Kiahuna Plantation and The Beach Bungalows 2253 Poipu Rd., Poipu, (800) 367-5004, (808) 742-2200. 333 units.
Situated on 35 acres of beautifully maintained gardens punctuated with great expanses of green lawn, this condominium resort fronting Poipu Beach is spread over what was once part of Hawaii’s oldest sugar plantation and is now the largest condo resort on the island. The two- and three-story plantation-style buildings each hold six to eight individually owned units, which are furnished in wicker and dark wood and cooled by overhead fans. Some, of course, are closer to the ocean than others, but all are within convenient walking distance. All have a full kitchen, laundry facilities, a TV, and a large private lanai. This property is a good choice for families with young children, especially the units that are set back from the beach and open onto an expanse of grass. I love the early morning birdsong.
My unit attracted an assortment of birds--doves, common mynahs, and "red-headed bluejays," as one of my children called the birds that looked just like that. The beach itself is reputedly one of Hawaii’s best, with a gentle surf that is welcoming of children, and great snorkeling is within easy walking distance. The resort's many facilities include a beach hut with free use of chairs and towels. Boogie boards and scuba gear can be rented, and surfing lessons are available. Well-maintained, free tennis courts and a pool are situated a bit of a trek from the condos.
Plantation Gardens restaurant and bar is located inside the historic Moir House. It serves dinner only, and reservations are advised.
Guests and non-guests alike can take a free self-guided tour of the resort’s unusual, very old Moir Cacti Gardens. It is rough around the edges and in need of some tender loving care, but still a delight to walk through.
A colorful orchid garden located just outside the restaurant is also a pleasure to visit.
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images and video ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers