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