Sheraton Kauai (HI, USA): Oceanfront suite recommended, not too big, oceanfront, request a room on the beach side of the street! Not sure we'd stay here if we weren't in a suite. The Grand Hyatt is a more luxe choice, but the Sheraton is right on a swimmable beach.
Fairmont Orchid Kohala Coast (HI, USA): This hotel on the "Big Island" is very nice, but not as impressive as some other properties (Grand Hyatt Kauai in particular). The one-bedroom ocean front suites are spacious and comfortable. The pool is pretty basic, but there's a calm lagoon on property with great snorkeling (you might even see turtles!). Kids Club does fun morning excisions, but the dining options are somewhat limited (Brown's Deli is great on the go).
Four Seasons The Lodge at Koele (Lanai, HI, USA): A gorgeous, hidden gem that is the perfect place to go off the grid. Amazing golf course, but nowhere near the ocean (part of its charm) as it's nestled away in the mountains. Worth a visit for a very nice dinner if nothing else.
Luxe Take on the Islands
Kauai is our favorite Hawaiian Island by far. The south is generally warmer and sunnier, but the north has gorgeous mountain views to complement the beaches. You can do it all on this island.
The Big Island's only real draw is the observatory and active volcanos. Other than that it's very spread out out and as the youngest of the major islands, it's pretty barren in comparison.
Maui is great for first-timers because there is so much to do there without the big city (Honolulu) messing with your vacay vibe. I prefer staying at the Ritz in Kapalua as it's quieter and closer to the mountains than the family-crazy hotels in Kaanapali.
Lanai is beautiful, but sleepy. There are two Four Seasons properties and we've stayed at both. The FS at Manele Bay is a pretty typical beach resort. The room was a total let down, beachfront, but dated and not worth the price. The service, was up to par, as was the overall experience. The FS The Lodge at Koele was gorgeous and my husband and I agree that it's the perfect place to go off the grid. Amazing golf course, but nowhere near the ocean (part of its charm) as it's nestled away in the mountains. Worth a visit for a very nice dinner if nothing else.