Grand Hyatt Kauai Review – Guest Review Of This Oceanfront Resort



Quick Take

The hotel has friendly staff, a great location, and tons of amenities for Globalists. A few small changes could make it even greater.
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Grand Hyatt Kauai Review - Guest Review Of This Oceanfront Resort

Grand Hyatt Kauai Review – Guest Review Of This Oceanfront Resort

This Grand Hyatt Kauai review is a guest post written by reader Paul Sharman. Thank you Paul for putting this together for everyone. Paul also does travel bookings on the side.  If you are interested in his services he can be reached at


As a newly minted 60 night+ Hyatt Globalist in 2021, I was anxious to try one of the best-rated Hyatt resorts in North America.  My wife and I planned a trip to Hawaii for July 2021, including 5 nights on the Big Island and 4 nights on Kauai.  When I booked in early March, not only was there availability at the Grand Hyatt Kauai (25k points per night – Category 6), but I was also able to attach a suite upgrade certificate.  My Hyatt concierge handled the follow-up emails with the resort, as they technically did not re-open until early April. We could not attach the upgrade cert until someone at the resort could confirm the space.  By early April, we were all set.  The resort emailed me in advance to see if we had any questions and whether we were celebrating anything (our 25th anniversary was in May).

Grand Hyatt Kauai Review - Guest Review Of This Oceanfront Resort

Day One – Arrival

We flew in from Kona via Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines on a beautiful Friday morning.  Luckily, our interisland flight arrived just before all the mainland flights began clogging up the rental car lines.

The drive to the Grand Hyatt from the airport is about 30 minutes and quite scenic once you get out of the more built-up Lihue area.  The resort is at the far eastern end of the Poipu resort area overlooking Shipwreck Beach.

We pulled into the valet parking area and had our bags unloaded.  Arriving at 10am, I assumed our suite would not quite be ready.  When I checked in at the desk, I was correct.  However, the friendly employee provided us access cards to the Grand Lounge so we could grab refreshments and change into our beach gear.  We brought a small bag with us and left everything at the bell desk.

It’s quite a hike to the Grand Lounge from the lobby, but we made it with a couple of wrong turns along the way.  The lounge is fairly small (for a 600-room hotel with many Globalists) but was never crowded while we were there.  There is a small bathroom within the lounge where we were able to change.  We grabbed some soft drinks and coffee (we had just missed breakfast).  We headed out to the pool area in search of loungers.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Review - Guest Review Of This Oceanfront Resort

Resort Layout

Depending on your Hyatt status, whether you have kids, and whether you have mobility issues, you may want to request a room or suite in certain areas of this massive resort.  The lobby area has the check-in, bell desk and concierge.  Then in the same general area are the main restaurant (Ilima Terrace) near the check-in area, the sushi restaurant (Stevenson’s) downstairs on the left, and a coffee shop (Seaview Terrace) downstairs in the center.  There are also quite a few shops both on the left and right of the main building as you head towards the rooms.  Bottom line: this place is huge, and you will need your walking shoes and a good sense of direction if you want to maximize your time here.

There are two wings where the rooms are located: the Poipu wing to the right of the lobby and the Shipwreck wing to the left.  The Grand Club is in the middle of the Poipu wing, along with the spa in a separate building nearby.  The pools (and there are a lot of them) are much closer to the Shipwreck wing.  The higher-end restaurant, Tidepools, is also located basically in the middle of the pool area but separated by a koi pond.

Both wings have about 5-6 stories, but the Poipu wing is separated into two buildings, with some rooms and suites in a 2-story building in front, then a larger, taller building behind it.  The lobby is on the 4th floor of the resort, as it sits higher up than the beach, and the Grand Lounge is on the 3rd floor.  See what I mean about it being a bit confusing.  The Shipwreck wing is more straightforward with a 6-story building that basically just overlooks the pool area and beach.  You may see some reviews about confusing dark hallways and getting lost, but with 600+ rooms, they definitely tried to maximize the number of ocean views by spreading things out.  All of the hallways and the lobby area either were completely open-air or had large window-style openings out to the fresh Kauai breezes.

The pool area is huge, with an adult pool area and bar at the top near the Shipwreck wing.  Following the path down toward the beach, there is a lazy river, waterslide, hot tub, several other pools (with a towel/pool toys check-out desk and the pool bar and restaurant) and then a large salt-water lagoon and manmade beach.  Beyond the pools is Shipwreck Beach, which has very high surf and isn’t great for swimming, although locals were enjoying surfing, boogie boarding and bodysurfing.  There’s also a rocky cliff at the east end that people were jumping off into the surf (I watched this but was told under no circumstances to attempt it by my better half).

At the time we were there in early July, things were relaxed Covid-wise (prior to the Delta variant becoming a concern).  Masks were encouraged but did not seem to be required for guests anywhere except walking into Stevenson’s (which is completely indoors) or the stores.  Remember that every guest here either was tested within 72 hours or vaccinated before entering Hawaii.  Many guests wore masks around the lobby area or walking through the hallways, but many did not wear them.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Review - Guest Review Of This Oceanfront Resort

Day One (Continued)

When the hotel texted that our suite was ready, I checked in and received our waterproof red RFID wristbands (I’m not positive, but I think these indicate lounge access, as others had black wristbands). These serve as room keys and lounge keys.  I really wish every beach resort would use these, as you can just wear them the whole time without worrying about losing a key card in the surf or pool.

There are a ton of Globalist perks here.  Besides a possible upgrade, spa and lounge access, discounts at the spa and main restaurant lunch buffet, 4pm checkout if available, and waived valet parking and resort fees, the hotel also provides two free drink tickets that can be used at the pool bar and complimentary laundry/dry cleaning up to $150 (no, that’s not a misprint).

Grand Hyatt Kauai Review - Guest Review Of This Oceanfront Resort

The Suite

We were in suite 1029, which opened onto a grassy area with the beach in front of that.  It wasn’t a panoramic ocean view, but we liked the ability to exit out of our sliding door and get directly to the pool and beach area without navigating through the hallways.

The suite opened to a large living area with a 4-seat dining room table.  Sliding doors led out to a lanai with a couple of chairs and a lounger.  There was a massive TV and a large couch with a separate, oversized armchair. In the room was a Covid kit with sanitizer and masks.

A bottle of champagne was left for us on the dining table with a nice note from the GM regarding our anniversary. There was also a wet bar area with a small fridge and two branded refillable water bottles on the counter. (Note: do not put these in the dishwasher when you get home, as they will melt ☹)

The small king bedroom had sliding doors (likely so you could see the outside view from the bed), two closets and another TV.  There was a large bathroom with double sinks, separate soaking tub and shower, and a separate toilet area with…a Japanese toilet!

I suppose this resort gets a lot of Japanese guests in normal times.  The bathroom could be accessed from the bedroom and the living room.

I looked for a place to charge our electronics.  That’s the only downside to the suite: very few outlets.  There were a couple installed on one nightstand and a couple of poorly located ones in the living area, with no USB A or C connectors anywhere.

Day One Afternoon

I made my way back to our loungers, and we decided to use our free drink tickets at Hale Nalu, the pool bar/restaurant. There were no limits on the price of the drink we could get.  We also grabbed lunch at the pool bar (shared fish tacos and wings – both excellent).

When we returned to our suite in the late afternoon, there were some sweet treats left for us with a note.  We also checked out the afternoon snacks in the lounge, which turned out to be some combination of brownies and cookies each day from 12-4.

We stopped by the lounge briefly to see what hors d’oeuvres they offered, but it was pretty underwhelming.  We turned in early after dinner, as we had a busy morning planned for Day Two on Kauai.

Day Two

We were at the Grand Lounge at 6:30 when breakfast opened.  Daily breakfast consisted of two rotating hot dishes and then a standard array of breakfast breads, cereals, smoked salmon, spreads and pastries. There’s an espresso machine for your lattes etc. as well.  Almost everything was served by the friendly lounge attendants (rather than buffet style).  There’s also some outdoor seating, which was a nice place to eat breakfast and be serenaded by the birds (who also were pretty aggressive in seeking out your leftovers if you got up for some more coffee).

Grand Hyatt Kauai Review - Guest Review Of This Oceanfront Resort

We headed off property for the whole day. We had dinner that night at Stevenson’s sushi restaurant in the hotel.  The sushi was good (not the best ever), but the cocktails were excellent.  As I wasn’t driving, I definitely had more than one.

Day Three

We were of course the first ones at the lounge at 6:30am again (we can’t seem to sleep in with the 6-hour time difference).  They had some different hot options, along with the basic continental breakfast again.  After breakfast, my wife went and snagged some nice chairs with an umbrella near the lagoon while I took a walk around the property and explored.  I stopped by the spa to check it out, and there’s a nice pool there with outdoor rainfall showers in each locker room.  They have all the spa services you would expect, but we’re not really spa people, so we didn’t spend any time there.

In the afternoon, my wife was quite happy to continue hanging out at the beach and pool, so I hiked the nearby Maha’ulepu Heritage trail.

After dinner at a nearby restaurant, we headed back to the Hyatt and listened to the Hawaiian music in the lobby bar for a little while before calling it a night.

I also want to mention how great the valet parking staff were at the hotel.  I never waited more than 2-3 minutes for our car, and they were very busy most of the time.  I did always tip a few dollars each time they retrieved the car for me. Staff overall are a high point in my Grand Hyatt Kauai review.

Day Four

I had big plans for our final full day on Kauai. My wife, though, was not up for a twisty ride through the Waimea Canyon and a hike, so she was quite happy to stake out some seats at the pool and keep shelling on the beach for the morning.  We also sent out our laundry that morning, as we had up to $150 credit to use, and it would be nice to return home without a suitcase full of dirty clothes.  The prices weren’t bad for hotel laundry.  We only used about $76 of the credit in the end.

I was pretty wiped out after my hike, so I hung out by the pool and read (and napped) for the rest of the afternoon.  Our laundry was also back in the suite by the time we went to change for dinner.

Day Five

The previous evening, I had stopped by the front desk to ask about late checkout.  I was told that while our suite was not available beyond 11am, they could move us to a regular room until 4pm.  This was great, as our flight home was at 8:15pm, so we could leave at 4pm, grab early dinner, and then head to the airport.

We called the front desk after we had breakfast (yes, at 6:30) and told them we were headed over to Poipu Beach for a couple of hours, so they could go ahead and move our things.  They told us to check back when we returned, and we could get our new wristband for the day room.

After an hour or so at the beach, we headed back to the Hyatt, and we were able to grab shaded loungers right by the water slide pool.

I went to get our new keys and find our day room.  It was an accessible room with a view of…the parking lot.  Even that room had all the same new bathroom fixtures as our suite (except there was a shower/tub combo).

We had lunch at the pool restaurant and hung out until 2pm.  We took our time finalizing all our packing, showering and getting ready for the long trip home.  We headed out of the Grand Hyatt right at 4pm, saying farewell–but not forever, as we plan to come back.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Review – Overall Thoughts

Even though this is not a new resort (it’s about 30 years old), it’s extremely well maintained.  The rooms and suites are nicely appointed, and the bathrooms have all been redone recently.  The only negative in my Grand Hyatt Kauai review is that the room has a lack of outlets.

The staff were all friendly and helpful, from the bartenders to the front desk and the valets to the lounge attendants.  The lounge was a bit underwhelming, but free breakfast is free breakfast, and it was certainly better than paying $40 for a buffet.  The Globalist benefits are excellent, especially the laundry credit, which I’ve never seen at another resort.

We’re not usually ones to return to hotels, as we like to try new places.  We will likely make an exception with the Grand Hyatt Kauai, as my review shows we really enjoyed it.

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Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.


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  1. The laundry credit for Globalists did not exist pre-Covid, although they have had complimentary self-laundry rooms with free soap on both sides of the resort. I suspect the $150 laundry credit may disappear once it gets busy again. Swimming on Shipwreck Beach is never really safe. There’s quite a bit of hidden lava rock right where the waves break and the surf can be very rough. (A few years ago when I was staying at GHK, a swimmer was attacked there by a shark.) One big plus about this property is that all the pools (excluding the spa pool) are open 24/7 and security is ever-present, patrolling the grounds at night. Both this resort and the Hyatt Regency Waikiki have the same Japanese owner. Hence, the Toto toilets. This resort easily has the best pool complex of any Hawaii resort (including the Grand Wailea) and the saltwater pool (called the lagoon) is 1.5 acres in size and has parts that are 6 – 9 feet deep.

  2. We’re booked at Christmas time this year. Great get on points but doubt we’ll get any upgrade. Usually book a club level room, great value due to the ocean view and club access, but all sold out this time of year (booked our rooms just as the hotel reopened). The lounge might not be amazing but it’s fantastic!!! With our family of 6 it saved a ton of money on breakfast, snacks, and water. My favorite is the spa, so nice to visit the steam room/cold shower (the sauna was not up to Finnish heat standards) for a few hours each day. Usually no one in there so it’s even better. And 3 trips now to the hotel as an Explorist they’ve waived valet fees, just had to ask.

    If you can pick a room and have club access stay near the club. It’s a good walk to the pools but the quiet of that wing is worth it

  3. My wife and I just got back from 5 nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai! I agree with most everything in your post. I will say that we were generally a little underwhelmed by the food, but that was generally the case with the whole island despite trying some hotspots like Bar Acuda in Hanalei and Merriman’s in Poipu. We did the luau at the GHK and were incredibly disappointed, having been to an enjoyed other luaus on Maui in the past. This was moved to a ballroom in the conference center for “weather” despite a very clear evening and it was just very uninspired. We really enjoyed the cabana rentals we did ($100 for shade all day was worth it for us!) although they did cancel service a couple days (I think they’re struggling with staffing for COVID). Overall we definitely enjoyed our stay, and we agree that the highlight is the pool complex. Despite being such a large property, the pool never felt crowded thanks to the size of the complex (we loved exploring the river up top and also chilling in the lagoon!). Mahalo!

    • Hi Justin,
      We didn’t do the luau (not really our thing) but we did visit Merriman’s which was excellent and Beach House (same owners) which was also very good. Keoki’s Paradise was disappointing. Found no need to rent a cabana as we were able to get a couple of loungers with an umbrella each day we were there despite the fact that it was sold out.

  4. Did you pay 25k per night and get club lounge added on because of globalist status? Or did you
    Have to pay the full 33k per night?

  5. How’s the beach with regards to swimming and safety? I see varying reports regarding the beach and surf there being a bit rough and swimming not recommended? Having been there could you clarify? Thanks!

    • The public beach in Poipu is just down the road, and it is our favorite beach. Make sure you take your snorkeling gear, you walk in and put your head underwater, and you see the most fantastic fish.

      We didn’t swim at the beach where the Hyatt was, but we saw many whales from the shore. It was an incredible shoreline to hike. We were there at the end of March.

      We can’t wait for our next trip there.

  6. Excellent review! Thanks.
    Can you tell us more about $150 credit? What kind of credit does it called and what card did you get it from?

    • The $150 laundry credit? It’s a perk for Globalists at this property. Anyone with Globalist status from Hyatt gets this perk.

      • Coming w family to Hawaii shortly, for two weeks, and Kauai is middle of my stay. So been zeroing in in the laundry credit. Are the prices posted somewhere? Any sense of what different things cost?

        • Hi Grant,
          It was pretty reasonable by hotel standards (around $3 for underwear, T-shirts, etc. and more for things like dresses and long-sleeved shirts). We only used about $75 of the credit for all our stuff from 10 days so that hopefully gives you an idea.


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