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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam’s Ocean View: 4-1546 Kuhio HWY, Kapaa, HI – 96746 1-808-882-7887