St. Regis earlier this year. The service and atmosphere at the Westin was excellent, and everyone seemed really laid back and helpful. The evening activities were really well done, and taught us about Hawaiian culture. Conversely, the service at the St. Regis seemed fake and pretentious, and we couldn’t get a towel at the pool to save our lives. Since Westin guests can actually use the St. Regis beach, I’d pick the Westin every time.

    There’s also a beautiful isolated swimming beach right behind the Westin — you just need to know how to get there. The staff don’t like to tell you about it due to “liability issues”. Hint: go to the back of the parking lot to the right of the lobby. Follow the historic carriage road down the hill to the beach, and watch out for falling mangoes!

    Comment by TheInternationalLine on December 5th, 2012 at 4:29 pm
  9. Nice review! We enjoyed our stay there last year and were content with our ocean view, which was a little better than yours as we were on the far side. TheInternationalLine is correct about the isolated beach; it’s a hike, but gorgeous. Service was great and the resort was not crowded, even though it was prime Jan-Feb.

  10. The public beach access sign is to the right of Westin entrance. I did not hike the trail.

    I do not remember so many chickens in 1977. The nonvegetarian hippies probably kept the population down.

    Most of my friends and family prefer Poipu and the Hyatt to north shore.

    Comment by ric garrido on December 5th, 2012 at 8:43 pm
  11. My understanding is the majority of the chickens (or their ancestors) got loose during Hurricane Iniki, I have often wondered how they would taste.

  12. I don’t like much about the Princeville area – it’s old and tired now – seems like a ghost town much of the time, or filled with retirees on a budget. And the weather is wetter/cooler than Poipu, so for vacationeers looking for sun and sand, Poipu is better choice (although more expensive typically).

    Can’t imagine Honeymooning at this place…

  13. [...] Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas (Dec 5, 2012) [...]

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