Shandelle Battersby checks into an Outrigger property on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
Beachfront, in the small township of Kapaa — an easy 10-minute drive from Kauai's Lihue Airport on the coastal road heading northeast.
Check-in experience: A breeze, and straight afterwards I was sent over to the in-house tour desk agent, who gave me a welcome pack and a run-down on the area including maps, tips and recommendations.
Room: An all-new one-bedroom ocean-view condo on the top (fourth) floor, with hardwood finishings and granite benchtops, air-conditioning, and the best equipped kitchen I've ever come across. As well as a dishwasher, huge fridge/freezer, giant oven and microwave (so American), and all the amenities you could possibly ever need (even a meat thermometer). I had a spacious lounge and dining area, with a lanai (balcony) off both the lounge and bedroom. The larger condos come with washer/dryers, and there were games and books in the cupboards.
Price: Studios start from US$215 ($305) per night for a minimum two-night stay. There is a departure cleaning fee of US$120-$220 (depending on room size) and a resort fee of US$20 per night. Parking is free.
What's in the neighbourhood? The charming small township of Kapaa has eateries, art galleries, jewellery, boutique clothing antique and homeware stores, massage and yoga practitioners, and a water sports shop. Close by is the open air Coconut Marketplace (which has a movie theatre), and across the street is a Safeway supermarket (check out the incredible poke range they have in the deli). There's also a Long's Drugs pharmacy and a Starbucks within walking distance. A short drive away are a couple of golf courses, beautiful public gardens and high-end shopping centre The Shops at Kukui'ula. Famous Waimea Canyon is a 90-minute drive. Toiletries: A basic offering of Outrigger's own brand — Hawaii Vacation Condos by Outrigger — shampoo, soap and body lotion. Useful if you've forgotten to pack your own.
Food and drink: Self-catering is the obvious advantage here, and having a supermarket nearby is a definite bonus. There are free barbecues for guests to use. However, there is a very nice beachside eatery onsite, The Oasis on the Beach Lounge, which serves brunch, lunch, cocktails and dinner.
The bed: A super king.
A room with a view? Yep, of the lush, tropical grounds and huge heated saltwater pool area which is particularly pretty when lit at night with flaming tiki torches. I could see the ocean too.
Bathroom: One huge affair with twin vanities and a two-person bath, and a loo off to the side. The shower was in a separate little room off the main bathroom with its own vanity.
Noise: The lovely sound of a Hawaiian ukulele band floated up to my lanai until the quiet time of 10pm (have you ever heard a Hawaiian rendition of A-ha's Take On Me? I have), but the best part was the crashing ocean. There's a bit of noise coming up from the pool area but it's not too bad.
Facilities: A well-equipped fitness centre and a salon and spa, Spa By the Sea, which has four poolside spa cabanas. You can hire snorkel equipment and bikes, and there's a daily surf report at the front desk. The "fantasy pool" is made of lava rock and features waterfalls, a lazy river, two water slides, and three sand-bottom spa pools, as well as a decorative pond with koi and water lillies.
Free wi-fi? Yes.
Perfect for: Families and couples, especially those staying for a while.
Waipouli Beach Resort & Spa Kauai is at 4-820 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Hawaii. Phone: +1 808-823-1401.