After getting some rain in Honolulu our final two days there, we were hoping for a return to the sunshine we knew Hawai`i for as we flew off to Kaua`i. Alas, clouds and rain were the norm during the week we were on this island. Not that we couldn’t escape the rain (for the most part), but it would require a somewhat lengthy drive to the south or west coast, to places such as Poipu or Waimea. Sometimes you just get tired of driving every day and want to walk out your hotel room and bake on the beach. This was possible only once during the week.
First impression of Kaua`i was that it is an unbelievably green and lush place. The mountains provided an impressive backdrop (when they weren’t shrouded in rain clouds, that is). With this being our first trip to this island, we had no idea what to expect and were, in general, pleased with what we found.
Aston Islander on the Beach
We had some reservations about staying at the Aston Islander on the Beach in Kapa`a; many reviews in tripadvisor.com were less than complimentary to the place. Ongoing complaints about shabby quarters, moldy smell, etc. made us wonder if we wouldn’t have been better off staying in Poipu.
There was no need to worry, as it turned out. Our room was clean, there was no moldy smell, the furnishings were decent. That full-length mirror running the entire wall was certainly interesting! Some spots on it from the silver degrading were easily enough overlooked. The grounds were very well kept up.
What we liked:
– The cost; at $132 a night, this was a very good deal
– Grounds were kept up extremely well
– Parking was free although spaces were somewhat limited
– Coin-op laundry
– The Coconut Marketplace next door gave us some dining and shopping options
– In-room safe, but you had to pay $2.60 a day to use it.
– Huge bed
– Hot tub in addition to the pool, which turned out to be a nightly gathering place and a mellow way to end each day
Here is what we didn’t like:
– Staff could be somewhat indifferent at times–when we ran out of shampoo, we were informed that they were out and that it was on indefinite “back-order”. Change your supplier then, folks
– No tub, just a smallish shower stall; a large person is gonna have problems with this
– Beach is cluttered with wood; also, the high surf made swimming there not an option
– Had to pay for daily coffee ($2 for three packets)–c’mon, the least you can do is give us free coffee instead of nickel and diming us on these things!
– Maid service was very slow at times, and on one occasion we waited until after 3 p.m. before calling the desk and asking that our room be cleaned. They responded promptly.
Basically, we enjoyed our stay there and we’re going to assume that the weather in March is normally not so piss-poor on the windward side of Kaua`i. This assumption is necessary in order for us to stay on this side of Kaua`i again. Rating: 7
North Shore Drive
We’d seen many pictures of various North Shore sites on the Internet during the year preceding our trip (Kilauea Lighthouse, Hanalei Bay, Na Pali, Hanalei lookout, etc) and were really looking forward to this drive. The weather wasn’t going to cooperate on this day, and cooperated little better when we did the drive again five days later. Still, one can get a good sense of the beauty and the absolute lushness of this side of the island. Nowhere had we seen so many shades of green. The drive to the end of Hwy 56, at Ke’e Beach, was still a fun trip despite the cloudiness and occasional rain showers. Finding a place to park at Ke’e Beach was problematic. The only spot close by which was available was very muddy; how deep the mud was in the spot was anybody’s guess and we weren’t about to find out.
If you have the chance to take this drive, don’t pass it up. If you have a clear day, the views will be spectacular in places.