Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kauai Getaway: Trip Summary

We had a really relaxing time in Kauai - maybe a bit too relaxing. Since we didn't do much other than lounging at the hotel, this vacation seemed a bit too relaxed. Don't get me wrong, it was still really nice, but we probably should have done at least 1-2 activities to keep it more active. :)

We were both disappointed with the food in Kauai. There's much less choices compared to Oahu and Maui, and we didn't really have a "wow" moment at any of the restaurants in Kauai. The only thing that's always good in Hawaii was the shave ice!

Having been to our 3rd Hawaiian island, we recommend Kauai for couples who are looking for the ultimate getaway/relaxation and who enjoy the slower pace of life. There isn't a ton of night life or bars or even restaurants. We both agreed that personally Maui was probably our favorite Hawaiian island; it has a good mix of activities and things to do for our taste.

Until next time...

Monday, January 14, 2013

LIH - SJC on Alaskan Airlines

Our flight back was pretty uneventful. :)  It was very similar to the departure flight, although the seats were a bit different. It reminded me of a typical AA/United first class seat. The configuration was 2-2 and there were 4 rows. We chose the second row again this time.

The flight was an afternoon flight, which was a good time so that we had the morning to still enjoy Kauai and be back in the Bay Area by early evening.

The meal service menu looked pretty promising, and we noticed that it was catered by a local Kauai restaurant called Kauai Pasta. It gave me hope that the food would probably be pretty decent compared to typical airline food.

The Greek salad with feta, olives, red peppers and pine nuts were pretty good. I was happy that the bread roll was served warm...mmm...

I ordered the chicken with Thai red curry sauce, green beans, and coconut rice. The curry sauce was nice, and I did enjoy the coconut rice, although it was a bit on the mushy side.

Dan ordered the prawns with penne pasta in pesto sauce. Again, it was pretty good for domestic airline food.

The Mango Apple Volcano was probably the highlight of the meal. It's this mango/apple fruit filling inside a warm, crusty tart dough which was really yummy!

We both enjoyed the food, more than we thought we would, probably because it was catered by a restaurant.

Other than that, the rest of the flight was very similar to the originating flight from SJC to LIH. We got the portable movie player again which we couldn't use much because it was really hard to hear with the cheap in-flight earphones.

Next Post: Kauai Getaway - Trip Summary

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

St. Regis Princeville

We were very excited for our stay at the St. Regis Princeville.  Princeville is located in the Northern side of the island, which is known for being the prettier side due to its lush grounds - which also means that the Northern side is the rainier part of the island. We went in November which is considered the start of the rainy season, and it did rain a little bit but we still got plenty of time in the sun.

The Princeville area is an upscale/planned community.  We entered through a gate and saw golf courses as well as multiple condo communities. The Westin Princeville was located in the same general area. We didn't get a chance to visit it during this trip though.

From what we understand, the St. Regis Princeville used to be another resort which was then bought by Starwood and re-branded as a St. Regis. That explains why the hotel was not brand new, although they did do some renovations when the rebranding took place.

The St. Regis was located at the very end of the road. Parking was valet only, and we were greeted by his and her Leis which was a really nice touch. As typical in other St Regis hotels, the check in was done at a desk, concierge style. The lobby was nice and grande - and on the opposite side we saw glass walls that overlooked Hanalei Bay.

We were notified that we had been upgraded to an Ocean View room, which we greatly appreciated! Our room was on the 4th floor.

The room was a pretty good size and the view of Hanalei Bay was just gorgeous.

The bathroom looked a bit dated but still in good condition. Ours was decked in dark green marble. The one interesting feature about the bathroom was the window that we could fog by flipping a switch for privacy.

The furnishing was quite nice although it didn't feel brand new - but everything was pretty well maintained.

Activities at the St. Regis

Pool Service

We LOVED the swimming pool at the St. Regis as well as the pool service. We've never been to a hotel with such great pool service. The pool attendant asked us for our room number, and then proceeded to take 3 towels for each of us. Even though the pool was somewhat full, we were able to find a place to sit. The pool attendant asked us where we wanted to sit, and then he set up our pool seating: 1 towel to cover the top half of the lawn chair, another towel for the lower half, and the last towel for us to use after swimming.  How nice is that!

The other nice thing about the pool service at this hotel was that they had a flag attached to our chair than we could raise to signify one of the pool attendants to come and take our bar/kitchen order. How nice is that. :) We shared burgers & fries and an oreo milkshake...yum!

We felt very pampered here and loved our visits at the pool.

Sunday Brunch at Makana Terrace

I was really looking forward to our Sunday brunch at the Makana Terrace. Definitely ask for an outdoor seating if the day is nice since the view of Hanalei Bay is too gorgeous! Make sure you make reservations since the Sunday brunch can be quite popular. It was a bit pricey at around $60 pp.

The selection was decent, although I think I had expected more. I think I'm biased/used to sprawling buffet options in Asia - and the one here was actually quite small - but it did have pretty decent selection and we're glad we tried it. I guess we're paying for the view. :)

Beach Time

The beach was located a little ways away from the pool. We ended up spending the majority of our time at the pool instead of the beach, although we did do a morning walk on the beach one day and it was really nice. I believe they also have "pool service" even if you're seated on the beach.

As far as I know, guests at the Westin can also use the beach at the St. Regis, but they aren't allowed to use the pool.

Smores Night on the Beach

We looked up the calendar of activities during our stay at the hotel and noticed that they had a smores night on the beach and decided to check it out.

They have a pretty nice setup with all you can eat graham crackers, marshmallow, and chocolate bars. We were given the thongs to roast the marshmallow.

I was actually surprised that it wasn't crowded at all when we went - although from the check in sheet it looked like some guests did stop by earlier to do this activity as well.

Here's our result. :)


We loved our stay at the St.Regis - definitely a step up from the Sheraton. Service was really good and we felt pampered. We have to say though the service at the St. Regis in Singapore was better. We loved the view of Hanalei Bay from our room, as well as the great pool an direct access to the beach. The only downside was that everything was expensive, but I guess that is expected. Also, if you are staying here, they have free DVDs to borrow. Another thing that was not advertised but also included was tea service, but we never tried it. We've only stayed at 2 St. Regis so far and we really enjoy it - it's quickly becoming one of our favorite hotels.

Next Post: LIH - SJC on Alaskan Airlines