I've been known to joke that a visit to Kauai will ruin your life. It's truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth, from the striking mountains of the Na Pali Coast to the valleys of Waimea Canyon to the perfect white sand of the beaches, and after a week here you may not want to leave (in fact, I met several islanders during my last visit who came as tourists and just decided to stay).
Hotel options on Kauai run the gamut from five-star properties with butler service to beachside hostels. One of my top recommendations of places to stay is Hanalei Colony Resort, particularly if you're traveling here for a romantic getaway. The resort sits on a secluded stretch of beach on the North Shore and has a very private, Robinson Crusoe-like vibe, but with vacation-friendly amenities like a pool and restaurant. Guest rooms are condo-style, which means they're open, airy and homey, with full kitchens and oversized picture windows.
Start the day with a walk along the Colony Resort's private beach, then cruise into the town of Hanalei for a lunch of pork laulau at the Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. truck followed by a surf lesson with Hawaiian Surfing Adventures.
Back at the hotel, go for a dip in the pool and wind down with a massage right on the beach. End the day with dinner at the hotel's simple but delicious restaurant followed by a glass of wine on your room's private lanai.