Last spring we started talking about where we wanted to go for a winter holiday. It would be our first holiday as a family of 5 instead of 3. We would now be travelling with a 7 year old and twin one year olds. We debated hopping a quick non stop flight to Mexico and staying at an all inclusive,but in the end we chose Hawaii. Hawaii has been a long standing favourite. We wanted to have a condo so we weren’t stuck eating out every meal with kids (it’s just not that fun, relaxing or enjoyable with two toddlers!) and we love that in Hawaii you never have to worry about what you are eating or drinking, you can safely drive yourself around and you can be as busy or relaxed during your holiday as you choose to be. We settled on Kauai as it was one island we had not yet visited. We settled on the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation at the recommendations of friends and because it seemed to be a very good value. The biggest downside was the flights. From Saskatoon, there is really no way to get around a 10-12 hour travel day, or longer. In our case we had a 5 hour layover in Vancouver which meant a total of a 13 hour travel day from take off to landing. What else would a sane mom and dad do, but call in the recruits – grandparents. My in laws had not been to Hawaii before and were happy to come along on our adventure (yay us!).
Our travel day started off as expected, flights to Vancouver smooth and on time – thanks Westjet! Layover in Vancouver a breezes – thanks Premium Plaza Lounge for giving us a private conference room to keep our family contained. We had a small room with 4-5 chairs, coffee table, etc which was quiet and allowed our kids to nap and allowed us to keep them in a safe area where they weren’t bothering anyone else. Premium Plaza offers a great service and well worth the cost on a long layover. We enjoyed a free meal, snacks and drinks while in the lounge.
We then boarded our flight to Lihue and that is where the fun began. We quickly became “that family”…you know who I mean. My 1 year old son fell asleep before take off – score 1. That’s where our luck ended. Our 1 year old daughter fought sleep for the first two hours, getting quite cranky by the end of the second hour. Then she fell asleep at the same time as our older daughter….well, good – time to order a snack and a glass of wine and celebrate our win fall. That’s when disaster struck. Our little guy, who had been sleeping so nice, started to get a little restless and then started to throw up…and throw up and throw up and throw up. Oh wait – and the flight got turbulent and then rougher and rougher and rougher (my fear of flying is kicking in). So, we have a little guy throwing up over everything and everyone including his 7 year old sister, his grandma and his mom and his dad (gross), we have a turbulent flight and we have 4 hours left till we land. As my 7 year old said “WORST FLIGHT EVER!” I will never again complain about a noisy kid or a sick kid on a flight. Once you’ve been “that family”, there is no going back.
We arrived at Lihue at 930pm local time (130am our time). We had to pick up our luggage, take a shuttle to the Dollar Rent a car, then drive to the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation. All along the way, things improved. Our little guy was feeling better by the time we left the flight, the Dollar shuttle driver was super helpful as were the staff at the counter. They quickly got us on our way and gave us easy to follow instructions to the hotel.
As we were leaving Dollar, the attendant mentioned that there was a new Safeway in Lihue we would pass on our way if we wanted to stop for groceries…um, it’s 11pm by this time and we have 3 tired kids, 2 cranky parents, 2 grandparents questioning their judgement on coming along…so I was very glad I had made arrangements for grocery delivery with Kauai Kiss – more on that later…but no thank you to a midnight stop at Safeway!
We arrived at the hotel, tired, hot and smelly. The lady at check in quickly had us on our way to our rooms, which were very close to the reception. We have the lower two floors with our 2 bedroom condo and my in laws are one floor up above us. They met every request – rooms close together and renovated condos. I can’t speak for all of the condos at this resort, but ours is phenomenal. It has been renovated, has nice furniture, new laminate floors, granite counters, new kitchen, comfy beds. It is quite a bit better than I was expecting. I was worried that we had no AC at this hotel, but it’s been fine. It’s 25-26 degrees during the day, 21 or so at night and there is a nice breeze and ceiling fans, keeping the unit very comfortable.
The best thing I did in our planning was arranging for Kauai Kiss to stock our unit with groceries. I picked enough food for a few days so we wouldn’t have to wonder what the heck we would feed the kids the next morning and we wouldn’t have to rush first thing to the grocery store when we were sure to be tired after our long day. Boy, was I grateful we did that! We arrived to a fully stocked kitchen – kid friendly staples like spaghetti, burgers, hot dogs, Kraft Dinner, chicken fingers, plus the necessities like bottled water, coffee, bread, milk fruit and veggies and the best part – COLD BEER and wine 🙂
When we were all up at 6am after a mere 5 hours of sleep, I was very, very happy to have coffee brewing and toast and cereal ready to go. We did a little tour around the property, did a quick beach walk this morning – a 5-7 minute walk from our unit which is at the back of the property by the road. We saw humpback whales breaching and surfers. We also used the well maintained BBQ areas for lunch and had a short swim in the pool before afternoon naps. The pool is across the street, about a 5-7 minute walk from our unit as well. It has a waterslide, zero entry area and hot tub. It wasn’t very busy despite the hotel being full and was family friendly with a snack bar and towels provided.
The things I liked about this resort when I was booking – no resort fees, free parking, free WIFI, free towels and chairs at the beach. The only Extra is a cleaning fee at checkout, which is understandable as these are condos that need to be cleaned between visitors. We get three cleaning services during our stay – one is just a towel change, one is floors, garbage and linens and one is a full clean. That should be sufficient, but we can pay for extra cleaning if needed.
So, I am happy to report that we survived our “WORST FLIGHT EVER” and our stay on the beautiful island of Kauai is looking up. More to come!