Review: Hyatt Regency Maui

This past weekend I spent a couple of nights at the Hyatt Regency Maui using “Big Welcome Back” nights from Hyatt’s second quarter promotion. I had a handful more I had to use, and since they expire at the end of August, I figured this would be a good opportunity to burn them. I was surprised to find “Big Welcome Back” availability for the nights I wanted, and was even more surprised to see the hotel retailing for $400 per night.

I arrived at around 7PM using the Maui Executive Shuttle, which cost around $50. There seems to be a bit of a shuttle monopoly in Maui, so shuttle prices are insanely high. Where’s Super Shuttle when you need them?

The exterior of the hotel was very nice, lit up with torches and all kinds of fun lighting. The lobby was open air, as was the tree filled atrium.


Lobby


Atrium


Atrium


Cute penguins near the lobby


View of the ocean from atrium

I was helped immediately at the front desk by a very friendly agent, who was almost overly enthusiastic. She explained everything about the resort to me, and said I had been upgraded to an ocean view room. Instead of selecting the points as my amenity I went with the food and beverage amenity, and chose Diet Pepsi and some of those tasty chocolate covered Hawaiian nuts.

The hotel has three towers — a main tower, and then one building on each side of the main tower. My room was in one of the buildings on the side, on the 6th floor.


Hallway

While the room was by no means super-modern, it was perfectly sufficient and large. It had a king sized bed, couch, chair, desk, and flat screen TV.


Room


Bed


Couch

As far as the bathroom goes, the sink area was actually in the room, while the toilet and shower were separated by a door.


Bathroom


Bathroom


Shower and toilet

There was a large walk-in closet as well.


Closet

The views from the balcony were very nice, overlooking the rest of the resort and ocean.


Balcony


View from balcony


View from balcony

I had to call the front desk twice to remind them to deliver my Diamond amenity, so I guess as “compensation” they threw in an extra can of Diet Pepsi and some cookies.


Diamond welcome amenity

The club lounge is located in the main tower on the 22nd floor (which is really only about the 9th floor, since the building only starts on the 14th floor). The lounge is quite large, with three separate rooms, though it was always packed.


Regency Club

Appetizers were served between 5PM and 7PM daily, and the spread was decent. They had fruits, veggies, cheese, one hot option (the night I was there, it was a chicken skewer), etc. For those that drink, it’s worth noting that alcohol is free at this property, which isn’t the case at most US Hyatt properties.


Evening spread


Evening spread

Dessert was served from 7:30PM till 8:30PM and was insanely good.


Dessert

The views from the club lounge were quite nice as well, overlooking a golf course, the other resorts in the area, the hills, and ultimately the ocean.


View from Regency Club


Sunset from Regency Club

Breakfast was served daily from 6:30AM till 9:30AM, and had a better than average spread as well. They had all kinds of cereal, fruit, bagels, and a nasty, nasty egg dish.


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread

Now, here comes my club lounge rant. First of all, most of the staff in the club lounge were top notch. Especially Karen, who couldn’t have been nicer. But this was the absolutely most cattle call club lounge I’ve ever been in. I felt like I was at an Embassy Suites during a 6th grade cheerleading convention where everyone dragged along their Hannah Montana loving younger sister.

Where do we begin? First of all, the club lounge was always packed to the brim. Why? Not because there are too many Diamonds or people paying for access, but because the hotel doesn’t do anything to control how many people are brought into the club lounge. Most of the time, people entered the club lounge in groups of 8-10. Since it only takes one key to open the door, there are no other controls in place.

Second of all, the level of class displayed in the club lounge was just horrible. People weren’t taking care of their kids, so they were running around freely yelling, jumping up and down, and grabbing food from the buffet with their hands, only to put it back. Beyond that, while there’s technically a dress code in the lounge, it wasn’t in any way enforced. Even during cocktail hour, people walked in shirtless or with dripping wet bathing suits and no shoes.

While some blog readers like to insult me by calling me a “lounge rat,” it’s something I take pride in. I love club lounges on many levels. First of all, they save me a lot of money, meaning I don’t have to spend a lot on food otherwise. Second, when I have to work, I prefer working from the club lounge instead of my room, because I seem to concentrate better there.

I’m probably just spoiled with InterContinental and their relaxing, business-like club lounges, but the whole experience was just comically bad. This place made the Golden Corral look sophisticated.

Anyway, now on to the resort. I really liked it. I spend far too much time on the computer working, so I literally just disconnected for two days and spent the whole time outside. Unfortunately I didn’t once take along my phone or camera, so forgot to snap pictures.

But the pools at the hotel are great. They’re huge with caves, waterfalls, etc. There’s even a waterslide that’s actually kind of fun (if not a bit scary). And there’s a very nice hot tub too.

The beach wasn’t that great, though. Admittedly I’m a bit spoiled being in Florida, but the sandy area was rather limited, and there were quite a few rocks on the beach.

Unfortunately since I hadn’t rented a car, I couldn’t leave the hotel. The hotel is located in Lahaina, and is adjacent to several other chain hotels. While I tried, there’s unfortunately no way to walk anywhere nearby, so I was stuck at the hotel, though that made for a relaxing weekend.

My verdict? The hotel was a great use of “Big Welcome Back” nights. Is the hotel worth the $400 revenue rate it would have cost otherwise? No way. For that price I would have stayed at the Four Seasons and would have booked through “Fine Hotels & Resorts,” especially since they have some third and fourth night free offers right now. But overall the Hyatt was a pretty nice resort and a great value using my free night vouchers!

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Comments

  1. “Kettle” (as in “ma and pa kettle”) is a term I encounter from time to time on FlyerTalk; I surmise that it refers to working-to-middle class Americans who travel once or twice a year and are unfamiliar with this cult of points that lucky revels in and seeks to induct us into. While not a strict part of the definition, I imagine that they’re generally white, probably conservative, slightly to severely overweight, most likely to be found in that area between coastal California and New York, etc…

    lucky, it looks like a fairly standard unrenovated Hyatt property from the 70s or 80s that just happened to find itself on the water in Maui. I agree with you that four hundred a night is extortion!

  2. “Where’s SuperShuttle when you need them?”

    …and your rewarding 50 Mileage Plus partner miles! 🙂

  3. @Lucky – I suspect your lounge experience had more to do with the type of property (family resort) and time of year than with the Hyatt brand or the way the property is being run. If IC had put a resort on that beach for the same price and with equivalent quality kid amenities (like the pool, luau, free sponsored activities like the stargazing, and camp Hyatt) I think you would have had the same experience. I was there for a week in june though and nobody that I saw broke the dress code or failed to control their children. It was packed during peak times though and there were a lot of kids all over the resort. Off peak the lounge was desserted.

    I would add that the price of $400 not being “worth it” depends on the traveller. My sister brought her husband and small children with us and though they are starwood junkies thought that this property was much better than the starwood offerings in the area because there was so much for the kids to enjoy. Since they were 4 people in a room, $400 a night would be fairly reasonable. When I went, $400 was rack rate, but I stayed on a $269 AAA rate. There was also an “Aloha” rate for $319. I used a diamond sute upgrade and put my parents up in a suite using points.

    So far this is my favorite domestic Hyatt. As always YMMV. For example I thought my last stay at an IC was very disappointing, but you probably would have loved it. Since Hyatt Regency New Orleans is not reopened yet, it was my best option. The Hilton there on the other hand was absolutely abysmal. Even the Holiday Inn Express in Moss Creek MS was better than that terrible Hilton!

  4. so you went to maui to work in a lounge and these kids made you spend time relaxing on the beach? the horror!

  5. “I imagine that they’re generally white, probably conservative, slightly to severely overweight.”

    Sounds like most FlyerTalkers, too! Especially the weight part.

  6. Thorough review, lucky.

    I stayed there in 2007 with thankyou points. From your photos, it looks like the resort hasn’t changed at all.

    I also thought that the slice of beach in front of the Hyatt was microscopic.

    Like you, I wouldn’t pay$400 per night. For Kaanapali/Lahaina, I prefer the Sheraton. Their balconies are much larger and the Black Rock location is nicer.

    It’s too bad you didn’t discover the path that runs between the beach and pool. That path leads to all the other Kaanapali resorts and to Whaler’s Village shopping center with restaurants, entertainment and cute shops.

  7. @Sheila, honestly can give Whaler’s Village a miss. I’d say at $50 for the shuttle it’s worth just renting a car (even paying parking, though I know the Westin includes self-park complimentary). Down the street is Aloha Mix Plate, a decent enough place to have a drink and watch the sun set.

    Nowhere near Lahaina of course but I had a pretty good meal at Cafe O’lei in Kihei last year. Again, having a car helps.

    Now as for how muc hthe club lounge etiquette is a Hyatt things vs a price point and location issue, has anyone here ever been in the club lounge at the Grand Hyatt NYC? Cattle call for sure but there I’ve seen the LOUNGE STAFF get in line wiht a plate for the buffet! And that’s not a child-oriented hotel.

    The Intercontinental Bali is very kid-friendly, but kids aren’t allowed in the lounge, at least during evening hours.

    The concept of a club lounge isn’t simply “all-you-can-eat” — an all-inclusive option for hotel guests. Rather it’s an upscale place to have your needs taken care of — by dedicated concierges, that food should be available so you don’t need to worry about that, for business assistance, sometimes reading materials or a place to relax or unwind in an environment other htan your room without leaving the hotel.

    Frankly young children usually don’t mix well with that. Not all children, but on the whole.

    This hotel may cater to that sort of environemnt. That’s fine and that’s their choice, but it’s also certainly worth pointing out.

  8. AJ – that sure was one elitist remark about “I imagine that they’re generally white, probably conservative, slightly to severely overweight, most likely to be found in that area between coastal California and New York”. The notion that someone’s children from the coasts are likely to behave better than those from other places is beyond idiotic.

    Lucky – I’m a big hotel points guy too, but Hawaii is not one place I’d ever try to redeem my points. Those big hotels just aren’t fun in a location like Hawaii. House rental is the way to go.

  9. Nice review Lucky, but I have to say I really surprised you didn’t rent a car. There is so much to see in Maui and sadly a car is a must. Also I have to say you were in a pretty good location to hoof it to other resorts and sights, like someone else mentioned Whalers Village or a little bit further Lahaina town.

  10. @ AJ — ROFL!

    @ John Partridge — No, I was disappointed that the club lounge was less relaxing than the kids pool outside. Is that not a legitimate gripe? Hotels like to advertise clubs as a relaxing oasis, not as Camp Hyatt.

    @ Erik — Hah! Well I earned the 50 miles, but unfortunately at a rate of one point per dollar. 😀

    @ HunterSFO — I think it is actually a Hyatt vs. IC thing, believe it or not. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Hyatts overall, but I find that their club lounges on the whole don’t even begin to compare to those at IC hotels. The main issue (which also happens to be the easiest to fix) is that they don’t control the number of people that enter. At every InterContinental I’ve been to, there’s an agent at the entrance closely regulating how many guests enter. Two per room, period. If you want more, you can pay a surcharge. At this hotel, on the other hand, everyone enters in large groups. I guess it’s possible that some of them paid for it, but I have to imagine that for the most part, friends were just letting others come along. That never happens at InterContinental hotels. But otherwise I agree Hyatt is fantastic.

    @ oregontransplant — Heh, in the end I only worked for about an hour in the lounge, because I couldn’t take it any longer.

    @ Sheila from GoVisitHawaii — Too bad! I asked the concierge if there was anywhere nearby to go, and he said the closest place was by taking a bus which apparently takes forever. I took the walkway as far as the Sheraton, but didn’t think there was anything beyond there.

    @ Gary — Spot on. Sadly I’m not old enough to rent a car, or else I would have done it in a heartbeat.

    @ SFOtoORD — On one hand I’d like to give it a try, but on the other hand this was ultimately a mileage run. Would definitely give another hotel a shot the next time I’m there, though by then I’ll hopefully be able to rent a car and see a bit more.

    @ rkaradi — As stated above, unfortunately I’m not old enough to rent a car. Boo…

  11. @SFOtoORD

    When lucky originally wrote his entry, it was “kettle call” (or at least I read it that way…), and not clear that that was an error, so I provided a definition of the term to the first poster who seemed confused. And as I said, that’s actually how I imagine “kettle” to be. While I suppose it is an elitist remark — even though I was not commenting on the behavior of the kids as I agree with you about that — it’s a fact that Americans with passports (who we can surmise travel more) are more likely to be found in urban California and New York; similarly, the cities with the lowest incidences of obesity in the USA are almost exclusively found in the West or Northeast (Boston, SF, Seattle).

    That said, it might surprise you, but I don’t condescend to ma and pa kettle; indeed, I’m generally more indulgent of people who don’t respect basic travel etiquette for lack of experience than those with Diamond/1K status, who truly ought to know better.

  12. Lucky I forget you’re a youngster sometimes….Next time you make it to Hawaii, do like the locals and thumb a ride around the island.

  13. Hmmm that hyatt doesn’t look that great – kinda old. The review focuses more on the darn club lounge than on the pool or beach! That’s what I’d like to see pics of!

    In any case, the room does look nice though.

  14. a comment on your “per room” lounge policies… I don’t stay at Hyatts, but I’m happy to hear that they don’t strictly regulate the rooms. My dad is a million miler, and I can remember going to Hyatts / Marriotts growing up, and him taking us into the lounge, and my mom enjoying the wine and telling us kids that we had to be quiet and respectful, etc. While it may cramp your style to get work done, keep in mind that a place like Hawaii is a vacation destination, and while there are group of us frequent flyer nerds out there, most people just have to travel for work all year long, and then they take their family to the hyatt in hawaii on vacation… so I think it’s nice that hyatt doesn’t regulate too hard. I actually think it’s “cheap” of the intercontinental to regulate… I mean c’mon if you have an extra couple people in the room, they should be able to enjoy the lounge too! That being said, if it really was crowded….. they should build a bigger one 🙂

  15. I actually stayed at this property in February over Valentine’s Day. We were enjoying ourselves pretty nicely until we saw a rat in our room. Even after complaning the hotel didn’t seem to want to do much to remove the pest or change rooms.

    The property itself was pretty nice. As mentioned by others, the room/hotel seems a bit retro, but the location is nice and overall the staff is friendly. Unless you need rodent assistance.

  16. Lucky – we rented a car in Hawaii (big island) when we were 22 – I found this company (Hawaii Drive-O) – sounds cheesy but it was linked through the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. They have rates that will include the underage fee so same cost for age 21+ as 25+. I believe ours was through Thrifty and was easy, no questions at the counter. Also reservations can be canceled too if needed. Unless of course you’re < 21 then might be out of luck.

  17. As long as you’re at least 18 there’s really no excuse to not have rented a car on Maui.
    In fact it’s borderline criminal!

  18. @ Kevin — I don’t mind some flexibility (including entire immediately family), but bringing in groups of 8-10 does bother me.

    @ Dan — Just curious, what place will rent a car to the 18-20 crowd? I’ve never seen one before…

  19. @rkaradi
    If you thumb around the island,don’t stick out your thumb. Hitchhiking is illegal in the Aloha state and you will be cited or get a talking to by police.
    Standing by the side of the road might give you the same results–if you are not first beat up by the locals.

  20. Brad…that was a joke. I would never recommend hitching a ride. Funny how you see so many people here doing it thought. Just today at least 4 individuals.

  21. @Gary & @Lucky – I don’t think a fair comparison can be made because IC Bali is not a domestic property where the focus is families. I’d say only a resort property in either Hawaii or Orlando would be a fair comparison. The only domestic IC resort is in Arizona. I have not been there (have a stay booked though). I also haven’t been to the Hyatt resort nearby. I would be surprised if they weren’t comparable – but the IC there doesn’t have a lounge and I don’t think the Hyatt does either.

    I admit the lounge at GHNYC is a complete cattle call. That property is probably the worst hotel I’ve ever been to if you factor in the price I paid! Add Hyatt Regency SFO to the list regarding their poor club atmosphere and etiquette.

    Another experience comparison – my last experience a GH Tampa varied greatly from Lucky’s. I was welcomed on arrival at the front desk with a complimentary glass of champagne. The friendly agent informed me that my free diamond upgrade to “best room available” would be the presidential suite – which was great because it had a grand piano I really enjoyed. I went to breakfast right when it opened and it was not crowded and the service was fantastic.

    For comparison the other full-service Hyatts that had regency club/grand club lounges that I’ve been to recently (in the last 4 months) did have a very businesslike and civilized atmosphere:
    Manchester Grand Hyatt
    Hyatt Regency Long Beach
    Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach
    Hyatt Regency Irvine
    Grand Hyatt San Francisco
    Hyatt Regency San Francisco
    Hyatt Regency Santa Clara
    Hyatt Regency Sacramento
    Hyatt Regency Greenwich
    Hyatt Regency O’Hare
    Hyatt Regency Reston
    Hyatt Regency Waikiki
    Hyatt Regency Mainz

    The other 5 full service Hyatts I stayed at within that time frame either did not have a club or it was closed.

    Obviously I don’t have anywhere near the expertise that either of you have, and I totally enjoy both your blogs. I simply wanted to offer a different experience.

  22. Love your trip reports, as always! The next time I go on vacation to the same destination, I won’t even need to take photos anymore, I’ll just use yours. 🙂

    I love both the HR Waikiki and GH Kauai much more than HR Maui… I guess the property itself is great, and I got a nice room, but the staff seemed more genuine in the other two. Have you been?

  23. “I imagine that they’re generally white, probably conservative, slightly to severely overweight, most likely to be found in that area between coastal California and New York, etc…”

    Hey, how did you access my webcam?

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