Paradise, Hawaiian style
I used to believe that a vacation in Hawaii would be like that Brady Bunch episode. You know, the one where all the Bradys (even Alice and Sam) go to Hawaii and get into goofy travel adventures galore, like Marcia misplacing Mike Brady’s briefcase or Greg accidentally breaking a cursed tiki. One thing was for certain: No matter how dire the Bradys’ situation seemed, things always resolved in a heartwarming “Oh Mom, now I’ve learned my lesson” group hug that only people in sitcom land seem to experience.
(Personally, my travel adventures are usually more along the lines of “Is the bottle of wine finished already? How do I ask for another one in Serbo-Croatian?”)
Now you can understand why Hawaii was never on my list of “must see” places, like Venice or Paris. But I must admit that I was mistaken in my prejudice. You see, several years ago, I was dragged to Hawaii for a family reunion — and I quickly learned how very, stupidly, intensely wrong I was.
Let’s cut to the chase. Hawaii is paradise — friendly people, stunning scenery, beautiful waterfalls, pristine beaches, and a climate that is just warm enough with a kiss of a breeze. And if you stay at the Princeville Resort, paradise becomes even better.
First off, the location for the Princeville Resort is superb. It’s set on 23 exclusive acres facing stunning, serene Hanalei Bay. As you enter the hotel’s airy and sophisticated lobby, you’re greeted by large skylights, graceful gilded columns, tapestries, sofas upholstered in salmon-hued fabric, all presided over by a spectacular view of the sea beyond. Outside, a private beach overlooks the Bali Hai of South Pacific fame.
While there are 252 guestrooms, each one feels like a separate world of pampering. They’re comfortably furnished with calm blond wood and tones of pale cream and gold, no doubt to contrast against the color-saturated tropical view outside. Some rooms feature Juliet balconies with wrought-iron railings that overlook gardens, Hanalei Mountain or Pacific Ocean views. The large marble bathrooms host dual sink granite vanities, showers and Roman-style tubs, lighted makeup mirrors and gold-plated fixtures. They’re bigger than many Manhattan apartments — and far more luxurious.
If you desire to leave your room, there is much to do. The Princeville Health Club & Spa boasts a sauna, steam room and jetted tubs, and pampering services including Hot Stone Massage and the Hanalei Tropical Body Treatment. There’s also fitness classes, yoga and Aquacise activities, two championship golf courses, a poolside beach activity center with water sports rentals and helicopter excursions. The outdoor pool, surrounded by garden greenery, includes a swim-up bar and a separate children’s pool.
Oh, and if you want to do the traditional Hawaiian thing, the Princeville’s luau is a notch above the rest. But that’s the way things are in paradise.
The Princeville Resort
Location: 5520 Kahaku Rd – Princeville, HI, United States 96722; 30 miles from Lihue Airport.
Luxury style: Calm, comfortable luxury located in an exclusive paradisaical setting. Great for honeymooners as well as families.
What we’ve heard: The sea view from the La Cascata restaurant balcony is spectacular, with warm and perfumed breezes. Make certain to enjoy the famed brunch and seafood buffet, featuring local specialties. Service is warm, personal and prompt — staff will spontaneously offer chilled fruit and ice water as you sun yourself on the private beach. Word to the wise: the Princeville’s luau is very popular, so be sure to book ahead.