The Sheraton Kauai Hotel is located in the Poipu area of Kauai. It’s on the southern side of the island and the location is beautiful. The ocean front property is very big and located on two different sides of Hoonani road. The setup is very confusing. It’s hard to tell where to check-in when you arrive because there’s no clear signage and both sides say “Valet.”
The valet situation was a mess when I arrived. They were running around like the chickens you see wandering everywhere on the island. There were 15 cars in two lanes backed up onto the main road. I waited for about 10 minutes before I was able to pull up into the drop-off area. I was told to checkin and come back tell them what room I was in. I asked about my luggage and they said to leave it with the car.
I went to check-in and the lines were long. There was no SPG check-in line at this hotel. As I waited for the line to dwindle I chatted with the concierge, Vicki, who was extremely helpful and friendly.
Once the line had gone down I attempted to check-in. It was a very confusing process. The woman helping me said she thought my room was ready, but she wasn’t sure. She was going to have someone do a visual inspection and asked me to have a seat. After about 20 minutes I went back to inquire and she said she was still waiting for the visual inspection. I waited another 40 minutes and then, frustrated, when back to the desk. The woman helping me wasn’t there anymore and didn’t let anyone know that I was waiting. The new person helping me also seemed very unsure about the room’s availability at which point I got a little annoyed and asked for a manger. The customer service manager came out of her office and, surprise, the room was immediately available. Bizarre. She offered me a $50 credit because of the wait and confusion. (Note: At checkout there was no $50 room credit.) I got my keys and went back to the valet to let them know my room.
The hotel is like a maze, divided by a busy road. I took two different sets of elevators and walked through curving hallways to get to my room. The room, which had two double beds and a connecting door, faced the ocean and the view was awesome. It also overlooked the pool and bar and after about 7pm was pretty quite. The room itself looked old and drab. One of the lights in the room was burnt out and so it made it even more dim. I immediately noticed that the light switches looked very dirty. I couldn’t tell if it was just paint or actual dirt. I took an alcohol swab (which I use to clean the remote control) and cleaned 1 light switch. It was filthy. That prompted me to clean the rest of the light switches, the handles in the room and the phones. The amount of dirt was amazing. I wonder if they ever clean them?
After walking around on the carpet I noticed my feet were getting dirty. The carpet was old and showed a lot of wear. It didn’t look fresh – it looked heavily trafficked and not well maintained. Later that evening, and after I was told there were no rooms to switch too as they were at 100% capacity because of a party, I discovered that there were some creatures sharing my room with me. Little ants in the bathroom all over the sink area and small flying gnats just about everywhere, but most heavily concentrated in the bathtub – where at least 12 were lying dead. It made me wonder if the room had been visually inspected by anyone, as they claimed it was while I waited to check in.
I asked the hotel to spray the room and they said they could in the morning when I was out of the room. The next morning I went out for the day and they sprayed. When I returned around 4pm and went back to the room, the smell from the bug spray was overwhelming and immediately set off my allergies. With a stuffy nose I called the front desk and told them I needed to switch rooms or move hotels. They offered me a new room, one building over from where I currently was, and with an ocean view. The manager came up to help me move and the new room smelled like a normal room should. She was extremely helpful.
The wifi in the hotel is awful and when I complained, the guest services manager brought a router to my room. It helped tremendously. (Wifi is critical when you run a blog and have 15 other people counting on you.) I was very happy that she was able to fix that problem so easily.
The second room I moved into had its own little bug problem. To me, they looked like bedbug on the bed, but the hotel management said they brought in a professional and verified that they were not bed bugs. In any case, there were bugs of some sort on the bed linens. As soon as I saw that I showered and packed faster than I ever have in my life an checked out.
The only thing that the hotel has going for it is the view and staff (outside of the pool bar servers). The beach and ocean are amazing. You can even see Humpback whales from the balcony (if you’re in an ocean facing room) or from the beach. We even saw a Hawaiian Monk Seal that had beached itself dirtily on the Sheraton beach. It freed itself about 12 hours later for those interested. You really can’t beat the location or views.
The service at the Sheraton Kauai restaurants is atrocious. Long waits, rude servers and bad food is what you can expect. If you don’t want to eat at the hotel, you can get in your car and go to one of the shopping centers or small town nearby. They offer some good options – but who wants to leave the pool or beach to get into the car and venture out for lunch.
For dinner, I absolutely recommend eating outside of the hotel. Food prices at the hotel are outrageous, more so than you’d expect. A hamburger with no side items is $18 plus tax. A turkey BLT with two slices of store bought deli meat was $16 plus taxes. A bowl of seafood paella was $34. As a comparison, the burger at Relish at Westin Maui was $16 and included a side item. The burger at the Westin Kauai was $15 and included a side item. The Sheraton Kauai’s excuse for such high prices? The location. They said that it’s such a popular location and everyone wants to eat here.
The Sheraton Kauai is going to take a lot of work before it’s up to Starwood standards. In addition to needing a renovation – I was able to confirm that nothing has been updated since before 2006 – the restaurant staff needs a lot of training. Maybe the hotel could get the concierge, Vicki, to show them how to be friendly and smile!
I will not be returning to this hotel anytime soon. If you’re planning a trip I would suggest looking into the Westin or St Regis or, if you want to be on the south side, look at the Hyatt or Wyndham which are very close to the Sheraton. I can’t recommend this hotel.