May 152013
 

The Hawaiian island of Maui evokes the feeling of endless summer with its palm trees, balmy breezes, and beautiful beaches. Enjoying a mai tai poolside at a luxury resort is a nice touch, too. Hope you’ll enjoy this round up of Maui resorts.

Eight Days, Four Maui Resorts

"Palm trees at a Maui resort"
When Mr. TWS and I arrived in Maui, we looked forward to a chance to see much of the island since we’d be staying in four different locations on the west and east coasts. We had already been feeling the Aloha on Hawaiian Airlines from San Francisco with friendly flight attendants and a complimentary rum punch before landing in Honolulu, followed by more friendly airport and rental car personnel. Would the resorts we’d be staying at be as friendly? Would everyone in Maui be friendly?

During a period of eight nights, we stayed two nights each in these Maui resorts.

Grand Wailea Resort

"King Kamehameha statue and beautiful flowers and waterfall at the entrance of Grand Wailea Resort, Maui"

King Kamehameha statue at entrance of Grand Wailea

As we drove up to the entrance of the Grand Wailea Resort, we first noticed the gorgeous flowers and the sound of water. As we realized later during a tour of the Grand Wailea art collection, we were hearing the waterfall by the King Kamehamaha statue at the entrance. We were welcomed with orchid leis by a smiling employee in the lobby and escorted to our room by a helpful and informative bellman.

Our room was on the 9th floor of the Molokini wing with a fantastic view of the ocean, lush grounds, winding pathway, and pool below.

"View from our Molokini Wing room at Grand Wailea, Maui"

View from our Molokini Wing room at Grand Wailea

First order of business was to have my first Mai Tai of the trip, lunch and a stroll around the beautiful grounds. Lunch was at the open-air Bistro Molokini near the pool. I never get tired of enjoying meals outside with a balmy breeze, and in Maui the breezes just seem balmier. Walking the path that twists and turns through the gardens and along the babbling brooks was a good way to spend the rest of the afternoon getting a acquainted with the huge 40 acre resort.

"Bridge on the walkway at Grand Wailea Resort, Maui"

Grand Wailea walkway

First thing the next morning, I went for my Ali’i Honey Cocoon body therapy at Grand Wailea’s Spa Grande before our scheduled art tour. Then it was off to the pool for R & R. Dinner that night at the romantic Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Hawaiian for pig-snouted triggerfish, the state fish of Hawaii), a floating restaurant on an authentic-seeming lagoon, was exceptional.

"Hawaiian wood carvings at Grand Wailea, Maui"

Grand Wailea Hawaiian wood carvings

It’s never easy to leave a place you’ve enjoyed, but we were also looking forward to our next destination — a luxury resort in Hana.

TWS Thumbs Up!

Travaasa Hana

Greeted at the open-air lobby with leis and fresh POG (a combination of passionfruit, orange and guava juices), we got a sense of the type of experience we were about to have for two nights at Travaasa Hana Resort on Maui’s east northeast coast. After a beautiful, but occasionally scary ride on the Road to Hana, we felt an almost immediate sense of calm. Many people drive the Road to Hana as a day trip from the west coast resorts, but I think Hana is best experienced if you can stay at least one night there.

"View from a sea ranch cottage at Travaasa Hana, Maui"

Travaasa Hana Sea Ranch Cottages

Our bellman, Patrick, parked the car and returned to take us to our Sea Ranch Cottage in a golf cart, scooting along the paths from the main building past the pool and down to the ocean front cottage. The property was once part of a sugar cane plantation and the Travaasa buildings were originally the buildings where 500 workers had lived. When the plantation was purchased in 1946 the buildings were renovated and additional ones added to later become what is now the resort. Celebrities come to Travaasa Hana to get away from the limelight without sacrificing luxury.

A bit of serendipity was our first steps onto the verandah where we looked out at the sea and Patrick said that we might even see some whales although it was late in the season. Immediately following his comment, two whales jumped out of the water fairly close to shore since it was a calm day. We took that as a sign of “welcome”.

"Travaasa Hana pool with view of the ocean"

Travaasa Hana pool

After time spent at the gorgeous, sparkling pool (which we had almost to ourselves), a walk around the grounds, and then a “Hana Fusion” dinner in the Ka’uiki Dining Room, we went to sleep that night with the only sounds being that of waves crashing on the rocks of the nearby shore. Early in the morning, I heard the soft taps of rain on the vaulted ceiling adding to the peaceful feeling I already had. We then watched a beautiful sunrise which we wouldn’t be able to see from the other side of the island.

"Church adjacent to Travaasa Hana property"

Church adjacent to Travaasa Hana property

It doesn’t take long to walk through the quiet side streets of Hana where we also came across the Hana Cultural Center and a group of volunteers constructing a traditional “hale” (Hawaiian for house) which we’ll write about later.

"Path along the sea ranch cottages at Travaasa Hana, a Maui resort"

Happy traveler at Travaasa Hana

A little more time at the pool the next day and we were off to Haleakala National Park for a hike to Waimoku falls through the bamboo forest, a fascinating part of the trail that was both eerie and beautiful.

The peacefulness and beauty of Hana and the luxurious ambiance of Travaasa Hana made these two nights very special. A horseback ride in the pastures along the coast in the morning and then we were on our way back to the western side of Maui.

TWS Thumbs Up!

Napili Kai Beach Resort

"Sunset seen through palm trees at Napili Kai Beach Resort, Maui"

Sunset from our room at Napili Kai Beach Resort

Warm, friendly and unpretentious was the mood of Napili Kai Beach Resort along Napili Beach. I don’t think that the tradition of greeting guest with leis can be overstated. It sets a tone for the rest of the stay. We had arrived late in the day, so made our way quickly to room to catch the sunset. Several two-story buildings are spread out through the resort, each with its own small pool. Our second story room in the Puna II building was right at the ocean, separated only by a small yard area and palm trees. The spacious balcony was perfect for catching the sunset.

The Sea House Restaurant served up excellent meals for our dinner that evening and a great breakfast the next morning. Talking to some of the locals, we learned that Napili Kai’s Sea House restaurant is also well-known among the area residents for its tasty and affordable breakfast. (Below left is the Haleakala Oven-baked Pancake and on the right is the Molokai Sweet Potato Egg Frittata.)

"Haleakala Oven-baked Pancake pancake with caramelized cinnamon sugar, pineapples and bananas at Sea House Restaurant at Napili Kai Beach Resort, Maui""Molokai Sweet Potato Egg Frittata at Sea House Restaurant at Napili Kai Beach Resort, Maui"

Mr. TWS is the ultimate water person and had an enjoyable time snorkeling off the shore of the lovely beach. Paddleboarding is also a very popular activity here.

"Paddleboarders in the water: One of many activities at Napili Kai Beach Resort in Maui"

Paddleboarders at Napili Kai Beach Resort

The resort is well-suited for various types of travelers – romantic for couples, families – lots of activities. Young and old. The demographic varies with the seasons, holidays and events. They stress value by not “nickle and diming” guests, rather providing many complimentary services. Also, the restaurant was quite reasonably priced for very good quality food and service.

The management and staff of the resort were particularly helpful and resourceful, working with us on logistics issues and offering advice.

TWS thumbs up!

Westin Maui

After a 2-day excursion to the island of Moloka’I, we returned to Maui and the Westin Maui Resort at Ka’anapali Beach.

"One of the five pools at Westin Maui"

Westin Maui

This was a time to really kick back and relax at the one of the five separate pools with water slides and waterfalls and a swim-through grotto, enjoy pool-side service, swim in the ocean and  hang out on the beach. All activities were easily accessible. Our ocean-view room offered a great vista of the resort, beach and boats sailing on the ocean.

"Ka'anapali Beach at sunset, Westin Maui"

Ka’anapali Beach at sunset

There are dining, shopping and entertainment options at the hotel itself as well as along the Ka’anapali Beach promenade. The town of Lahaina is only 3 miles away for even more choices. It’s a perfect getaway for lively fun in the sun. The restaurants are excellent and very busy, so make reservations!

"View from ocean-view room at Westin Maui"

View from our room at Westin Maui

TWS thumbs up!

We enjoyed each resort and just wish that we could have had more time in each location. But… we’re not complaining!

Disclosure: We were guests of Visit Maui, Grand Wailea Resort, Travaasa Hana, Napili Kai Beach Resort, and the Westin Maui, but our opinions and recommendations are totally our own – as always.

  30 Responses to “A Maui Resort Sampler”

  1. So beautiful 🙂

  2. Definitely thumbs up for these resorts, Cathy. The service sounds impeccable, the food delicious, the surroundings beautiful and the spa, well, 2 thumbs up!

  3. Sounds like a great pu-pu plate of experiences that you had on your tour of the island. Nice overview of your experiences.

  4. This looks like just what I would love right about now. And that pool–wow!

  5. After my upcoming trio with roughly a week of camping I will want some luxury – and I’m a tad envious reading about all the great places you stayed. Hard to pick a favourite one I bet. They all look amazing. Maui is somewhere I’d like to visit in the heart of a cold Calgary winter.

  6. Napili Kai is the one I would choose, but I am sure I would be equally impressed with any of these great restorts.

  7. What an awesome trip and experience! Wow..I knew you got pampered on this trip but after seeing all of these rooms, you were living large. These are all great resorts and the Westin and Grand Wailea have been on my places to stay in Maui. We stayed near the Westin last time and loved Kaanapali Beach which had some of the best sunsets we’ve seen. My first choice would have to be the Grand Wailea for our next visit.

  8. Some vey useful tips here. Nice post!

  9. It would be difficult to choose between these, Cathy. All sound fantastic.

  10. I love the photo of the King Kamehameha statue. Really nice.

  11. All of the resorts look amazing! We stayed on Wailea Beach at the Kea Lani our first time on Maui. I think on a second trip that I would want to try the Westin at Ka’anapali so I’d know for sure which area I liked best.

  12. They are all gorgeous! It would be hard to choose a favorite. I would love to try out that spa.

  13. All the resorts look great, but I’d really like to spend a little time up in Hana right now. It looks so quiet, relaxing and secluded. Exactly the kind of place I could really use at this moment. I might have to make a reservation. If my kids ask, tell them I’m staying at the Westin.

  14. They are all quite different aren’t they? This looks like a fun tour =)

  15. Lucky YOU!!!! My only trip to Hawaii, the rain came down (It was NOT rainy season!) and our hotel flooded… and flooded…. and flooded… and the driveway caved in. And our outings were canceled. And our luau. Ohhhh….

    Glad you enjoyed it — and I hope to get back there one day!

  16. They all look gorgeous. My other favorite is Sheraton Maui because they have Black Rock right in front.

  17. Wow!! Very stunning resorts indeed! We almost never stay in resorts so I have to live this luxurious lifestyle precariously through you 🙂

  18. Travaasa Hana looks a very laid back and quiet place to relax and unwind on holiday. The resort grounds along the rugged coast line are beautiful. I’d like to try that stand-up paddle boarding 😉

  19. Wow, looks like you stayed at some really fantastic places in Maui! Love that last sunset view.

  20. Oh my God, a paradise on earth… I wish I could spend some days at that beautiful place and experience a sunset at that laguna bay.

  21. Such a breathtaking beach, and that view with the sunset is stunning as well… I feel a little bit jealous, I really would like to spend some days at a place like that, it must be wonderful…

  22. Awesome post. You must have really enjoyed it. looking at the view from in the third picture is makes me very envious of you. I have written this down in my places to visit list. Thanks for another great post. Keep them coming.

  23. Looks marvellous all round. Lucky you!

  24. Looks like you really had a great vacation! 🙂 I love those colorful flowers at Grand Wailea Resort. And it must really fun playing volleyball at Westin Maui’s infinity pool.

  25. This sure makes me want to go back to Maui!

  26. Did you have a favorite?

  27. What ironic timing, Cathy! I was just describing my first and only trip to Maui almost 20 years ago to someone last night. We flew on Hawaiian also and first class (wow was that ever a treat) and stayed at nice 4 star place next to the Grand Wailea that I heard was torn down for a mega-hotel. Then we got married at the Princeville on Kauai a few months later. Thank you for the great Memory Lane rewind! 🙂

  28. […] stayed in five different locations on Maui and Molokai over a period of 10 days. Each place had its unique characteristics and we enjoyed them […]

  29. This post just made me homesick… Maui No Ka Oi

  30. […] Among the fashion boutiques and cafes on on Via Garibaldi, Pietrasanta also has numerous galleries  showcasing contemporary Tuscan artists. Although we didn’t visit the Museo dei Bozzetti on this visit, I’d like to return to see its extensive collections of over 600 sketches and models of the sculptures of more of 300 Italian and foreign artists, including Fernando Botero (whose bold sculptures we previously saw in Maui in art installations at the Grand Wailea Resort). […]

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