Princeville Resort with Namolokama in the background.
Resort Living in A Charming Community on Kauai’s North Shore
A walk through the expansive lobby of the St. Regis Princeville Hotel to the glass windows reveals a spectacular panorama.
With views of the lush and verdant mountain ranges, cascading waterfalls, the clear blue Pacific and the mystical Bali Hai (Makana Mountain) in the distance, you know you are in a very special place.
The St. Regis sits in an idyllic location terraced into the oceanfront ridge overlooking beautiful Hanalei Bay. The lobby of the newly renovated hotel provides a refined elegance, and this a great place to enjoy dinner or a drink on the lanai overlooking the bay even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.
The greater Princeville Resort area is an 11,000-acre resort destination that is Kauai’s largest planned community. It sits between Anini Beach on the east and Hanalei valley and bay on the west. Princeville also has two top-rated golf courses – The Prince Course and the Makai Course, and hundreds of private homes along with time-share condominiums.
You will know you’ve reached Princeville when you arrive at the regal entrance to the resort community where you are greeted by flowing waterfall pools and a large fountain with a statue in the middle. When these features are lit up at night they provide an impressive greeting to the resort.
Princeville – The Early Days
Princeville has a rich history spanning from ancient times to the present day. The area was the site of the first cattle ranch on Kauai in 1831. The ranch was started by Englishman Richard Charlton who was the British Consul for Hawaii and brought in some longhorn cattle from “Norte California.”
A prominent figure in Princeville’s history is the Scotsman Robert Crichton Wyllie who served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs for King Kamehameha IV in 1845.
Wyllie purchased the land that is now Princeville in 1850 and planted large areas of sugarcane. In 1861 he began construction of the Hanalei Sugar Mill on the east side of the Hanalei River.
The mill’s smokestack rose to 110 feet high and the 1000-ton capacity mill’s rollers could express nearly 2,000 gallons of cane juice per hour. With state-of-the-art equipment imported from Scotland for $40,000, it was the finest sugar mill in all of Hawaii.
Hawaiian Royalty Visits “Princeville” at Hanalei
Wyllie invited King Kamehameha IV and his wife Queen Emma to visit and they arrived with their two-year-old son Prince Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Leiopapa o Kamehameha, the Crown Prince of Hawaii.
The royal party stayed at Wyllie’s plantation manager’s house, called Kikiula on a plateau overlooking the Hanalei River. This home was later known as the Princeville Plantation House and then Princeville Ranch House. In honor of this royal visit Wyllie named his estate Princeville and made the young Prince the intended heir to the estate.
Tragically the young prince passed away at the age of four and the following year his father passed also. The name Princeville continues on, however, honoring the memory of this young prince of Hawaii.
After Wyllie passed away in 1865, Princeville Plantation continued as a ranch primarily raising cattle. It wasn’t until 1968 that the lands of Princeville were purchased by a development company and Princeville Resort was established.
The Makai Golf Course opened in 1971 with three nine-hole courses. In 1985 the Princeville Hotel opened and the following year the Prince Golf Course was built on the ocean bluffs just east of the Princeville community.
Just down the hill from Princeville is historic Hanalei Town and the crescent shaped jewel of Hanalei Bay, a three mile stretch of golden sand and blue water that is one of Kauai’s most popular beaches.
Stop in Hanalei to shop at the various boutiques and art galleries or grab a bite to eat in one of the numerous restaurants. Continuing on past Hanalei leads to Haena and the end of the road at Ke’e Beach. This is also the beginning of the trail to the famous Na Pali Coast.