Best Oceanfront Hotels on Kauai

Let’s face it: You probably flew long enough that you’d like to minimize travel time to the water once you’re in Hawaii. Here are the best hotels right on the best beaches, from the South Shore to the North Shore.

TIP: Most hotels have 4 pm check-in. Ask for an early check-in.
If they can’t accommodate, they will let you store your bags so you can head to the beach! 

Grand Hyatt Resort Kauai
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

This 52-acre bluffside compound above Keoneloa Beach (Shipwreck Beach) in Poipu may be the largest on the island with 605 rooms, but it hosts many garden nooks where you can enjoy the sweeping ocean views in relative tranquility. It also boasts lively gathering places. Kids of all ages will enjoy the best pool complex on the island — including a lazy river, 1.5-acre saltwater lagoon with its own beach, multiple tiers and a 150-foot water slide — while grownups will appreciate the modern island fare and spirits at Tidepools. 

The quieter expanse and expertise of Anara Spa draw patrons from all over the island, as does the 18-hole championship Poipu Bay Golf Course next door. Good to know: With such a big footprint, the resort makes serious efforts to reduce its carbon emissions. Some highlights are the hydroponic garden which produces 600 lbs of lettuce for the restaurant and events, and the effort to eliminate single use plastics by providing reusable water bottles for guests and easy access to refill stations throughout the resort. 


  • Besides the all-day fun at the swimming pool, families will enjoy the convenience of an onsite luau as well as several casual cafes and restaurants. Although Keoneloa isn’t typical swimmable, you will see adventurous locals boogie boarding and body surfing at the eastern end, close to where the spectacular Maha‘ulepu coastal trail begins; don’t be surprised if you spot a monk seal en route, but do keep your distance from these rare endemic mammals.
Sheraton Kauai Resort
Photo: Sheraton Kauai Facebook

Sheraton Kauai Resort

Not to be confused with the rebranded Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort up the road in Kapa‘a, this low-key, low-rise beachfront hotel in Po‘ipu offers dazzling views of sunsets and surfers. A broad stretch of Kiahuna Beach lies a few steps down from the attractive Ocean Pool with a small water slide (there’s a more shaded, quieter pool on the garden side of the resort across the street.) Rooms are bright and recently renovated, while poolside dining at Lava’s and the cocktails and dinner at the more ambitious RumFire are solid choices.


  • The onsite, beachfront luau is a fun way to spend an evening with the family. Don’t miss an opportunity to book a surf or scuba lesson, because the area is great for beginners.
Timbers Kauai Beach Club and Residences
Photo: Timbers Kauai

Timbers Kauai Ocean Club & Residences

A brief ride from the airport in Lihu‘e, this oceanfront community benefits from its unrivalled setting on 450 acres overlooking Ninini Point and Kalapaki Bay as well as its modern, expertly furnished two- to to four-bedroom vacation villas, which you can buy or rent. Golfers will want to hitthe Jack Nicklaus Ocean Course, while others will want to lounge in the two-tiered oceanfront infinity pool (one of two pools), partake in a spa treatment, bike the miles of trails or shuttle over to Kalapaki Beach. Dining at Hualani’s restaurant is casual but not forgettable, showcasing local ingredients, including many from the resort’s own farm.


  • Between the children’s programs and concierge-designed excursions for adults, every age can enjoy unique experiences on the Garden Isle.
  • The staff is eager to make sure your stay is exceptionally comfortable, too.

Kauai_Kiahuna Plantation & Beach Bungalows Oceanfront_800x450_Source Kiahuna Plantation & Beach Bungalows
Kiahuna Plantation and Beach Bungalows

Kiahuna Plantation and Beach Bungalows

Next to the Sheraton Kauai, the 35-acre Kiahuna Plantation is dotted with cottage-style vacation condos amid lush tropical landscaping and a lawn that runs down to the cream-colored sand of Kiahuna Beach. All the units are privately owned, with some managed by Outrigger Hotels & Resorts or Parrish Kauai (both recommended); they’re not air-conditioned, relying on breezes for cooling, so book in winter and spring for best temperatures. The resort includes community laundry and barbecue facilities. Guests also receive free use of the Poipu Beach Athletic Club, which features a swimming pool, tennis courts and restaurant.


  • Kiahuna Beach typically has good conditions for swimming, beginners’ surfing and snorkeling year round, although waves are higher in summer. Enjoy a variety of cactus, orchids and bromeliads in the resort’s Moir Garden.
The Royal Sonesta Kauai Resort
Photo: Courtesy of Royal Sonesta Kauai Resort

Royal Sonesta Kauai Resort (formerly Kauai Marriott)

Rebranded a Royal Sonesta at the end of March 2021, the former Kauai Marriott is in need of some renovations and will no doubt be evolving under new management. But you can count on it retaining the state’s largest single-level swimming pool, flanked by a half-dozen hot tubs under marble columns and overlooking wide, sandy Kalapaki Beach, where you can swim, surf or paddle-board in typically good conditions. Numerous shops and restaurants are on site, including lively Duke’s and poolside Kukui’s, with more a short stroll south.


  • It’s just 2 miles south of the airport, so your vacation starts quickly. From your balcony, the beach or the pool, watch massive ships navigate Kalapaki Bay, guarded by distinctive green mountains, as they head for Nawiliwili Harbor, the island’s main port. The nearby Hule‘ia River allows for easy kayaking and other excursions.
1 Hotel Hanalei Bay
Photo Courtesy of Ava Blue Photography

1 Hotel Hanalei

Embodying Sustainable Luxury, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay is designed with wellness and eco-consciousness in mind. Built into the cliffside overlooking Hanalei Bay, beyond scenic views, the hotel offers Mind & Movement classes, Belformd Wellness Center, cultural education workshops, and custom retreats. Seamlessly blending comfort with sustainability, consideration for the natural environment and the guests’ enjoyment is evident throughout the resort’s biophilic structure and eco-initiatives. The latest renovations include landscaping with 70% endemic and indigenous plants that support local wildlife, rainwater irrigation reducing outdoor water consumption by 97%, support of local farmers, fishers, and growers, and much more. The pool overlooks the scenic bay, and snorkeling gear, surfboards, stand-up paddle boards, and kayaks are available at the hotel’s beach access.


  • There are no resort fees, so activities including Mind and Movement fitness classes, Culture Education Experiences, nature adventures, and access to their fully electric e-trons Audi car are free of charge. 
Hanalei Colony Resort Kauai
Hanalei Colony Resort

Hanalei Colony Resort

The winding drive across one-lane bridges below emerald hills laden with lush foliage prepares you to slow down for this serene enclave of vacation condos, almost at the end of the road in Ha‘ena. A handful of two-story buildings offer suites with a full (if dated) kitchen, 1.5 baths, a king bed and a living room, separated by sliding doors, with a double sofa bed; the tropical furnishings have been recently updated by a top Hawaiian design firm, with luxury bedding and bath amenities. There’s Wi-Fi but no TV, for added tranquility. 

Large picture windows provide sweeping views of the ocean, miles of beaches and verdant peaks. The onsite Opakapaka Bar & Grill (open for lunch and dinner), Hanalei Day Spa and Na Pali Art Gallery & art gallery/gift shop with coffee bar provide reasons to linger, especially on rainy days.


  • Kepuhi Beach may not be safe for swimming, but it makes for wonderful strolls and the sounds of crashing waves makes for great sleeping; there’s also a small pool on the property. Make a morning reservation to park at Haena State Park and you’ll have a terrific jump-start on hiking the Kalalau Trail or snorkeling at Ke ‘e Beach at the actual end of the road; the resort also provides shuttle service to Hanalei and other North Shore destinations.

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