Kauai has the unique ability to seem authentically Hawaiian and completely visitor friendly at the same time. The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa near Poipu Beach fits right in with a vibe, best described as “professionally laid back.” The property is the largest on the island and the gracious staff is eager to make your group’s stay memorable from the moment you enter. The Pacific Ocean is framed theatrically in the lobby like a giant postcard. That squawking voice you hear comes from the resident parrot and you’ll feel the Kauaiian breeze floating through the long open hallways as you make your way to the 602 rooms and 37 suites.
The rooms are well-appointed with private lanais and mahogany furniture, but you’ll most likely be spending your time outside amid the 50 oceanfront acres overlooking the impossibly blue Keoneloa Bay. There you’ll find a 500-yard white sand beach, saltwater lagoon and three separate freshwater amenities including a quiet pool, a lazy river and a more active pool with jacuzzis and waterfalls.
More active attendees can enjoy three paved tennis courts, the 210-acre Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course and mountain bike rentals to explore the surrounding hills. Nearby at Poipu Beach, there are plenty of opportunities to hit the water with surf lessons, stand-up paddle boarding, scuba diving and snorkeling.
If relaxation is your goal, slip into the coed lap pool at Anara Spa or gender-specific sauna and eucalyptus-scented steam rooms. The treatment rooms all have outdoor components, and the outdoor shower garden made from Hawaiian lava rocks is a treat unto itself.
“It’s that quiet, quaint, rural lifestyle of Kauai,” says GM Doug Sears.
The onsite dining options, like almost everything else here, offer a view of the ocean along with great food. Six full-service restaurants are available. There’s the weekend sushi bar at Stevenson’s Library and modern Hawaiian fine dining at the award-winning Tidepools, where guests eat volcano-spiced local opah in thatched huts alongside koi-filled lagoons. Asian fusion, Italian and classic Hawaiian specialities like poke and kalua pork are all available in the property’s other restaurants, but guests also have a number of excellent options offsite.
The best can be found at The Shops at Kukui’ula, a high-end outdoor mall just down the road, where groups can dive into upscale Mexican with a healthy bent at Tortilla Republic, an outpost of the glitzy Los Angeles hotspot with a dangerously extensive tequila list.
The Grand Hyatt has plenty of experience accommodating incentive travel with roughly 35% of their business coming from group bookings. There’s 40,000 sf of incredible outdoor space that’s perfect for private luaus and cocktail parties, with 24,000 additional square feet in the ballrooms and breakouts. The size of the property lends itself well to group travel as guests never feel like they’re on top of each other.
“Even when we’re very busy the resort doesn’t seem crowded,” says Sears. In the lush Llima Garden, let the staff set up an outdoor movie night with a full picnic or arrange for live entertainment. In the past, groups have seen performances by Kelly Clarkson, Kid Rock and Maroon 5. If cultural activities are a better fit for your group, the resort offers lessons in traditional Hawaiian arts like hula, ukulele, weaving and lei-making.
By the time you check out in the verdantly lush lobby, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll feel just as professionally laid back as the resort itself.