The Joys of Princeville Makai
By George Fuller
The North Shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai is famous for its unforgettable scenery. Towering green mountains and plunging waterfalls lead down to white sand beaches and the warm blue Pacific Ocean. Palm trees sway in the prevailing breeze and colorful flowers abound. This splendid panorama serves as the setting for the Princeville Makai Golf Club, as well as the brand new 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay. Combined, Princeville, Kauai, is certain to be the “it” destination in Hawaii for 2023.
Makai means “toward the ocean” in the Hawaiian language, and indeed, a wide expanse of the Pacific is enjoyed from nearly every hole.
The course is a joy to play. Traversing the rolling landscape above the Pacific, scenic hole after scenic hole presents itself, with No. 7 being one of the most thrilling par 3s in the state, playing from a clifftop tee across a wide expanse of ocean to a putting surface on another clifftop. Par or other, this hole is an Instagram moment.
“The course is certainly magnificent,” said PGA General Manager Michael Neider. “It can give better players a run for their money. But we need to have a broader vision these days to make golf more accessible to everyone, families included.”
The dreamy scenery is not only enjoyed by golfers, but resort guests can opt for a sunrise yoga class, or a sunset tour by golf cart.
The Makai staff prides itself on treating everyone who walks through the doors like they are welcomed friends. They’ll book tee times, help with merchandise, and let you know about the various clinics and other programs. Short game and full swing clinics are frequently offered, and tennis and pickleball games are often being played on the courts adjacent to the clubhouse.
“Pickleball is getting so popular that we’re expanding the number of courts in 2023,” Neider said. “Plus, we offer disc golf on what formerly was the Woods nine of the old 27-hole golf course. That’s something that appeals to a totally different group of people, some of whom travel thousands of miles to experience the course.”
A NEW APPROACH TO LUXURY
The new 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay opened in February this year with a holistic approach to luxury, honoring nature and sustainability. “This property is the new flagship for the 1 Hotel brand,” said Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Programming Alexis Eaton. “It will be transformative for people who knew the hotel from the past (it was formerly the St. Regis Princeville). Our design team took inspiration from the bay itself, using reclaimed and natural materials, woods, and plants everywhere.”
In addition to the organic architecture and natural elements, the hotel offers wellness programming including functional lifestyle medicines and even a hyperbaric chamber.
At night the lights of the small town of Hanalei glitter across the bay. By day the town comes alive with adventure seekers coming and going on thrill rides and excursions, shoppers looking for fashions and keepsakes and, on Saturday mornings, a lively farmers market.
Popular adventures include kayaking up the Hanalei River, horseback rides and zip-lining at Princeville Ranch, and standup paddle-boarding in Hanalei Bay. A drive from Hanalei north to the end of the highway leads past gorgeous coastline and beaches, including Lumahai Beach, where famous scenes from the 1958 film “South Pacific” were shot. Where the road stops, the Na Pali Coast begins, a hiking adventure to be saved for sturdy feet and good weather days.
Princeville Makai Golf Club, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, and the lush beauty of Kauai’s North Shore combine to make one of the most memorable destinations you’ll ever visit.