Hawaiians pride themselves on being the most generous hosts in the Pacific. So to experience real aloha, try staying at one of Kauai’s intimate inns. Here you will glimpse the true spirit of Hawaii’s most lush island, with a dash of luxury to boot. The following Kauai inns offer just that.
Soak in the hot tub surrounded by guava trees and the undulating hills just a few minutes drive from Kapaa town at the Kauai Country Inn. The five suites and a 3-bedroom cottage mesh wall-sized murals and muted wood poster beds with privacy not often attributed to the bed and breakfast experience. Guests can whip up banana bread in your kitchenette, while spotting rainbows arching across the valley from your lanai. Even more tantalizing is the knowledge that only guests of the inn get to experience Mike’s private Beatles Museum. Here you can touch Brian Epstein’s original Mini Cooper and be privy to memorabilia you won’t see elsewhere.
Lucy and Terry Ryan have gone out of their way to create a tropical retreat close (but not too close) to Poipu’s sunny stretches of sand. Bamboo Jungle House bills itself as a plantation house, hugged by tropical foliage and the trickle of fountains flowing into a solar-powered lava rock Jacuzzi. Plus Lucy and Terry’s kind, yet distant, demeanors allows for the privacy you might have been searching for by staying away from the crowds. Opt for the Bamboo Garden Room, which is the biggest (and most private) with a kitchenette and a lanai. Breakfast is scrumptious, featuring locally grown fruit and specialties like apple banana mac-nut bread. The basket of slippers they supply for guests as you enter the breakfast room might be the finest showing of aloha on the island.
Hidden above the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, Marjorie’s Kaua‘i Inn makes the ideal getaway for bird lovers and romance seekers. Laze on the hammock on the sweeping lanai and plot how to never abandon your perch. The organic continental breakfast, saltwater lap pool (with views of rainbows across the valley floor), and eastern inspired garden art round out the meditative allure. Access one of the three ground floor rooms through your private entrance and pretend you live just a couple minutes drive to Poipu’s stunning strands.
One of the best kept-secrets on the west shore, Hale Puka Ana B&B caters to adventurers who want a dash of luxury. Across the street from the sunny Kekaha Beach (and a few miles to Waimea, Kokee State Park, and Polihale Beach), the three suites offer unsurpassed details like 600-threadcount sheets, hardwood floors, fresh flowers, and a private bathroom. Guests receive the alii treatment. Upon arrival Patrick and Jules hand visitors a lei and smoothie. Each morning guests enjoy breakfast on an ocean-facing lanai and plenty of insider information about hiking trails and surf spots—without having to be chatted up by an annoyingly loquacious host.
If you prefer a funky inn, oozing aloha, head to Hale Ho‘o Maha. At the end of a North Shore road, atop a stilted abode, this collection of suites attracts international globetrotters. I attribute the allure to owners Kirby Guyer and Toby Searles welcoming spirit (and maybe the proximity to Kee Beach, the Kalalau Trail and Hanalei as well). Breakfast treats like Portuguese sausage, blueberry/macadamia-nut pancakes, and Kona Chocolate Mac-Nut coffee inspire guests to linger in the breakfast area long after the food disappears. The ozonated hot tub downstairs isn’t a bad touch either. And if it is solace you seek, note that each fruit-themed suite boasts private bathrooms (with double shower heads) and a private lanai. They welcome children over 7.
What you’ll save by not staying at a massive resort will pay off—both in having extra cash for that helicopter tour and by getting to know Kauai locals, the people who can teach us how to truly experience aloha.