Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu (Kauai, Hawaii)

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I recently spent a week at the Koloa Landing Resort, Autograph Collection in Poipu, Kauai.  Some will be surprised to hear that I stayed at Koloa Landing instead of the much loved and nearby Grand Hyatt Kauai.  More about that later.  To read about the Grand Hyatt, please see Nick’s review here: Grand Hyatt Kauai: a great guest of honor stay and great redemption.

Koloa Landing Resort basic info

  • Location: Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii
  • Hotel chain: Marriott Autograph Collection
  • Point price: 60K per night standard for a studio villa. It’s usually possible to pay more points or a cash co-pay to upgrade in advance to a full villa with 1,2, or 3 bedrooms. Category 6 hotel (60K standard, 50K off-peak, 70K peak).  Book 5 nights for the price of 4 (Stay for 5, Pay for 4)
  • Platinum Elite perks: Welcome amenity choice offers $30 per day food credit in lieu of free breakfast (must be used on separate days). Chance of room upgrade.  Late checkout when available.  Welcome gift includes coupons for free rum drinks (1 coupon per adult 21 or over).
  • Resort fee: $35 per night
  • Closest airport: Lihue Airport (LIH) is about 20 minutes away by car.

Koloa Landing’s best features

  • Location: Poipu, on the south end of the island, tends to be sunny all year.  Additionally, Poipu is a great home base for day trips to explore both Waimea Canyon (head west, then north), and the north shore (head east, then north).
  • Rooms & Villas: Rooms are clean, spacious, and nicely decorated.  Every studio room & villa includes a lanai (balcony), sleeper-sofa, kitchen appliances, and washer & dryer.  Those upgraded to 1, 2, or 3 bedroom villas additionally get a full kitchen, one full bathroom with each bedroom, and a large living room and dining room combination.
  • Spacious lanai: I don’t think all of the lanais are this big, but the 3 bedroom unit’s lanai is huge.  7 of us easily sat around an outdoor dining table on our lanai for each meal we ate at “home”.  One of the bedroom’s even had its own private lanai.
  • Pools: Pools are beautifully landscaped and include features such as waterfalls, slides, etc.  A small and separate adult-only pool with a waterfall and hot tub is available behind a locked fence (accessible with your room key).
  • Easy parking: Parking is available immediately outside of each building (the resort is made up of quite a few separate buildings housing studio rooms and villas).
  • Easy access to shopping and dining: A fairly large outdoor shopping center (Kukui’ula Village) is only a 5 minute walk from the resort along a sidewalk.  The shopping center includes numerous restaurants, a small grocery, a drug store, and more.
  • Free shuttle: A free shuttle is available to take you to nearby beaches, shopping, hiking, etc.
  • Housekeeping: Housekeepers visit daily and were very friendly and efficient during our stay.

Koloa Landing’s worst features

  • Resort fee: I hate resort fees.  At $35 per night, Koloa Landing’s resort fee isn’t the worst, but it adds up.  Unlike Hyatt and Hilton, Marriott doesn’t waive resort fees on award stays.
  • Ocean views: Yes, you can see the ocean from many parts of the resort, but the views are never completely unobstructed.  Fortunately, it’s a very short walk to the ocean from the resort.
  • Beach access: The ocean just outside of the Koloa Landing resort doesn’t have a sandy beach.  Instead, there are lava rocks that you can walk out on to watch the sunset (which is very nice by the way).  That said, the very nice Sheraton Resort beach is only a 5 minute walk away and it is open to the public.  The Poipu Beach Park beach is approximately 15 minutes walk.  You can also take a free shuttle from Koloa Landing to any nearby beach.
  • Dining: The resort has just one restaurant so options are limited.  That didn’t bother me at all since we prepared most meals in our villa, but it may bother some.

Koloa Landing vs. Grand Hyatt

There’s no doubt that the Grand Hyatt is a beautiful resort with beautiful ocean views, and a great location.  On my trip, I was tempted to book it, but I didn’t.  We were traveling with a total of 7 adults and would have had to book three separate rooms at the Hyatt.  Koloa Landing had the edge because we were able to book a three bedroom condo to house everyone.  Additionally, I had a category 6 seven night stay certificate that I wanted to use up and so I booked Koloa Landing before the resort was moved up to category 7.  I contacted the hotel to ask about upgrades and was told that we could upgrade to the three bedroom unit for $300 per night.  The other two couples traveling with us were more than happy to chip in $150 per night each (compared to 25K points per night at the Hyatt, this was a bargain for them).

While many would prefer to eat in restaurants during their vacations, we decided that we would rather prepare most meals ourselves.  Our villa’s kitchen made this a practical option.  And it was awesome eating as a group most evenings on our huge lanai.

I wouldn’t argue that Koloa Landing is better than the Grand Hyatt.  Both are very good for different reasons.  If you’re looking for a full-on resort experience, go with Hyatt.  If you’re looking for something more like a condo, but with some resort features, go with Koloa Landing.

Of course, these aren’t the only lodging options in Poipu.  Another Marriott property, Waiohai Beach Club, is arguably in the best location in town.  The Sheraton is undergoing massive renovations and may be a great option soon.  The best option, though, may be to look for timeshare rentals.  There are tons of timeshare properties in Poipu and it’s often possible to rent multi-bedroom villas at very reasonable rates.  The Timeshare Users Group is a great place to look for these rentals (found here).

How to get to the beach from Koloa Landing

It’s very easy to get to the Sheraton beach, but if you want to visit Poipu Beach, the path is not so obvious.  So, I made a video showing how to get there.  Even if you’re not planning to stay at Koloa Landing, you may enjoy watching the video to get a sense of Poipu as a destination.

Photos

Photos and captions of Koloa Landing follow…

Koloa Landing Resort 3 bedroom villa living room, dining room, and hallway
Koloa Landing Resort kitchen
Koloa Landing resort unit 9306 lanai. Only one section of the lanai is shown. The lanai continues around the corner to the left of the camera. Plus, a private lanai is available off the 3rd bedroom.
Koloa Landing view of resort from unit 9306 lanai
A view like this is available most evenings from the ocean-side lava rocks which are a very short walk from the Koloa Landing Resort
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