Grand Hyatt Kauai: a great guest of honor stay and great redemption

What I love about collecting points is using them to enjoy travel experiences that I wouldn’t otherwise have. I recently spent 10 days in Hawaii, which I split over stays at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, Andaz Maui, and Hyatt Regency Maui thanks to the ability to use points. While earning points is a lot of fun in its own right, the real purpose of earning them is to be able to burn (use) them for travel experiences we enjoy. Hawaii is a bucket list travel destination for many of us, and with Southwest inching closer to starting service I’m sure there are some readers who are looking forward to the chance to spend some time in paradise. But are the Hyatt Hawaii properties worth their weight in points? After staying at those three properties, I can say without a doubt that the Grand Hyatt Kauai is a beautiful, awesome property and I would definitely use 25K points per night to stay there again the future. Here’s why the Grand Hyatt Kauai is pretty awesome.

You can rent free bikes from the Grand Hyatt Kauai, but we chose to pay to rent them closer to the Kapaa bike path. It’s worth the drive and bike ride if you visit Kauai.

Grand Hyatt Kauai: By far my favorite of the three.

During my 10 days in paradise, I enjoyed Globalist Guest of Honor reservations at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, Andaz Maui, and Hyatt Regency Maui. We also traveled with another couple on a completely separate Guest of Honor reservation at the Grand Hyatt and Andaz, so we got a pretty good sense for the benefits afforded to Globalists at all three properties. While the Andaz Maui is a good destination for a romantic getaway and the Hyatt Regency has very warm service and is a great place for a family vacation, the Grand Hyatt Kauai would without a doubt be my pick for a return trip. It’s not perfect for everyone, but I think most people would be pretty happy with a 25K per night redemption here.

One important thing to know: The Grand Hyatt Kauai is a huge property. If you haven’t been, you probably aren’t picturing it big enough. And it feels grand. I’m surprised that it’s only 11 years younger than the Hyatt Regency Maui as it feels much fresher and more modern/elegant.

Even the check-in desk just felt grand thanks to the high ceilings producing what felt like a huge space.

My room: a 1-bedroom oceanfront suite

At least slightly biasing my opinion here is the fact that I received an incredible room upgrade at this property. I made the rookie mistake of taking video profile instead of landscape, but here’s a video of the room.

Or if you prefer, some pictures of the 1 bedroom oceanfront suite.

View from long living room balcony #1.

View from bedroom balcony #2.

So yeah, that was pretty special. As if that wasn’t enough, I was given a bottle of sparkling wine at check in and there were a couple of Grand Hyatt Kauai monk seal stuffed animals waiting for my son…as well as both a crib and pack and play. That turned out to be huge as he slept much better in the pack and play but the crib was a useful mobile space in which to put him down for a minute when necessary without worrying about what we was going to destroy. And the room gave us plenty of space to put our son to bed at ~7pm and still enjoy a relaxing evening in the room without disturbing him.

Of course, the chances of getting upgraded to that room probably aren’t amazing. We were definitely very lucky. However, we were traveling with friends who were also on a Globalist Guest of Honor reservation (completely separate from ours). They were also upgraded to an ocean view room with a similarly grand view of the ocean. These friends are not miles and points people at all and were thrilled with their room and view.

The Grounds

However, it wasn’t just the rooms that were great. The grounds were impressive and beautiful. I’ve actually only stayed at a few Grand Hyatt properties previously (San Francisco, Singapore, and Melbourne), but this felt like the “grandest”. Check out some pictures of the landscaping and facilities.

In addition to a huge pool area, the Grand Hyatt Kauai has a large saltwater lagoon so you can enjoy the beach without worrying about being taken out by the tide.

The lazy river was a little smaller than I expected and doesn’t run in a circle, but my son still had a lot of fun floating around in a tube (which can be purchased or rented at the recreation center)

Of course, the size was also a bit of a downside: the hotel is massive, so it literally took 15 minutes to get almost anywhere. I literally timed my walk to the car in the parking lot one night when we forgot something in the car and it was 18 minutes each way. The walk from our room to the club lounge was more than 4 tenths of a mile according to my smart watch. We ordered delivery one night and I had to meet the driver outside of the hotel’s property (I’m not sure whether the hotel does not allow delivery drivers for security reasons or in order to keep you captive to their restaurants, but you can apparently meet a driver just off grounds). I think she thought I wasn’t going to show up for a few minutes — it just took that long to get out there.

Adding to that, the layout was not intuitive. I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels / resorts over the years. Never have I constantly felt so lost. We had an oceanfront room on the second floor, but we didn’t have a short path to get to the beach. There just didn’t seem to be an easy way out that didn’t require a very long walk to an elevator. If you’re in decent shape, it’s not a big deal at all, but it’s notable how challenging it can be to get around if you’re less mobile. Note that this also applies to getting anything delivered to your room. We called for 2 extra champagne flutes for our sparkling wine and it probably took 35 minutes for them to arrive. I wasn’t surprised or upset as I’m sure it was a 15-20 minute walk from wherever they were picked up. Add in some time for finding an available staff member / other drop offs and it’s just going to take a while to get anything.

Still, this felt like a great use of 25K Hyatt points per night. Since Hyatt does not charge resort fees on award stays and self parking is complementary for everyone at this property, there were no hidden fees. As Globalist Guests of Honor, we were given club lounge access. As noted, it was a bit of a hike from our room, but I’d take that walk for that room any day of the week.

The Club Lounge: quality over quantity

The club lounge food offerings felt a little sparse, but a later stay at the Hyatt Regency Maui made me appreciate the much higher quality of the food in hindsight. Breakfast consisted of pastries / muffins, bagels, oatmeal, fruit, and scrambled eggs.

On the other hand, the evening appetizer spread felt more substantial. A sample evening had spring rolls, salad with plenty of freshly sliced toppings, hummus and other dips and a tapenade that is not pictured but was excellent. While it still might look somewhat spartan here, I felt like the evening appetizers were pretty hearty when we stopped by.

On a Globalist / Guest of Honor reservation, I’d say it would be possible to replace dinner with the evening spread if you had a relatively large lunch. Traveling with a 1 year old, we often find ourselves having a larger lunch and not going out to dinner much, so this was a good option to have.

Speaking of traveling with a family, one other thing that could really come in handy: the Grand Hyatt Kauai has free guest self-service laundry. We ended up holding off on doing ours until we got to the Andaz Maui partly because we didn’t need the laundry sooner and partly because I’m not sure I could have found the guest laundry twice if I’d tried at the Grand Hyatt Kauai (I stumbled on it wandering my way back from the car and trying to find a shorter route to no avail).

Bottom line

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Grand Hyatt Kauai. I was really pleasantly surprised. Between gorgeous scenery, huge pools, a (small) lazy river, water slide, and a club lounge that saved us some money on food during our stay, it was a great use of 25K points in my opinion. That is of course enhanced by club lounge access. I am fortunate to have a few Globalist friends and I am very thankful for their help in putting together this trip. Remember that Hyatt will allow you to transfer points to any other member, though you can only make one transfer in or out every 30 days. Still, if you have a friend with Globalist status, you can enjoy his or her benefits — and in a destination like Hawaii, that can be a nice set of benefits.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

More articles by Nick Reyes »

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CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Great Photos and post.
Thank You
CHEERs

Nick
Guest
Nick

Nice post. Is Hawaii really a “bucket list” destination? It’s not at all difficult or particularly expensive to get to, so if you haven’t been it’s mostly because it hasn’t been a priority, more like going to Florida than say Bali.

Gabe
Guest
Gabe

Grand Hyatt Kauai is awesome. My favorite Hyatt, period. And the number one thing that I love about it is the check-in staff. They know how to make you feel special when you arrive, regardless of Hyatt status. I hope you’ll post about the other Hyatt stays and compare/contrast your experiences.

cavedweller
Guest
cavedweller

Nick
I agree just like FL.not a big deal but a lot more $$$ I tell my friends .It’s the only place in the USA that u know will B warm in Feb..Next week it will b 7x in 37 months,
Thanks Blogs.
CHEERs

Pam
Guest
Pam

I think it’s the ability to stay there for any length of time & really see the sights that makes it more difficult. 2 days are chewed up with travel/rest & the remaining days involve expensive lodging & meals + addtl plane fares if you want to see more than 1 island which most people do.

It takes a bit more planning, because you also don’t want to miss out on all the natural attractions/lavendar farms/rum making/coffee production etc etc etc & how best to see them/get there/pay for while visiting the most remote area on earth! I have been around 30 times & there us always something new & interesting. Bali & Florida are “check off & done” for me.

Stephen H
Guest
Stephen H

Hawaii is not like Florida. At all. Except for there being an ocean.

Michael
Guest
Michael

This really is my favorite resort by far– I’ve stayed there 12 times. What really makes it special is the staff, especially the nice women working in the lounge. Mostly I go back because of the 1.5 acre saltwater pool. Unlike so many other resort pools, this one is much deeper (many parts are 6-9 feet deep) and you can actually swim. It’s best to go when kids are usually in school. At those times I’ve had many occasions when I had the lagoon all to myself. It’s also great that all the pools are open 24/7 if you feel up to a 2 am swim–I’ve done it many times.

Ed. C
Guest
Ed. C

I hate that people waste money/points staying at properties like this in Hawaii. This isn’t Hawaii and most certainly is not Kaua’i. We have been to Hawaii 11 times and Kaua’i 7 times. People who stay in properties like this have no idea what the true Hawaii is.

Hawaii is too easy to get to with all the airfare sales. Stay at a vacation rental rather than wasting points/money on a resort you rarely leave. Save your points/money for a true bucket list trip.

Andrew H
Guest
Andrew H

What are of Kauai would you recommend staying? Just curious

Andrew H
Guest
Andrew H

Area *

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

AH
I stayed @ the Sheraton Kauai Resort (1/2018) for Free 5 nites with points in the south .The beach and hotel were Perfect and with the card I got an Ocean view room Upgrade ..Nothing wrong with a car but a hardtop Jeep is better u have a great view with the top on or Off . Watch the traffic there too .It’s only 3 lanes which will change with the time of day .So going N from S be on the road by 6am then south of airport by 3 pm .Try to get to ur hotel before dark no street lights and a storm when I was there.
It’s a Tiny Island and not a lot of roads nor people .
CHEERs

Ed. C
Guest
Ed. C

That’s the best thing about Kaua’i – no people (at least compared to Oahu and Maui). Went to Maui last year and didn’t find it at all expensive (compared to what we’d been warned about). Like anywhere else, it all depends where you stay and where you eat. We stayed in a vacation rental high rise condo right on the beach. Could see non-stop whale breaching from our balcony (this was last February). It was amazing.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

COOL ..I ate at the local places only very Nice people .The gas station borrowed me a tire pressure gauge not buy .Try that in Chicago.
CHEERs

Ed. C
Guest
Ed. C

We like to stay in the Kapaa / Wailua area simply because it is about mid way between the north shore and the south shore on the east side of the island which makes it a good base for exploring the whole island. Many vacation rentals in the area for 2-star to 4-star tastes. There’s also a Hilton Garden Inn and a Marriott Courtyard that are actually cheaper than the same properties where we live. We take 3 – 4 vacations a year and Kaua’i is our least expensive trip due to flying on miles and paying for accommodations with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Our Kaua’i “home” has become the Waipouli Beach Resort that is available through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Ian
Guest
Ian

I guess Ed. C is the arbiter of what is “true” Hawaii and what is not. I would have much rather read your comment on where to stay (which was helpful), rather than your dump on people who WANT to stay at high end properties (which was not helpful).

Pam
Guest
Pam

@ Ed C – On my first trip to the Big Island 20+ years ago, I stayed at the Kona Village Resort: “It was best known for its free-standing, palm thatch roof hales and tranquil location, but the site was also once home to migrating settlers from Polynesia. Navigators and sailors by nature. The village became a place of trade and commerce due to easy access by the coast. Memories of the destination’s renowned deep-sea fisherman are immortalized in the petroglyphs that can be found in and around the boundaries today.”

The “resort’ was about 10 miles from the Kona airport – a plus. But it also had no air conditioning and had mosquito netting around the beds. And let me just add that the mosquito netting was there for very good reason. I booked it for its naturalness and wow did I get some in spades. Then about 10 – 15 years ago, several direct-hit hurricanes wiped it off the face of Paradise.

Fast forward to today: “Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, will debut 150 unique, standalone guest hales with locally-inspired décor, spectacular views and a privileged sense of seclusion. Spearheaded by Hawai’i-raised architect, Greg Warner of Walker Warner Architects, each accommodation will offer a private lānai and outdoor shower. An array of distinct dining venues, including the original resort’s beloved Shipwreck Bar and Talk Story Bar, will offer elevated yet relaxed food and beverage experiences. Guests will have access to new leisure facilities including Sense, A Rosewood Spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, as well as multiple pools and tennis courts. A diverse outdoor recreational program will include ocean sports and activities designed to inform, inspire and excite travelers of all ages.”

Let me wrap up by saying that “true Hawaii” is not what it’s always cracked up to be. Our fantasies can also take us sometimes in a completely more pragmatic and equally desirable direction, while still honoring the history and ohana of the islands. I realize luxury & modern conveniences may not be your jam, but I’ll personally be booking for 2022 first chance, and probably also with Chase URs. As for the Grand Hyatt, you could give it a chance – it truly is a wonderful property. And if you want a better place than where you are currently staying, along with some authenticity, check out the Makai Cottages. No air conditioning but not needed if you are there in Jan or Feb. A sense of true aloha. Mahalo

guest
Guest
guest

3 hotels & 2 islands in 10 days doesn’t sound too relaxing. Would you recommend this to a friend or associate?

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

G
I did 3 Islands 10 nites one in Maui which is big $$$ and I spent 30 hrs there That stop was a Recon Trip to check out the hotels and areas before I spent a week there. Great idea I will b there next week @ a hotel I found on my Recon Trip last year..I don’t want a Bad Week @ any hotel and the Air and trip mostly FREE.
If ur hitting a few Islands I just got an Hawaiian Airlines card (60k) again for the next trip ???
Have Fun.
CHEERs

Madison
Guest
Madison

Best way to get over feeling lost at Grand Hyatt, go more often. Been there myself more than once, twice okay quite a few times. Love it.

blueflamingo
Guest
blueflamingo

I agree! We’ll be there this summer on our fourth visit and I know exactly where the laundry is and how long it will take for them to deliver the extra blanket I always need. We have gotten upgraded each time when the check in staff see that this is a repeat visit for us.

I look forward to reading Nick’s review of the Hyatt Regency on Maui – IMO, it’s an overpriced Motel 6 [granted, and oceanfront Motel 6] compared to the GHK. I almost cried when we arrived thinking how I could have better spent those points on Kauai…

Robert
Guest
Robert

My wife and I spent 2 nights there last summer, the only points room available then was the 33k point club lounge rooms. At first I balked at the high cost but we saved like crazy with no breakfast and dinner costs. We loved it so much that we rebooked 2 rooms and are bringing our kids in March. The extra points for the lounge are worth it since they have soda and water bottles on demand all day long. With kids it’ll be great. Our plan is then to eat out at lunch, most likely mid afternoon. We’re very excited about this trip. And throw in spa access, it’s a great resort.

btw, my Explorist status last year got us free valet parking(the self-park is a pain to walk to). And points redemption means no resort fee. Grab lots of the free sunscreen around the resort as well!

Mark
Guest
Mark

Great post and yes, Maui is awesome. That said, my wife and I have also been to Hyatt Zilara in Cancun (booking again for 2020 as I write this) and on the same 25k per night and as an all-inclusive report that is a 4 hour direct flight from Detroit, I don’t think we will ever go back to Hawaii.

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[…] be able to compare the experience for those looking to use Hyatt points to visit Kauai or Maui. I wrote about the Grand Hyatt Kauai the other day and a few readers wondered how it would compare with the Andaz Maui and the Hyatt […]

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[…] Guest of Honor stays in order to enjoy those benefits. The massive suite upgrade I was given at the Grand Hyatt Kauai earlier this year might be well worth the cost of mattress running Globalist status for some folks […]