Posted in Kauai Visitor Information, Ohana Health & Welfare

Your Sleep Retreat Island Style

Sea Glass Suite at The Dolphin Hale – photo source: TRR Photography

I don’t know about you, but I never sleep well the first night in a strange place. And if a time zone change is involved, forget it!

Here are some tips from the experts and yours truly on how to turn your vacation rental bedroom or hotel room into your own personal sleep retreat when visiting Kauai.

1.  Keep the room dark and cool

Start by dimming the lights (if possible) to encourage your body to ease into nighttime. Stop using electronics at least 30-minutes before bedtime. Keep the room cool; 65 degrees is considered to be the ideal temperature for sleep. In the winter months, the mean temperature is 65 degrees at night on island; however, you may need to “trick” your body into thinking it is this cool in the summer months by running the ceiling and/or portable fans if you are not staying in a home or hotel with air conditioned bedrooms.

2.  Keep the room quiet

If you can hear roosters crowing, try adding so-called white noise to the bedroom environment. White noise creates a constant ambient noise that will block out the occasional outside noises that can disturb our sleep. While you can run a white noise app on your smart phone, I think that rather defeats the purpose of being on island. The aforementioned fans may just do the trick! Or, roosters or no roosters, open a window and allow the calming sound of the ocean surf to take you to dreamland.

3.  Keep the room calm

While the wall colors and decor in the guest rooms at The Dolphin Hale are intended to be restful, you can take each to the next level with some kind of aroma therapy. Aroma plays a large part in helping you relax and stay asleep. Didn’t pack your essential oils? No problem, a fragrant plumeria flower or two floated in a small dish on the nightstand can be a good substitute. Plumeria oil promotes peace, tranquility and relaxation–and the flower itself found on our grounds has a beautiful tropical fragrance. Note: Research shows that the scent of lavender eases anxiety and insomnia. Unfortunately, the closest lavender fields are on Maui!

The bottom line is that your sleeping environment can play a huge part in how well you sleep. And by taking some simple steps, you can enhance yours, especially in a vacation rental or hotel. After all, isn’t rejuvenation one of the goals for taking a vacation in the first place?

With Aloha, Aunty Tammy

Posted in Kauai Visitor Information, Special Holiday Events, Kauai

Mele Kalikimaka!

Rice Holiday Card 2012-Front Final
photo source: TRR Photography

Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas)

If you happen to be among the lucky ones who are visiting the Hawaiian Islands for the holidays, I hope you will take full advantage of the many special events afforded visitors this time of year that are offered FREE or for just a token fee. On the Garden Isle these include:

  • Between 12/1 – 12/29 – Kauai Festival of Lights (Lihue) – FREE
  • 12/7 – Kauai Museum Annual Christmas Craft Fair (Lihue) – FREE
  • 12/8 – Holiday Hula Celebration 2018 (Lihue) – $20 Advance, or $25
  • 12/8 – National Tropical Botanical Garden 15th Annual Holiday Craft Fair (Koloa) – FREE
  • 12/9 – Kauai Community College Symphony Orchestra Winter Concert (Lihue) – FREE
  • 12/9 – Princeville Night Market (Princeville) – FREE
  • 12/15 – Waimea Christmas Light Parade (Waimea) – FREE
  • 12/31 – New Year’s Eve Fireworks Celebration at Poipu Beach Park (Poipu) – FREE

For more information on these and other island happenings, including specific locations and times, please visit Kauai Festivals & Events.

Happy Holidays! Aunty Tammy

Posted in Kauai Visitor Information

Leave Only Footprints

Footsteps in the Sand-Final 2
Hanalei Beach Park – photo source: TRR Photography

Despite the recent media attention around announcements like Starbucks’s self-imposed ban on straws and other Fortune 500 Companies jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon, the reality is that they actually are late to the party. For it was a 19th Century Native American, Chief Seattle (yes, the namesake of the City of Seattle, WA), who is attributed with promoting the movement to: Leave only footprints. While silent on the subject of straws (invented in 1888, some 20-years after his death), I am sure The Chief did not want us leaving those on our beaches or in our oceans.

On Kauai, even before the 2011 law passed requiring retail establishments to provide recyclable or reusable bags to customers, many had been practicing and supporting sustainable tourism for years. In fact, there is a strong community dedicated to Eco-tourism. I will never forget a trip to WalMart some years ago that had me making more than one trip to the car after shopping there. Lesson learned: If you want your purchases bagged, plan to bring your own boxes or bags. Or, bring the whole clan for “carry-out.” Likewise, more restaurants and eateries are using biodegradable take-out containers in spite of the higher cost to do so.

Since purchasing The Dolphin Hale in 2004, my husband and I have continued to move the needle into the green zone ourselves. By offering accommodations featuring energy efficient appliances and systems as well as eco-friendly furnishings and amenities, we hope to support sustainable tourism. With over a million tourists visiting Kauai annually–and that number growing–today is the day for everyone who steps foot on the Garden Isle to be reminded of Chief Seattle’s words:

Earth does not belong to us; we belong to earth. Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints. - Chief Seattle

Moreover, you and yours can actually help to preserve and support Kauai just by doing little things during your visit. Here are a handful of examples:

  • When making your Rental Car reservations, think “Carpool.” You can even add a second driver to your contract and eliminate the need and expenditure for a second auto altogether.
  • Purchase Island Grown and Made Products – Farmer’s Markets are a great way to do both!
  • When you do go to a grocery store or the like, take advantage of the reusable bags stocked for guest use in The Dolphin Hale.
  • Beach-combing is fun, but please leave ‘found’ items on the beach. We often find pieces of coral and shells inside the house. Things that could be supporting wildlife.
  • Even one of the wettest places on earth has a need to conserve potable water–consider showering with your partner!

I didn’t say having fun and reducing your carbon footprint were mutually exclusive. And, yes, enjoy that frappuccino sans the straw!

Malama ‘Aina (Care for the Land), Aunty Tammy

Posted in Kauai Visitor Information

In My Book, Summertime is Synonymous with Iced Tea, an Ocean Breeze and a Good Read

The Dolphin Hale Exhibit 110 Upper Lanai-Final 2
Upper Lanai of The Dolphin Hale – Life is at ease with an ocean breeze and a good read.

I am old school when it comes to my summertime reading, preferring the visceral experience of a hard cover book to that of Kindle’s hard case. And this summer, I hope to actually indulge in more than one read, but where to start?

Thankfully, one of my favorite bloggers, Jen of City Farmhouse, has already done the legwork and compiled this list of 12 amazing must reads for folks like you and me who only tend to read while on vacation–regardless as to the medium or our vacay local.

photo source: City Farmhouse
It includes something old, something new and something to renew you! And isn’t that the idea? For more on these titles and Jen, read Jen’s Summer Book List. Also, be sure to thank Jen by subscribing to her blog.

And, don’t forget to pack your pick in your suitcase!

Enjoy! Aunty Tammy

The Dolphin Hale has a house library for your enjoyment. Even the keiki will find books and games that delight and surprise!

Posted in Kauai Visitor Information

For Movie Buffs and Lovers of All Things Kauai

While it should come as no surprise that the island of Kauai is popular with major movie studios and producers of McDonald’s commercials alike for its diverse and cinematic locations, it may surprise you to know that you, too, can experience many of these coveted island locales as a visitor.

In an interview by Shivani Vora of The New York Times, my friend Angela Tilson shared her insight as a location scout on Kauai titled: Tips on how to plan a movie-themed vacation. However, Angela also would be the first to tell you that with more than 80 feature films having been staged on the Garden Isle since the 1930s, you may want to narrow your focus. Jurassic Park, The Lost World and The Descendants are just a few of the blockbusters in recent times to have been filmed at least in part on Kauai. And, needless to say, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is no stranger to these tides. Although, if you are like me and would rather just purchase a ticket than do a lot of homework yourself, I highly suggest booking a movie-themed tour with one of the following:

St Regis Luxury Movie Set Tour with Angela Tilson

Roberts Hawaii Movie Tour in an Air Conditioned Bus

ATV Movie Location Adventure for Those Who Really Want to Dig In

Even if members of your party really are not movie buffs, the scenery alone as experienced on any one of these tours makes for a Must See & Do while on island. This is especially true since most of the locations are found on privately owned land. Thus, you and yours would not be permitted access otherwise.

And when all is said and done at day’s end of your adventure, play that favorite movie again from the comfort of your vacation rental with a Hawaiian quilt over and under your tired feet–and enjoy with some buttered popcorn! After all, you are on vacation, argh!

A hui hou! Aunty Tammy

Posted in Home Improvement Island Style

Pearls of Wisdom Shared

TDH New Wing Construction Pictorial
Pictured: Four Phases of The Dolphin Hale expansion to house the NEW Gourmet Kitchen (upstairs) and Sub-Master and En Suite (downstairs).

When my husband and I first concocted the idea of an addition to The Dolphin Hale, little did we realize what we were actually getting ourselves into. No strangers to “Island Time” and the costs associated with getting anything done on Kauai, we thought we were prepared both financially and emotionally to see it through. However, we quickly came to realize that while we were well braced for a tropical storm or two (literally and figuratively), we were not prepared for the construction hurricane that hit us.

Instead of completing our project by Christmas 2015, we were forced to throw some of our ‘must haves’ into the abyss and compromise on others just to be able to wrap construction for an April 1st-no foolin-relaunch and open The Dolphin Hale to guests once again. Throughout this 12-month process I have collected a few pearls of wisdom to share with you.  If you are thinking of purchasing an island home as a rental property or simply as a second home, write this down:

  • Island homes are ALWAYS in a state of decay, it’s just a matter of which Stage of Decay;
  • Everything must be shipped in across a vast ocean which will test the depths of your patience and pockets;
  • US Currency is only worth a fraction of its face value in Hawaii. ; )

Now before you conclude that I am just jaded, let me also say that there are rewards for embarking upon such an adventure:

  • They are not making more ocean front property, thus it could be a good investment;
  • As the operator of a Vacation Rental, your island vacations will be tax deductible as well as all your home improvement projects;
  • Moreover, you will become an Ambassador of Aloha–sharing it with all who become your guests.

Or, you can always do the smart thing and just rent The Dolphin Hale!

With Aloha, Aunty Tammy

Posted in Home Improvement Island Style

The Dolphin Hale – Flip or Flop?

Lanai - Redo-Final Logo

After living through a 12-month island home renovation, I feel as though I could launch my own HGTV reality series. The remodeling and expansion of The Dolphin Hale has been nothing short of a full season of reality TV. The experience, complete with the antics of island locals and mainland visitors, surely would be entertaining. Albeit, I feel my show would be more closely akin to Survivor than Fixer Upper.

It all started with the need for a toilet upstairs and like a tidal wave, the project soon consumed the whole house. At the end of Phase II, The Dolphin Hale would go from a simple family-friendly island home to an executive house featuring 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths. The jewel of the home is the new gourmet kitchen. In all, nearly 1000 sq ft of living space was added making the house footprint nearly 4000 sq ft. And, that does not include the porte cochere and hand-stained circular driveway which was added in Phase I.

TDH-New Master Staked
Staked Out – The pad for The Coral Room addition to The Dolphin Hale

Since reopening The Dolphin Hale to guests in March, the feedback has been positive (see The Dolphin Hale on HomeAway). However, I am not finished yet!  Phase III will commence sometime this Fall and include refinishing the hardwood floors. Meantime, I will be sharing “behind the scenes” details on this island home makeover over the next few months, complete with Dos and Don’ts as well as a Shopping Guide. And, I will begin with the new Coral Room (outlined here at the start).

So, stay tuned, for the forthcoming episodes on my island home renovation aka Hawaiian life.

A Hui Hou! Aunty Tammy