The Point at Poipu vs. Wyndham Bali Hai Villas
We have owned at the Point since 2005 through Diamond Resorts, and we just love it. The pool, the spacious units, the beautifully landscaped grounds, the proximity to the Hyatt's amenities and Poipu Beach. However, when my dad offered us an RCI week we jumped at the chance to test-drive another timeshare resort on Kauai's North Shore, Wyndham Bali Hai Villas. We had spent time on the North Shore and we enjoy the lush beauty and the sparsely populated beaches, but I was worried that the resort itself would not hold its own against the Point. I couldn't find a direct comparison between the two anywhere, so I wrote my own:
The Point at Poipu (the Point)
Oceanfront in Poipu (but on a rocky shoreline, no beach). Walking distance to the Grand Hyatt's restaurants, luau, shops and spa; Shipwreck Beach (where we've often seen monk seals); Mahaulepu and the Lithified Cliffs. There's a walking path through the Poipu Kai development that leads right to Poipu Beach and a playground; you can walk a little bit farther along the road to Poipu Shopping Village (with Roy's, Keoki's Paradise and Puka Dog restaurants). It's a five-minute drive to Koloa for groceries at Big Save or Sueoka's, clothing and souvenir shops, and a gas station.
Wyndham Bali Hai Villas (WBHV)
On the cliffs in Princeville with mountain views. Walk to St. Regis (restaurant, spa, and pool bar but no shops) and Pu'u Poa or Hideaways beaches, plus Queen's Bath. There's a walking path along the golf course to Foodland shopping center, with a couple of shops, CJ's Steaks and Seafood, and a gas station/burger joint. There is a playground behind Princeville library near the shopping center.
Ten buildings arranged around a central garden/pool area. Shoreline walking paths good for spotting turtles, dolphins and whales. Parking is inland, so can be a long walk to some units. There are four view classes - Ocean Front, Ocean View, Partial Ocean View and Garden View. The landscaping is beautifully maintained and there are a number of BBQs located around the property. The units are connected hotel-style with long exterior hallways, with 3-4 floors in each building. Stairs and elevators are located at the end of each hall - can be a long walk to middle units. One large pool with shallow kids' area, pool hut with floaties/noodles, lava rock hot tub, and poolside bar for drinks/burgers. Adult-only hot tub located on west side of resort, as is a small play structure.
Eleven buildings with townhome style units (one upper, one lower). No central focus of building layouts (and the front desk/office is very hard to find) - parking is very convenient but there is no main landscaping feature besides the beautiful entry waterfalls and lily ponds. There are no room view classes since it is inland. Some of the older original buildings seem very close together, with one buildings' lanais only a few feet from the next. We called ahead and asked to be assigned to a newer unit, which was at the edge of the property with forest and mountain views. There are two pools, both with hot tubs, waterfalls and large shallow kids' area. The new pool has a fountain feature as well. BBQ grills are located at pools and other sites around property.
Pool bar with daily happy hour, on site breakfast and coffee shop, playground, soda machines. Computer in lobby for printing boarding passes and checking email. Complimentary wi-fi in lobby (though this wasn't advertised). One full cleaning midweek if staying a full week. Daily resort activities scheduled, but no orientation breakfast. The pool towel system is inconvenient and draconian - you get cards when you check in (one per towel) and you have to take them down to the pool hut to get the towels. If you don't turn the pool cards in when you check out, you're charged $25 each.
No onsite bar or snack shop. Free orientation breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One soda machine at main pool. Free wi-fi in units (computer to print boarding passes located 1/2 mile away at Ka 'Eo Kai resort). No housekeeping service but towels and sugar/coffee/laundry detergent were restocked mid-week. Pool towels are neatly arranged in a basket in the bathroom and also replaced mid-week.
These rooms are gradually being updated, with something new and fresh each time we visit. The two-bedroom units are spacious with air-conditioning and lots of closets and cabinets. The beds are Westin Heavenly beds with white linens and comforters, but the towels are scratchy. The master bathroom is enormous with a separate soaking tub (not a jetted tub) and double sinks, but it needs updating. The kitchen is reasonably stocked with Cuisinart brand toaster, blender and coffeemaker and a full set of pots and pans, utensils, etc. The resort provides Tide laundry detergent and Palmolive dish detergent, but generic bath toiletries. The newest upgrade is the televisions, and I am very disappointed - they are enormous, even in the bedrooms. I don't go to Hawaii to watch television, and I'm annoyed that the management company spent so much money when the bathrooms REALLY need to be updated. If we had stayed longer than two days this most recent trip I would have requested housekeeping remove the one in the bedroom - it's that obnoxious. They also just replaced all the sofas with some beige microfiber thing that I could find at any furniture warehouse in Colorado - not Hawaiian-style at all! The resort provides cribs or portable cribs and high chairs free of charge, but the crib was rickety and didn't look comfortable (we used their portable crib on a previous trip and it was just fine). There's a washer and dryer in each unit, and you are provided one box of laundry detergent (more is available for purchase at the front desk).
We stayed in a newer building, so I can't speak for the entire resort (though by looking at other pictures posted online, our furniture in the living and dining room and the linens were the older style). The first thing you notice about these villas is that they do not have air conditioning, but every room has jalousies (louvres) on both the windows and above the doors, so even when the door is shut you still get a cross breeze. Each unit is arranged so that both bedrooms can get a cross-breeze, and even the bathroom had excellent ventilation. With the ceiling fans and the provided electric fan, we never felt uncomfortably warm (though this was late April and we had a number of breezy/rainy days and nights). Our bed was a thick pillow-top style, which was much too soft. The kitchen was well stocked (also with Cuisinart small appliances), including a rice cooker. The televisions were reasonably sized flat screens, and the clock radios in the bedrooms had an input cable for iPods. The bathroom has a jetted bathtub but only a single sink (though plenty of counter space) and Bath and Body Works toiletries. There's a washer and dryer in each unit and you are provided with three packets of an eco-friendly laundry detergent (as well as an eco-friendly dishwasher detergent and biodegradable trash bags). In addition to coffee and sugar, the kitchen was stocked with a packet of microwave popcorn and instant lemonade, which were all restocked mid-week. The resort provides portable cribs for free, but no highchairs.
Winner - The Point at Poipu
Even though the North Shore is gorgeous, it was a little too remote for a family traveling with small children. We also missed being right on the ocean.
Tie, with The Point slightly ahead
The parking was SO convenient at WBHV, particularly when you are loading up strollers and backpacks and all sorts of other baby needs. The pools were very nicely designed and we enjoyed spending time at them. However, the Point has an incredible pool, beautiful landscaping and views that we'll appreciate long after the kids can carry their own stuff.
Tie, with WBHV slightly ahead.
Free wi-fi. FREE. Yes, it was kind of slow sometimes, but it was FREE. The Point has wired internet access available in the rooms for something like $18 a day. Given that we were in the condo every afternoon for naps, it helped to be able to surf the web, check email and watch Hulu. Also, the no-strings-attached pool towel policy was one less thing to worry about. I also appreciated the eco-friendly cleaning products and the freshwater pools (no chlorine!). WBHV could win outright if it had some kind of bar/snack shop on the property (the food at the orientation breakfast was terrible).
Tie, with no clear winner.
I can see how air conditioning might be a necessity if you were traveling in August or September or you're extremely sensitive to heat/humidity, but I actually prefer the trade winds. Both units are spacious enough for four adults to spread out comfortably, and both kitchens had everything we needed to cook breakfast every day and dinner a couple times. Both units were clean (there was a tiny cockroach in our kitchen at the Point and a baby gecko came to visit us at Bali Hai). The bathrooms are much nicer at WBHV, but the beds much less comfortable.
The Final Result
If we could mesh the best parts of each resort into one, I would take the beds, pool and location of the Point with the ease of parking, jetted bathtubs and free wi-fi of WBHV. I would certainly recommend WBHV to someone looking specifically to stay on the North Shore, but I think we will return to the Point (except for our next trip, when we plan to rent a house on Anini Beach).