Organic Spa Blog

The Green Guy’s Perfect Day: Poipu Beach, Kauai

They call Kauai the “Garden Island” and the moment you land at the airport in Lihue, it’s clear to see why. The whole island is green and lush with palm trees and birds of paradise dotting the landscape everywhere you look. I spent my time here in Poipu Beach, a tourist hub on the southern edge of the island where beautiful hotel resorts dot the coastline. This is where you will first learn to surf. This is where you will start saying lilikoi instead of passionfruit. This is where you will feel like a Hawaiian, even if only for a weekend.

My perfect day starts with a light breakfast at Red Salt inside the Koa Kea hotel. It’s a modern boutique property and the menu reads more like a high-end brunch spot on the mainland. The meal starts with a basket of mini crème fraiche muffins and you won’t find Hawaiian staples like loco moco and spam musubi here. Instead, there’s a massive breakfast burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs, pancetta hash, and gruyere cheese. I opted to forego a hot beverage (it’s the South Pacific, after all) and ordered a large glass of POG juice. That’s passionfruit/orange/guava for you haolis. Don’t fill up too much, though, because you’re about to hang ten.

After breakfast, head just up the beach to meet your super rad instructor from the Kauai Surf School. Lessons last two hours and you’ll be catching waves in no time. They’ve been operating since 1999 and whether you’ve never hit the waves before or you’re almost ready for Pipeline, these dudes will have you cruising in no time. Just make sure to heed their warnings or you’ll wind up as “YouTube Gold,” a favorite phrase of instructor Alan Potter.

Now that you’re a bonafide surfer, it’s time to look the part. Walk down the beach to Poipu Beach Park where you’ll find Nukumoi Surf Company, a surf shop that sells all kinds of surf gear from t-shirts to rash guards. If you can pull it off, snag one of the neon-colored mesh hats that say “Nuk’s” and try to look like a local. The staff is super friendly and you can even rent snorkel gear and surf boards if you’re looking to get back in the water later on. At this point, you’ve worked up quite an appetite and luckily, it’s time for lunch.

About a mile east of Nukumoi is the enormous Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. It’s a gorgeous 600-room resort and their restaurants offer something for everyone. You can chill by the pool with some fresh ahi poké and a killer version of the mai tai (called a Tai Chi), or stop into Ilima Terrace for a more conventional lunch. The grilled seafood salad offers huge scallops and prawns mixed with fresh greens, kalamata olives, and potatoes for an island version of a classic nicoise salad. No matter what you eat, you’ll be enjoying an incredible view of the ocean complete with pods of whales breaching and spouting.

After lunch, your muscles are going to start feeling the morning’s surf lesson, so book yourself a spa treatment at the Anara Spa inside the Grand Hyatt. It’s an enormous indoor/outdoor facility with black lava rock showers, eucalyptus-scented steam rooms, and traditional lomi lomi massages. The treatment rooms have outdoor patios attached to them so the sunlight streams in while you undo the negative effects of paddling too hard on your surfboard.

Make sure to stick around and enjoy the tranquil calm of the spa facilities before heading out to dinner. Once you’re dressed and ready to go, take the short journey to The Shops at Kukui’ula, a breezy outdoor mall filled with galleries and locally-owned shops. Grab a table at Tortilla Republic, a modern Mexican restaurant that’s bringing a chic vibe to the laid-back island. The tableside guacamole is wonderful and you can’t go wrong with the short ribs chile verde, a spicy treat on top of a roasted jalapeno-spiked potato puree. Order up a Thai Margarita made with cream of coconut, tequila, and muddled kaffir lime leaves and you’ll be ready to ease into nighttime secure in the knowledge that you’ve become a real Hawaiian.

Red Salt at Koa Kea
2251 Poipu Road
Koloa, HI 96756
(808) 828-8888

Kauai Surf School
Hoonani Road
Poipu Beach, HI 96756
(808) 651-6032

Nukumoi Surf Company
2100 Hoone Road
Koloa, HI 96756
(808) 742-8019

Grand Hyatt Resort & Anara Spa
1571 Poipu Road
Koloa, HI 96756
(808) 742-1234

Tortilla Republic
The Shops at Kukui’ula
2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka Street
Koloa, HI 96756
(808) 742-8884

Poipu Beach Resort Association