Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable honeymoon adventure as we join Ms. Fleur de Lys in her exploration of the enchanting island of Kaua’i in Hawaii. In “The Polka Dot Guide to Honeymooning in Hawaii: Kaua’i – Part 1,” get ready to be captivated by the breathtaking landscapes, turquoise waters, out-of-this-world cuisine, and the vibrant spirit of Kaua’i.
Ms. Fleur de Lys shares her beautiful adventure on the island to help you plan your honeymoon, and make it nothing short of extraordinary. So embrace the sense of adventure, and let’s delve into the magic of Kaua’i together. This is just the beginning of a captivating honeymoon series that will leave you longing for more.
Rainbows and waterfalls: that’s Kaua’i!
But it’s also shadowy silhouettes of slate-grey volcanic mountains looming in the distance, trumpet-shaped blooms climbing and twining as high as they possibly can, and every shade of green that you can possibly imagine. It’s not called the Garden Isle for nothing. Also, just so many glossily-plumed roosters staking their claim to roadside territory. The story goes that the island’s chooks all made their great escape during Hurricane Iniki in the 90s, promptly bred with the local waterfowl, and became too tough to bother hunting for food – smart birdies.
For lovebirds planning a Hawaiian honeymoon Kaua’i is also a great escape. It’s a little sleepier than Maui and there’s a faded vintage feel to the island which gives a sense of ancientness as soon as you step off the plane. It makes sense. Kaua’i is the oldest – and only unconquered – island kingdom in the Hawaiian archipelago. We’ve asked the locals and personally scoured the island; now let us show you the most romantic (and delicious) things to do in Kaua’i for two.
The first thing you might wish to do to get into a honeymoon frame of mind is to unwind with a couple’s massage. Lomilomi is a famous Hawaiian style of massage that evolved from the practices that the original Polynesians brought with them when they discovered these islands. It’s a sweeping, soothing technique akin to waves lapping the shoreline or gently kneading a loaf of bread (you’re the bread). Lomilomi is said to be good for digestion – just in case someone scoffed too many slices of wedding cake – restoration and connection. Traditional spiritual practitioners would infuse intentional energy and a connection with nature into each massage.
Anara Spa is a truly wonderful place to try Lomilomi. Instead of a darkened salon room, they’ll take you to a private outdoor hale (hut) in their Lakohi (“unity” or “harmony”) garden where you can feel dappled sunlight and whispered breeze on your skin. There will probably even be Monarch butterflies flitting by! Ask for the generously-spirited masseuse Leilani at Anara. Though not a typical part of Anara’s massages, she is trained to perform a traditional blessing or chant before you begin, upon request. She’ll have you attuned to island life as fast as you can say “aloha”.
The Other Grand Canyon
The guides say it’s like the Grand Canyon only greener. The legends say it was carved by a giant lizard. We say it’s a lovely place to sit and picnic amid gauzy light and expansive, craggy views. The Hawaiians consider the top of Waimea Canyon to have strong energy – making it a good place for them to practice the art of hula. Despite the “Grand Canyon” claims it is not often crowded here. While you’re up here, also pause at Kalalau Lookout to hold hands, exhale and take in the vista of the big blue beyond the lush valley. This will be your first, but not last, perspective of the majestic Napali Coast. Don’t forget to stop at the historic Waimea Town on your way up to the canyon for take-away picnic supplies of tiki tacos or macadamia nut milkshakes. It looks a little like a cute, classic Western movie set and is worth a stop for some “look how adorable we are” newlywed snaps.
For a special occasion dinner, the locals’ tip is Tidepools. Dine on steak (all of the beef raised on the island is grass-fed) and seafood while basking in the amber glow of tiki torches at your dimly-lit table perched over a koi lagoon. The fish are fitting company for honeymooners as they symbolise luck, prosperity, and good fortune. On your plate, the local seafood to try includes cold-caught lobster, macadamia-crusted Ono (it literally means “delicious”), and togarashi-spiced Ahi. Some of the greens that end up in Tidepools’ salads come from a nearby tennis court that was converted to a hydroponic garden. Don’t forget to reserve your table well ahead of time. You will order the molten chocolate Lava Cake to split. It’s impossible not to.
The farm-to-table prix fixe menu at Hualani’s is a real treat. Only available on Tuesday nights, it’s a degustation of hyper-local produce. They grow a lot of the ingredients on the same property at The Farm at Hokuala. Once a golf course, the farm is now an organic orchard and vegetable garden growing everything from hibiscus to breadfruit to the Wonka-esque ice cream bean. The produce ends up in luxurious dishes like Lobster Consommé with Lobster Tempura and Daikon Kimchee or Black Pepper Kealia Octopus with Fuji Apple, Kilauea Feta, and Rosella Jam. You can even organise a tasting tour of the farm before dinner to help you work up an appetite.
When you’ve had your fill of fine dining, you might crave something a little more homespun. Keep an eye out for the Pineapple in Paradise van. They serve up dreamy Dole Whip cones which are like pineapple soft-serve ice cream but dairy free. And Hawaii is part of the United States so how can you pass up a slice of good, old-fashioned pie? One of the best examples of lilikoi (passionfruit) chiffon pie can be found in the unlikeliest of places: a humble Saimin noodle joint called Humera. Salt-toothed instead of sweet? We received a hot tip that the place to go is Kenji Burger for their truffle burger and furikake-sprinkled fries.
Alongside Hotel Hanalei Bay (better known as the former, movie-star-studded St Regis Princeville), residents of Kaua’i tell us that the most glamorous place to stay on the island is at the Grand Hyatt. Upon arrival, you see the hotel itself encloses a tropical garden and welcomes in the marine breeze from Keoniloa Bay. Here, a pair of resident macaws are free to roam: Niele (blue) is quite cheeky and Rico (crimson) might dance for you to his favourite song; the theme from Hawaii 5-0, naturally. Koi ponds, manicured tropical lawns, and even the odd humpback whale sighting on the horizon from your breakfast table (that happened) add to the Grand Hyatt Kaua’i’s splendour. And who can resist a hotel pool that treats guests like grown-ups and stays open 24 hours? Midnight swims under the full moon – here we come!
Stay tuned for part 2 of our Polka Dot Guide to Honeymooning in Hawaii: Kaua’i Edition soon.