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Am I Crazy to Skip the Grand Hyatt Kauai?

When I first started reading miles and points blogs, it became clear to me that certain hotel redemptions are very popular among bloggers and hobbyists. The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome is one, but another one that comes up frequently is the Grand Hyatt Kauai.

My family is planning a trip to Hawaii in early 2018. We spent a week on Oahu back in 2015, with two nights in Waikiki and five nights at Disney’s Aulani resort. For our next trip, we decided to explore another island for 4-6 days. After that, we will fly to Oahu and head back to Aulani to enjoy the resort for a few days.

I’ve done a lot of research about the other Hawaiian islands. Most people recommend going to Maui with kids, but there’s just something about Kauai. So after we agreed that Kauai will be our first stop, I assumed I would find a way to stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai.

My goal is to spend as little as possible on accommodations in Kauai, since staying at Aulani is an expensive splurge.

Aulani!

What’s so great about the Grand Hyatt Kauai?

For the record, I don’t want to stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai just because other bloggers and hobbyists do. However, I’m a huge fan of the Hyatt brand. My family has enjoyed getaways to two Hyatt resorts in Texas, and we’ve stayed at several other Hyatt hotels on other trips. I even had an online battle with Leana about why Hyatt is better than IHG.

I’ve talked to a few people who say that the Grand Hyatt Kauai is their favorite hotel in the entire U.S. The hotel has 4 ½ stars out of 5 on Trip Advisor. It has 50 acres of lush gardens, a golf course, spa and kids’ club.

The pools at this hotel might be the best on the entire island. The resort has multiple pools that are connected by a lazy river. In addition, there is a saltwater lagoon near the beach that offers kayaking and paddle boarding.

In short, it sounds heavenly!

How much would staying at the Grand Hyatt Kauai cost my family?

During our trip time frame, the cash price for this resort is over $500 a night per room including taxes and resort fee. With Hyatt points, this resort costs 25,000 points per night. The Points + Cash rate is 12,500 points + $150, which ends up being slightly over $200 per night once taxes and the resort fee are added. Ouch!

The kicker is, we are a family of five and would need two rooms. I called the resort directly to ask if we could book one room for the five of us if we use existing bedding. The answer was no, so the price per night is double for us. It would cost us 50,000 points per night, or 25,000 points + ~$400 on the Points + Cash rate. Double ouch!

Despite the high points cost, we could actually pull off five nights here using points. My husband and I could both apply for the Chase Hyatt Visa. The card has a $75 annual fee, but it comes with a bonus of two free nights after spending $2000.

We both have Chase Ultimate Rewards that we could convert to Hyatt points. My husband’s points are from the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and my points will be from the Chase Sapphire Preferred once I get my bonus points.

We could combine our two free nights from the Chase Hyatt Visa with points for two rooms for three nights.It would cost us 150,000 Hyatt points + $150 (two annual fees on the Chase Hyatt Visa) for a five-night stay. If we used Points + Cash for three nights on top of the two free nights, the total is 75,000 Hyatt points plus $1350 (~400 per night X 3 nights +$150 in annual fees).

Reasons to pass on the Grand Hyatt Kauai

While there are plenty of reason to book this luxury hotel, there are numerous reasons we should not.

  • Cost of rooms. 150,000 points + 4 free night certificates is a lot of points to spend.

 

  • Potential to be separated. If we book two rooms, we are not guaranteed to have connecting rooms. The resort is huge, and we could end up on separate ends.

 

  • Another credit pull. If we decide to stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, we would need to sign up for the Chase Hyatt Visa. That would require a hard credit pull as well as affect our 5/24 status for future cards.

 

  • Cost of food. Food isn’t cheap on Hawaii, and it certainly won’t be cheap at this resort. No meals would be included in our rate, so we’d have to eat out all the time or buy food to store in our room. Our rooms would for sure have small refrigerators and we could request a microwave, but we would not have access to a kitchen.

 

  • We wouldn’t want to leave the resort? I’m afraid the Hyatt will be so lush and pretty that we won’t want to leave the resort to explore the island. That lazy river and lagoon will call to us, and we will want to spend our days there. I have a rather large to-do wish list in Kauai. Potential plans include visiting a chocolate farm and a coffee plantation, tubing down sugar cane canals, going on a family ATV ride to a waterfall, and possibly a helicopter ride.

 

  • We will get our pool and kids’ club fix at Aulani on the second half of our trip. The pool area at Aulani is crazy-good with a lazy river, two water slides, grotto infinity pool, two-level adults-only infinity hot tub, etc. And, the kids’ club is free!

Other Kauai hotel options for a family of five

Other than Hyatt via Ultimate Rewards points, I don’t collect hotel points. Why? It’s too hard to book a family of five with hotel points. If we don’t end up booking the Grand Hyatt, we will likely use the CSR’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal to book a hotel at a rate of 1.5 cents per point.

If we really just need a decent place to sleep while we explore Kauai, the Ultimate Rewards portal has several options for my family. We could stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay in a room with two queen beds and a sofa bed. With taxes, the room comes to 12,884 points per night. It gets decent reviews (4 our of 5 stars on Trip Advisor).

Hilton Garden Inn

If we spend more points, we could stay at a condo resort but still use way less than 50k points per night. For example, a two-bedroom condo at Kaha Lani Resort costs 15,301 points with taxes. My kids would get their own beds, and we’d have a full kitchen. It doesn’t have a fancy pool, but Lydgate Beach Park is just down the walking trail.

Kaha Lani Resort

The Chase UR travel portal has several other condo resorts at various prices that would probably work well for my family.

Go big or go home? Or something in the middle?

Staying for five nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai followed by Disney’s Aulani would certainly be “going big” for our Hawaii trip. But, I’m not sure it’s necessary to spend all of those points for the Grand Hyatt Kauai. If we spend fewer points on a hotel in Kauai, we can use those points for activities on the island, or save them for another trip.

The logical choice would be to split our stay in Kauai, with three nights at a condo and two nights at the Grand Hyatt. However, my husband is opposed to this because we plan on stopping overnight on the West Coast before and after our trip. With one hotel on each end, plus one in Kauai and one in Oahu, we’re already at four hotels for an 11-night trip.

Deciding how to best spend our points is a good problem to have. I do need to make a decision soon, though, because our dates will be bookable on Hyatt’s website in a couple of weeks. I don’t expect that rooms on points will sell out immediately, but rooms on the Points + Cash rate tend to disappear more quickly.

 

Am I being cheap with my points if I skip the Grand Hyatt? Or practical? What factors do you consider when you need to choose between an expensive points redemption and a more practical redemption?

If you have stayed Kauai, I’d love to hear your opinion on where you stayed.

PS—please don’t tell me to stay at the St. Regis Princeville. It’s way out of reach for my family of five!

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Author: Nancy

Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.

29 thoughts on “Am I Crazy to Skip the Grand Hyatt Kauai?

  1. I think you’ve been hanging around me too long. 🙂 And no, you are not crazy. Paying 50K UR points per night without breakfast, now that’s crazy!

  2. Hi Nancy,

    We went to Kauai about three years ago on a couple’s anniversary trip. We stayed six nights; four at the Grand Hyatt and and two at the Kauai Beach Resort. The Grand Hyatt is magical, amazing, beautiful, etc….BUT you know what? Kauai is magical, amazing, beautiful, etc. I think what the deal breaker for me would be that you need two rooms. If they would allow you to put five in a room, I’d say go for it. We stayed at the Kauai Beach Resort and while it was small and not a grand resort, it was lovely and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again.

    One thing you didn’t mention as a con to the Hyatt is that it’s not really central on the island. A lot of the activities and things not to be missed are a pretty good trek from the Hyatt. But the weather is supposed to be nicer down in Poipu. We were fortunate to have great weather our entire stay. I’d still think about staying there for the two nights so you can explore that side, but I do understand it’s a pain to move hotels.

    On a side note, I recommend getting the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook. Locals seemed very annoyed by this book anytime they saw I had it, but it’s the best. You must NOT skip Waimea Canyon and Kaualau Lookout. Hands down, the most beautiful place I’ve been (so far). And you have to see the Na Pali Coast somehow. We hiked the Na Pali Coast trail, but I wouldn’t recommend that for kids. So that leaves a boat or helicopter as your options to see it. I hope you can do one of those to see that part of the island.

    I could go on all day about Kauai so if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

    • Jennifer–Thanks for the info! I didn’t realize that the Hyatt is not very central. It’s hard for me to visualize just how far apart things are there. I love reading about travel, so I’ll pick up that book you recommended. I’d also love to see the Na Pali Coast, but I’ve read the water is pretty choppy in the winter and I’m very prone to seasickness. I might need to take dramamine and wear a sea sickness bracelet and suck on ginger to survive that boat ride. 🙂

  3. Have you considered the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas https://www.vistana.com/destinations/the-westin-princeville-ocean-resort-villas/overview ? It’s a timeshare villa resort, but you can book it with SPG points (cat 6) or via Costco, VRBO, and many other sites. I might even try calling Vistana Signature Experiences (1-888-847-2613) to see if they have any timeshare preview offers at Princeville available. We’ve done these “tours” a few times and they are often great deals. For 2 hours of your time, all you need to do is listen to the presentation and repeatedly say no when they ask you to buy. We have stayed at the similar Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas on Maui which was great.

    I like the timeshare properties in Hawaii vs. a traditional hotel because you have the additional space which normally includes a kitchen and washer/dryer (pack less!). You can often find deals where there are less than the price of comparable hotel and there are also good deals renting private homes/condos.

  4. The Hyatt is a wonderful place, but if I were you I’d also stay at the Hilton. The location is wonderful (others might disagree) but you are in the middle of the island and can head north or south plus you are correct that the beach is just outside your door. We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott just up the road and were very happy with our choice. If you are looking for some good pizza on the island I highly recommend Brick Oven pizza. They have a buffet with a ton of different kinds of pizza and the atmosphere is fun plus the price was very reasonable.

    • Shelly–thanks for the restaurant recommendation! It sounds perfect for our family. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay at the Marriott Courtyard and liked the area! We may just end up at the Hilton Garden Inn, and I think it will be fine for us.

      • Kauai is special and worth a splurge. Don’t ruin your first trip staying in a place like that (it’s the tyranny of low expectations). Rent a nice condo/home near the beach. Go watch The Descendants and you’ll get a good vibe of the island (it’s also a great movie). And yes, you can do a fun 4-wheeler tour that takes you to that famous overlook in the movie.

        I strongly disagree – don’t stay anywhere near Lihue/Kapaa. That’s for tourists who don’t know better, and full of traffic. Either do Kauai right or else wait until your finances allow.

  5. We’re splitting our time at Waipouli Beach Resort (condo) which is centrally located and the last half at Grand Hyatt. We’re only staying at the Hyatt because I’m spending 75,000 points for 3 nights for 1 room and we’re not sightseeing on those days. Food will be expensive and I won’t have a full kitchen and washer which I love having. I’m hoping that it’s worth it but I do love having a condo on the Hawaiian islands. I wanted to try it because all our friends said they all loved it. However, I wouldn’t spend 50,000 points per night at any Hyatt. That’s just too much.

    • Stephanie–I’d love to hear what you think of both places when you return! Waipouli Beach Resort is one we are considering. It gets great reviews, and also seems to have a good pool area.

  6. I agree that spending 50,000 points is crazy. Especially since this isn’t a once in a lifetime trip(you went to HI in 2015). Hilton should do fine so you can save your points for another trip.

    • Natasha–I think you’re right, the Hilton or something similar should be fine. I’m not sure when (if ever) we would go back to Kauai though. We have too many places on our wish list!

  7. I just got back from Kauai and we did one night at the Grand Hyatt because our condo wasn’t ready till Saturday but our award flights were only available on Friday. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt on 1/13 and it was amazing! It was the friendliest hotel experience I have ever had hands down! We booked a standard room and were upgraded to Ocean View! Probably bc it was just for one night and the holiday crowds were gone. We paid $75 for club lounge access. Should have just bought pastries at the coffee shop instead as there were very limited options after breakfast. The beach is a little lacking but the pool is amazing! And stuff like sunscreen, and water are provided for free. Renting a kayak was only $10 vs. the $45 Hilton Hawaiian Village charges on Oahu! There was lots of pool seating too. And some in the shade!

    We then moved on to my in-laws condo at Kauai Beach Villas which is next door to the Kauai Beach Resort. We used the Kauai Beach Resort pool and it was small but had waterfalls and volleyball net, etc… And a much better view of the ocean than the Grand Hyatt. The ocean is close, the beach is great but not great for getting in bc there’s a lot of rocks and rock ledges going into the water. There’s definitely more to do right around there compared to the Grand Hyatt. Kauai is small but the speed limit is like 25mph so it is slow going to get anywhere.

    We went to a pleasant timeshare spiel to get one of our catamaran excursions free and are so glad we did! It was $150 worth for one hour up in Princeville. While there we stopped in at the St. Regis which has a jaw dropping view but feels like a museum and not kid friendly. Hanalei Bay is not to be missed. And the catamaran was by far our favorite day of the trip! The water was like glass. I’ve never seen the ocean so calm. We saw a turtle, tons of dolphins, flying fish, sting rays, and two whales showing off! It was crazy how much we saw on top of the incredible NaPali Coast. We also did Smiths luau which was pretty good but others in our party liked the other one better. The sugar cane drainage intertube thing gets booked months in advance and no availability for us. There is a canoe and one mile hike to the Secret Falls that is only $35 pp that we wanted to do but my foot is broken so we had to skip it.

    I’ve been to Maui twice but I think I like Kauai better. Lots of aloha spirit there.

    • Sarah–it sounds like you had a fantastic trip! Sorry to hear your foot is broken. So much great info in your comment. Thanks for the heads up that the sugar cane tubing gets booked so far in advance!

      • I should also mention that we booked our room at the Grand Hyatt as cash and points and covered the $150+$55 taxes with our 2017 $300 credit from Chase Sapphire Reserve. We used our credit for 2016 to cover our night at Hilton Hawaiian Village in HNL on the way home.

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  9. Staying on the east side of Kauai is much more central for sight-seeing the south, west, and north shores. There are also many more options for shopping and food. Condos with kitchens are a bus plus to save money on food!

  10. You want to stay in kappa sorry can’t spell, central to most stuff but bad traffic. Hint costco is awesom, same 1.50 hot dogs, and food court prices, and 5.99 roasted chicken from deli. Do boat up the coast, and sugar cane canal Intertube loved it, almost best of trip! & lunch included! Warning it books up month or more in advance! Crappy
    bumpy dirt roads to get there! But best was seeing it by land sea and air! Awesome tour guide, went up river to see fern groves, lunch, flying around island and road trip with lots of personal info given and celebrity info! Gotta over Pierce Bronson and his mom!

  11. Save your cash! GHK is big and nice (and suitably impressive when you first walk thru the lobby and see the breathtaking ocean views). But unless you have a surfeit of cheap points don’t EVER pay cash for a resort hotel (I’m a bit mystified you don’t have plenty – lots of ways of earning cheap points without too much effort?).

    I have lots of Hyatt points, but I still wouldn’t use them in Kauai.

    I strongly suggest you rent a home/condo. You might spend a bit/lot more (depending on what you choose), but the value is so much better for a family than paying cash for a resort like GHK. Most everyone gets off the plane and heads to Costco to fill up for their stay. You save a ton on food. And the kids can run in the yard/play in the pool (or on the beach if you can afford it) all they want. Go check out Parrish Collection dot com for some very nice rentals. There is plenty of AirBnB stuff too.

    Kauai is my favorite island by a long shot – laid back, not overrun by tourists, fantastic scenery and still has a Hawaiian vibe. Tons to do for a family and everything is fairly close regardless of where you stay. We prefer sunnier Poipu as it’s centrally located. We prefer off peak in April and October – still very good weather but the vacationing hordes (and kids) are mostly gone.

    If you can swing it, do some heli tours – stunning scenery – most of the island is a park so it’s inaccessible unless you walk or fly…

    • @Mser I’m excited to hear that Kauai is your favorite island. I can’t wait to go! We will look at some condos in the Poipu area as well. Thanks for your tips!

  12. Point at Poipu had nice condo with good rates found at redweekdotcom. Our family of 5 had plenty of room to spread out and relax there and preparing our own meals saves a ton of money for the week we spent in kauai. Costco is your friend on island for grocery shopping. I would skip Oahu and go to Maui. You can enjoy a poolside experience anywhere but the views and experiences on island are unique to that area. Spend four or 5 nights in Kaanapali area and one night over in Hana. Take the ferry over to Lanai and rent a jeep for a day and explore. Swim with the turtles. Or each of you could get a Fairmont card (to be discontinued soon and NOT subject to 5/24) and you can spend 4 nights in Wailea in a suite that will handle 5. We put 5 in the Hyatt at Kaanapali (don’t ask, don’t tell) and had no problem but really liked the Fairmont more

    • @Barry Thanks for your tips! We will likely save Maui for another trip. Our kids are the perfect age for a final trip to Aulani. I can see us going to Maui in a few years.

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