Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mellow advenures at Kaua's Grand Hyatt and Shipwreck Beach

Hurricane Iniki removed the ship that in 1970 ran up on the reef of this south Kauai beach, but in any case you will hardly feel marooned: This surfer's run of sand fronts the Grand Hyatt Kauai, perhaps Hawaii's (the world's?) best tropical resort. The low-slung (by law, no building on Kauai can be "taller than a coconut palm") resort with Asian-inspired architecture features several airy levels that give way to a sprawling fantasy pool and saltwater lagoon, before reaching the wild sands.

Active vacationers love the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail, which skirts the wild sea bluffs to the south. Nesting seabirds and whales offshore (in the winter and spring) attract nature lovers, while history freaks can inspect the large Ho'ouluia Heiau (temple). The two-plus-mile path reaches Gillan's Beach and then Mahaulepu Beach, both good for snorkeling. You may see a an endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal. A trail continues another mile or so to remote Haula Beach.