Where to Stay in Kauai, Hawaii: The Best Hotels & Areas

The Hawaiian island of Kauai exemplifies paradise with its beautiful beaches, jaw-dropping canyons, and vast rainforests. But with so much to see & do, choosing where to stay in Kauai isn’t always easy.

Each of Kauai’s areas brings something spectacular to the table. And staying at one of the best hotels in Kauai, you’ll never be far from the action. At the end of yet another memorable day, you can relax at your luxury beachfront resort or in a cozy suite surrounded by jungle.

Ready to start planning your ultimate Hawaii getaway? Find the perfect accommodations with this guide to the best places to stay in Kauai.

Best places to stay in Kauai, HI

Famed for its Jurassic Park filming locations, Kauai combines stunning beaches and luxury resorts with outdoor activities through its green mountains. Each part of this beautiful Hawaiian island has something unique to offer travelers.

Kauai, HI

Kauai is split into four major regions: North Shore, South Shore, East Side, and West Side. The regional split means travelers can chase a memorable beach vacation with plenty of cocktails or the peace and quiet of lush valleys without much crossover.

Figuring out how you want to experience the beautiful island will help you decide which area of Kauai will work best for you. Along the shorelines, families will find plenty of spacious accommodations leading to calm beaches. Hikers can chase towering jungle summits while couples can kick back beside the candlelight in the many high-end resorts spread around Kauai. (Keep in mind that some lodgings are more remote than others.)

The best areas to stay in Kauai are:

North Shore

✓ Best area to stay in Kauai for first-time visitors

With popular beaches, historic sites, and the exceptional Napali Coast, the North Shore is one of the best areas to stay in Kauai. Stunning scenery greets you wherever you look. In Hanalei Town, you’ll discover a charming town with a laid-back surf vibe and several art galleries. In contrast, nearby Princeville has a collection of upscale resorts, making the most of its exquisite location.

North Shore Kauai

As you face the electric-blue Pacific Ocean on the North Shore, you’ll find Kauai’s finest beaches left and right. The crystal clear water in Hanalei Bay at Hanalei Beach Park and Tunnels Beach and Hideaways Beach offers amazing snorkeling. At Haena Beach Park and Anini Beach, you can break out the board and try to tame the local surf.

Looking away from the ocean, you’ll be surrounded by mountains waiting to be explored. You can do this along the memorable Kalalau Trail, or explore the beautiful Limahuli Garden, before resting your weary legs at the Queen’s Bath.

Hanalei Bay Resort

Hanalei Bay Resort

With private beach access and a spacious outdoor pool, Hanalei Bay Resort is one of the best Kauai hotels. Each of the condos comes complete with cable TV and A/C while some offer full kitchens. All guests will love the on-site amenities including a spa center, tennis courts, and hot tub.

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas 

In the popular town of Princeville, guests can chill in their oversized villas, with full kitchens, TV, and hot tub. The Westin also provides a large outdoor pull complemented by a bar with splendid views. Dine on-site at Nanea, or stop by the resort’s own market.

Hanalei Colony Resort

Hanalei Colony Resort

The beachfront Hanalei Colony Resort has either sparkling ocean views or stunning mountain vistas from every private balcony. Each suite comes with a full kitchen and tropical decor perfect for rejuvenating. Each room has Wi-Fi and the resort’s on-site restaurant & bar is ready to entertain, with vast ocean views.

South Shore

✓ Best place to stay in Kauai for a luxury vacation

With golden sands, effervescent waters, and many of the best hotels in Kauai, South Shore is a popular destination. It’s here that you’ll find the coastal town of Poipu, family-friendly beaches, large resorts, and condos. The weather on the southern coast tends to be drier than elsewhere, providing more sunny skies and longer beach days.

South Shore

One beach all families should put on their Kauai itinerary is Poipu Beach Park. Protected by an off-shore reef, the swimming is pleasant and child-friendly. You can also walk to your left and find the aptly named Baby Beach with shallow, crystal water. Confident swimmers, on the other hand, can head to the more remote Shipwreck Beach.

Despite the rise in resorts, the landscape of the South Shore remains pristine and largely undeveloped. Explore the rugged coastline along the historic Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail or visit the heritage town of Koloa.

Keep in mind that there are few budget-oriented accommodations on the South Shore.

Sheraton Kauai Resort

Sheraton Kauai Resort

On a private 20 acres, the mesmerizing Sheraton Kaui Resort is pure beachfront luxury. From the outdoor pool, you’ll have envious views of the Pacific Ocean as you sip on tropical cocktails. Later, embark on one of several cultural activities run by the resort before watching the sun go down over dinner.

Sheraton Kauai Resort Villas

Sheraton Kauai Resort Villas

Close to three exceptional beaches, Sheraton Kauai Resort Villas is the perfect option for families. One of the top places to stay in Kauai, your villa comes with access to the sprawling outdoor pool and beachfront bar. When it’s time for the beach, you’ll be steps away from Kiahuna and minutes from Poipu and Baby Beach.

Koa Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach

Koa Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach

With the turquoise waters of Poipu Beach in front of your floor-to-ceiling windows, the Koa Kea’s oceanfront location will impress. Spend the morning on your private balcony soaking in the view as the palm trees sway. Or let the breeze flow into your luxurious room, before diving into the pool or enjoying the beachfront bar.

oloa Landing Resort at Po'ipu, Autograph Collection

Koloa Landing Resort at Po’ipu, Autograph Collection

With extensive suites, two resort-style pools, and easy access to the kid-friendly Poipu Beach, Koloa Landing is a fantastic choice for families. In each suite, you’ll find full kitchens to save on the restaurant bill plus your own private balcony. The hotel is also a short trip to Poipu Shopping Village.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Surrounded by tropical gardens and river pools, the Grand Hyatt is Hawaiian opulence at its best. Guests can choose between 7 on-site restaurants and the immense outdoor pool complete with water slides. Head to the beach, the Anara Spa and Salon, the tennis courts, or the resort’s golf course.

East Side

✓ Recommend region to stay in Kauai for budget travelers

Most guests will arrive in Kauai on the east coast. Featuring Lihue Airport and the largest town in Kauai, Kapaa, the East Side presents visitors with plenty of hotel options and budget accommodation. The East Side’s central location makes it easy for travelers to venture around the island. But there’s plenty to do nearby, too.

East Side

Pack your snorkel gear and head to Lydgate Park. At Lydgate Beach Park, you’ll discover aqua-blue water teeming with fish. It’s also a wonderful spot to watch the sunrise. Complement that with an afternoon at the idyllic Kalapaki Beach and you’ll have a duo of memorable beach experiences.

Looking inland, the East Side is no stranger to adventurous activities. Travelers must experience the Fern Grotto, a cave made from lava rock now enveloped by the jungle. Afterward, kayak down the Wailua River to reach the stunning Wailua Falls.

Kauai Shores Hotel

Kauai Shores Hotel

Tucked away in East Maui, Kauai Shores is a peaceful paradise. The oceanfront hotel has private beach access, on-site restaurants, and a casual 6-acre courtyard. Each room is complete with inviting tropical decor and your own balcony with ocean or mountain views. Wake up early to watch the mesmerizing sunrise.

The Kauai Inn

The Kauai Inn

A plantation-style resort, the Kauai Inn is surrounded by the beautiful Hula’eia Mountains on one side and Niumala Beach on the other. The bright and airy rooms come with cable TV and an ensuite bathroom. Guests can also make use of the resort’s BBQ facilities.

Kauai Coast Resort at the Beach Boy

Kauai Coast Resort at the Beach Boy

Enveloped in lush green gardens, Kauai Coast Resort offers studio and condo accommodations, complete with private balconies. Upscale rooms feature kitchenettes, while all guests can use the BBQ facilities. From your room, dive into the outdoor pool or enjoy direct beach access. While at Lydgate Park, go snorkeling or whale watching.

Kauai Beach Resort & Spa

Kauai Beach Resort & Spa

Between the popular North and South Shores, this beachfront resort is in the perfect location. Each well-appointed room comes with a balcony, sitting area, and cable TV. The full-service resort offers two on-site restaurants, four swimming pools, and two hot tubs. Guests will be 5 minutes from the amazing Lydgate Beach.

Royal Sonesta Kaua'i Resort Lihue

Royal Sonesta Kaua’i Resort Lihue

Alongside Kalapaki Bay and an exceptional golf course, you won’t have to go far to keep yourself busy at Royal Sonesta. Just minutes from Lihue Airport, this resort comes with luxurious rooms with plenty of natural light. Enjoy the fitness center, spa, or dine at one of the five restaurants serving international cuisine.

West Side

✓ Top area to stay in Kauai for outdoor adventure

Although the West Side is home to some of the top tourist attractions in Kauai, few visitors choose to spend their nights on this part of the Hawaiian island. There are few restaurants and limited accommodation options, including only a small handful of resorts and family-friendly hotels. Staying in this part of the island can also make it difficult to embark on day trips to the other coasts.

West Side

Now, for those we haven’t scared off, you’ll enjoy the quietest region in Kauai with two of the island’s most spectacular sights. From the West Side, visitors will have easy access to the incredible Waimea Canyon. From the deep valley, the burnt orange canyon rises to the heavens before being coated in a vast green jungle.

Some of the best views of the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” can be enjoyed in Koke’e State Park. Here, some of Kauai’s best hiking trails take you to the canyon’s edge and further into the rainforest.

West Kauai Lodging

West Kauai Lodging

In Waimea, West Kauai Lodging is a budget-friendly option when traveling the west coast. Pick between the spacious king and queen suites, with separate dining areas, ensuite, WiFi and cable TV. Some rooms also come with mountain and ocean views. From the resort, you’ll be a short trip from the action, including Waimea Canyon.

The West Inn Kauai

The West Inn Kauai

Steps from Waimea Historic Town, the West Inn captures the heart of the west coast in its tropical-themed rooms. Guests will appreciate the wicker furnishings, alongside the cable TV, and the option of a full kitchen. The outdoor area comes with BBQ facilities and space to hang with friends and family.

Waimea Plantation Cottages, a Coast Resort

Waimea Plantation Cottages, a Coast Resort

Steps back from the sparkling black sand, the Waimea Plantation Cottages is one of the top Kauai accommodation options. The beautiful oceanfront resort comes with a range of well-appointed cottages with brilliant sunset views. Enjoy the full kitchens and island decor, before hitting up the pool or the on-site BBQs.

Treksplorer

Treksplorer is a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. Originally launched in 2011 by founder & editor Ryan O'Rourke to document his travels in East Asia & Central Europe, Treksplorer now includes things to do, where to stay, when to visit, and hiking & walking guides spanning over 30 countries from Japan to Spain and Canada to New Zealand.

DISCLAIMER: Treksplorer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and its affiliated international sites.

DISCLAIMER: You'll notice that from time to time I link out to recommended hotels/tours/products/services. If you purchase anything through these links, I'll receive a commission. It won't cost you anything extra, but it will help keep me trekkin' on and delivering more free (and unsponsored!) travel information to you. Thanks :)