A Grand Stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai

Jess

Back in 2018 my family took a trip to Kauai and fell in love with it. While we didn’t stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai on that trip, we did have dinner there and decided the Grand Hyatt was the place to stay for our next visit. Throw in the pandemic and it took us longer to make our way back than we hoped, but we finally did it! And boy did it live up to the hype. I brought my mom and daughter along on this trip for a little three generations girls’ getaway. Here’s how we made it happen for a fraction of the cash price thanks to points and miles…

 

Getting to Kauai

We’re based in Houston, so getting to Hawaii isn’t exactly convenient. We decided to stop overnight on the west coast to make things a little easier on ourselves. I actually paid “cash” for our flight from Houston to San Francisco. In reality I used United Travel Bank funds that I had saved up from the $200 airline incidental credits from the American Express Platinum and American Express Business Platinum cards. My husband has these cards also, so we had quite a bit of money in our Travel Bank.

We stayed overnight at the Grand Hyatt at SFO. It’s connected to the airport via AirTrain and is the most convenient airport hotel I’ve ever stayed at. We lucked out and scored an off-peak award night for only 17,000 Hyatt points (standard award nights here will run you 20,000 Hyatt points). We enjoyed a delicious breakfast in their restaurant that overlooks the airport runway (they wiped off the entire charge at checkout thanks to Globalist status), then we were on our way to Hawaii!

We flew United from SFO to Kauai, but actually booked the tickets via Turkish Airlines for only 7,500 miles/person. While booking United flights via Turkish Airlines is often a hassle, it can be an amazing deal if you can find availability. It’s much easier to find availability from the west coast which is another reason we made an overnight stop in San Francisco. I transferred miles earned from my Capital One Venture X to Turkish Airlines to book these tickets.

 

How gorgeous is the Grand Hyatt Kauai?

 

Transportation on Kauai

We rented a car via Costco Travel for our trip. A rental car is a must on Kauai. There is so much to do and see, you don’t want to spend the entire time at the resort! We have Avis Preferred status (matched from Hertz President’s Circle status that comes with our Capital One Venture X).

During booking via Costco Travel, I entered my Avis loyalty number and my status was applied to the rental. We were able to get our car quickly thanks to the (much) shorter Avis Preferred check-in line.

 

The Resort Redemption

While there were only 3 of us on this trip, my mom insisted on booking her own room (probably because she knew how early my daughter would be waking up given the time change!). She booked 5 nights in a one king room for 125,000 Hyatt points total + $0 (taxes and resort fees are waived on all Hyatt award stays). She earned a majority of these points by opening the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

I booked a standard two queen room for me and my daughter. Last year I earned a Hyatt category 1-7 free night certificate after hitting 60 Hyatt nights for the year, so I redeemed that during our stay. After applying the free night certificate, I used 100,000 Hyatt points to cover the remaining 4 nights. After booking I contacted the Hyatt to request connecting rooms, and they confirmed that we would be in connecting rooms a few days later.

The cash price would have been almost $1,000/night for each of these rooms, so the Grand Hyatt Kauai is an amazing value on points. On March 28, 2023, the Grand Hyatt Kauai will be moving from a category 6 Hyatt property to a category 7. This means standard award nights will increase from 25K points/night to 30K points/night. While a bit of a bummer, this property still offers so much value on award stays.

 

My mom’s standard king room

 

The Resort Amenities

I don’t have the words to describe the Grand Hyatt Kauai. It is truly breathtaking. It’s a huge resort (prepare to get your steps in!), but everywhere you look is lush landscaping, ocean views, or gorgeous sunrises.

The multi-level pool area was our favorite part of the resort. There’s a slide (that I went down at least 25 times), a lazy river, volleyball net, waterfalls, 3 jacuzzis, and an adults only pool. While the beach at the Grand Hyatt Kauai is not swimmable (it’s too rocky and the waves are too strong), the Grand Hyatt has a beautiful saltwater lagoon that overlooks the ocean and is perfect for younger kids. Poipu beach is also great for kids (and snorkeling), and is just down the road from the Grand Hyatt.

There are plenty of family-friendly activities around the resort, too, like hula lessons and lei making.

Did I mention they also have laundry facilities spread throughout the resort that you can use for free? They provide the detergent and dryer sheets, too!

 

Gorgeous sunrise from the Grand Club

 

The Food

And the food! Our favorite meal of the entire trip was at Tidepools. It’s a fine dining restaurant, so make sure you make a reservation in advance if you want to try it out. The views, the breeze, the delicious meal… I can’t say enough good things about it.

 

Hawaiian Catch from Tidepools

 

We also had dinner and drinks at Seaview Terrace one evening which was lovely. They have live music each night from 5pm to 9:30pm. My daughter proclaimed that their triple decker grilled cheese was the best she’s ever had!

There’s also a Grand Club that those with Globalist status or Club access can visit throughout the day. Because food in Hawaii is so expensive, the Grand Club can save you a lot of money. I definitely think it’s worth paying extra (with either cash or points) for a Club access room if one is available and you don’t have status with Hyatt. The Grand Club has continental breakfast from 6:30am-10am, afternoon snacks from 12pm-4pm, hors d’oeuvres from 5pm-7pm, and dessert from 7:30pm-8:30pm.

The food on-property is great, but there’s also plenty of restaurants around Kauai to venture off to. Some of our favorites were Puka Dog, Keoki’s Paradise, and Pink’s Creamery (for the pineapple grilled cheese). Wailua Shave Ice was hands down the best shave ice we had!

 

Lava Flow, Da Mango One, and OG Rainbow from Wailua Shave Ice

 

Activities Around Kauai

While we loved relaxing by the pool, we also ventured off property a few times to see more of Kauai. Here are some things we did:

  • Took a dog from the Kauai Humane Society out for a Field Trip. This was one of the highlights of our trip! Our dog, Hambone, was the sweetest!
  • Whale Watching Tour with Kauai Sea Tours. This tour is only offered from December to March. The first hour and a half was amazing (and we saw lots of whales!). But after that I got sick (even though I took Dramamine beforehand). So you’ve been warned! My mom and daughter didn’t get sick, though.
  • Smith’s Fern Grotto River Cruise + Garden Family Luau. Highly recommend! We loved the river cruise and the luau. If you want to save money you can skip dinner and get “show only” tickets.
  • Hanalei. We love the north side of the island. Unfortunately the weather is a bit more unpredictable and it rained the entire time we were on the north side, so we didn’t get to go to Hanalei Bay as planned. I highly recommend it, though, if the weather is nice during your visit!

 

At Kalapaki Beach with Hambone

 

Getting Home

After 5 wonderful nights, it was time to head home. We had a similar strategy for our return to Houston and stopped on the west coast overnight once again (this time in LA).

You can often find American Airlines flights via British Airways for only 13,000 Avios each way from Hawaii to the west coast. Not only did we find availability from Kauai to LAX, it was during a time when American Express was having a 40% transfer bonus to British Airways. That meant our flights from Kauai to LAX were only 9,333 American Express Membership Rewards points per person.

We did the same thing for our flights from LAX to Houston. Those flights were only 11,000 Avios each way. With the 40% transfer bonus, that came out to only 8,000 American Express Membership Rewards points per person.

We stayed overnight at the Hyatt Regency LAX. While not as convenient as the Grand Hyatt at SFO, getting to the Regency via shuttle was easy and breakfast was solid. We paid cash for our stay because cash rates were low for the one night we were there, but we could have also used 12,000 Hyatt points.

 

Bottom Line

We had the best time at the Grand Hyatt Kauai and are already planning a return trip for next spring (when my husband can join us)! While it’s not the most convenient destination from Houston, the peaceful vibes and tropical paradise are worth the trek for us. Interested in racking up more Hyatt points so that you can plan a luxury stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai for $0 as well? Check out our Guide to More Hyatt Points.

 

Share this post

  1. Arielle Galimidi says:

    Hi! In the podcast episode, someone mentioned that it’s worthwhile to get access to the club level at this hotel. Do you have any suggestions for getting upgraded to the club level? I’m very new to this. thanks!

  2. Mike says:

    I dont know why people say Shipwreck Beach isn’t swimmable. It is a super fun beach in the summer months with great waves to play in. There are some rocks but for the most part they are smooth and not much of a problem.

  3. Mar says:

    Hi Jess! I listened to your podcast, very helpful too. we are looking into booking this resort using our points, but the king with club access is only bookable if I put 2 adults. will it be hard to add our kids(3 and 6 yrs old) later if I redeem this room using points?

    • Pam says:

      They used to have club access with queens but don’t do that anymore. And I don’t think they’d let you book 4 people into a king room. I think you’ll be stuck doing a regular double queen room.

      • Becky says:

        We already have a King Club level room booked for our family. But my husband did not add our kids at the time of booking. Do you know what they might do upon arrival since we will have our kids with us and it will be 4 in the room?

        • Pam says:

          Where are you planning for them to sleep? I am not sure as it only has room for 2. I would call and ask what your options are. We have had more people in a room but there were two beds and a chair that made a small bed.

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