Pali Ke Kua Beach, also called Hideaways, requires a short but steep 15-minute hike down to the ocean. The trail to the beach is quite steep in part and begins just outside the gatehouse to the St. Regis Hotel in Princeville at the end of Ka Haku Road. If you are not comfortable traversing steep and slippery terrain, the beach access, although short, may be quite challenging for you.
There is a small parking lot on your right-hand side just before you reach the gatehouse. There is only room for 9 cars to park in the lot (and even then the spaces are quite small). In years past, when the hotel was under previous ownership, they allowed people to self-park in their large lot in order to access Hideaways Beach. Under the new ownership, parking at St Regis is Valet parking only. If the small lot for Hideaways is full, it is probably worth the price of a $5 tip to valet park your car at the St. Regis and explore the entire area; parking your car at one of the nearby vacation rental condo complexes is not advisable as they regularly enforce towing for non-guests.
In addition to a very impressive hotel lobby with a fine cocktail bar, numerous galleries, and shops, the St Regis boasts a 5-star restaurant, amazing views of Hanalei Bay, and the ruins of an old Russian For just outside the hotel lobby. If you want to access the beach at the St Regis Hotel, there is public beach access around to the left side of the hotel with multiple steps of stairs leading down to the beach on the east end of Hanalei Bay, but the beach at Hideaways is much nicer than the one at the St Regis.
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If you have chosen to valet park, walk out past the gatehouse and make a left just past the small 9 car parking lot. You will be following a chain-link fence on your left side as you proceed towards the ocean. The narrow trail opens to a little clearing about 120 feet above sea level from where you can check the surf condition below. There is a large barrier reef around Hideaway which makes for good swimming in most conditions. In very large swells, be aware of rip currents exiting through the channels of the reef and for large surge pushing up higher than expected at the top of the sets.
Directly past the clearing is an old stairway with rusty metal railings leading down toward the beach. Be especially mindful of the places where the metal has completely rusted away, leaving jagged exposed metal. Also, watch out for places where the support posts for the stairs have deteriorated to the point where they have lost their structural integrity. At the end of the stairs, the trail continues steeply downhill. It is often quite muddy and slippery and beachgoers have tied several ropes to the trees here which can be useful to hold onto as you make your descent. The trail flattens out about 20 feet above sea level and then cuts along the coast where you walk above most of the beach until you are deposited gently on the white sand sandwiched between the crystal blue ocean and beach almond trees.
There is no lifeguard or facilities here, so be mindful of the ocean conditions before entering. The swimming here is nice and there are trees to offer shade while lounging as well as some interesting rock formations. The trail down gives you a good glimpse of the tropical foliage on the cliffside.
Hideaways is an excellent place for experienced snorkelers, especially in smaller surf conditions when visibility is improved. Hideaways has the ambiance of a beach tucked away beneath the cliffs. Although some of the natural romance of the atmosphere is diluted by the popularity of the beach, it is still a lovely beach with nice white sand, clear blue water, places for sun and shade, and a nice coral reef.
Another great way to access Hideaways in the summer is to kayak from Hanalei Bay. Navigating around the reef can be tricky so signing up for a tour with a reputable Kayak company is an excellent way to go.