Resorting to Perfection
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Who Loves Ya, Keiki?
Resorting to Perfection
Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Oahu
Because guests here have charging privileges at three other Sheraton hotels in Waikiki, you’ll feel like you have the run of the place. Teens especially love the casual, urban ambience of Waikiki, where pedestrians stroll the sidewalks carrying surfboards, and movie theaters are just around the corner. All four hotels share the free (with lunch available for $6.50) Keiki Aloha
Sports On-Site: The beachboys at Aloha Beach Services, two doors down, give surfing lessons ($25 per hour) or rides on outrigger canoes ($5 per person) or catamarans ($10 per hour). The gentle, near-shore break is great for boogieboarding; rent a board for $5 a day, or buy one at any ABC Store for about $20-$40. For snorkeling, pick Dream Cruises; its 100-foot yacht comes
Farther Afield: Rent a car and make a loop of the island, beginning with an early visit to Hanauma Bay, ten miles from Waikiki in Oahu’s southeastern corner. This snorkeling magnet is mobbed by 9 a.m., so get there by eight and you’ll see dinner-plate-size parrot fish and butterfly fish in waist-deep water. Keep the ocean on your right side as you drive around Koko Head to
Kids over seven will enjoy the relatively flat, hour-long hike just south of Laie along the muddy, ferny banks of Kaluanui Stream that takes you to Sacred Falls, a thrilling 80-foot stream tumbling through a cleft in the Koolau Mountains. Pull into the marked parking lot and take the 1.3-mile trail to the dirt path. It’s another .7 miles to the falls. Be sure to drop a leaf in
Booking Information: Rates at the Royal run $290-$490 per night for a double or $475 for a junior garden suite. There is no charge for kids under 18 staying in the same room as their parents. Call 800-325-3535 for additional information.
Another Option: On the north shore, the Turtle Bay Hilton (ocean-view doubles, $175-$215; under 17 free with parents) is a bit worn, but is quieter than Waikiki. Call 800-445-8667 for reservations and information.
Hyatt Regency, Kauai
The Hyatt Regency Kauai in Poipu on the south side is a handsome place where you’ll find the best beach, spa, bar, and pool complex on the island. The water slide, river-current pool, action pool with basketball and volleyball, and hidden Jacuzzis keep kids five and up busy, and parents with smaller kids love the shallow, sand-bottomed lagoon. Classes on poi-pounding and
Sports On-Site: Rent snorkels and fins ($5 per day) and kayaks ($7.50 per hour) at the poolside kiosk. Free guided hikes are offered every other Monday morning to prehistoric native Hawaiian settlements alongside the property.
Farther Afield: A three-hour horseback tour with CJM Country Stables ($71; 742-6096) explores Mahaulepu, the craggy, untraveled southeastern corner of the island. Or rent bikes from Outfitters Kauai at Poipu Plaza ($20-$33 per day; 742-9667) and ride past Poipu Beach Park, which has fine snorkeling on the rocky sides, to the Spouting Horn, a startling gusher that funnels waves
Paddling the Na Pali Coast on the north shore, an hour’s drive from Poipu, is completely ono (great, bitchin,’ wicked cool) in summer, when winter’s 30-foot waves have stopped smashing into the coastline. For families with kids 16 and up, Kayak Kauai leads an all-day, 15-mile paddle ($130 per person; 826-9844) past hanging valleys, stark cliffs,
Booking Information: Double rooms at the Hyatt Regency Kauai (800-233-1234) go for $365-$415 per night, or $485 for a Regency Club room with continental breakfast, free evening cocktails, and a dedicated concierge service.
Another Option: The Kiahuna Plantation, also in Poipu, sits on 35 oceanfront acres with manicured gardens. One-bedroom units ($175-$400) come with kitchens. Call 800-462-6262.
Kona Village, The Big Island
Your base is Kona Village, five miles north of the airport on the site of an ancient Hawaiian fishing village. Secluded and unpretentious, the Village has comfortable thatch-roof huts along a small beach, great restaurants, and only one television and VCR in the whole place. Your kids can learn how to throw fishing nets, hook carp in the resort’s pond, and paint coconuts in the
Sports On-Site: Explore the bay with snorkels, kayaks, Sunfish and Laser sailboats (free to guests) from the Beach Shack, or go diving ($85 for one tank) or take a snorkel sail ($55). The hotel won’t let you stray far from its shores with its gear, so you might want to rent a kayak from Ocean Safaris Kayak Tours in Kailua-Kona (singles, $30 per day; doubles, $45; 326-4699).
Farther Afield: Hawaiian Walkways (800-457-7759) leads a four- to six-mile hiking tour ($110 per person; $90 kids 12 and under) from Anaehoomalu, near the Waikoloa Resort, to the Kona Coast State Park on the Ala Kahakai Trail, a shoreline trail through petroglyph fields. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, about two-and-a-half-hours from Kona, also has eerie, venting trails and the
Waipio Valley on the Hamakua coast is a carved-out bowl surrounded by sheer cliffs and ocean. Explore it on horseback with Na’alapa Trail Rides (two-and-a-half-hour tour, $75; kids 8 to 14, $65; 775-0419), which takes you deep into the valley for views of Hiilawe Falls and taro fields. For a killer paddling trip, Ocean Safaris Kayak Tours (326-4699) offers a new overnight
Booking Information: Kona Village rates ($625 per day for two adults) include three meals daily and airport transfers. Kids’ rates run $170 for 13 and up; $115 for age 6 to 12; $60 age 2 to 5; $25 for infants. Call 800-367-5290.
Another Option: In the town of Volcano, the Kilauea Lodge (two-bedroom cottage, $175 for a family of four, including breakfast; 967-7366) is a comfortable inn near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Embassy Suites, Maui
In West Maui, the Kaanapali Resort is a stretch of high-rise hotels fronting a three-mile strip of manicured sand. Check out the Embassy Suites, a big, pink pyramid on the far-north side of the beach. Accommodations are one-bedroom suites equipped with kitchenettes and big-screen TVs with cable and VCR; full breakfast is included. There’s a one-acre pool, a fitness center, and
Sports On-Site: Grab snorkels, seacycles, sailboards, or kayaks at the beach activities desk (charges vary) and head south inside the barrier reef. To the north are rocky coves and the rugged seaside cliffs of the Kapalua Resort.
Farther Afield: Take a 45-minute catamaran cruise from Lahaina across the Auau Channel to Club Lanai, where you can spend the day snorkeling, kayaking, or mountain biking. The $79-$89 tariff includes lunch and equipment; call 667-4000.
You can hike into the crater of Haleakala, the dormant volcano (check with the park center at 572-9306), or traverse it on horseback with Pony Express, which leads a daily 7.5-mile trip down into the crater ($120 per person; 667-2200).
Explore Maui’s desolate southwestern shore on a three-hour kayak tour with South Pacific Kayaks and Outfitters ($55; 875-4848) that paddles around Puu Olai, a shoreline cinder cone, to Oneloa Beach (also known as Big Beach).
Booking Information: A one-bedroom suite at Embassy Suites runs $265-$335 per night for up to four people; call 800-669-3155.
Another Option: The Silver Cloud Upcountry Guest Ranch, on the slopes of Haleakala in Kula, is a B&B with stunning ocean views ($95-$135 per couple plus $15 per child five and up for a bunkhouse with kitchenette; call 808-878-6101).
Molokai Ranch, Molokai
Sports On-Site: There are daily jeep tours of the ranch’s 350-acre wildlife park where zebras, giraffes, elands, and barbary sheep roam through a landscape reminiscent of Africa’s savannah. You can also take a guided horse trek; hike or bike more than 30 miles of trails; sea kayak and snorkel among green sea turtles, angelfish, and anemones; or attend a paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) rodeo.
Booking Information: Prices are $154 per adult per night, $85 for each additional person (full price in two-person yurts), including airport transfers, all meals, and one activity per day. Kayaks, surfboards, mountain bikes, and snorkel gear can be rented from the ranch’s Outfitters Center. Extra cots and sleeping bags are available for an additional $30. For more information