11 Mar From High-End to Value Added, Kaanapali Has A Room For Every Vacation
The Hawaiian tradition of ho’okipa (ho-o-kee-pa) inspires every moment of life at Kaanapali resort. Ho’okipa means hospitality —in particular, a custom of caring for guests with great generosity and enthusiasm. In our tradition, a good host greets the guests warmly, invites them inside, feeds them, entertains them, and inevitably offers a comfortable place to sleep.
KAANAPALI, MAUI, HAWAI’I – When you visit Hawai’i, do you insist on luxury—the marble, the brass, the swans, the pampering massages, the works? Then Maui’s Kaanapali Resort is your kind of place. But if you travel more modestly, whether it’s because you have to or because you like to, then…. In fact, Kaanapali Resort is your kind of place, too.
It is true that Kaanapali is a master-planned resort community. In fact, it pioneered this kind of planning in Hawai’i. Its story begins as early as 1959, the same year U.S. Congress accepted Hawai’i into the union. With an initial outlay of $10 million Amfac, Inc., the resort developer, staked out 1,200 acres of uninhabited land and unified it with water and drainage systems, a network of roads, and the layout of a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed golf course. The place is further unified by three-mile-long Ka’anapali Beach and the well-traveled Beach Walk that links all the properties.
But unified planning did not lead to uniform thinking. The resort comprises six hotels and five condominiums, and each one has its own look and its own style. Over the years, as the resort has continued to grow and improve, the properties have clarified their differences. The result is variety.
Visitors to Kaanapali have choices.
For example, consider the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, which quite willingly describes itself—in the context of the resort—as “modest.” One of the first properties built, KBH has chosen to retain the scale and spirit of an earlier era in travel accommodations. The buildings are just three and six stories high. The whale-shaped pool is not huge. The hotel does not provide room service.
But it does provide the aloha spirit in lavish abundance. Whereas other properties invest in luxury, this one invests in heart. In 1986 KBH created an employee training program called Po’okela, an ongoing process by which the entire staff applies traditional Hawaiian values to the everyday operations of the hotel. Coming here is like coming home to the best family you never knew you had. Repeat guests are absolutely devoted to this hotel, and the farewell lei ceremony—with singing and chants—often starts tears flowing. It’s no wonder that KBH has received numerous awards for being the “most Hawaiian” hotel.
Neighboring Sheraton Maui Resort was also among the first properties to place a footprint on Kaanapali soil, specifically right at the top of Pu’u Keka’a or Black Rock. This sea cliff, which figures prominently in old Hawai’i’s lore and history, is the focus of Kaanapali’s nightly cliff-diving and torch-lighting ceremony. In contrast to KBH, this property has chosen to grow and expand with changing times. It now flows over 23 acres in six mid-sized towers.
Some of the best room rates in Kaanapali can be had at the Royal Lahaina, where specials on rooms in the economy building start at little more than $100. This, too, is one of the first Kaanapali properties to be constructed, and it too has that vintage Hawaiian feeling. The wood-paneled main lobby and the general décor hearken to the days of Hawai’i’s kings and queens. Indeed, some of the suites in the main tower—with sleigh beds and vast marble bathrooms and astonishing beach views—are named for, and are fit for, royalty. In short, the Royal Lahaina itself is loaded with that Kaanapali quality: variety.
At the other end of things (literally and stylistically) the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa aims at being world-class in every detail. The scale is grand. Its three towers include 806 luxury rooms, more rooms than any other property on Maui. Furnishings include award-winning pillow-top mattresses, colonial style wood furniture, and 300 thread-count cotton duvets. This resort also includes a 15,000 square-foot spa and fitness facility (glass front, on the beach), a half-acre aquatic oasis with waterfalls and waterslides, and a myriad of memorable touches—such as the company of penguins and cranes, the availability of a 55-foot luxury catamaran, and a stargazing show for couples featuring champagne and strawberries.
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa has invested millions in recent years as it moves up-scale along a modern luxury theme. Brass, marble, and dark wood figure into the “sophisticated Polynesian” look of all 758 renovated guest rooms. The new 14,000 square foot luxury spa includes 16 treatment rooms and a yoga studio. The property highlight is its 87,000 square foot aquatic playground with five pools and a 128-foot waterslide.
The Westin is also moving into the “vacation ownership” concept as it constructs a new property, known as The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort & Villas. Vacation ownership, which allows visitors to shift from “guests” to occasional residents, has become a popular concept at Ka’anapali. Vacation owners combine the upscale experience of resort living with the predictable feeling of home. In fact, the Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, located on 15 oceanfront acres, has put tremendous resources into the transition from hotel-style operations to vacation ownership. Renovations are converting rooms to villas, and the property has added a 3.5 acre Super Pool with slides, waterfalls, and grottos.
The villas and condominiums of Kaanapali offer sumptuous “homes away from home.” They come with equipped kitchens, washer/dryers, and lots of room to spread out—1,500 square feet is modest. These accommodations provide the experience of being on your own, as though renting a luxury home by the sea, and yet the amenities and services of a resort hotel are at hand. Kaanapali Alii, for example, will supply a “Grill Basket” with everything you need for the best outdoor grilling you’ve ever done—seaside, with the tropical sun setting in a blaze of color.
The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, because of its lofty height and spacious design, is a very tranquil condominium. And yet it is situated right on the beach, close to Whalers Village shopping center, with five tennis courts and ready access to Ka’anapali’s 36 holes of championship golf.
The Outrigger Maui Eldorado, an all-suite condominium, sits central to the resort, stretching along the Kaanapali Golf Courses. Because it’s set back from the action on the Beach Walk, this condominium has a very relaxing feel to it. And the guests can get to the beach easily. In fact, they have their own seaside cabana, which is Ka’anapali’s only private beach club.
The Maui Kaanapali Villas are situated at the quiet north end of the resort, a little way from the action, in 11 acres of lush gardens where the beach gets wider and less visited. The location gives this resort condominium proximity to the Lahaina Tennis Ranch and the Royal Lahaina Lu’au. A free shuttle takes guests to other parts of the resort for golfing, shopping, and dining. These villas come with an activities desk and free scuba lessons. The restaurant on site, Castaways, has received the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine five years in a row.
It’s unfair to mention the proximity of just one accommodation and restaurant. Kaanapali’s restaurants are numerous, and they are as diverse as the properties. If you want to eat Hawaiian style, you can go to Kaanapali Beach Hotel’s Tiki Terrace or its Mixed Plate lunchroom, which island residents have voted the best place on Maui for traditional “plate lunches.” If you want to be very informal, pick a poolside or beachside grill. You’ll even find fast food in Ka’anapali, and if you stay in a villa or condo you can cook for yourself. But you can also experience great performances in the art of high cuisine and dine in true elegance.
Diversity. That’s the remarkable achievement of this master-planned community. However, some aspects of Kaanapali don’t provide much variety. The ocean, for example, is always clean and about 72 degrees. The balmy trade winds are reliable. The air temperature is almost always in upper 70s.
Guess you can’t have everything.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, 200 Nohea Kai Drive, Lahaina HI 96761-1985. (808) 661-1234; fax (808) 667-4497; reservations U.S. & Canada (800) 55HYATT; packages (800) 772-0011. www.maui.hyatt.com.
Kaanapali Beach Hotel, 2525 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina HI 96761-1912. (808) 661-0011; fax (808) 667-5978; toll-free (800) 262-8450. www.kbhmaui.com.
Maui Marriott Resort & Ocean Club, 100 Nohea Kai Drive, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-1200; fax (808) 667-8300; toll-free U.S. & Canada (800) 228-9290. www.marriott.com.
Royal Lahaina Resort, 2780 Keka’a Drive, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 661-3611; fax (808) 661-3538; reservations (800) 22ALOHA. www.2maui.com.
Sheraton Maui Resort, 2605 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina HI 96761-1991. (808) 661-0031; fax (808) 661-0458; reservations (800) 782-9488. www.starwoodhotels.com.
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, 2365 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-2525; fax (808) 921-4699; reservations (808) 921-4655. www.westinmaui.com.
Kaanapali Alii, 50 Nohea Kai Drive, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-1400; reservations (800) 642-6284. www.classicresorts.com.
Maui Kaanapali Villas, 45 Kai Ala Drive, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-7791; fax (808) 667-0366; 24-hour toll-free reservations U.S. & Canada (800) 92-ASTON [(800) 922-7866]; 24-hour worldwide direct reservations (403) 444-4136.
Outrigger Maui Eldorado, 2661 Keka’a Drive, Lahaina HI 96761-1993. (808) 661-0021; fax (808) 667-7039; toll-free US, Canada & Guam (888) 339-8585. www.outrigger.com.
The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, 6 Kai Ala Drive, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-3200; fax (808) 667-3201; toll-free (888) 488-3535. www.starwood.com/hawaii.
The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, 2481 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 661-4861; fax (808) 661-8315; 24-hour toll-free reservations U.S. & Canada (800) 92ASTON [(808) 922-7866]; 24-hour toll-free reservations (403) 444-4136.
Kaanapali Golf Courses, 2290 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina, HI 96761. (808) 661-3691; fax (808) 661-0203; toll-free (866) 454-GOLF. www.kaanapali-golf.com.
Lahaina-Kaanapali & Pacific Railroad, 975 Limahana Place Suite 203, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 667-6851; fax (808) 661-8389; toll-free (800) 499-2307. www.sugarcanetrain.com.
Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants on Kaanapali Beach, 2435 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina HI 96761. (808) 661-4567. www.whalersvillage.com.
Kaanapali Beach Resort Association
34 Kupuohi Street Suite 304A
Lahaina, Hawai’i 96761
Digital images available upon request.
Images & text © 2005. Kaanapali Beach Resort Association.
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