Affectionately dubbed the "Garden Isle," Kauai offers a peaceful escape from everyday life with abundant natural beauty. The northernmost of the Hawaiian islands, Kauai is actually the top of an undersea volcano. Mountainous and lush, the island has made a splendid recovery from 1992's Hurricane Iniki, which struck a particularly devastating blow.
Standing at the island's center is Mt. Waialeale, an extinct volcano that rises nearly 5,000 feet. With an annual rainfall of 500 inches, this is considered the wettest spot on earth, but don't worry about your group getting rained out; the precipitation is narrowly localized.
Koloa recalls old Hawaii with its vintage storefronts and hand-made boardwalk. Each July, the village is the site of Koloa Plantation Days, featuring sports competitions, parades, ancient Hawaiian games, and, of course, hula performances.
It would be downright sinful to bring your group to Kauai and neglect to treat them to its stunning scenery. Waimea Canyon measures ten miles long and 2,800 feet deep and is an awe-inspiring site; Mark Twain called it "the Grand Canyon of the Pacific," and he wasn't exaggerating. Another scenic spot is the Fern Grotto, reached only by a boat cruise three miles up the Wailua River.
While hiking the rugged Na Pali Coast along the north shore is recommended only for seasoned hikers, all can enjoy its magnificence from the ocean aboard a catamaran or giant raft. (Those raft trips are great fun but include many body-slamming bumps and jolts, so they may not be suitable for some groups.) Helicopter rides are another popular way to enjoy the area's untamed beauty.
Hotel News Up near the north shore, the Princeville resort area offers luxurious accommodations and 45 holes of golf. Groups are catered to at the 252-room Princeville Hotel, whose views will mesmerize even the most jaded traveler. The hotel's meeting space includes a 6,600-square-foot ballroom that can accommodate 540 persons for dinner. The plush guest rooms include special bathroom windows that change from opaque to translucent with the flick of a switch.
The resort area of Poipu, on the island's south coast, has excellent beaches and fine accommodations for groups, among them the 600-room Hyatt Regency. This lovely property has 19 meeting rooms and a 14,200-square-foot ballroom that can seat more than 1,000 persons at a banquet.
Among the well-landscaped areas for groups is perhaps the state's most fanciful swimming pool, which includes waterfalls and private grottoes. Attendees will enjoy the "talk stories" on island history and legends presented by members of the Kauai Historical Society.