We needed a break and found the perfect spot to kick back, read, enjoy the beach and forget about the stresses of 'the real world'. The cottage 'Hale Lani' was everything Michelle Hughes advertised but you just don't don't get how extensive and beautiful the landscaping is on the web site. She has done a remarkable job, really beautiful.
The north shore of Kauai is truly beautiful, a jungle paradise that is laid back and caring more about quality of life than tourist hustle. We have visited Kauai several times in the past but this was our first stay at Secret Beach Hideaway - we look forward to returning.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts could take cues from Secret Beach Hideaway along with Michele Hughes and her manicured 40+ acres of paradise on Kauai’s lush and tropical north shore.
Staying in the Villa along with its salt water pool on the edge of secret beach is like scoring the penthouse at another luxury resort at a fraction of the price. Literally everything has been considered to create the most incredibly memorable experience in this rare slice of paradise that is surrounded by acres of flawless landscaping including numerous fruit trees like papaya, mango, banana, lemon, and avocado which you are encouraged to enjoy. From start to finish, these people understand hospitality and love creating the extraordinary for their guests.
All the Secret Beach Hideaway rentals are crafted with high-end fixtures and furnishings which offer a sharp contrast to the tropical paradise outside. We love the feeling of being surrounded by luxury that also embraces the authentic Hawaiian outdoor life. Every one of the rentals is a winner and after doing our homework is exactly what we want while being on the island’s most sought after beaches and just a few minutes from outstanding restaurants, the islands best fish market, and an organic grocery store that I wish I had back at home.
Flanked by celebrities on each side of the 40+ acres of refined paradise, we’ve stayed in top resorts on every island and keep coming back to Secret Beach Hideaway as our favorite. We’re hoping owner Michele Hughes opens more properties this like this around the world. We’d be the first to lock in a reservation for opening day.
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stay was great, staff was very accomodating , very relaxing ambiance, everything was top notch. they have thought of just about everything you can possibly use or need. we cooked every night and bought fish from the local markets that were only a 5 minute drive or 30 minute walk away.
very laid back, i would like to come back with a group and stay at one of the villas.
we stayed at Hale Nanea, and aside from hearing a few creatures at night if you sleep with the screen door open the sleep was very peaceful.
secret beach is a beautiful hike down to the ocean, not ideal for elderly people or those with disabilities, but if you are in reasonable shape its not an issue.
the landscaping was out of this world, the outdoor shower in the back.
literally, they thought of everything here.
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I was searching for a very special place for a surprise (but planned) engagement and wedding. Hale Lani and Secret Beach delivered in spades! It was exactly what I was looking for: private, elegant, exclusive, floral, unique, memorable….
My wife and I believe the attention to details, which are important to us and enhanced the elegance, are worth noting in this review: Zen-feeling stone construction, ceramic Japanese-styled roof tiles, high-end finishes (like highest grade maple floors), seamless flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces, tropical flowers (orchids, birds-of-paradise, hibiscus, plumeria…) everywhere - inside and out, buttery linens and bed, high-end kitchen accoutrements (e.g. Henkel knives, All-Clad cookware, Sub-Zero fridge that is incorporated into the cabinetry, unique glassware – although some proper wine glasses are a much needed addition), a private hot tub with an “open outdoor” feel, indoor and outdoor party showers, and many other nuanced details to discover.
The space deserves the high-end finishes. It is only +/-500 square feet (a size dictated by the zoning – I understand). But I felt the layout and incorporation of outdoor space makes it feel much bigger. The location next to a tropically landscaped ravine and the extensive grounds exclusive to each cottage, including wide capacious bluffs, also add to the perceived size and privacy.
The management’s assistance with planning and facilitating our wedding was exceptional. When a wedding-monsoon (good luck, I’m told) preempted our outdoor ceremony plans, a house on a private estate was provided. The Hawaiian minister, the ipo (pronounced ee-poe) was incredibly gracious, warm and gently spiritual. The private caterer (ask Maryanne about Dani – she is awesome – all local and perfectly fresh ingredients), the musician, and the wedding florist, all, exceeded our expectations. (Please pardon the possible tone of this next statement, but here goes…) These people imbued our ceremony and souls with aloha spirit.
Not to dilute our wonderful experience, but there are some additional attributes to the property that may require individual consideration:
1) This is a 3-unit property without resort concierge-type servicing. If your vacation priorities include picking up the phone for room service and having someone bring drinks and fresh towel, while you lounge on a beach recliner, almost certainly the wrong choice for you. However, massages (indoor, outdoor, seaside) a private chef, and house keeping are not-at-all difficult to arrange.
2) The beach is a robust walk (hike?) away (+/-10 minutes down, +/-15 up) especially if you are lugging stuff. You will break a sweat on the way up. If you want to roll out of bed onto the beach, Hale Lani - no. I enjoyed the walk. My fiancé’ – not so much. I picked fresh papayas, avocados citrus on the route, and took in the views, flowers and wildlife. I love that stuff.
3) Retail needs require a short car trip. That being said, the nearby bakery at the Kong Lung Center is awesome. The fresh baked selections are many and interesting (e.g. vegan breakfast Stromboli and flowered muffins). It would thrive in NY, SF or other foodie cities. The organic produce and local farmers markets are also well worth a visit.
4) Some of the locals seem a little high-strung for paradise dwellers. As an example, we got our marriage license at a local hair salon (yes, a hair salon). You would think this experience would be fun…. - not. The proprietor should look into work at the DMV. Maybe I got her on a bad day. And the few marginal experiences were well out numbered by the pleasant experiences.
Should you find yourself at Hale Lani or Secret Beach, please give our regards (Tamara’s and Arthur’s) to the staff, Mr. Bird (the Brazilian cardinal who came for crackers every morning - see the pictures), the Hawaiian geese, Mr. Rooster and his chicks, and friendly Mr. Cat.
Arthur and Tamara
We stayed at Secret Beach Hideaway in Hale Lani for 4 nights of a 9 night vacation in Kauai. Four nights were not enough. This was our first visit to Kauai and we wanted to stay a few nights on both the southern and northern parts of the island. It is very hard to describe in a few words how absolutely breathtaking the experience at this cottage was for the two of us. The Pacific views were stunning, the gardens and grounds were perfection, and the cottage and everything about it was private, upscale, and luxurious. This vacation rental villa property was exactly like it appeared on the Secret Beach Hideaway Web site.
The sunsets we experienced from the cottage over Na Pali and Bali Hai (of South Pacific fame) are amazing and spiritual. You can see whales jumping out in the ocean. There were beautiful birds everywhere.
The owner, Michele Hughes, has put many years of thought and planning into this place and she is rightfully proud of it. She and Ms. Kusaka, the property representative, were both very gracious and really delightful and helpful. We felt really appreciated the whole time we were here.
The private estate in which the cottages are located is set on the cliffs overlooking the northern coastline of Kauai. There are three cottages and a large villa on the property, all designed by Ms. Hughes, a well known California and Hawaii designer. The property is so large and well designed that you have complete privacy in the cottage, on the private terrace overlooking the Pacific, the private outside jacuzzi area, and the gardens and flowers that surround the cottage.
The design of the cottages is very modern Frank Lloyd Wright style and the furnishings are upscale and contemporary. The kitchen is luxurious with stone countertops, Thermador convection oven, Whirlpool Gold dishwasher, Sub-Zero refrigerator, etc. They all work just fine (including the freezer drawers where one Tripadvisor member put his groceries and then complained that they were frozen.) The kitchen is fully furnished with hand-painted, dishwasher safe dishes, glasses, and very nice cooking pots and pans. The kitchen is gourmet class.
The bath is luxurious with travertine stonework, Kohler faucets and toilet, two shower heads, and a separate outside entrance. (There are 7 total outside entrances with sliding full glass doors.) The bath and hot tub towels are very plush.
The bedroom has a king size sleigh bed that is very nice and comfortable. The bedroom is certainly one of the nicest we have ever experienced in a cottage or villa anywhere, but what was more amazing was that Ms. Hughes had designed the closets in the bedroom with thick sliding doors to hide the sound of a up/down washer/dryer and a fully operational HP multi-purpose business machine with wireless printer, copier, and fax where you can print out items from the internet, including boarding passes.
I guess that something had to give considering space even though the cottage is large, so there is not much room for lots of luggage. But with washer and dryer handy, you don't need lot of clothes in Kauai and you can keep most of your snorkeling gear, etc. stored in your car or SUV.
There is DSL high-speed wireless internet and an Ethernet cord for folks who don’t have wireless in their laptops.
The trek down to the beach is similar to every other property in this part of Hawaii. The properties are on the cliffs over-looking the Pacific. The owner has built steps and terraces down to the amazing Secret Beach which do require some effort and common sense. The trek down takes about 10-15 minutes and is definitely worth it. Secret Beach is so private and stunning that you will want to spend a lot of time there. But there are some people who just cannot make that trek for some justifiable reason. If so, there are many, many beautiful beaches within a short driving distance of Kilauea that guests can drive to.
The cottage rental is about $650 per night at this time during most of the year. This compares with a regular hotel room down the road at the Westin for $585 and at the St. Regis for $705 or a small 2 bedroom condo at the Westin for $798. In my book, it is a no-brainer to stay at Secret Beach Hideaway.
The only other decent property nearby is the Aloho Sunrise and Sunset cottages, both of which are much less expensive, but you get what you pay for. They are very dated and have no view or beach access, not to mention the luxury of Secret Beach Hideaway.
I highly recommend this place for your stay in Kauai. You will dream about your stay here for a long time.
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