Hanalei Colony Resort is a hidden, unspoiled gem on Kauai

Like some kind of jet-setting Janus, ENTREE has two faces.

We famously love the pampering of a proper grande dame hotel. And indeed, our last blissful trip to Kauai involved butler service at a Ritz-Carlton suite poised over views of epic offshore surf breaks and emerald mountains.

But then there’s the side of us that truly loves to get away from it all. The adoration of our fans, the obsequiousness of staff, the waterslides, waterside workouts, and techno music among a multitude of crazy resort pools. Especially that last one.

It’s in those times that we treasure an escape like Hanalei Colony Resort, a kicked-back seaside retreat on the far western side of Kauai’s north shore. A stay at this hidden jewel of Hanalei is completely hands-off, making visitors feel as if they own their own apartment among quiet, conscientious neighbors, just steps from the beach.

Landing here after a busy day of travel, we were instantly relaxed stepping through our sliding French doors to a wide green lawn leading to the resort’s private beach. An endless stretch of white sand with gently lapping waters that veers off in two directions to ever more stretches of pine-and-palm-dappled sand bereft of tourists.

Our wood-wrapped room came with its own office space and kitchen, considerably bigger than the ones in our more metropolitan apartments, allowing us to frequent the nearby fish markets and fruit stands of nearby downtown Hanalei, a ten-minute drive away. When cooking indoors wasn’t of interest, there were generously stocked outside grills to bring our local beef and fresh filets of marlin to.

Quirky local art and beachy bric-a-brac hung from the walls, while a rainfall shower awaited our sandy feet and salty hair to clean up after our endless ambles along the beach. A warm pool, secluded in a handsome enclosure far away from our room, saving us the squeals of little ones, waited at all hours, allowing us dips in the day and jacuzzi sessions under the stars at night.

What really captivated us about the hotel was the calm and low-key atmosphere. Staff did not intrude, but were readily available at the nearby front desk, ready to help with our stupid tourist questions or urgent traveler needs on a whim.

Otherwise, we were free and content to make coffee and crack open a fresh papaya in the morning, watching the sea for signs of whales and big wave surfers from our patio. Exploring the beach for dashing crabs, epic views of the extensive coast, or avoiding seals sleeping on the sands. And sleeping peacefully in our soft king size bed, the only sound to be heard the chirping of frogs in the nearby stream.

There is one unaffiliated restaurant and well-regarded spa neighboring the property, sharing the resort’s parking lot, and available for visits with reservations.

Hanalei Colony Resort is intent of preserving what makes Kauai special, encouraging guests to get to know local culture and enjoy the calm of the island unperturbed, unimpeded, and unpampered.

And that is the way we hope to always enjoy Kauai. As much as we may miss our butlers. Hanalei Colony Resort for an unspoiled, unplugged and unforgettable vacation,  57130 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714; http://www.hcr.com

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