It’s difficult to imagine that just a few years ago, the area where Kukuiula Village now sits on Kauai’s south shore was once just a field of red dirt. Today, it’s a luxurious multimillion-dollar private club and community, complete with a golf course, resort, spa and fitness center, shops and restaurants.

Although it’s the first new development on Kauai in 20 years, Kukuiula still manages to have an ambiance reminiscent of old Hawaii, with its plantation-style architecture and old-fashion island hospitality. The tourist love it here; the locals, well, it’s still growing on them. I recall my Kauai friends expressing some concerns when they heard plans of the multimillion-dollar development several years ago. Now that those plans have materialized, they’ve admitted to enjoying the expanded shopping and eating options on the south shore.

The Shops at Kukuiula has a nice variety for every kind of shopper, including the loyal boyfriends who wait patiently outside with the shopping bags. My first few stops at Kukuiula are usually at the small surf-fashion boutiques. I love the eclectic assortment of “endless summer” attire they have for guys, gals and children. Second stop is usually when my boyfriend makes his way to a comfy bench in the shade. I guess you could say he’s not really in to island home decor shops, like Bungalow 9, also known as an interior designer’s haven!

And the last stop of our Kukuiula shopping adventure is when my boyfriend comes out from hiding. It involves refueling with some local foods – from finer cuisine to simpler ones, like burgers and fries. The outdoor cafe ambiance or indoor table intimacy will surely help you decide on which place to get grub.

If I’m around on Wednesdays (4 to 6 p.m.), I make sure to check out the culinary market at the shopping center. It’s a traditional pau hana style event with live music that swells into the warm afternoon air and more than 20 farmers and Kauai vendors sharing their fresh produce and homemade goodies. And because it’s also happy hour in Hawaii, the Wine and Beer Garden has become a hit with those who show up to the weekly market.

THE SHOPS AT KUKUIULA • 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St., Koloa, HI 96756 • Opens Mon-Sun 10am-9pm • www.kukuiulavillage.com

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