Kauai, HI


Hawaii was a dream.
It had been a place I had wanted to visit, because really there is nowhere I don’t want to visit, but it wasn’t high on my priority list of places to travel. Of course I was elated when Jordan and Jeremy decided this would be the destination of their wedding and even better, I got to go!
There are now places I would give up traveling to, just to visit Hawaii again.
I had assumed it would be like every other tropical paradise I’ve visited, but it is much more. I have been to Mexico several times, the lush coast’s of Italy, Costa Rica’s jungles, I have been lucky enough to take in the beauty of all these places and more so I figured Hawaii would pale in comparison to some.
Our first morning in Kauai, I threw open the wooden shutters of our hotel room, that were blocking out every trace of sunlight and let out a shocked and ecstatic scream!
The view.
I had never witnessed such lush, green mountains, with waterfalls pouring off of them into the jungles below. Mountains that turned into palm and banyan tree covered beaches that ran into the clearest blue ocean, with the most perfect, white capped, surfer waves.
This is a view I will never forget.
It was unbelievably beautiful and breathtaking.
I’ve been told Kauai is the most green and lush Hawaiian island. It is actually the location where much of Jurassic Park was filmed and that is exactly what you feel like you are set among. At any second a Dinosaur could come tearing through the greenery, while the theme song plays in the background.
I am going to break the rest of the island and our experiences into a couple categories, the location of where we stayed, the different beaches we visited and where to dine. Tomorrow I am going to share a post about my very favorite Kauai experience of the entire trip.
Hotel: St. Regis Princeville Resort  

You come to the St. Regis Princeville Resort for the impeccable views. You return to the St. Regis because of the impeccable views and the five star service. The St. Regis offers an unparalleled level of sophistication and serene luxury to one of the most remarkable destinations in the world.
Located on a 9,000 acre resort community in Princeville at Hanalei, the luxury resort resides on the North side of what is known as the “garden island.”
You feel like you’ve stepped into a prestigious, old country club upon entering the hotel.
 The grand foyer leads you to the  Makana Terrace which gives you a taste of the stunning views offered. There really is not a bad view in the hotel, no matter where you stand.
The absolute best thing about the St. Regis was how accessible the beach was from the pool. No hiking down a mountain, or catching a shuttle to the beach, you could step out of the pool and be at the beach in mere seconds. 
Being able to go back and forth from pool to beach, was so convenient for our family with Evelyn.
You could also walk right into the ocean from the hotel and begin your snorkeling adventures. There was a huge banyan tree right on the beach which provided a marker for excellent snorkeling. Here we saw all kinds of fish, coral and even a huge sea turtle!
The St. Regis also offered amazing pool seating that seamlessly flowed into beach seating. The tiered set-up, felt so old Hollywood and made me feel even more glam during my daily lounges. I also hate when we visit these amazing beaches and leave feeling like we spent more time soaking in chlorine than salt water. 
Salt water heals everything, am I right?
My other favorite part of the St. Regis was the breakfast. I can’t adequately express how delicious the St. Regis made the most important meal of the day. Smoked bacon, goat cheese omelets, crab fried rice, the best french toast smothered in coconut maple syrup, and I don’t even like coconut!
The breakfast buffet was endless and delicious.
Breakfast became the highlight of our entire group’s day, even the four year old who is very particular about what she consumes was overjoyed with options.
How can you not enjoy breakfast when this is the view that comes with it? And I am not talking about Zach!
Of course after breakfast comes cocktails {duh} and the St. Regis did not disappoint in that department either. I am not a huge Mai Tai fan but the St. Regis has something special going on with theirs.
I want to give a shout out to every single pool  waitress who tolerated my family during our pool days. Val, I am looking at you! .We had so much fun as a family and the waitresses of the St. Regis kept the fun coming like pros! The service was impeccable and made our experience that much more enjoyable and smooth.
From bringing my Brother, Bridezilla, bottle after bottle of champagne to making Evelyn’s 4th birthday extra special, the entire experience was unforgettable and the attention to detail was impeccable. If you are traveling to Kauai I can’t recommend the St. Regis enough as your choice of accommodations.
There are not many places you can ride a rainbow unicorn around the pool, champagne in hand, singing Cher at the top of your lungs without getting thrown out or at least scolded.
We were actually encouraged and it was Val, our fav waitress who informed us where to find the best rafts on the island. They were mostly sold out, except for a pineapple and the rainbow unicorn, so you can see how meant to be it all was.
People actually took our their cellphones and got up out of their chairs to take pictures of us on the rainbow unicorn. I’d love to know how many snap chats and Instagram stories I moonlighted in that day!
Oh, you were unaware of how fierce we are?
The Miami Vice were everything and my choice of cocktail the entire vacation.
Evelyn made a habit of swinging open our big windows nightly and serenading the beach goers below.
The only thing I wish our room had, was a walk out balcony.
Otherwise the rooms were incredible, the bathroom being my favorite part. Who doesn’t love a bath tub so big you can swim in it? I would recommend the St. Regis to an assortment of travelers, honeymooners, couples with children, adventure seekers or the more wine and dine by the pool type.
Also the cleaning services should be noted. I’ve never had a hotel so thoroughly clean my room and I mean that genuinely. Some might be weirded out by folded under garments, not me! I love everything put away and in its place neatly, the St. Regis housekeeping service spoke my language on the daily!
The St. Regis of Princeville has something to offer any type of guest and is quite literally a divine wonderland.
You’d think I was getting paid for this post, I’m not. Bloggers be Blogging everywhere they go! 
St. Regis if you read this glowing review, feel free to invite me back to your majestic beach paradise!
Hanalei Bay:  
Hanalei Bay is the largest bay on the North side of Kauai, West of Princeville. The town of Hanalei is the midpoint of the bay, which consists of nearly two miles of beach surrounded by mountains.
Surrounding Hanalei town, at the foots of the misty, green mountains are fields of taro. These heart-shaped plants grow intensely green in flooded patches and are used to make poi, a Hawaiian staple starch. We had taro in many forms on our trip, fried and mixed into just about anything containing starch. 
I can’t say it was my favorite flavor even fried and I like everything fried.
Kauai is an extremely relaxed island, the people of Kauai have a very laid back attitude and will close their business for the day if the waves become perfect surfing conditions. It’s very undeveloped and does not feel like a tourist trap, which was my favorite part of the atmosphere.
I realized how laid back island life was after driving past several mostly naked, rugged looking men, sitting outside their shanties, water bong in hand, laughing and waving, just taking in paradise as it passed before them.
The center of town feels as if you are stepping back in time to an old, laid back surfing town. There are clusters of small shops as well as food truck like stands offering the islands freshest delicacies.
Ono and Mahi Mahi are the areas fresh catches. Poke bowls in Hawaii are famous and can be found everywhere, even the gas station and grocery stores. Never would I imagine ordering a fish tacos or a poke bowl from a gas station but in Hawaii everyone offers a fresh taste of the islands. Some of the best food we had on the trip was on the side of the road, cooked in shanties.
Another delicacy we could not eat enough of and was offered as often as the fish was macadamia nut ice cream. The nut is grown all over Hawaii and never have I tasted ice cream so delicious. Goats are also very popular on the islands so the goat’s milk in place of cows might also be why their ice cream tasted extra yummy.
Mahalo is a Hawaiian word meaning thanks, gratitude, admiration, praise, regards or respect.
Mahalo for the spectacular views Kauai, mahalo!
Tunnels Beach:   
Tunnels Beach is the kind of beach you think of when you think of Hawaii. A secluded stretch of white, sand beach, the crescent bay makes it a snorkeler and divers paradise. Fringed with palm and ironwood trees and set against lush jungle covered mountains, Tunnels is the picture perfect beach!
Lava tubes form the many underwater caverns that gives Tunnels it’s name. It is also a favorite for surfer’s and is the location that surfer, Bethany Hamilton got her left arm bitten off by a tiger shark. 
That piece of information plays a huge part later in our day.
When we hit the beach we walked for a while to find the perfect spot that offered shade and what seemed like good snorkeling water. The floor of the ocean was rocky and it was hard to walk in without shoes on. As we started snorkeling, I was it, quickly. It was to shallow, too rocky, the currents were strong and hello, I’m afraid of sharks. As I made up my mind to turn around and swim back to shore I catch sight of Evelyn and my Mom and Dad yelling and pointing. I literally panicked, I was definitely about to be eaten by a tiger shark.
It wasn’t a shark, turns out it was a seal! 
A lone Hawaiian monk seal was swimming along the shore line, looking for a place to rest. First, I was extremely concerned, who knew Hawaii had seals? I thought he was lost from California, he looked tired and like he might be taking his last breaths!?
Then I started thinking about how close that seal had been swimming to my snorkeling waters and what would have happened had I run into him out in the wild. randomly. The state of Hawaii should be thankful that didn’t happen, they probably all would have heard me scream!
The Hawaiian Monk Seal is actually an endangered species, with only 1,100 thought to be left.
Later my Father stated he thought he had seen a dark shadow swimming along as we were walking. But you know, he just let us all jump in that water and snorkel, knowing a dark shadow was looming! Clearly Bethany Hamilton did not have as large of an impact on him as it did on me. 
Note to self: no longer trust Dad’s judgment on shadows and sharks.
Seeing the seal that up close and personal with Evelyn was one of the highlights of the trip. I again am just thankful I didn’t snorkel upon that seal in open water.
There is nothing quite like going through your yoga flow on a beach with your favorite four year old. 
My little lady loves her some yoga!
A studly Pirate also washed up on the beach.
When you are only sharing the beach with a seal, you can get as cheeky as you want!
Ke’e Beach:
The last beach we visited was Ke’e Beach, located at the end of the road, literally. Ke’e Beach marks the farthest you can drive on the north shore. The beach is protected by a reef that makes it a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. 
Ke’e Beach is also the beginning of the Napali Coast and the Kalalau trail that leads to Hanakapiai and Kalalau Beach. If you walked the beach about 50 yards, you were rewarded with the most magnificent view of the  Kauai coastline.
This is one of the beaches on the island that is patrolled by lifeguards. Restroom and shower facilities are on site as well as a payphone, since there is no cell service in the area. This is one of Kauai’s most popular beaches and you can tell. Unlike our time spent at Tunnels, Ke’e was full of locals and tourists.
The Brides/Babers.
My favorite part of the beach was the picturesque white sand, totally smooth with no rocks or reef in the shallow waters. The water itself was as clear as a swimming pool and because of the reef’s protection not many waves or under current. Ke’e beach is a perfect spot to relax, have lunch and get some swimming in.
This is also the perfect beach to take children. Especially in the summer months when the waters are known to be calmer. Just don’t forget your snorkel gear!
Wernecke children love a photo shoot that enhances our bust’s.
Eating on Kauai:  
Superb seafood and local Kauai cuisine.
Postcards is located in a tiny plantation cottage in the town of Hanalei, if you didn’t realize what it was, you would drive right past it. Everything is fresh and local. There is no bar, only beer and wine is served. Our meal was delicious, I had the Ono in a butter sauce that was the freshest and tastiest fish I had the entire trip. This was also where we tried the fried taro. This is a one room restaurant, with a very laid back vibe, you truly feel like you are getting an authentic Hawaiian experience.
Restaurant, Fish Market and Sushi Lounge.
This was my favorite dining experience on Kauai. More of a laid back bar atmosphere, open air, with music playing. Everything we ordered was DIVINE. The specialty sushi rolls, were some of the best I’ve ever had in my life! And the service and cocktails were on point. The prices for the island were also very reasonable. This would be an easy place to take children or a large group.
Locally Sourced, Crafted with Love, Shared with Friends.
A trendy tapas bar, this was also a delicious meal. Made to share , Bar Acuda boasts a cool atmosphere, and flavors curated by Chef Jim Moffat from all over the world. A little on the pricier side and just trendy enough that children probably would not be the best dining additions, unless of course you have well behaved kids. Everything we had was scrumptious, I recommend this for a more casual night out to share snacks and catch up with friends.
Tomorrow I will be bringing you my absolute favorite experience on Kauai.

If you visit the island Queen’s Bath is an absolute must see and swim spot despite the treacherous terrain to get there, stay tuned for all the details tomorrow!

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