Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: There are no televisions or telephones in any of the guest rooms of Hanalei Colony Resort. That should weed out those travelers with an unsatiable need for technology at all times, or at least those of us who admit to such an addiction. What Hanalei Colony Resort in Kauai does have, though, is undeniable authenticity. Built in the late 1960’s, Hanalei Colony Resort is on Kauai’s North Shore, right on the fabled Hanalei Bay, and has been called (by Islands Magazine) one of the most romantic places on Earth.
When I first stepped into my bungalow here on the north shore of Kauai, I admittedly thought, “uh oh, no air conditioning either?” But the 2-room suite style bungalows are designed to maximize air flow, with Japanese sliders between rooms, huge windows, and multiple (quiet) ceiling fans.
Once settled into the groove of this wonderful, old-fashioned Kauai resort, it seems that unplugged is the best way to experience Hawaii the way it’s meant to be. The north shore of Kauai is far from the urban bustle of Waikiki in Oahu — in fact, the two feel like completely different worlds. While Honolulu is a citified area of Hawaii, not much has changed in Hanalei in the past few decades. Hanalei Colony Resorts reflects this perfectly. Unspoiled, unplugged, unforgettable (that’s the resort’s slogan) sums up the area. I would also add, unrushed. And where better to have the ultimate Hawaiian vacation, one in which we talk with our families, stroll quiet beaches with epic vistas, and unhurriedly meander through our days? Hanalei Bay is so sweepingly gorgeous, with so much surrounding area untouched (let alone undeveloped) by the western world, that it feels like going back in time to a simpler way of life.
There are only 52 bungalows here, all of which have 2 bedrooms, a full kitchen, private lanai and two bathrooms, as well as a common room. If you reserve a ground floor bungalow — and I recommend you do — it’s a simple luxury to slide open the door to your lanai and walk a few yards to the beach. Strolling barefoot on the sands of Hanalei Bay is one of the best slow things to do in the entire state of Hawaii: The sweeping, achingly stunning views are unlike anywhere else. The St Regis, across the bay, is the preeminent luxury resort hotel on the North Shore of Kauai, of course, but Hanalei Colony Resort has it trumped for its genuine feel of old Hawaii.
Listen to the waves crashing and, in their retreat, distant waterfalls send their water in endless plumes. Tropical birds sing to each other as they have since the island was uninhabited by people. Early in the morning, you can appreciate looking at the sea and the sky, the plants and the trees, that have changed little in the past few hundred years. No sounds of televisions or radios come from the other bungalow, no car stereos blast. It’s paradise. This, here, in Hanalei Resort Colony of Kauai, is how Hawaii once was and forever should be.
Thank you to the Kauai Visitors Bureau for hosting this cultural travel experience.