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Dublin Cool: The Dean

We were in Dublin for a good time, not a long time, so The Dean was the perfect place to elevate our stay in one of the coolest cities in Europe. As much as we would have loved to stay longer to linger on the rooftop balcony over a few Guinesses and try the brunch menu at Sophie’s upstairs, or sample an Irish whisky at the entry bar, we found this place helped us to stay in style, while also hopping about Dublin easily. Definitely a superior crash pad, and one that we imagine would have some pretty awesome post-rock show parties.

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The Dean was so damn great because of the attention to detail – the room card that was ‘The Key to A Deadly Time’, the cheeky do not disturb signs, the Smeg fridge and subway tiles in the bathroom, the vinyl player with well curated records (Chemical Brothers! Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks!), the craft beers and ciders and boutique snacks not to mention barber products, the punchy prints, bright rug and those blue walls! And that’s just the rooms. The bar downstairs is something out of an industrial ranch and the neon sign at check in claiming ‘I Fell in Love Here’…which we did…with the Dean Hotel.

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Beam up to the rooftop bar/restaurant called Sophie’s for a spin around view of lovely Dublin and some mighty fine food as well. Phil was rather chuffed with his bucket-style glass of gin and margherita pizza (we joke he could certainly do a margherita rating blog – it’s his firm go-to). I enjoyed the Pan Fried Hake Fillet, Asparagus, Courgette, Carrot Ribbons, Baby Potatoes, Dill Butter Sauce.

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With booths, overhead wood beams and them views, it’s a sure fire bet for a classy casual meal that takes in the rooftops of this capital of the Republic of Ireland. We would have liked to linger for longer, but we were heading into town for a literary pub crawl of Dublin – which really was the craic!

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We splurged on a Superoom, because YOLO and we only had one night in the capital before heading to Liverpool for some family time and our UK wedding party.  The Dean is located on Harcourt Street in Dublin 2 and is super easy access to town. It’s also right near the leafy St Stephen’s Green park, definitely worth a picnic or for those short on time a quick coffee, pastry and read on the lawn. What to read? Of course, Normal People by Irish author Sally Roonie – set in Dublin and longlisted for the Booker Prize (it’s kinda outrageous it wasn’t shortlisted to be honest)!

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36 Hours in Bangkok

I was all gearing up to host my Wanderlust 5 year anniversary show on Bondi Beach Radio when I got a call from AirAsia – want to come to Bangkok next week to help celebrate the fact we’ve flow half a billion passengers? I hit pause on the playlist prep, packed my passport and that was that. Show? What show?!

Arriving in Bangkok, after getting a pretty decent sleep on a Premium Flatbed (which, BTW, is the way forward when it comes to flying overnight to Asia), I was reminded of the few days I had spent in the Thai capital many years before. There was the chokey traffic and wide, in-progress highways, as well as humidity and haze, but as the cityscape flickers by you also glimpse the tops of Buddhist temples and signs with curly-edged Thai script. It has an exciting energy and I couldn’t wait to see how much I could ram into a short (two days and one night!) stay.

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Shopping at Siam Square

I’d been reading about the cutting-edge fashion from local Thai designers and I was eager to see it for myself. I jumped on the Sky Train with a new travel buddy from Buzzfeed and we embarked at the mall mecca to end them all – Siam Square. Being so MASSIVE, it took a little bit to get my bearings and figure out where I would find all the unique local fashion among the major labels at every turn. But, I’m here to save you some time – head straight for Gate 10 of the Siam Centre and you’ll be able to marvel in the cool a f fashion being created by the talented Thais!It really was pretty exciting – as the materials, the cuts, the bright patterns were all super unique.

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So, here’s the low down on a few of the stores that I think are worth your time.

For a store that is as much spectacle as substance (and it does have cool threads) don’t miss Fly Now iii. The mannequins are oversized animal and doll heads, the clothes are all bold patterns and colour, and the teal padding on the walls and in the circular change rooms is something to behold.

The Selected – this was one of my fave stores. They had beautiful kimonos and lots of unique clothes and objects that I wanted to purchase a lot of things. I did end up getting a velvety blue backpack – which also served a purpose as I was picking up bits and pieces along the way! It’s the first store pictured above.

For delicious herbal teas, with fascinating flavours like bael fruit and white mulberry,  duck in to Harnn. They also sell gorgeous Thai soaps and some threads and soft furnishings as well.

There are actually so many more I loved up here on this floor, but you should go, explore yourself, and then be sure to let me know what ones you loved!

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Oh, and we also stopped by the Hello Kitty store, mainly because Buzzfeed were doing a piece on the fun cafes in Bangkok, so I tagged along. And some of the food was almost too cute to eat! It’s totally mad how much Hello Kitty merchandise there was in the bottom floor shop. Hello Kitty thermometer anyone? But rainbow cakes and coffees with cat patterns on top…worth a little squizz, innit?! But then Hightail it out of there, the theme song on repeat will do your head in.

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AirAsia Half A Billion Celebration

Was so thrilled to have been invited by AirAsia to Thailand for their Half A Billion celebration! We did a press conference, where I was able to interview CEO Benjamin Ismail from AirAsia X about the expansion through Australasia, free surfboard travel and more for my Bondi Beach Radio show. We also got to join in the festivities where they gave away free flights for LIFE to the 500 millionth customer, saw actual air hosties dance up a storm and saw Thai pop sensation Pope do his thang. It was all in good fun and I’m super grateful for the trip.

Street Food

Street food is pretty much everywhere you look in Bangkok – fruits with sugar toppings, fried things on sticks, and of course noodles and laksas and all that goodness. Tucked behind our hotel, Centara Grand, there was a web of alleys with street food hawkers on either side, plastic tables and stools here and there. Love. It. We found a popular little place which ticked the golden rule book of street food eating – it was popular, cooked fresh and looked delicious as it was being flipped around the wok. We all couldn’t resist the classic – Pad Thai with prawns. Quick, cheap, no fuss and damn tasty. Win.

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Flower Market – Pak Khlong Talat

Numero uno thing to do on my trip to Bangkok was visit the morning flower market. I’ll tell you about how ace it was in a minute – getting there was hilarious. We caught the Sky Train and then a taxi to the market, which is on Chat Phet Road. Trying to flag a taxi as 4 obvious out-of-towners was tricky. The first one wouldn’t take us because he said he couldn’t see properly (WHY ARE YOU DRIVING?!) the next one who picked us up had an ID that was about 30 years younger with about zero likeness to our actual driver, and despite the last few refusing to take us for less than 200 baht, the actual journey cost 65. Aaah, Bangkok…

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So very worth the journey though! Certainly for the first hour or so we didn’t see any other foreigners, and the maze of alleys and warehouses and side-streets that make up the market were vibrant and rustic and bursting with flowers I’d never seen before. Many were arranged and tied for ceremonies and I wanted to know what spiritual events, however everyday, these flowers were being prepared for. We also walked into a large undercover market space with colourful crates stacked with chilies and limes and fish and all kinds of herbs that I’m sure would become fragrant Thai dishes in restaurants across town.

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I’d heard that mornings in the flower market you could come across Buddhist monks arriving to pick up flowers for their services and sure enough, we came upon a smiling robed monk approaching a shop filled with orange chrysanthemums.

Wander through backstreets

There’s something that feels right about taking to the backstreets of Bangkok on a steamy day. We were headed away from the flower market toward the Chao Phraya River so we just pointed in that direction and meandered in that general direction – stopping to look at the wares of fruit carts, or peer up at the faded paint jobs on the apartments above, joined by a web of electricity wires strung across the sky. You could smell fruits and bins and wafting cooking aromas as you moved along.

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Wat Arun – Temple of the Dawn

We approached the Chao Phraya River with the purpose of boarding a river boat, so found the Sapphan Taksin boat pier and paid the 3 baht to get the ferry across the river to our destination: Wat Arun, or Temple of the Dawn…

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Entry to the Wat Arun was 100 baht. The temps were rising to around 36 degrees Celsius, which could have been a deterrent from climbing up steep temple steps, but Wat Arun is one of the most important religious sites in Thailand and one on my must-do list on this fleeting trip to the Thai capital.

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You approach through lush green gardens and lawns with red roofed temple buildings beside you toward the main entry through to the feature Khmer-style towering structures. The building stretches up in a white wave adorned with patterned tiles, and dotted with mini Thai statuettes. The heat is intense, so after some wandering up  and around the striking temple walls, it is time to retreat to search out bottled water and shade.

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One of the brilliant things about Thailand is that you’re never far from a fresh coconut to cool you down and help re-hydrate you on a humid outing. After the ferry trip back across the river, and one final view of the wondrous Wat Arun, it was sadly time for me to make tracks and head back to the hotel and out of Bangkok altogether.

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One last longing look at the hotel pool and it was time to head back for my flight. Don’t feel too sorry for me though – I was flying back to Sydney on an Air Bed! Did you know it only costs an extra $400 to upgrade to an air bed on an Air Asia flight? Slept. So. Well.
Especially knowing I had seen and done so much with just one night in Bangkok!

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Thanks to AirAsia for allowing me to come along for the Half A Billion Passenger ride!

Wild Spin of the Web {7}


Lokal Hotel, Philadelphia. Photo credit: This Is The Place I Was Telling You About

GUIDE/ STAY – This Is The Place I Was Telling You About 

I have been quietly obsessing over this website and Insta account of late. They are two (very handsome) Texans, R’el Dade and Marcus Lloyd living in New York City, where they visit and document all the best places to eat, drink and stay. Of course I particularly fancy the posts about travel and hotels, including Lokal Hotel in Philadelphia (pictured above). Creates some serious FOMO and draws you like a magnet towards New York and surrounds. If you’re heading to the area, let this site be your compass.


Photo Credit: Fogo Island Inn

STAY – Fogo Island Inn, Canada

I was told about this hotel recently from Fathom co-founder Jeralyn Gerba when she came on my show in Bondi. We were talking about off-the-beaten-track but AMAZING destinations and hotels – I was singing the praises of Fjaerland in Norway and then Jeralyn mentioned this little gem Fogo Island Inn. I’d never even heard of Fogo Island, despite having been to nearby Newfoundland. I wrote it down in my iPhone notes, but only just recently took a look. Wowsers! I absolutely love that someone had the vision to create a hotel so unique (and cool!) in this oh-so-remote locale.


Moore Street General in Austinmer. Photo Credit: Nikki To for The Design Files

TRAVEL – Austinmer and Thirroul

After a pretty expensive (but amazing) wedding in Kiama last year – and our UK wedding party coming up in September, we’ve been a little cash strapped. As such, I’m constantly on the lookout for places for short getaways close to home, so I loved this little feature in The Design Files Austinmer and Thirroul with Domonique Brammah – think it’s time to take a little trip down to those parts. And I love the look of the retro Thirroul Beach Motel!


Photo Credit: Konsta Punkka, Instagram

MEET – Konsta Punkka

Konsta Punkka is a Finnish self-confessed “squirrel whisperer” and taker of insanely beautiful nature photos. I probably don’t even need to tell you about his animal portraits as you have likely already seen some, given he has over 1 million instagram followers. I’m consistently in awe of his patience, his obvious love for the subjects of his images and his technical photography skill. If you don’t yet, you should follow him.


Photo Credit: Saurabh Suryan / Lokesh Dang

VISIT – Feast India Company, Uttar Pradesh, India

India has a new Wes Anderson-inspired restaurant and who cares what they are cooking up, I want to go! The design, by Renesa Architecture Design Interiors Studio is all flamingo pink with black and white stripes all over the joint. Check out this AWOL article for more.

While we’re on the topic, have you seen Anderson’s newest film Isle of Dogs? SO GOOD!

Hey there! I’m guessing if you found your way here, you’re into taking a wild spin of the world yourself. I think you’ll love getting our Wild Spin E-news so please do sign up. I’m also over on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, so please do sign up to stay in touch!

The Garden Isle: Kauai, Hawaii

The most spectacular green-ridged peaks, lazy ocean-side walks, canyons, food trucks and palm trees everywhere you gaze: Kauai is proper paradise. By law, no building can be higher than the highest coconut tree, which means you see lush vegetation and sky wherever you look – gaining it the name of the Garden Isle, which is apt my friends, very apt.

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We stayed on the south end of the island at Koa Kea Resort near Poipu Beach, so all of the exploring mentioned below began by driving north, usually through Old Koloa Town.

Old Koloa Town

When heading through the South (or exiting to explore North as we commonly were), it’s worth a stop off at Old Koloa Town, even if just for the coffee – seriously the best we found on the island! This is an old sugar plantation town from the 1830s, and the best way to arrive is through Malahui Road where you’ll drive beneath a luscious green Tree Tunnel.

But back to the coffee – Aloha Roastery sits in the Waikomo courtyard just behind the shops on Koloa Road. It’s serving up some creamy cups of goodness, with blends from the likes of Honduras and Colombia. The guys that work here have the friendly, casual Hawaiian hipster vibe down to a fine art.

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Warehouse 3540 – Kalaheo

A further five or six minute cruise north west along Koloa Road and you will come across a creative space designed for pop-ups and workshops called Warehouse 3540. Our real reason for visiting was for the famous Fresh Shave shaved ice, but more on that on that below…

Salt + Sea Kauai was my fave outlet here and I bought a lime green Human Revolution Clothing kaftan (scroll down further for picture of me in this little wonder – with a pineapple above my head!), which is probs my favourite purchase on the trip! Just outside the warehouse, was the real spark in the wheel of this place – The Fresh Shave!

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The Fresh Shave

Kauai loves a good food truck, and one of the stars of them all is The Fresh Shave! This is proper hand-spun (on a laborious, but very cool vintage wheel) shave ice. And you can’t help but love their branding that pays homage to both the humble mustache (with names like The Lip Luggage and The Handle Bar) and Outcast song (‘So fresh | So Clean | So Delicious’). I ordered up The Chevron of coconut and lime topped with coconut chia seed cream and Phil got The Caterpillar which is orange and ‘creamsicle’. We took shade under the umbrella at a mint-coloured bench to (narrowly) avoid immediate melt –  the Hawaiian sun was haaawt! So this was the perfect cool down pit-stop.

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Waimea Canyon

This jagged marvel is otherwise known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific and for good reason – it’s 3,000 feet cliffs shooting up from deep valleys make it quite a wonder. The most notable physical difference is the weathered red rock among sliding green vegetation. The contrast is so vivid, especially as the clouds move, casting shadows across the chasm below. We saw helicopters like little specks, without perspective they appeared as the flies of the valley, and we were to do that very trip – see our Kauai by Helicopter post here.

Undoubtedly the biggest tourist spot on the island, the lookouts at Waimea Canyon were busy, but when you are looking out at an expanse of earth like you see here, it’s easy to still feel a peaceful calm. Well, except when some death-wish folk scramble down the side of the cliff for an Insta worthy shot (holy shit people! It ain’t worth your life!).

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MORE HAWAII articles you might like…

Kauai from the Skies: A Hawaii Helicopter Tour

STAY: Koa Kea Resort, Kauai, Hawaii

Hawaii Cool: Surfjack Hotel, Waikiki


Regular readers of the site will know that I love all things literary (try these book recommendations or this post about the book town in the fjords of Norway as examples), so you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that I took a detour to the colonial town of Hanapepe to visit Kauai’s only (but very amazing) bookstore Talk Story.

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We discovered that Hanapepe (which means ‘Crushed Bay’ in Hawaiian – probably because of landslides in the area) is worth a visit even if (God forbid!) they didn’t have this beloved bookstore. It was a happening place from WWI to the 1950s when G.I.s and sailors were stationed there for training.

We visited Little Fish Coffee (an outpost of which was also in Poipu – see below) and gems like Japanese Grandma Cafe (which was sadly closed the day we went) and the attached Blu Umi – a local art and design store. We bought one of my fave souvenirs from the trip here – a wooden Aloha sign made by the owner Keiko’s son Jake Napier (check out his stuff at Venice Woods).

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My main motivation for heading to Kauai (in spite of Hawaii being a very cliched honeymoon destination), was to glimpse and walk the Napali Coast – those jagged green wonders along the coast (nature goals!). Unfortunately our first full day in Kauai had mega rain, so it wasn’t really safe to hike along these quite dangerous trails post-downpour, so we opted to instead drive around to the best views we could find. Introducing the stunning Kalalau Lookout…

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I just can’t quite get over this view, so here you go again!

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The Road North

We took to the road with Hanalei Bay up north as our end destination. On the way up, we stopped off at the awesome little cafe Java Kai, which is connected to one of my fave Kauai boutiques Shipwrecked, and sits out the front of the Kauai Juice Co. So, basically, well worth the stop! We both had gluten free felafel wraps and I couldn’t resist a Blue Hawaiian smoothie of blueberries, banana, coco milk and pineapple juice. Phil also bought this ace heavy Java Kai mug.

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Kauai Hawaii Java Kai Kapaa

Hanalei Bay

This is where Phil gets all shaka on your arse…and he has good reason to bring out Hawaii’s famous hand signal – this was our fave town on the island, and the one we will stay in next time we’re in Kauai (don’t get me wrong, we loved Koa Kea too where we stayed, but this neighbourhood is definitely more our vibe).

Kauai Hawaii Hanalei Bay Aloha Juice Bar

We soaked up the stunning views from Hanalei Bay Pier, spent a while debating whether we would buy a Ukelele (we didn’t this time, but next visit…) at the temple of slack key and beautiful wood that is Hanalei Strings and wandered through boutiques like the Barn 808 which is owned by local music legend Donavon Frankenreiter.

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Poipu Area

And finally, a little on the area that we stayed in – Poipu Beach. The beaches here are pretty, but a tad small and busy with families, so given it was our honeymoon, we tended to stick more by the pool when we were back by Koa Kea Resort. There was also an outdoor rock spa, so y’know, was hard to go too far.

We did venture out for food though, and there was a handy little shopping village not too far away. Phil basically lost his vegetarian sh*! over the Puka Dog – which is famed and even Anthony Bourdain is a fan. The veggie dog here was the best I’ve ever had, so was happy to indulge Phil with a couple of visits *wink*. I also had some really delicious Japanese at Rock n’ Roll Sushi and there were lots of cute Hawaiian gifts and home wares at Sand People.

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A short stroll from the hotel was Brennecke’s Beach Broiler – an American coastal diner that we LOVED, so we returned a couple of times. They served delicious seafood (and plenty of veggie options for Phil), not to mention Kona beer and some tasty cocktails. American football was always playing on the few screens in the venue, but in a good way, not a husband-won’t-pay-attention-to-anything-but-the-sport way! Well, at least not my husband, I can’t vouch for yours!

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I mentioned Little Fish cafe in Hanapepe, but there was also one at Poipu which we visited a couple of times…perfect for the acai bowl and coffee fix!

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Oh, and Kauai is also about sugarcane, hibiscus and pineapples. I almost stayed with Phil to pursue a life as a pineapple farmer’s wife…it suits him, no?!

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I hope you also like my other Hawaii posts:

Kauai from the Skies: A Hawaii Helicopter Tour

STAY: Koa Kea Resort, Kauai, Hawaii

Hawaii Cool: Surfjack Hotel, Waikiki

Hey there! I’m guessing if you found your way here, you’re into taking a wild spin of the world yourself. I think you’ll love getting our Wild Spin E-news so please do sign up. I’m also over on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, so please do sign up to stay in touch!

STAY: Koa Kea Resort, Kauai, Hawaii

Choosing to stay on Kauai was easy.

Choosing somewhere to stay on Kauai was hard.

There are the Marriotts, Hyatts, Sheratons of the world which I wasn’t that interested by, and then I was very tempted by The Palmwood, but given it was our honeymoon, we actually wanted to sip cocktails by the pool if we so chose to, so the B&B vibe was less what we were going for. The pick of the bunch seemed the St Regis Princeville which is on the North Shore (which we discovered was our fave part of the island), but holy shit dude it be expensive! So, we opted for the Koa Kea Hotel and Resort which is a resort, but a slightly smaller resort and pretty perfect for what we were after.

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Situated on the south of Kauai, the Hawaiian island known as the Garden Isle – which is the luscious green paradise that this implies (check out this post on our helicopter ride over the island to see just how green) – Koa Kea sits next to Poipu Beach. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon and the beach and the swimming pool at the hotel were teeming with little kids. We love kids, but perhaps not so much as companions on our honeymoon. Thankfully the following day there were not many around at all. As a general rule, Koa Kea was really quiet, with gorgeous sunsets, nice cocktails, great service and delicious food in the restaurant and for room service.  Oh, and they upgraded us and gave us a bottle of wine for congratulations 😉

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Kauai Hawaii Poipu Beach koa kea best hotels

Speaking of room service, on day two, it poured rain all day. The garden isle has to get its green vibe from somewhere. Worried? Us? Not in the slightest. As anyone who gets married will tell you, it’s amazing, but pretty frickin’ exhausting, so taking a day to rest and sleep and do nothing in the days following the big day is essential. So the rain Gods of Hawaii gave us just that perfect day. And thanks to great room service at Koa Kea, we pretty much had no reason to leave the room at all!

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In addition to boss brekkies at the hotel restaurant Red Salt (my fave was the Eggs Benedict with pancetta hash and chive hollandaise – Phil was all about the continental), we also loved dining at the nearby Brennecke’s Beach Broiler, with an American coastal sports bar vibe, and Little Fish cafe across the road (loooved their acai bowls). But more on that in the full Kauai post coming soon!

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With a car to explore the island (the friendly hotel staff helped us set that up at reception) and plenty to see on the outrageously beautiful Kauai (can’t wait to tell you all about it, but see our fly over tour here), we loved coming back to Koa Kea after a day of adventuring to kick back by the pool edge, watch the palm-fringed sunsets, a cheeky cocktail in hand.

Hawaii Honeymoon Bliss.


Hey there! I’m guessing if you found your way here, you’re into taking a wild spin of the world yourself. I think you’ll love getting our Wild Spin E-news so please do sign up. I’m also over on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, so please do sign up to stay in touch!