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Family Vacation: Kaua’i 2011

The Tiny Dancer and I (and sometimes Ali) have taken small trips to NY and LA but last week we embarked on our first family vacation to Kaua’i, Hawaii.  When were deciding where to take our trip, I was a bit hesitant about Kaua’i.  I thought it would be a honeymooner’s paradise and children would be unwelcome.  While there are tons of honeymooners, there were also many families.  We had an amazing time and as I type this, I’m sad to be back :(

South Coast

We couldn’t decide what part of the island to stay on so we split our time between the South and North.  We started out our trip on the South Shore where we stayed at the Grand Hyatt.  Both of my sisters honeymooned there so it came highly recommended.  The Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort and Spa is one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve stayed at.  The grounds and the views were gorgeous and there was no mistaking it for a tropical paradise.

The Grand Hyatt Kaua’i is a great place to take your children.  The crib they set up was actually a pack & play but the Tiny Dancer slept fine in it.  They left her with her own set of baby toiletries.  Some of the restaurants have kid menus – some of the meals even come with sand buckets and shovels so the kiddos can play in the sand.  The Hyatt has 3 pools – one adult only, one activity pool complete with slide and volleyball net and a lagoon, a faux beach complete with faux sand and salt water.  The activity pool and lagoon are great for kids and the hotel sells floaty devices or you can rent kayaks or snorkel equipment.  If you have a child over the age of 3, and you want some alone time, then you can enroll your kids in Camp Hyatt where they can play, learn and do crafts.  There are also lots of fun cultural events around the hotel: feeding koi fish every morning, parrot talk, craft lessons and hula dancing and traditional music.

Helicopter Tour

During our stay on the South Shore we opted to take a helicopter tour since most of the island of Kaua’i is inaccessible by car.  We decided to do this because with a small child we couldn’t partake in many of the activities the island has to offer like hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, etc.  We saw the entire island and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.  One side note – if your child is really young – you may want to refrain from this.  We took the Tiny Dancer with us at 15 months and she ended up vomiting all over her father :(   (She was fine after that – she just needed to get it out).  I didn’t know that helicopter rides are very shakey – I was envisioning a plane ride.  So be warned, if you have a weak stomach this may not be for you.

North Shore

Half-way through our trip we drove up to the North shore where we stayed at the St. Regis Princeville.  WOW.  While the Hyatt was overtly tropical, the St. Regis had a refined tropical feel to it.  But what set it apart was the impeccable service – I have never experienced service like I did at the St. Regis.  During check-in we were greeted with warm towels, a fruity drink and a plush to for the Tiny Dancer.  Ali had lots of hotel points accumulated from all the travel he does for work and we were able to upgrade the room – which happened to come with a butler.  What? Yes, a butler.  Our butler promptly outfitted the Tiny Dancer with a keiki (kiddie) robe and her own refrigerator for her milk and yogurt.

The St. Regis had a keiki pool, hot tubs, pool and private beach – and we took full advantage of all of them.  The pool staff was amazing and I don’t know how, but they remembered guests names.  When you picked up your towels, the pool staff helped you find a seat (by the pool, on the grass or on the sand) and they set up your seats for you.  Extra care was always taken to accommodate the Tiny Dancer wherever we went.  The St. Regis had by far the best crib of any hotel I’ve stayed at and they also left the Tiny Dancer her own set of baby toiletries.  The St. Regis even had a separate baby food menu and would prepare fresh pureed meals for young babies.

We didn’t utilize the butler service that much – but one of the things they do for you is pack and unpack.  At first I was hesitant and didn’t want someone going through our stuff.  But, by the end of the trip I was sufficiently relaxed and had some help packing.  It was great to have help, took the stress out of packing and let me spend more time with the family.

Overall, we had a wonderful time.  I’ll never forget our first family vacation to Kaua’i.  And, thanks to the Grand Hyatt and St. Regis – the trip was enjoyable for adults and Tiny Dancer alike.

If you are traveling with children, don’t forget to download the travel checklist and check out my tips for air travel with young children.

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