For independent family explorers who want their own space and kitchens in Kauai, with reasonable driving distances to all of the best attractions of the island from its central location, the Castle Kaha Lani Resort Condominiums are ideal. Not to mention, it's only a 5-minute walk along the paved shoreline path--or perhaps 8 minutes at a toddler's pace--to the best playground in all Kauai and the sheltered, kid-friendly swimming lagoon at Lydgate Park.
Located a mere 10 minutes from the Lihue airport, near Kapa'a, Castle Kaha Lani has 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom condos in a quiet complex with sweeping open lawns where young kids can run, kick a ball, throw a frisbee, or like my three: just pretend they are horses. In three minutes, we could walk from our upper-story unit to the small sand beach beside the complex.
Since units are privately owned, each condo can vary slightly in decor and bedding options, so be sure to read the details of any unit you consider here carefully. Our 1-bedroom condo had a king-size bed in the bedroom, and sofabed in the living room--plus a full-size fold-out foam mattress my kids were very happy to use on the floor (which folded and tucked behind the sofa during the day).
With our full kitchen, including a range/oven, microwave, dishwasher, and full-size refrigerator/freezer--and a large grocery store at Kapaa just 10 minutes by car--I was able to keep the kids fueled by their favorites (and my favorites for them) and on our own, jet-lagged schedule.
Our unit had a "partial ocean view," which you can see from the first photo above was not too shabby. Louvered windows and ceiling fans brought in enough ocean breeze that we never needed air conditioning.
While there was much to appreciate about our quiet home at Kaha Lani, the birds were an unexpected thrill. We had numerous tropical birds stopping by our lanai and frequenting the plumeria bushes outside, including "Kauai cardinals" and some sort of blue and silver doves.
But for my husband and I one of the nicest parts of our stay was our morning ritual (which started before sunrise thanks to our internal clocks set to Pacific Time) of carrying our freshly brewed Kona coffees down onto the beach and watching the kids play in the sand and create driftwood forts and sculptures as the sun rose over the ocean.
Normally, the swimming pool would have been one of the kids' favorites as well, but as I mentioned above, the proximity to Lydgate Park's kid-friendly swimming lagoon was the far-more interesting perk for our family. And the sprawling Kalamani Friendship Playground beside it was the perfect place for my husband to walk the kids to in the evenings and let them run off energy and mingle with other kids while I made dinner or wrote.
Heated swimming pool
Barbecues - poolside and around the complex
Laundry - Coin-op machines are $1.50 to wash and dry
Rollaway beds - available on request
Words to the Wise
While Castle Kaha Lani is a beachfront property, the narrow beach is not recommended for swimming. As mentioned, a short walk down the path leads to the sheltered ocean swimming at Lydgate Park.
We got great deal renting our unit directly from its owner through VRBO.com, and were able to see specific photos and details for the unit we'd be in. In addition to the great nightly rate, we did not have to pay resort fees and enjoyed free parking!
Did we enjoy our stay at Castle Kaha Lani? Very much - it felt like a home away from home for us, where we were able to relax and have all the things we needed, including free wireless internet access (in our unit - may vary).
Would we recommend it to our friends? We already have. And oddly enough, it turns out good friends of ours always stay there on their annual trip to Kauai!
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