Our Hometown Getaway

The makai (ocean) side of the Coral Reef Inn (yes, the storm clouds were gathering). Our room was on the second floor, second from the right.

Brett and I have driven by the Hotel Coral Reef in Kapaa more times than I can count; it’s just down the highway from where we turn off to go up to our house and we pass it every week on our way to the farmers’ market. Although it’s somewhat unassuming from the mauka (mountain/highway) side, we’ve strolled past it on beach path walks, and been intrigued by the building and the beautiful landscaping. So, when we wanted to take an overnight getaway to celebrate our 38th anniversary (March), and both our birthdays (April &May), we thought of the Hotel Coral Reef.

Our room at the Hotel Coral Reef – the room and furnishings were lovely. The strip around the top of the room is actually a soft light that for some reason shows bright orange in the photo.

We did look at other resorts on the island for our getaway, but most were w-a-y over what we wanted to pay for a one-night stay. Rooms in Poipu in the south or Princeville on the north side ranged from $300 to over $600 for one night. They all had superb amenities and ambience, but the splurge just wasn’t worth it to us.

The view from our balcony looking south.
The lagoon pool and waterfall – it was too stormy and windy during our stay to use the pool, but it was looking inviting by the time we had to check out.

The Hotel Coral Reef has been called one of Kauai’s hidden gems, and has received awards from TripAdvisor as one of the best places to stay on Kaua’i. It’s regularly given 4.5 stars by TripAdvisor readers, as well as on Expedia, Hotel.com and other travel sites. This year it received a “Best Kaua’i Hotel” award from Honolulu Magazine. The hotel has had an interesting history: It was first opening by the Matsumura family (date unknown) on the same land that housed the first fire station in Kapaa. In 1962 the sixteen-room masonry building was constructed, and it’s survived two major hurricanes. The Matsumura family sold the hotel in 1985 to new owners, and in 2001 it was sold again to Pixar Development. Pixar undertook extensive renovations, including the lush landscaping around the hotel and the lagoon pool and waterfall. The hotel got new owners about a year and half ago, and more renovations are planned in the near future including a third story addition to the masonry building which will include two suites and a plantation-style roof, and updates for all guest rooms.

The view while we had our coffee and breakfast on the balcony in the morning.

Brett and I booked a deluxe oceanfront room for our getaway, and the views did not disappoint. My only complaint about the room was the mattress was too soft for me, but otherwise every amenity you could think of was provided, including a free continental breakfast, free bikes to ride around town or on the beach path, a large movie selection, and books. You can also get an oceanside massage during your stay at the hotel, although it’s provided by an outside contractor so not free.

Our dinner at Sam’s Ocean View was yummy.
The view was complimentary with dinner.

It was a short walk from the hotel to our dinner spot, Sam’s Ocean View restaurant. We had decided ahead of time to keep both expenses and calories down by ordering two small plates (crispy tempura-battered cauliflower and roasted brussels sprouts with sun-dried tomatoes and panchetta), and the grilled cheese sandwich board (brie with apple and fig jam on local sourdough). Everything was so delicious! Brett had thought he might have dessert, but we were both too full before we finished, and ended up bringing the leftovers back to our room (and then home the next day for lunch).

You can sort of see it in the picture, but the wind was quite strong and getting stronger while we took our after-dinner walk.

After dinner we took a 30-minute walk south on the beach path, down to Baby Beach and back to the hotel. It had been overcast when we arrived, but as we set out on our walk more clouds were really rolling in and the wind picking up. It was rather gloomy, but we made it to the beach and back to our room before the storm began. Both Brett and I stayed up to listen to the ocean’s roar, and hear the wind whip through the palm trees – very exciting!

The sun trying to break through the clouds at sunrise . . .
About 10 minutes after “official” sunrise it was getting a little brighter.
Forty-five minutes after sunrise there was plenty of blue sky, although the wind was still quite strong.

One thing we wanted to do while we were there was wake up early on Sunday morning to watch the sunrise. Unfortunately, the previous night’s storm hadn’t disappeared completely, and there were still too many clouds on the horizon to enjoy anything spectacular from our balcony. We did sit outside to enjoy our morning coffee and continental breakfast, and eventually the clouds broke up and the sun and blue sky appeared again. We had wanted to go for a bike ride on the beach path before we checked out, but the wind was still too strong and we had to skip it.

We had the sun at our back, and had hoped to take a morning bike ride, but the wind was just too fierce.

YaYu asked us a couple of weeks ago why we had decided to stay so close to home for our getaway. “Because someone else is still going to make the bed, and cook the dinner and wash the dishes, that’s why.” And because it was affordable – for less than the cost of the lowest-priced room elsewhere we had a wonderful getaway and celebration, right in our own hometown!

Hotel Coral Reef: 4-1516 Kuhio Highway, Kapa’a, Kaua’i, Hawaii, 96746; 1-808-822 4481 or 1-800-843-4659; reservations@hotelcoralreefresort.com

Sam’s Ocean View: 4-1546 Kuhio HWY, Kapaa, HI – 96746 1-808-882-7887

11 thoughts on “Our Hometown Getaway

  1. That looks like a nice place to stay. The pool area looks very pretty! I love Tripadvisor … it’s my go to for picking hotels and it really hasn’t steered me wrong yet.


    1. We really enjoyed our stay there, even if it was just for one night. The hotel has gotten rave reviews from TripAdvisor for years.

      The history of the hotel was especially interesting, and we’ll be interested to see how the new renovations turn out!


  2. Looks like a lovely resort with amenities (free continental breakfast, free bikes, large movie selection and books) that would appeal to visitors.


    1. The hotel seems to stay pretty much booked all the time. It’s not as fancy as some as the other resorts on the island, and yet is in a good location and has terrific amenities. And, it costs a whole lot less. The only thing missing is a beach – there is one across the lawn, but not recommended for swimming, snorkeling, etc. – the currents out there are stronger than they appear.


  3. Looks like a beautiful place to stay. Great pictures, especially like the decor and the pool


    1. The landscaping on the makai (ocean) side is what initially caught our eye and got us interested – it’s gorgeous. I would have really liked to go swimming in the pool, but the weather was not cooperating.


  4. Looks like a great getaway, weather notwithstanding. I am always astounded by the prices in Hawaii, so kudos for finding a great hotel on the island at a reasonable price!

    We are having a similar discussion this week. We’ve booked concert tickets a couple hours from home this summer and are debating a hotel. It’s a tourist area and the summer hotel prices are eye popping. So we’ve decided not to go back to the one we loved (so pricey now that we’re on fixed income) and enjoy our retirement at a more modest hotel. I’m sure we’ll have a lovely weekend. Life is good!


    1. The weather was kind of a bummer, but we still had a relaxing time, which was the whole point. Modest hotels can be OK – I’ve been impressed with the past few we’ve stayed in. Are there B&Bs where you’re going? They usually cost less than a hotel, and provide a comfortable experience.


      1. Oddly, there are very few B&B’s, but I did find a couple cute spots via Air BnB. They were in odd locations with some features we decided against. So we’re booked into the new suites hotel with the best ratings and closest access to the beach. We’re only there two nights, as we dialed it back when we saw the rates. 🙂


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