The Grand Hyatt Kauai
Tips for Families Traveling with Kids
~this post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own~
The Grand Hyatt Kauai is located on the South Shore of Kauai, and accessed by Lihue (lih- hu-ee) Airport. In my opinion the Grand Hyatt is the nicest family resort on the South Shore, we just spent the last week there with the kids. It is about a 35 minute drive (was about $60 via local taxi) from the airport. We were greeted with leis in valet, and promptly checked-in.
We were upgraded to a larger, top-floor, ocean view room. We had booked on the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program (a benefit of the AMEX Platinum card) – which includes a free upgrade when available, $100 resort credit and breakfast for 2 daily (usually around an $85 credit). There is a hefty fee for the American Express Platinum but if you utilize its benefits, they far outweigh the cost.
Our room was large, updated and had (1) King Bed (1) Queen Bed and (1) Twin fold out chair- we slept our kids separately but this room would be great for a family with three kids without needing to book two rooms. There is an empty fridge in every room (no mini bar), bathrobes, double sinks in the bathroom and a large balcony. The ocean view was AMAZING. Gorgeous. The pic below is the view from our balcony 🙂
The majority of the hotel is ocean facing rooms (maybe all?) – so honestly I think there’s a good chance no matter which room type you book you’ll have some kind of ocean view. There are certainly better views than others, and rooms that are closer the lobby or closer to the water – it’s a BIG resort and that can mean some hiking out to your room. Our kids are older now and we enjoy the walking, I just look at it like exercise for me and for them…but if proximity to the pool, restaurants, ocean and/or lobby is important, make sure you request it in advance. I can remember when kiddos were younger I always wanted that.
The Grand Hyatt Pool
For a family traveling with children, I think the most notably unique and potentially important aspect to The Grand Hyatt Kauai is the expansive and absolutely gorgeous pool area. The property has fabulous pool options, including a salt water lagoon, waterslide, traditional pool, lazy river-ish pool, and adult only pool. They are sparkling clean and because there are so many, it doesn’t feel crowded in the pool.
The salt water lagoon was the family favorite! The kids also loved the HUGE snow cones. Ice creams were a reasonable ~$4 which is good since we got them every day, sometimes twice 😉
Know Before You Go: The “lazy river” is not a circular pool with current in which you float around and around. It is a “one-way” river which you float down, get up out of the pool, walk back, and float down again. We LOVE lazy rivers and this was in large part how I chose this hotel so we were quite disappointed to find it wasn’t what I define as a lazy river!
Pool Tips for Kids:
- You’ll want inflatable tubes or some kind of float. The hotel sells them (and inflates them for you which is super convenient) for a reasonable price…since they all look alike, ours continually got lost (ahem thanks kids) so it started to add up replacing them. If you’re traveling with several kiddos you might want to snag a few unique tubes (and a hand pump) and pack them along.
- The sun is STRONG. Discuss the requirement of a rash guard with kiddos before you go. Make it known it is a must for the pool area. We didn’t do that and our 5-year refused it the first day. We learned the hard way. Do as I say, not as I do.
- Both the sand and ground get HOT. You might consider using water shoes. I suggest neoprene booties (like these) over the classic water shoes as the lagoon has a sand entry and the beaches are rocky.
- Remember to pack reef friendly sunblock, rash guards, goggles, snorkels
There are loads of free activities offered by the hotel. The pool area offers free surf demos (pic above), waterslide races, water balloon tosses and basketball competitions (to name a few)…we also fed the Koi fish each morning, and made s’mores one evening…lots of FREE little activities for kiddos.
The Lobby area is large and beautiful. There are parrots out each morning. We also found free activities being offered in the lobby from lei making to hula dancing. There are multiple concierges available and a family photographer (which costs $800 to start, just FYI…I had planned on doing family photography but that was more than I was willing to spend).
Restaurants on Property
There are 7 restaurants on the property. For breakfast there is the buffet brunch or a coffee shop-ish option off the Lobby (with ocean view seating – not too shabby!). The most popular dinner restaurant on the property is Tidepools, and I highly recommend dining there at least one night. Their kids meals are not the traditional junky fried/dog/burger…so if you have picky eaters check it in advance. They also offer a Happy Hour from 5-6 which wasn’t crowded even on a holiday week…so that’s an option too (30% off!). We also dined in the lobby restaurant several times, food was decent and view/music entertainment was great.
Across the board we found the kids meals were very reasonably priced. The breakfast buffet charges by the child’s age, which is a great deal!! The other restaurants offered kids meals around ten bucks.
Our kids were obsessed with these Lava Flow drinks! Virgin of course 🙂
The Beach at The Grand Hyatt
The beach area of the Grand Hyatt Kauai was gorgeous. The red flag was up every day we were there; the waves were huge, which were beautiful to look at but not appropriate for our young children to swim in. Older children were in the water, I’d say around 8 or 10 and older.
We went to Poipu Beach several times while we were there – it’s just a few miles away, about a $10 uber ride and offers a “mothers beach” of sorts because of a large rock jetty that breaks the waves. It also offers some great entry level ocean snorkeling. Photo below is Poipu Beach. The panoramic skews it a little but you can see the Jetty on the left which creates a nice small area for kiddos.
Tips for Visiting on a Holiday Week:
The only real negative experience from our trip was that is that is was hard to do anything on the holiday week. It’s not the hotel’s fault that holiday weeks are busy…but we did not know we needed to reserve ALL ACTIVITIES (inside and outside the hotel!) in advance and several things we wanted to book were fully reserved.
Restaurants: The popular on-property Tidepools restaurant was booked our entire stay except 1 reservation (which was our last night, Sunday night so I think everyone had left that day). You will need to call ahead and book it, at least several weeks. They don’t hold any open time slots for arriving guests.
Pool: The pool doesn’t have a lot of shaded seating to begin with, and hotel guests head down early in the morning and place all their belongings on the shady seats. Unfortunately the “60 minutes max” for unattended items is not enforced…so you’ll either need to head down around 5:30 am and reserve a seat, pay for a cabana (about $250) or plan to be in full sun.
Outside Activities: We could not get reservations for tubing, catamaran and several other activities all of which were booked in advance. You need to call the concierge weeks in advance to book these activities.
Overall, we loved The Grand Hyatt Kauai for a family vacation with kids and will most definitely be back! I should also mention that they have a Luau twice a week for $180pp. We didn’t participate but it looked like quite an event!
Have you been to The Grand Hyatt or to Kauai? Have any other tips or suggestions? I’d love to hear them! Leave any questions in the comments and I’ll get back to you!