Impressions Of The Andaz Maui

There are certain points hotels that people flock to for good reason. For many of us, the main reason we participate in hotel loyalty programs is because of the aspirational properties that belong to their portfolios, and we dream of redeeming points there. In the case of the Hyatt portfolio, it sure seems like the top three “aspirational” properties at which people redeem points are the Park Hyatt Paris, Park Hyatt Maldives, and Andaz Maui, which opened a couple of years back.

I’ve stayed at the Park Hyatt Maldives (twice), I’ve never stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris, and I’m just making my first stay at the Andaz Maui. I figured I’d share my initial impressions of the hotel.

I’m simultaneously delighted and a bit disappointed by the property. First let me say that I booked the hotel using the Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free benefit. The rate for our dates (when booking way in advance) was $400 for a base room, or $500 for an ocean view room. I booked the latter, since this trip is for Ford’s birthday, and I knew we’d be disappointed if we didn’t have an ocean view, and I know this hotel isn’t great when it comes to elite recognition due to the number of Globalist members they get. There wasn’t free night availability for our dates, but if there were, the cost would have been 25,000 points per night.

While I’ll have a full review of the property soon, I wanted to first share my initial thoughts. Let’s start with the public facilities. This hotel is gorgeous. Absolutely stunning. So many Hawaii hotels are past their prime, but this hotel legitimately has the most visually stunning facilities of any hotel I’ve seen in Hawaii.

There’s an elevated outdoor area with three infinity pools, all of which have stunning views of the ocean. There’s an open-air lobby with a constant breeze overlooking everything as well. The public spaces are beautiful, and brilliantly designed to make the hotel never feel too crowded.

Furthermore, the service has been friendly across the board. With the exception of one person, everyone else has been over-the-top friendly. Many of the people working here seem to be beachy types from the mainland who have just lived here for a few years, but they’ve provided incredible service.

While the public areas and service at the hotel have been great, I don’t feel the same way about the rooms. Let me start by saying that preferred room aesthetics are inherently subjective, so below I’m sharing my opinions, though I realize other people may come to very different conclusions. I’d also like to acknowledge the challenge of designing rooms at beach destinations. You can’t put in a really nice carpet since people will constantly be coming in the room full of sand, etc. So I get that.

Even taking that into account, I find the rooms both unattractive and impractical in terms of their layout and functionality. We booked an ocean view room and got exactly that (which is fair enough, as I knew this hotel isn’t great about upgrades), but I just can’t get over the room’s design. I find it to be so bland, and to me it sort of feels like a Florida condo in need of a renovation.

But my much bigger issue is with the comfort and practical design of the room:

  • The mattress isn’t comfortable, and the bedding, pillows, and towels feel low quality
  • There are so many minor design issues, like there being a single outlet on top of the desk, rather than multiple, and there’s not another available outlet within a few feet
  • The closet is designed so that you can’t actually open a drawer while you’re in it, since there’s a luggage rack, and there’s nowhere to move it
  • The bathroom design makes no sense to me, as both the bathroom and the shower are long and narrow, so it seems like it would make more sense to make the shower rectangular and then add double sinks
  • The doors to the bathroom, etc., are all hard to open and close, as there’s no real handle
  • There’s no turndown service, even for Globalist members (which isn’t directly related to the design of the hotel, but is worth noting; apparently it’s available on request, though I only found that out by Googling, and when I called down to ask, the operator said “we don’t do that unless people specifically ask”)

I guess my issue is that this hotel is legitimately charging Four Seasons prices. Actually they’re charging more (in looking at many dates over the next month, the Andaz has higher base pricing than the Four Seasons just down the road, and the Four Seasons doesn’t charge a resort fee), yet I feel like the Andaz is missing simple luxury touches.

It’s sad because clearly they’ve spent so much on the the public areas. Even if the room isn’t my preferred aesthetic and I think it looks cheap, it would be nice if they had plush towels, great bedding, turndown service, etc. This should be a given at a hotel that’s charging $800+ per night for a base room including the taxes, resort fee, etc. And that doesn’t even include the $35 per day valet parking fee (there’s no self parking option).

Bottom line

Overall the Andaz Maui is great. The public spaces exceed my expectations and are stunning. The service is excellent as well. However, I personally don’t like the room design (which I can get over), but feel like they’re really cutting corners with some of the soft touches from the towels to the pillows to the lack of turndown service.

If you’ve stayed at the Andaz Maui, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. The Four Seasons does charge a resort fee, although there are certain months (low season) when it is waived. I stayed at the Andaz a year after it opened and before they charged a resort fee and enjoyed it, but now with the fee and with the reports of lack of upgrades, I’d rather spend a bit more and get the Four Seasons – better service and the rooms were recently renovated too.

  2. I know the blinds are closed in that one picture, but for a second, I thought you were showing a pic of an employee’s dorm room. It really is that plain. Maybe with the blinds up, the amazing ocean view provides all the aesthetic you would need? For the sake of fairness in your review, show a daytime view of the room with the blinds open. Are those also shutters behind the bed with a window to the bathroom? No need to show those open.

  3. I think the best parts of the Andaz are the public parts. Its amazing how they gouge customers who stay overnight. For example if you stay you have to pay for parking, but if you just go to the restaurant or bar, the valet parking is free!

    You can pretty much access the property as a general member of the public, except the pools etc which they sometimes check room numbers for.

  4. While I’m not a huge fan of the room layout, that first room picture is quite misleading – see Jonathon’s post above. You make it look like that is a blank wall at the far end when it reality that is the sliding door to the balcony with the shade drawn in front of it.

  5. It is infuriating to see “$400 for a base room” and “no award night availability”. Hyatt explicitly advertises “no blackout dates on standard rooms” on the World of Hyatt site!

    This is borderline false advertising. We all know that Hyatts either categorize “base rooms” as being a handful of low-floor, back-side, etc. rooms, rather than the standard room at the hotel, and that Hyatts just don’t sell the base room except in a package. Effectively there are blackout dates: there are many hotels which have *zero* award availability for months on end, no matter how far ahead you book. Given how the program is advertised, this should be illegal.

  6. I love the brand but dang, $811/nt for an Andaz is high. Park Hyatt prices for minimalist design. Maui is Maui, I guess.
    Andaz Costa Rica is only 15,000 points(with decent availability) and parking is free. Oh, there’s a Four Seasons just down the road there too.

  7. We stayed at the Andaz Maui a couple of years ago – stayed on free nights so it’s hard to nitpick but I did not care for the room especially the bathroom. It’s not toddler friendly, so don’t stay here with active toddler because there are sharp edges everywhere and the shower in the bathroom is dangerous. The natural stone in the shower becomes very slippery when wet – if it weren’t for my quick reflexes, my daughter would have busted her head. The small slip grip provided is tiny and doesn’t do the job to alleviate a major accident.

    Loved the pools but not the service – most of the attendants just stood around and had to be tracked down if you wanted to order anything or get a lounge set-up. For the price, the service should have been stellar. The valet guys were awesome though.

  8. Lucky, this hotel has been reviewed by virtually every single points/miles blogger and has got to have one of the longest FlyerTalk hotel threads on the site. There’s no new ground to cover.

    For me, I thought the hotel was one of the worst I’ve ever been to in terms of living up to expectations. And, now that they’re playing games with points, it’s less attainable than ever.

    I especially love the fact that you go out of your way to cover hotels/airlines/destinations that are not well reported on by other bloggers/travel journalists. The Andaz Maui is a property that has been massively overcovered, and I think your time is better spent specializing on places that you can uniquely provide insight on.

  9. @MarkF: “Maybe with the blinds up, the amazing ocean view provides all the aesthetic you would need? ”

    Even on Maui, it gets dark at night.

  10. Andaz Maui is “aspirational” because bloggers have made it aspirational. Way better options especially for your money.
    PH Maldives I can understand. But surprised you left out PH Sydney as I think that’s actually the best Hyatt property in the world

  11. The Andaz Maui is a stunning property and we personally loved our suite when we stayed this summer. The A/C worked fantastically, and the service was wonderful. The minimalist vibe worked great in both bedroom and bathroom, and I loved the Malie-branded toiletries.

  12. Kihei is its own world on Maui…we prefer Lahaina and north. If you’re paying full price just go stay at the Kapalua Villas in a gold villa, MUCH cheaper. True, no onsite restaurant and you pay extra for daily maid service. But much else is included in the price and parking is free. And since it’s not as crowded as some of the other resorts there’s no need to close your blinds at night…

    There are many better options on Maui than the Andaz…

  13. Andaz Vacation Factory—the greatest redeeming quality is the restaurant and the stretch of beach on Wailea that it inhabits. I believe this is a Hyatt corporate owned property and yet they play some of the shadiest games possible to keep points redemptions from ever happening.

  14. Are the public areas better than the Four Seasons on Lanai? I assume you stayed there based on the jeep story you published the other day. Stayed on Lanai before the big renovation and am trying to decide if the property upgrades are worth the significant price upgrade.

  15. You know about the other Hyatt on Maui, which is Hyatt Residence Club Maui, Kāʻanapali Beach, right? Much better property. Real luxury in rooms, extremely spacious 1br, 2br, 3br residence suites.

    And, you know how to play Hyatt timeshare points game, right? If you know the game, you can get the 1br residence at that property for ~$130 per night.

    I am surprised you don’t cover timeshare points. That is a totally different game, but extremely rewarding if you know what you are doing.

  16. I’ve stayed at both the Andaz and the FS in Waimea, and would choose the Andaz even if it’s slightly more expensive. The FS rooms are even less inspiring and the property is just meh compared to the Andaz.

  17. @Lucky – you’re a WoH Globalist, right? So why did you have to pay Resort Fees, since Globalists aren’t supposed to be charged them at all? At least, I don’t pay Resort Fees as a Globalist.

  18. Stayed twice and stayed in an ocean view corner suite. Stayed in 2014 and again in 2015. Absolutely loved everything including the suite in 2014. Had less good experience in 2015. It felt like they were cutting costs/quality everywhere they could although still enjoyed the stay. Can only imagine how much further downhill it has gone in the 2.5 years since my last visit.

  19. I’ve stayed here twice. This hotel sucks. They’re rude and incompetent. They couldn’t care less about your status. I believe I was the first to break the absurd resort fee on FlyerTalk. Was planning to go back for Thanksgiving this year, but happily cancelled and rerouted to Andaz Mayakoba instead thanks to Delta and American schedule changes. Morimoto is the ONLY thing good about this property.

  20. Agree with you 100%. We stayed there earlier this year and as a WOH Globalist was disappointed. No Upgrade (as you mentioned) and the room layout and amenities are down market. The sheets were terrible. We had ocean view rooms but the balconies were too close together for any privacy at all. Breakfast was great. Pool was underwhelming and the turndown service issue was the same for us too. Four Seasons Wailea is far better – heck I think an upgraded ocean view Westin Maui room may even be better in comparison. No way Andaz Maui – done with this resort

  21. That room looks completely different than our garden view room when we stayed. Ours had way more light and was much more spacious. Yours looks like a different hotel!

  22. I’ve never understood the point of a turn down service. To have some random staff member come into your room each evening to do what, fold a duvet over for you? How freakin lazy can you get?
    It’s like using the call bell on a flight to ask the crew what champagne they have because you can’t be bothered looking at the menu

  23. I was just there, couldn’t agree with you more. Next time you go to Hawaii stay at the Surfjack in Honolulu. You’ll be very pleasantly surprised. Not a member of any points programmes though!

  24. Back in early March 2015 stayed for 4 nights (free with Hyatt cards for husband and me). We were given an ocean view room overlooking the tranquility pool, which I think was a bit of an upgrade, but this was early on for this hotel. Thought it was nice enough, but would not have been happy paying $400 or more per night. Didn’t have any status with Hyatt to get free breakfast, and we don’t each much breakfast, so skipped the buffet as we couldn’t justify the cost for the little we eat in the morning. Just picked up coffees and yogurts from the Marketplace to enjoy on our balcony – but we had to put our pillows on the chairs to be able to sit on those torture devices! We aren’t pool people, and did not hang around the hotel, opting instead to explore Maui, which we loved. Did appreciate having the self-service laundry as we’d been in Hawaii for a couple of weeks. Some staff very friendly, others less so.
    If we return to Maui, I don’t think we would stay here again.

  25. It’s a joke of a hotel, one of the worst in Hawaii. I love the modern minimal design approach and the entrance is stunning but it’s all down hill from there. The pool design is ludicrous; crowded and steeply tiered. You feel like you are on display for the world to see. It’s all stairs, stairs, stairs as if you are in a stadium or something. The dining options are generally mediocre and inarguably overpriced to comical levels and the rooms are just small and cheap, there really is no other way to describe them. It’s just not a well thought out or designed place. The fact that it sits close to the Four Seasons (which has new rooms that make the Andiz seem like a hostel and service several light years beyond the Andiz) only makes it seem that much worse by comparison.

  26. We stayed there for one night this summer. We live in Honolulu and and met up with friends from the mainland. They are big fans of the Andaz, but we weren’t so impressed. We disliked the room layout as you did, good thing we weren’t there much!

    We stayed the one night during our friends stay that there was an award night available, and to their credit they gave us a room right across from our friends’. They also let us go out with the (included in the resort fee) free a.m. paddleboard lesson even though it was “full” and we hadn’t made a reservation. (So if you try to reserve and it’s full, just showing up on time will get you far).

    When we stay in Wailea we usually stay at the Marriott a couple properties down. They don’t have the beach that the Andaz does, but I like the rooms better and they give Kama’aina (Hawaii resident) rates. You can have an ocean view for less 1/3 of the Andaz rack rate. It is a more kid/family friendly place, the “adults only” pool is infinity. (Discounts for Marriott friends and family and even some corporate rates are similar to Kama’aina)

  27. I have a condo down the road and stayed at the Andaz once when a booking came in earlier than my departure flight. I visit the Andaz each morning while in Maui as I enjoy their public spaces. The room – ehhh….certainly not worth the price and desperately in need of a “splash” of something!!! Was very disappointed and would never stay there again!

  28. Generally speaking, the big downside of chain loyalty programs is that their aspirational properties are so rarely as good as, let alone better than, independent properties in resort destinations. This is another example of just that.

  29. We were there exactly 2 years ago to the day, and were very disappointed. It was my first experience with Andaz. I thought we were just too old. Bed and furniture very low. The bathroom was a joke. Why have the sink open to the bed? Call me old fashioned, but I like a mirror above the sink. Impossible to put anything down on the counter by the sink because it was something like lattice, if I remember correctly. Very dysfunctional.

  30. Will someone please buy Ben a thesaurus or dictionary? He uses “absolutely,” “beautiful” and “stunning” way too much. Those words have become meaningless, at least here on the blog.

  31. I stayed at the Waldorf Grand Wailea last December, but Delta put me up in the Andaz when they had to cancel my late-night flight back to LAX. Honestly, while the WA was certainly nothing special, I wouldn’t pay the price premium (in points or cash) for the Andaz. Apart from the luxurious lobby and more modern (but cheaply furnished/designed) rooms, I didn’t care for it. You can eat at neighboring hotels and the nice pool area just didn’t seem worth the extra cost.

  32. The $41 resort fee, regardless of the room rate, should more than enough cover the cost of closing the blinds, turning on the radio to soft music, replacing any used towels or toiletries, and placing a chocolate on the pillow.

    As for the decor. Why is there no tropical color in the room? Or some wall art. Wow.

  33. @Tommy Trash is right. The Andaz Maui has been labelled as one of the worst offenders of elite status rules and points of any hotel in Hyatt. The irony is the hotel is OWNED by Hyatt, not some shady franchisee.

  34. @lucky

    You still carry that Monster power strip right? It’s essential gear, for me as well, for situations like that desk.

  35. The public areas look stunning. The room looks like a cheap hostel room. $800 per night. Are you insane?

  36. @Chris – you can’t compare the SurfJack hotel to any of the Andaz hotels, much less any of the Hyatt resorts. The Surfjack is not in the same ballpark, even with all of the flaws in the Hawaii Hyatts.

    The Surfjack does have an excellent restaurant though (one of my favorites in town).

  37. I stayed here when it just opened, was able to stay at their ocean view suite, and free breakfast buffet for four. Their breakfast buffet was amazing, but i know their service level went down. no suite upgrade, and i heard you don’t even get breakfast buffet as globalist member.

  38. It’s funny to hear people even mention Andaz and Four Seasons in the same conversation. They are not comparable on any level with Four Seasons just destroying it. I’m also not sure why it has been mentioned that they are similarly priced, they really are not. You may be able to find the cheapest possible room at FS for about and Andaz price but comparable rooms are significantly higher at FS, but in this case certainly worth it. One could argue that the FS with free cabanas and no resort fee (though they also charge for parking) is actually a better value but in terms of just flat cash it’s also more expensive.

  39. @Ben – The point of turndown service is a second daily tidying of one’s room. While I couldn’t care less about having the duvet folded over, I certainly appreciate the replenishment of towels and toiletries, delivery of water and ice, emptying of trash bins, etc. that are also part of the service.

    Turndown is especially nice at resorts, where guests are likely to shower in the evening after a day of activity, go out to dinner, and later return to find the room back in order. I consider the service a necessity at any property purporting to be a luxury hotel.

  40. @ Lina — Are you sure about that? Their website specifically says that they never charge a resort fee, and have a whole page on their site making that point and comparing themselves to other resorts in that regard.

  41. @ Lucky, loyalty programs aren’t what they used to be. Business and first class fates are cheaper than they’ve ever been. Just buy what you want. Same goes for hotels. When it comes to chain hotels, just select the best Aman or Four Seasons in the neighbourhood.

  42. @Lina and @Ben Four Seasons absolutely does NOT charge a resort fee and never has. At least they have not for the past 15 years I’ve been staying there including this past July. They do charge $30 or $35 for overnight valet parking and that’s about all they charge for. Cabanas are free though first come first serve, however it’s generally easy to get them. Kids program free, young kids even eat free. Free amenities at the pool including lotion, popsicles, fruit etc. basic internet is free, bottled water free and so on. No resort fee for sure.

  43. @ Ted — Regarding the statement that the two hotels aren’t comparably priced, that doesn’t match my experience. Looking at base rooms, they have roughly the same rates at the moment. I randomly picked February 8-15 as well, and the rates are also comparable (especially after you factor in the resort fee). So I know it’s surprising, but they are comparably priced.

  44. HAHAHAHAHAHA it indeed feels like a dorm room of lifting workers if you hadn’t lifted the blind up, and I just wonder how can this poor room charge $800 per night???? That’s insane, as I can find far more better resort other than this in Bali with MUCH CHEAPER prices, even when Spring festival in China HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  45. Wow. Just wow. That room looks like a crappy Novotel property in Thailand, not a significant Andaz resort in Maui.

    Public spaces can only make up for so much. I just think that not one of your photos entices me to ever try this place. At that price point, as a reminder, you can check into the Nam Hai in Hoi An, Vietnam, a stunningly better and more luxurious property. That is only one example.

    I have never been to Hawaii so clearly I don’t “get” the vibe of this destination, but nearly every review I read features large concrete mega-resorts of the type I always stay well away from, while the rooms at upper end hotels always seem like they belong at a holiday inn, yet invariably go for 500++ per night.

    Would it not be more sensible to spend the money and time in Bali or Lombok, or the Vietnamese Coast, getting a vastly better resort experience?

  46. Sorry I correct myself I just googled a couple Novotel properties in Phuket and the rooms look vastly better than that grim dormitory thing at the Andaz. And they retail for sub USD 100/night. Andaz should really be ashamed. I have also read many reviews suggesting cleanliness and upkeep are… problematic there

  47. @Ben

    WOW! In my experiences the FS and the Andaz have not been comparably priced (though both certainly expensive). Knowing that they are now close in price, be it because of higher Andaz, lower FS or a combo of both, makes the contrast that much starker. One would be wise to choose the FS which is simply a vastly superior property (though also not perfect). FS generally don’t go for flash, in fact quite the opposite. On the surface I could understand why the Andaz would feel fresher, hipper and sleeker however a stay of even a few days reveals why these properties are an ocean apart. Of course FS offers twice daily keeping as well as a host of amenities simply absent at the Andaz. The ratio of staff to guests must be twice as high at the FS and even basic things like the comfort of the pool chairs or how they are set up for you is much much better at FS. We stayed at the Andaz once… ONCE. Only downside of FS is no true loyalty program but book through a partner agency and you get a host of benefits (free breakfast, upgrade, amenity, resort credit etc. )

  48. Give me a mediocre condo in a good location on/near Ka’anapali and I’m absolutely happy. Hawaii is best experienced outside, not in a glamorous room or hotel lobby. But, people have their priorities, and being able to say you stayed at The Andez or FS certainly gives bragging rights that some people care about. Gotta have that check-in on Facebook, right?! 🙂

  49. You are better off at the FS every time, absolutely no question about that. Service is far superior, rooms are incredible, and the FS is often less expensive.

    I also think the FS public spaces are much nicer than the andaz’ which you claim are the best in Hawaii.

  50. Stayed in November 2016 as a Diamond.

    Was upgraded from an Ocean View Room to an Ocean View Suite overlooking the tranquility pool side of the hotel. I liked the style of the room. Perhaps plain but clean and simple, and was nice to not be jarred by ugly carpeting and weird fabrics as in so many hotels. Not sure what the issue with the bathroom y’all are talking about is. Tub was huge, two giant sinks, loads of good amenities.

    Staff was always nice and helpful, especially the beach bar and spa. Concierge was great. Valet parking dudes were quick.

    Yes, it was expensive. But Maui at Thanksgiving. Going back this year.

  51. Wow, the rooms are super underwhelming. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in May and although the public spaces are not as nice, the rooms looked better but only slightly though.

    My gripe about the Andaz Maui is that they play games with their redemption availability.

  52. The photos of the rooms you’ve posted are super unfair. No surprise that the lack of natural light and the sepia effect due to artificial lighting makes look terrible.

    I wish I’d saved some of the ones I took, but I suggest googling for some photos with daylight or browsing on Tripadvisor.

  53. Ben,

    If you’re still in Hawaii get out of the Andaz and go stay at the Four Seasons for a few nights. If you like service and quality, you owe it to yourself. IMO the Andaz was horrible…..

  54. Look how many comments you got on this review. People are passionate on their opinions of this hotel. I pay attention to the details of all bloggers reviews. One of the best hotels I ever stayed out based on a positive review by another blogger was the Andaz Papygayo Resort in Costa Rica. I stayed twice in 1 month and was never disappointed. Since then it has become so popular, it is hard to get there in December at all, but they have remained loyal on the points redemption rate. And the breakfast was one of the best in the world.
    All that being said, i paid attention to the Andaz Maui review and cancelled my stay there and went with the more commercial Hyatt Regency. As a Diamond at the time, I got upgraded to the top center oceanview room on the club level. Could not have been more perfect. Loved the property, beach, food, service and was well aware I was not at an Aman resort, so I set my expectations accordingly. It was a wonderful stay. Then we moved on to the St. Regis Princevile in Kauai and that was beyond spectacular. Enough said. Chances are if the review was bad, expect bad. At least from a blogger’s perspective. From a regular guest, much less so.
    Anyway, keep the reviews coming Lucky. We pay attention and hope you and Ford are having a wonderful time.

  55. This is going to be a weird post but I basically just did the same exact trip as Lucky. I stayed at the Andaz 4 days ago for 4 days and now at the FS Lanai. I got upgraded at the Andaz from the cheapest room to a partial ocean view through Virtuoso. My room looked completely different than the photos you took…Not sure if I had a recently renovated room. I did have issues with the bathroom doors, it was annoying and same with the closet / safe…Also didn’t like that they only had 1 mirror in the bathroom. Thought the shower and room itself was nicely done though. The pictures Lucky posted seemed like a different hotel, so that’s my two cents. The cost we paid for the room was in the 450 range not including resort fee and taxes without any free night etc stays. I looked into staying at FS during the same dates and it was 150+ more a night. Beach and pools were great, same with the restaurants (yes they are expensive!). Anyways I’ll be interested to see your post about Lanai as I hope it’s not different than my take haha.

  56. I’ve stayed at the Andaz multiple times including when it was a Stouffer, Renaissance, and Andaz (when it was converted to Andaz, the entire entrance/restaurant/pool part was gutted and rebuilt, but the guest room parts were not rebuilt but were completely remodeled). At the end of the day, you are paying for location; the rest will not be top notch. If that bothers you, you should stay somewhere else.

  57. My visit to the Andaz was quite different… although not without a couple of odd situations…

    The absolutely wonderful breakfast buffet ($52) is included for Globalists, and even though the hotel was packed to the gills, the capacity control people went way out of their way to give me a huge, two room suite that opened onto a lovely lawn, way at the end of the hallway, so it was completely private and quiet. My approach was that I was not in any rush, that they could take as long as they desired to find me a nice room, and they certainly did. Must have been a $1600 a night room.

    One sore point, at their otherwise excellent Japanese restaurant, one of the waiters was constantly badgering me to purchase more food. Even though I was finished, and eating dessert, he kept going after me to buy more sushi. I told him to buzz off.

    Another astonishing event… the sushi chef gave me a tiny speck of real wasabi, about the size of a large pea, and there was a $25 charge on the bill, even though he hadn’t informed me that this would happen. Geesh.

    My stay there was in early June, and I’m a long-time Maui resident. So the ocean view rooms may be crappy, but there are lots of others on the property that are lovely.

  58. And as others have mentioned, what a location. Absolutely stunning. And I lived on the North Shore of Maui for 7 years. Great protected swimming and snorkeling right in front…

  59. I kinda feel this way about all of Hawaii. Way over-hyped, horrible hotels, and insanely overpriced. It truly feels like the emperor has no clothes — Hawaii is the most over-rated place I’ve ever been.

  60. I think when it comes to Hawaii, it really pays to know which island to travel to and that depends A LOT on what activities you prefer to engage in. Want peace and laid-back atmosphere? Big Island. Want major adventure and rugged nature? Kauai. Want shopping and California-esque feel? Maui. Want Las Vegas with beach access? Honolulu. Want to frolic in the ocean? Better know the swell patterns between winter and summer on each island and the rain patterns on other islands.

    Hawaii often gets a bad rap because people book without understanding what they like to do while on vacation and how the location they picked fits those activities.

    I have been going to Hawaii since my kids were really tiny. We’ve been to Maui, Kauai, the Big Island, Oahu etc. And I know exactly which hotel to stay at during which months. I also understand that if I travel to the same hotel during the wrong months, my entire stay preferences are shot. All of this comes from making many mistakes over the years…I have stayed on the North Shore of Kauai in the summer (joy) and early spring (brutally rainy). I have stayed in Poipu in the summer (high swell) and winter (low swell). I have stayed in Keauhou not realizing there is no easy access sand beach nearby.

    I had colleagues of mine who booked honeymoons from travel agents!!!!! who were put in hotels where I knew they would not be able to snorkel safely or do half the activities they thought they would do because I knew the odds were the weather and swell would make it impossible. And I have seen them come back complaining about the honeymoon after and commiserating with me.

    Do your homework, don’t worry about miles, and pick a property that gives you the most authentic Hawaii experience possible. If you go into it with eyes wide open, you stand to make a connection for life with Hawaii. I know I have.

    P.S. Yes, it is an expensive place to travel to. No question.

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