The Gem of the Grand Hyatt Kauai, The Pools
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If this wasn’t a blog devoted in large part to family travel, then dedicating an entire post to the pools at a hotel might seem like overkill. However, let me assure you that it is not. If you have been to the Grand Hyatt Kauai, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, then hopefully one day you will know what I mean. Before I get to the main attraction of the post, here is a chance to catch-up on this Hawaiian trip report.
The Grand Hyatt Kauai doesn’t just have a pool. It has many pools. I don’t even know the accurate number because it is more than I could easily count. The pools are all open 24 hours a day (though the action really dries up by early evening).
I’ll start with my favorite – the salt water lagoon. The beach that the hotel is situated on is actually not very good for swimming due to the rough waters, but what it lacks in calm ocean waters, it more than makes up with via the salt water lagoon that is located directly behind the ocean and beach. In the lagoon you can snorkel or rent a kayak, though I never saw anyone do either while we were there. What made me love the large lagoon is that my daughter could safely play in it without me having a panic attack.
The water is clear, calm, and gets deeper at a gradual enough slope that there was plenty of space where she could safely stand up and play without me having to have a death grip on her. She is learning to swim, but at three years old is not a good enough swimmer to be able to safely play where she can’t touch the bottom. However, in this lagoon she can have the freedom and independence to play with the other kids while I sit on the side-lines and supervise. Win – win for all involved.
It is also made of a sand-like substance that she could play in with her beach toys. Note that the sand-line substance can hurt your feet a little to walk on when you are out of the water, but it didn’t bother us at all in the water.
If you want to get away from the three-year-old crowd, there are deeper parts of the lagoon where even I couldn’t touch the bottom, so it is a really great area for adults as well as children. We spent most of our pool time in the saltwater lagoon, and it is one of the features of this hotel that very much makes me want to return.
If you want a little bit more of a traditional pool experience, there are plenty of those. There is an adult pool, two jacuzzis, and countless other pools. There are some larger open areas, but then there are also some little “rivers” that take you from one spot to the next. It is not all one inter-connected complex. There are upper pools and lower pools and some of the little “rivers” do hit dead-ends.
The plus side of this is that it is really easy to find your own little “corner” of the pool to get away from everything. The downside of the pools is that there is not a shallow kid’s pool or splash area that I saw for the younger crowd. Though the saltwater lagoon makes up for that… There are multiple water falls and tons of tropical foliage surrounding the pools. There is also a pool with a volleyball net and basketball goal that is designed for the more active pool experience.
In one of the pools there is a pretty large water slide that requires you to be 42 inches or taller. It actually took me a while to figure out how to let my daughter safely do this since I was traveling solo with her. Eventually I realized the best plan was to go up there with her, and I go down the slide first to catch her at the bottom (since no guarantee she would safely swim to the side). This worked fine, though the wait for her to come down the slide on the turns I couldn’t see felt like forever! There is a staff member who works at the top of the slide while it is open (not open 24 hours).
There are many cabanas along the side of the pool that are available for rent. I rented one for free thanks to choosing it as my Hyatt Diamond amenity at check-in. Based on what I was told when I went to reserve mine, it sounds like they also offer them to those there on their honeymoon. Otherwise the poolside ones are $50 a day. The ones next to the ocean cost a bit more.
If you plan to spend a good chunk of the day by the pools with your family, I think this is a good investment. It allows for some guaranteed chairs (though there were plenty available while I was there) and it also guarantees you some shade and a nice place to have a drink or snack brought to you by the servers who are working the pool area.
I highly recommend investing in a tube or floatation device of some sort while you are here. They rent tubes, but the price to buy was less than renting for two days. I didn’t write down the price to buy, but I would guess it was about $12 – $14 for an inflated tube. We used the heck out of that thing – especially since the pools were too deep for C to stand in. We also used it in the lagoon pool to go on “adventures” in the deep parts. As a bonus, it is also fun to play with in the room, apparently…
When we left, we gave the tube to another family who had yet to buy one as my bags were already way too full even for a deflated tube. It would be cool if they formalized this “pay it forward” process…though I suppose it would not be in their financial interest to do so.
There is both a reservations desk and Captain Andy’s Watersports Center in the pool complex where you can buy or rent pool related items. The reservations desk is a bit hidden, but it is located on the lower pool next to The Dock restaurant. This is where you can check-out towels, rent a cabana, buy a float, etc. I did have to give my name and room number to get towels, but there wasn’t a limit nor did you have to return them to the reservations desk itself. I didn’t visit Captain Andy’s, but it is next to the Saltwater Lagoon and it is where you can rent rafts, snorkel gear and kayaks.
The pools are truly the crown jewel of the Grand Hyatt Kauai. I do wish they had at least one freshwater pool or splash pad area designed for the five and under crowd, but that would be like asking for a fourth scoop of ice cream in an ice cream sundae. These pools are absolutely amazing and it is the most extensive pool complex I have personally ever visited.
Have you played in these pools? What did you think? Did I leave out your favorite spots?
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