Posted by Ric Garrido

Yesterday, five days after returning to Monterey from Kauai I caught the last part of the George Clooney film The Descendants, where the family goes to Kauai and stays at the St. Regis Princeville. I saw the film once before and I did not realize there were scenes filmed at the St. Regis hotel and along the beaches of Hanalei. The weather was mostly cloudy during their filming at the St. Regis too.

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Infinity pool at St. Regis Princeville.

Kauai is a trippy place with only about 68,000 year-round residents, yet there are many times that number of tourists annually visiting the island. The area of Princeville with around 2,500 residents can fill with more than 10,000 tourists in the busiest weeks. I read there are traffic congestion problems on the limited roads. That was not too much of an issue during the first week of December.

The north coast beaches of Kauai around Hanalei and Princeville average around 80 inches of rain and typically have about twice the annual rainfall of the Poipu resort area on the south side of the island. March 2-9, 2012 Hanalei set a weather record with 42 inches of rain in one week.

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The rain only came down heavy on the last night of my stay with a brilliant lightning storm. I kept the windows open and watched the mountains light up in flashes.

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Surf’s up. I watched one person surf a wave for about 30 seconds across hundreds of yards on Hanalei Bay.

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The pool at the St. Regis is open 24 hours. There were generally only a few people in the pool at any one time.

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The weather was in the 70s in early morning and pool swimming was comfortable anytime.

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Floor 1 rooms at the St. Regis could be your dream room or a location to avoid at all costs depending on your desire to be adjacent to the pool area and hot tubs.

There are three dining areas at the St. Regis Princeville. Lunch was only offered at the pool area Nalu Kai Grill & Bar during my stay. This is a nice location with a shaded area outside, but no indoor seating if the weather is too hot and muggy for your comfort.

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Nalu Kai Grill & Bar, St. Regis Princeville

Listening to the birds and surf was a pleasant dining experience. The place was kind of packed at the time I ate lunch with this restaurant the only place open for dining.

I ordered the $8 coffee milkshake at Nalu Kai.

John Travolta in the movie Pulp Fiction goes on about the $5 shake Uma Thurman ordered:

VINCENT:Goddamn, that’s a pretty fucking good milkshake!

MIA: Told you.

VINCENT: I don’t know if it’s worth $5, but it’s pretty fucking good!

Swordfish ($27) was a tasty meal too. Although, I don’t think I would pair fish with a milkshake again.

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Catch of the Day at Nalu Kai Grill & Bar.

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Nalu Kai Grill & Bar on right with activities desk straight ahead for beach rental equipment.

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Apparently these beachside cabanas can be rented for a private dinner. During the day there did not seem to be an issue just sitting here for a while.

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This hammock is just a few steps away from the pool bar.

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The St. Regis resort maintains a small strip of grass lawn next to the beach if sand is not your thing. The area was popular for families with infants.

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The beach at the St. Regis Princeville is not very big. You can walk along the sand a few hundred yards until the large rocks block the beach before the Hanalei River outlet.

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Hanalei Pier

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Away from the hotel the beach is narrow and bordered by mangrove forest.

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Coconut on the beach, weathered and colored by the sea.

This is not the white sand beach you will find in other locations on Kauai.

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Hanalei Bay is filled with coral reef making the water on calm days a good place for snorkeling. There are beach signs warning visitors not to walk on the living coral.

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The Reef is Alive.

 

Related posts:

St. Regis Princeville, Kauai Part 1 (Room and lobby description)

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

I will likely write a third post on St. Regis Princeville to show more photos of the hotel interior. I found the interior design of the St. Regis Princeville quite attractive.

Disclosure: My two night stay room rate was complimentary from Starwood Preferred Guest American Express as part of SPG Amex Stars travel blogger campaign in 2012. The room rate was $360 per night during my stay. Airfare and all other expenses for my Kauai stay were covered by me.

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.

7 Responses

  1. Did Starwood acquire this hotel. I seems I was there years ago.

    Btw, I’m not sure why that milkshake quote is so funny, but I laugh everytime I hear it.

  2. The hotel was formerly the Princeville Resort and rebranded as St. Regis Princeville in 2009 after a multimillion dollar makeover.

  3. @Ric Any comment on the implementation of the SPG Platinum breakfast? I was there a year ago and it was the best hotel property I ever stayed at so far and now we compare all other hotels to it :)

  4. I was there in May! Very posh hotel, too posh for my flashpacker travel style. Stayed at Westin Princeville!

  5. Me and my wife just watched that movie last night, on RedBox. I assume it’s a pricy place to stay?

  6. Given the resort’s prices and location (many don’t like to deal with rain during a vacation) do you think this property has been a success for Starwood?

  7. [...] St. Regis Princeville, Kauai–Part 2, Really(Dec 11, 2012) [...]

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