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Review : St Regis Princeville Resort, Hawaii (USA)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.

Today (August 19, 2015): Hotel review: St Regis Princeville Resort, Hawaii (USA)

The St. Regis Princeville is the legendary brand’s first resort in Hawaii and introduces an unparalleled level of tropical sophistication and serene luxury to one of the most remarkable destinations in the world. Located in the 9,000 acre resort community of Princeville at Hanalei, this 252-room, luxury resort on Kauai resides on the northern shore of the “Garden Island” and provides its guests all the amenities expected from an island destination considered to be one of the most spectacular in Hawaii.

The St Regis Princeville features in my top 10 lists of the world’s best luxury hotels to spot celebrities, the world’s most amazing hotel lobbies, and the best luxury hotels in the USA.

In this review (more info and photos below our slide show):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • With its awe-inspiring scenery and gorgeous beaches, Hawaii is one of the world’s most beautiful islands. And the St Regis is located on Kauai, which is the most spectacular island in the Hawaiian archipelago. Having emerged from the sea millions of years before its neighboring islands, Kauai is home to the softest sands, grandest rivers, most majestic cliffs and most verdant rain forests in all of Hawaii. For decades, movies and television shows have used Kauai as the stunning backdrop for their epic stories, from “South Pacific” to “Jurassic Park”.
  • The St. Regis Princeville lays claim on Hawaii’s most stunning location: a cliff overlooking Hanalei Bay and the Napali Coast, with views framed by lush tropical hills, cerulean blue skies, puffs of clouds and mist, and cinematic sunsets.  The killer views from the lobby, rooms and pool will take your breath away.
  • The hotel has a spectacular lobby that matches the panoramic vistas. Eight African mahogany columns in the center of the lobby define an intimate circular seating area. A Murano glass waterfall chandelier with 4,000 crystals hangs above a lotus blossom fountain.
  • The interior of the 252, contemporary Hawaiian designed guests rooms and suites is both calming and seductive, and reflects the color palette of the sky, sea and earth. Most rooms have enchanting bay views, and all rooms come with embroidered bed linens, sumptuous custom furnishings, and an elegant marble bathroom with an oversized tub and double vanity. A glass partition between the bathroom and sleeping area may be electronically controlled to reveal ocean views, or shaded for privacy.
  • Among the resort’s signature features is a beautiful, 5,000 square feet swimming pool with swim-up bar, situated in the lush gardens near the ocean overlooking beautiful Hanalei Bay. The pool features stunning glass tile and striking water features reflecting Hawai’i’s tropical outdoor lifestyle. Some jacuzzis as well as plenty of complimentary chaise lounges are present around the pool.
  • The resort has a private, soft sand beach fronting the incredible waters of Hanalei Bay. Protected by the Anini reef, the waters of the hotel remain calm and sheltered year round and provide excellent snorkeling opportunities.
  • WiFi is complimentary to all guests, as long as you have made your reservation on the official hotel or Starwood website.
  • The hotel is home to two fantastic Hawaiian golf courses: the 18 hole Prince Course and the Makai Golf Course, as well as the Princeville Ranch Adventures.

CON & THINGS TO KNOW

The St Regis Princeville Resort is designed to impress its guests with amazing vistas and ultraluxurious amenities. It is one of Hawaii’s finest luxury hotels. Nevertheless, it does have a few issues that you need to know: 

  • An overnight parking fee of $32.00 per day will be charge to your guest room. While this fee includes Valet Parking, entry and exit privileges in a monitored parking location for your ease of mind, this is far from cheap.
  • The food at the Makena Terrace (one of their signature restaurants) was mediocre at the best (I would not recommend it). It was not really the food that bothered me, but rather the poor sercive (as one of the waiter was very rude).
  • This is not an intimate, small-scale boutique hotel, but a massive resort. The St. Regis Princeville Resort opened in 2009 after a $100 million renovation of the previous Sheraton Princeville hotel. And while the current St Regis resort is absolutely stunning, its size feels overwhelming from time to time, creating an ambience that resembles that of a large corporate hotel. In addition, the hotel’s exterior is an eyesore in the spectacular scenery of Kauai’s North Shore.
  • Beware that there is only one pool. An adult-only pool is not available, which can be problematic for those in search for some well-earned tranquillity, given that the resort is a magnet for families with (young) children.
  • The pool isn’t a true infinity pool as a row of loungers separate the pool from the beach and sea.
  • The design looks dated in certain areas.
  • The small beach is not very impressive, although it does have calm waters and stunning views. The good news is that there are lots of spectacular, public beaches close by.
  • The weather on Kauai’s North Shore isn’t Hawaii’s sunniest, with frequent passing showers.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 10/10
  • Design: 7/10
  • Rooms: 8/10
  • Food: 7/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8/10.

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like the St Regis Princeville (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Save money: I recommend to book your stay at the St Regis Princeville via a Virtuoso travel agent, which has the added benefit of free and exclusive VIP perks, such as upgrade, daily breakfast, $100 USD resort credit, early check in and late check out.
  • Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) with Gold or Platinum status are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – free WiFi, complementary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out  (when available), and free breakfast (SPG platinum). Click here to read our review of the SPG program (with pros & cons).
  • Book your room on the official hotel, Starwood or SPG website to receive complimentary WiFi.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
  • North Kauai is the most scenic destination in Hawaii, so take full advantage of the hotel’s stunning surroundings. Take a heli flight around the island (prices are cheaper though for heli companies in Lihue than Princeville Airport), take a boat trip from Hanalei bay to the Napali Coast which is the best way to the admire the splendid beauty of the towering cliffs (only possible in summer), and don’t forget to hike the Kalalau trail to the waterfalls. This hike is best done early in the morning (to get some shade), but the heli flight and boat trip are best done in late afternoon for the best light for your pics.
  • As said above, the North Shore is thé place to stay in Kauai (although good weather is less guaranteed). Nevertheless, a few nights in the south (Poipu) are recommended (before moving to the north), since this is an excellent base for a trip to Waimea Canyon and the Koke’e State Park (not te be missed) and it may be a good place to start your Hawaiian trip (as you can overcome the jetlag in the sun).
  • I had dinner one night in the restaurant of the Westin Princeville: highly recommended.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit Kauai is between September and November or from April to June, when the weather is pleasant and airfare and hotel rates drop. However, most people travel to Kauai during the winter season, but this is when the island experiences the worst weather. Average precipitation is fairly high, particularly on the North Shore.


HOW TO GET THERE

Lihue Airport is the sole airport on the island of Kauai. It is located 45 minutes from the St Regis Princeville and it served by almost all North-American carriers (click here for a direct link to their websites). Check the Wikipedia page of Lihue Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights into Kauai.


HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

SUITE WITH OCEAN VIEW

SUITE WITH OCEAN VIEW

SUITE SITTING AREA

SUITE SITTING AREA

SUITE SITTING AREA

SUITE SITTING AREA

SUITE SITTING AREA

SUITE SITTING AREA

ROYAL SUITE

ROYAL SUITE

ROOM WITH OCEAN VIEW

ROOM WITH OCEAN VIEW

OCIEN VIEW ROOM

OCIEN VIEW ROOM

MONARCH SUITE

MONARCH SUITE

JUNIOR SUITE

JUNIOR SUITE

GROUND FLOOR ROOM

GROUND FLOOR ROOM

BALI HAI SUITE

BALI HAI SUITE

BALI HAI SUITE

BALI HAI SUITE

BATHROOM

BATHROOM

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

PRIVATE BEACH DINNER

PRIVATE BEACH DINNER

MAKANA TERRACE RESTAURANT

MAKANA TERRACE RESTAURANT

BAY TERRACE

BAY TERRACE

GOLF CLUB

GOLF CLUB

NAPALI COAST, CLOSE TO THE HOTEL

NAPALI COAST, CLOSE TO THE HOTEL


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