Posted by Ric Garrido

I walked into the lobby of the St. Regis Princeville and immediately thought to myself “this place meets my expectations for a hotel with great views”. Large windows look out over Hanalei Bay to reveal sea, sky and the lush green mountain cliffs.

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View from 8th floor restaurant.

The lobby level of St. Regis Princeville is the 9th floor of the 11 floor hotel. The main building with hotel rooms, restaurants, the lobby and spa is cliff top. Hotel rooms are located in two other buildings containing floors 4-7 and floors 1-3 near the large pool at beach level. 

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St. Regis Princeville Resort seen from the small beach on Hanalei Bay.

I checked in at 10:15 am due to the ridiculously early checkout time of 10am at the Westin Princeville. Each additional hour is $25 for late checkout at the Westin. An hourly shuttle takes Westin Princeville guests the 3 miles to St. Regis where you can dine and charge back to the Westin or use the beach, but not the St. Regis pool. Westin Princeville does not have direct beach access, however a public beach access trail to the right of the Westin entrance offers a beach opportunity over there.

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Front entrance of St. Regis Princeville is beneath palm trees and hotel rooms on 10th and 11th floors are seen behind the Fort Alexander history display.

The hotel is located adjacent to the site of the historic Russian Fort Alexander. A grass lawn field in front of St. Regis Princeville entrance is the historic site of Russia’s short-lived imperialistic foothold on Kauai at Fort Alexander 1816-1817. King Kamehameha thought an alliance with the Russians might be politically wise, but then decided the Americans might be the stronger alliance and the Russians were soon forced off the island of Kauai.

The Fort Alexander display offers four panels of historical accounts explaining the origins of Princeville. Robert Crichton Wyllie (1798-1865) was a Scotsman who made his fortune as a South American merchant and moved to Hawaii in 1844. King Kamehameha III (ruled 1825-1854) made Wyllie minister of foreign affairs in 1845, a position he held for 20 years until he died in the early years during the reign of King Kamehameha V (1863-1872).

Wyllie’s goal was to keep Hawaii an independent sovereign nation. In 1857 Wyllie had the aspiration to create a global treaty of Hawaiian independence and warring nations neutrality. He also acquired a sizeable estate at Hanalei, Kauai in the 1850s with a sugar cane plantation.

King Kamehameha IV had a son in 1858. The Hawaiian Royal Family visited Wyllie’s estate in 1860 and Wyllie named his estate Princeville in honor of the King’s child. The royal heir died in 1862, then King Kamehameha IV died in 1863 and Robert Wyllie died in 1865. The Princeville estate was found to be deeply in debt and auctioned off.

Westin Princeville is located at 3838 Wyllie Road, Princeville, HI 96722.

The Princeville area today has about 2,000 to 3,000 regular residents and as many as 10,000 to 15,000 visitors staying in the numerous timeshare properties and hotels.

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Princeville resort area looking to Na Pali coast. Westin Princeville and St. Regis Princeville are the two main branded hotels.

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St. Regis Princeville front entrance marker.

Princeville as a resort development was an idea started in the 1960s with major development in the 1980s and 90s including Princeville Hotel under Japanese ownership. In 2005 Jeff Stone became the primary resort developer with a Morgan Stanley funded partnership.  The original Princeville Hotel rebranded as St. Regis Princeville in 2009 after an $85 million renovation.

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Driveway fountain at St. Regis Princeville, Kauai.

The hotel is valet parking only at $30 per day.

There is taxi service available with rates being about $10 each way for the 2.3 mile ride to the restaurants and market at Princeville Shopping Center and about $100 to Lihue Airport.

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St. Regis Princeville entry walkway to reception and lobby.

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Central lobby at St. Regis Princeville.

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Reception artwork behind the three separate desks at reception.

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Another lobby view.

Halele’a Spa is located to the right of the lobby as you enter the hotel.

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Halale’a Spa at St. Regis Princeville.

There are some rooms on floors with only mountain and garden views. Most of the 252 rooms at St. Regis offer a scenic ocean view. Some rooms also have a terrace.

Floors 4 to 7 are located in a separate building. I was at room 413 with a wonderful ocean view, but no terrace.

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Rooms on Floors 1-3 are poolside and closest to beach.

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Three hot tubs are located in this main pool area of the St. Regis Princeville resort.

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St. Regis Resort from beach.

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View across Hanalei Bay to Na Pali Coast from St. Regis 8th floor patio.

Room 413

An elevator on the far side of the lobby from the entrance is required to reach rooms on floors 4 to 7 and the pool area. From Floor 4 another set of elevators down the hallway takes guests to Floors 1-3 and the pool access from Floor 1.

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Got pillows? Eight pillows on the bed.

The window to the bathroom has a light filter switch to allow clear glass or shade the glass and obstruct the view.

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There was plenty of comfortable seating available in the room.

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I ended up moving the desk materials to work facing the window for an ocean view.

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The entertainment center is top quality with a large screen TV, sound system and plenty of HD channels.

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Pleasantly surprised to find a coffee maker in the room. There are no in-room coffee makers in the California St. Regis hotels at San Francisco and Monarch Beach.

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Empty refrigerator, but it did not chill the beer as cold as I would have liked.

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Bathroom had double sink and combination shower/tub.

The view from the room was my primary TV for the stay. Surfers in the middle of Hanalei Bay most of the day provided live entertainment. The mountains silhouetted in moonlight one night and illuminated beneath sheet lightning another night created a nightly landscape spectacle through the large windows.

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View from Room 413 window.

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Beach view from Room 413.

St. Regis Princeville is a category 6 hotel available for 20,000 or 25,000 points per night or $150 and 8,000 points per night with Cash & Points availability.

Rates were about $360 per night during my December 2012 stay.

Part 2 St Regis Princeville will show pools and beach area, restaurants and more public spaces in and around lobby.

Disclosure: My two night stay at St. Regis Princeville was complimentary as part of SPG Amex Stars program with my choice for a stay at any Starwood Hotel in USA.

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.

22 Responses

  1. Ric, we were there 2 weeks ago not stay but have a drink on beautiful bar. We love Grand Hyatt on the other side, we are going to give a try next time we visit Kauai again.

  2. What is the SPG Amex Stars program?

  3. Every time I see/read of this hotel, it strikes me as being too big to be truly luxurious.

  4. @Tom. I agree. I have never read a review of this hotel that has compelled me to want to stay there.

  5. I agree. Looks like a sterile hotel, lacking in any sort of local charm. Probably fine for those who like it soft.

  6. An unfortunate banal construction built on a secluded beach once loved by locals. Fortunately there a few secluded beaches remaining where resort construction would be extremely difficult.

    Comment by Georges Montalba on December 8th, 2012 at 1:07 pm
  7. I stayed here for a week in september. If your staying on kauai this the most luxurious high end property on the island. The setting and location of the property is unmatched on the island. Grand hyatt is nice and well mainucred but it is not 5 star whereas i would give st regis a 5star rating. Great pictures Ric you captured the property nicely.

  8. Thanks Ric for sharing your review. Did you get upgraded? I am staying at the St Regis for 6 night over Christmas. I am still waiting to hear from St Regis if they will honor my suite upgrade nights. Do you think its worth renting a gazebo by the pool/beach? They charge $250 per day.. Thanks Mark

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  10. 6 nights seems way too long, there is not too much to do on the North Shore, the south shore has more activities.

  11. This is our favorite hotel and was a great place to use our free resort nights from the 2011 promo. Hard to find any deficiencies except for spotty wifi and overpriced restaurants.

  12. Did you get to try out Halelea Spa? It has one of the best showers ever! Let alone the actual massage…

  13. definitely not worth renting the gazebo. Sadly, the beach is not great. Much better is to go to Hanalei Bay nearby — although in December, due to the swells, no swimming is often the case.

    The pool is great at the st. regis but if you have a chance, go into hanalei for great (and inexpensive) dining.

  14. Nice pictures.

    Are those antenna on the bed headboard reading lights? If so, do they have the switch on them or somewhere else?

  15. Just went over Thanksgiving. I was skeptical before going, but it is definately a 5 star hotel. We also did a few nights at Grand Hyatt during the trip and hands down this is the better resort. I found the Grand Hyatt rundown and grimey. This resort was lovely, well cared for, no run down furnishings, the room and beds were plush and great service.

  16. @MileageUpdate – SPG Amex Stars is a blogger program where SPG American Express gave 5 or 6 bloggers some hotel stay and experience opportunities in 2012. These included three trips to NY for Tribeca Film Festival (I missed this trip), US Open tennis and stay at Westin nY Times Square, NY Fashion Week show and stay at W NY Union Square, 2-night stay at choice of USA hotel, 2-night stay at local area hotel and 2-night stay at St. Regis Bal Harbour Miami Beach.

    Each trip included a reader giveaway for starpoints and the NY Fashion Show had a $250 gift card prize.

    Other travel bloggers for 2012 were Vagabondish, JohnnyJet, Jen Miner of the Vacation Gals, Ben at One Mile at a Time.

  17. @Mark D – I have two SPG suite upgrades but I did not try and apply them to this stay. I think the hotel has numerous suites.

    There were not enough people at the beach to make a gazebo necessary in my opinion. In summer that might be a different story.

  18. @Charles – I never turned on the bed lights so I do not know where the switches are located. I think they are on the light fixture.

  19. @Georges – The conflict with any island resort area is the impact of construction and more tourists on the inherent charm that motivates hotel construction.

    A luxury class Montage Resort is scheduled to be built at Princeville in the next development plan.

    http://thegardenisland.com/business/resort-developer-plans-new-housing-units-for-princeville/article_94e211aa-6c23-11e1-9246-0019bb2963f4.html

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