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Hotel Review: St. Regis Princeville on Kauai

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I first visited the St. Regis Princeville three years ago, and I’ve been wanting to return ever since, so I was excited to spend three nights here last month on a brief (but totally worthwhile) jaunt to the Hawaiian Islands.

This Starwood property sits on the northern coast of Kauai overlooking Hanalei Bay. With the roaring Pacific and the famous cliffs of the Na Pali Coast as a backdrop, the scenery is stunning. The resort only has 251 rooms, so it’s quieter, more intimate, and more exclusive than most other high-profile properties on the island.

I maximize points and miles so I can savor sunsets like this one.

Rooms at the St. Regis Princeville average $500/night, or as a category 7 property, you can redeem 30,000 Starpoints during off-peak periods (35,000 points otherwise). Instead, I booked this stay using Starwood’s cash and points option, and paid 15,000 points and $275 per night. Essentially I was buying back 15,000 points per night for just over 1.83 cents each. Since I value SPG points at 2.4 cents apiece, I was happy with that price.

If I had stayed for five nights, I would have redeemed with points alone to take advantage of SPG’s 5th award night free benefit. Since I only stayed three nights, I opted to preserve my points so I can use them for other lucrative redemptions (like SPG Moments).

Check-in Experience

Excellent view from my upgraded room.
I had an excellent view from my upgraded room.

Upon arrival I was upgraded from a standard mountain view room to an ocean view room with a terrace, since no suites were available for a platinum upgrade at check-in. However, I was also given butler service as an added benefit, which was particularly nice since that usually only comes with a suite.

My SPG Ambassador Heather learned quickly that the key to my heart is through champagne, pineapple and sparkling water with lemon.
My SPG Ambassador Heather learned quickly that the key to my heart is through champagne, pineapple and sparkling water with lemon.

Guest Room

Hotel Review: St. Regis Princeville on Kauai
Hotel Review: St. Regis Princeville on Kauai

The look of the rooms hadn’t changed since my last trip. I love the original Hawaiian art, hardwood fixtures, custom-built furniture and plantation shutters. There’s a lot of marble in the foyer and bathroom; it feels very colonial Hawaii.

Hotel Review: St. Regis Princeville on Kauai
Great details in the room. So beachy!

The bathroom was marble, marble, and more marble, featuring two sinks and a supply of Remède bath products.

All marble, all the time.
All marble, all the time.

The terrace is a huge bonus in a room with a single space, especially in a place as breathtakingly beautiful as Kauai.

Hotel Review: St. Regis Princeville on Kauai
Lots of time was spent on the terrace.

Hotel Amenities

The resort is on the clifftops over Hanalei bay, so getting to the beach requires a transfer to two elevators. However, the infinity pool is beautiful, and was quiet even though the hotel was full with other guests, so we spent some time relaxing there admiring a gorgeous sunset.

Breezy and beautiful day by the pool.
A breezy and beautiful day by the pool.

We ate at Kauai Grill on site and it was good, but not outstanding. Instead, I highly recommend Bar Acuda in Hanalei Bay — probably the top restaurant there, and well worth a trip outside the resort. Tahiti Nui is a fun place for cocktails. The local spots in Hanalei are your best bet.

Makana Terrace at The St. Regis Princeville

The lobby bar is out-of-this-world spectacular, with a Champagne sabering each evening, hula dancers, and an unbeatable view.

The St Regis lobby is gorgeous.
The St. Regis lobby is gorgeous.

The butler service at the St. Regis is incredible; it includes unpacking and packing, coffee service, and two free items pressed each day. The butlers also acted as concierges, helping us make reservations and such.

I love Kauai, but miss my pooch dearly so it was super sweet of the St. Regis to bring him to me.
I love Kauai, but missed my pooch dearly, so it was sweet of the St. Regis to bring him to me.

Shortcomings

The main issue I had with the resort is the WiFi. It was 1992-dial-up slow. At first I thought it may have been because my room was so far from the main building — which shouldn’t be an issue in itself at a top resort — but the connection was horrendous even at the pool. Hawaii isn’t Cuba, and the Andaz Maui had blazing fast WiFi; there’s really no excuse. The resort’s IT department just kept telling us to restart our computer, which of course did nothing. I understand that most people aren’t coming to the St. Regis to get online, but if you’re planning to do any kind of work while you visit Kauai, I’d suggest booking elsewhere.

The resort itself could also use an overall renovation (I’m not sure if this is already in the works or not). It’s just a bit tired and outdated.

Finally, the St. Regis Princeville has one of the worst SPG Platinum recognitions for breakfast. Instead of receiving a credit that could be used at will, we could only choose from a paltry selection of croissants and other continental items. If you want to opt-up to the full buffet, it would be a $19 up-charge per person.

With Kauai's micro-climates, you never know what weather you're going to get- especially on the north shore
With Kauai’s micro-climates, you never know what weather you’re going to get, especially on the north shore.

Overall Impression

Despite the few drawbacks, the property still is stunning and I really like the North side of Kauai. For suggestions on what to do in Kauai, check out What Are the Best Excursions in Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii.

Princeville is an interesting town; the climate changes all the time, but even in the rain it’s gorgeous. The resort itself is restful and elegant, and because it’s so expensive, I’d recommend it for a honeymoon that’s a real splurge. That being said, the rooms could really use a refresh.

Have you stayed at the St. Regis Kauai? Feel free to share you feedback below!

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