When you first enter Kukui`ula, it seems almost as if you are dreaming. First off, the drive from Kihei Airport is already epic, complete with the rolling hills from Jurassic Park with which we are all so familiar; there’s even a “tree tunnel,” a long road you travel that has trees so thick it literally forms a tunnel. Once you hit Kukui`ula, which is just east of Koloa, the combination of the lush landscape and the quiet but spectacularly luxurious property is momentous.
Kukui`ula, which sprawls over 1,010 acres, is home to Kauai’s only private club community and offers a supreme range of amenities, including access to its $125 million clubhouse and a mind-blowing golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf. Not to mention sand-bottom, salt-water and infinity pools connected by cascading waterfalls; endless recreational offerings; fragrant fresh edibles; and flowers from The Farm, the gorgeous 10-acre farm that is accessible to everyone in the community. The Lodge at Kukui`ula comprises luxury villas, bungalows and cottages that offer residential style accommodations.
What follows is a diary of one of the most memorable days at the Lodge at Kukui`ula, which will go down as one of the best getaways I’ve ever had. Club Bungalows from $750 per night, Club Cottages from $1,000 per night, Club Villas from $1,700 per night, 2700 Ke Alaula St., Koloa, Kauai, 742.0234
6am: Wake in Club Cottage No. 12 (currently on the market for $3.05 million), a single-family home that can be rented daily, but has all the comforts of a private spacious home. Pick from one of four showers (two are outdoor) to take a morning rinse. Or should I take a soak in one of the claw-foot bathtubs? Decisions.
7am: Take a five-minute walk down a bird-song riddled street to the Clubhouse. Choose from fresh farm-picked fruits in quaint baskets; maybe grab some fresh herbs for dinner later in the community “farm stand.” Enter the Clubhouse, where a panoramic view of Kauai’s celestial South Shore hits you, and takes your breath away. Take a left to the ‘Umeke Kitchen + Bar for a sit-down breakfast with ocean views. Or take a right and graze on a buffet breakfast with tempting treats to take away for later—everything from chocolate bars to Lappert’s ice cream (my pick: the Kauai pie, which is Kona coffee ice cream, macadamia nuts, shredded and toasted coconut and rich dark chocolate fudge).
9am: Drive up to the Farm and experience 360-degree views of the Eden-like Kauai. Admire lychee, mango and passion fruit trees, and stop by the henhouse. Maybe there are eggs for grabbing!
11am: Visit the Hi`ilani Spa, where tranquility is taken to another level with aptly planned design—you walk past a Zen meditation garden before walking downstairs to a secluded centerpiece lap pool, then finally enter the spa treatment area. I relax immediately as I see the open architecture and large empty outdoor shower. Not to mention the restoration I experience, having a 90-minute Thai massage.
1pm: Time to grab a seat at the bar at the Makai Grill + Bar, where I indulge in a healthful but hearty club sandwich, with a Plantation iced tea on the side (half pineapple juice and half ice tea).
3pm: Check out the immaculate golf course, which covers 216 acres of rolling terrain with paspalum turf and sand-plated fairways. The Tom Weiskopf-designed 18-hole course, I find, is almost mind-blowingly tranquil, with lush picture-perfect greens. And as it hosts only a limited amount of players, the course feels as if it is your own.
7pm: After a quick shower, it’s time for dinner. My husband and I decide to take advantage of the DCS by Fisher & Paykel outdoor grill (we found it, to our delight, in the garden). It’s time to throw on some steaks and put our feet up alongside the gas-powered fire pit in the cool, copacetic evening.
9pm: Time to dim the lights and relax to movies in the living room, set the thermostat to toasty (it’s a chilly evening on the island) and let the day drift away.