Day 5: Movin' on Up, Er... Down

September 29, 2013

Today was our last morning in Hanalei - time to pack up all our crap and head south for two nights at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu. While I was wildly excited to stay at the Hyatt (for free, no less - more on that later!), I knew that going from a spacious three bedroom house to two hotel rooms was going to be a challenge. I also knew that the boys take at least one night to adapt to a new sleeping arrangement, so we probably weren't going to get much sleep that night!

Carrying the malasadas - and his
My Little Mermaid cell phone, natch
Jack woke up early without disturbing his brother, so he and I strolled over to get coffee from Java Kai and another batch of malasadas from Village Snack Shop. By the time we got back, everyone was groggily making their way to the great room and they perked up at the sight of the doughnuts.

There was a lot to pack up (and it's easier to do without little "helpers") so the rest of the family went to Hanalei Bay for one last boogie boarding session.

I love having access to a washer and dryer on vacation because it means we can pack fewer clothes, so I did two more loads while cleaning out the fridge and checking under beds and in drawers for misplaced items.

Finally everything was boxed and bagged and piled up, ready to be loaded into cars. Now that our chaos was cleared out, I could take pictures of the house.

Apparently everyone was having a lot of fun at the beach because it was well past our check out time when they returned. The housekeeper pulled up so we hustled out of her way and hit the road.

Our first stop was the recycling substation before Princeville - we are dedicated recyclers and composters at home so it was no big deal for me to separate out recyclables, but I shudder to think how many people don't make the effort (even if they have curbside recycling at home).

Lance had mentioned he needed a snack before driving south, so we headed to the North Shore General Store (aka North Shore Grindz) for the best burgers on the island. It was only 11 a.m. but I couldn't leave the North Shore without a Braddah's BBQ burger and a Kona Wailua Wheat.

Our original plan was to drive down to Lydgate for a picnic and to play on the playground, but I realized the boys would conk out as soon as we hit the road so we ate at the roadside tables.

Ryan and Jack had a blast watching the chickens and donning raw-onion bracelets while the adults all made various 'mmm-mmm' noises and used up a lot of napkins wiping our faces and hands.

Finally it was time to bid a sad adieu to the North Shore. The boys were pretty chatty but finally sacked out just north of Kapa'a. We discovered the Kapa'a bypass on our last visit, so to extend the nap opportunity we turned onto Hwy 581 and headed inland. Sam was trying to navigate for me (damn you Apple maps!) and we missed the turn to 580, which comes out at 'Opaeka'a Falls - but I just kept on driving through some very green, very gorgeous countryside and local neighborhoods. 

We ran into a few dead ends but finally navigated back to the main road. We stopped at the falls so Chelsea and Lance (who had been faithfully following us this whole time, entirely unsure where we were headed!) could snap a few obligatory photos and then rejoined the main highway at Wailua. The boys were still sound asleep so we passed Lydgate and the Kamalani playground and continued south.

Eventually we pulled into the porte-cochere at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. We've visited the Hyatt on previous trips when we stayed next door at the Point at Poipu but we've never stayed at the hotel. At nearly $400/night for a standard hotel room with no kitchen facilities, it's a bit out of our price range (not to mention totally impractical with little kids) for a weeklong vacation.

However, I was able to use two different credit card sign-up bonuses to swing two free rooms for two nights here - one of which came with Platinum Gold Passport status. The $25/night resort fee was waived on award night bookings which left us more money for poolside mai tais!

Thanks to my platinum status, we did get upgraded from pool view to partial ocean view on the ground level. Our rooms (see red arrow below) were just a short walk from the pool if we went out the lanai (through the hotel was a long maze of hallways), but a million miles from the lobby or other sections of the hotel. It was good for walking off liquid calories, though!

We dumped our bags, threw on our swimsuits, and headed straight for the saltwater lagoon. It was amazing - warm and mellow, shallow for a long ways out, and not crowded at all. We lounged, we splashed, we drank, and otherwise just lazed away the afternoon. I really can't imagine staying at the Hyatt for the duration of a Kauai vacation - I wouldn't ever leave the pool!

Finally we did manage to drag ourselves away from the pool in search of dinner. We drove over to Tortilla Republic at Kukui'ula Marketplace. I didn't realize there was a separate upstairs and downstairs, but I'm really glad we were seated downstairs. The boys enjoyed watching the tiki torch lighters and I enjoyed paying bar prices vs. restaurant prices. Everyone was pleased with their meals, the drinks were inventive and potent, and the servers were friendly and attentive.

We strolled back through the lobby of the Hyatt, where we could see the luau going on and would have liked to watch a few minutes of the show, but bedtime was looming. Of course, once we got back to the room the boys turned into sleepless acrobats bouncing from bed to bed, but eventually the day's adventures caught up to them (and us).

View all photos from today.