Kauai beckons visitors who want to experience the island’s mountains, valleys, rainforests, waterfalls and jagged cliffs. For sure that beauty often comes attached to a hefty price tag, and you won’t find many cheap hotels in Kauai. But if you think a vacation on the Garden Isle is as inaccessible as some of those cloud-topped peaks, think again. We rounded up ten affordable Kauai hotels and resorts that are surprisingly wallet-friendly, not spendy (relatively speaking, at least).
Kauai Beach Resort
Experiences at this 25-acre Kauai Beach Resort give guests a true immersion into Polynesian culture, including a Nukoli’i Sunrise Ceremony, local music, lei making, hula lessons and an education talk about how Pacific Navigators traveled without modern navigation tools.
Newly renovated plantation-style rooms in neutral tones face the mountains, ocean or gardens. A water complex has two lagoon pools with waterfalls, one regular pool and a sand-bottomed kids’ pool, along with a waterslide and hot tub, and three dining concepts pique palates with upscale cuisine or casual fare. Bonus: treats at the shave ice bar can be spiked with local Koloa Rum.
Hotel Coral Reef Resort
Hotel Coral Reef Resort is a boutique beachfront hotel that just underwent an overhaul and added amenities, yet charges no resort fee. It’s situated in the town of Kapa’a, which bustles with tourists perusing its shops, restaurants and farmers markets, as well as enjoying live entertainment.
Accommodations at this affordable Kauai resort include private lanais, parking, use of bicycles and beach chairs, complimentary breakfast, tea and coffee, and use of the gas barbecue grill. Some oceanfront rooms have soaking tubs, microwaves and in-room refrigerators, and the oceanfront lagoon pool has a tropical waterfall.
Because Kauai Palms is just a five-minute drive from the Lihue Airport you’ll be able to experience the island’s charms that much quicker. It’s nestled on a quiet street with views of the Kipu Mountains; a short walk away you’ll find a dozen dining options in the nearby Lihue Restaurant District, plus Kalena Park for those with children looking for free things to do in Kauai.
Rooms are decorated in an island style, some with kitchenettes or full kitchens, coffee makers, mini fridges and flat screen televisions. The beach is a short drive or a pleasant half hour walk away.
Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach
Start or end the day relaxing on your private lanai overlooking the garden, mountains or beach at Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach, an affordable hotel on Kauai’s east side that’s named for the growing groves of coconut palms.
The pool, whirlpool and beach are dotted with lounge chairs, hammocks and fire pits, and the Voyager Lanai’s all-day menu offers up mahi mahi fish and chips, tuna poke and slow-roasted pork belly with ginger glaze and Hawaiian slaw. A lomi lomi or coffee massage at Pua Day Spa is an indulgent splurge.
Garden Island Inn Hotel
Garden Island Inn Hotel, a small, artsy boutique hotel by Kalapaki Beach, has been family-owned and -operated since 1989. Its 21 tropically decorated rooms, suites and condos have kitchenettes, flat-screen televisions include DVDs of movies filmed on the island. Some also have private lanais with partial ocean and mountain views, and the hotel staff will even fill your room daily with fresh flowers cut from their garden. They don’t charge a resort fee but still offer free parking, morning snacks and coffee in the lobby, use of beach chairs, boogie boards, snorkel sets and fins, beach towels and coolers.
Banyan Harbor Resort
Kalapaki Beach is close to Banyan Harbor Resort in Lihue, partially protected from the ocean by a large break wall which makes it perfect for swimming, floating and stand-up paddle boarding. (The property is also just a few minutes’ drive from the Lihue airport.)
Each of the one-bedroom condos and two-bedroom townhouses comes with separate living and dining areas, a fully equipped kitchen and a private lanai. Resort fee provides use of the saltwater heated pool, parking, tennis and basketball courts, picnic areas, poolside barbecue grills, shuffleboard, pickleball and an activities desk.
Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay
The Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay‘s location adjacent to family-friendly Lydgate State Park translates to ample space to play and picnic on the beach, swim and snorkel in its two protected lagoons and bike and walk on the 2½-mile trail.
Spread out in a spacious room, suite or two-bedroom cottage and splash in the two pools and whirlpool. There is a resort fee but since it includes a shell lei greeting, two complimentary Mai Tais or soft drinks per room per night, a Hawaiian cultural sunrise ceremony, a two-hour Ke Ala Hele Makalae bike ride, and usage of coolers and beach mats, we think it’s worth it.
Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy
The new freeform pool and jacuzzi with natural rock formations are the focal points for Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy, an affordable Kauai hotel on the Royal Coconut Coast. The coastline here is quite rocky; if that’s not your thing head to one of the sandy beaches nearby.
One- and two-bedroom accommodations done in a contemporary style have private lanais from which to spot flora and fauna. Hukilau Lanai restaurant offers up Pacific Rim cuisine, steaks and seafood by the water and the Hawaiian Sea Salt Glow at Spa Makaiwa will leave skin smooth and bright.
Kauai Shores Hotel
The vibe at Kauai Shores Hotel on the island’s Coconut Coast is bright, funky and fun, from the pops of neon green and teal in the rooms to the bright orange beach umbrellas to the overflowing cups of shave ice from Lava Lava Beach Club.
Some of the newly remodeled accommodations come with a garden, pool or ocean view, and some are also equipped with kitchenettes. The Hospitality Fee gives guests niceties like bike rentals, water, use of the in-room Keurig machine, Wi-Fi, outdoor yoga and two Mai Tai Coupons.
Makai Club Resort
On a hillside on Kauai’s North Shore in Princeville next to the Makai Golf Club, intimate Makai Club Resort is comprised of one-bedroom condos and two-bedroom cottages. All are bright and airy and contain full kitchens and lanais. The cottages are more than twice the size of the condos and some are on two levels, making them an ideal choice for families or groups with up to six guests.
The affordable Kauai resort touts a pool, jacuzzi, fire pit, golf, bicycles, propane barbecue grills, a concierge, a business center and onsite parking. Complimentary weekly treats include root beer floats, Mai Tais and pupus, ice cream sundaes and popsicles.