This was my first time in Hawaii, so I really didn’t know where to go or what to do. I had a slight preference for staying on the Big Island (I would lava to see an active volcano), but the best deal I found for a beachfront resort was at the Westin Maui.
I used the Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free benefit for this, effectively reducing my room rate by 25 percent. Better yet, this resort had a government rate, which is bookable with the Fourth Night Free benefit. The government rate for a golf/mountain view room with 2 double beds was $259 per night plus tax, plus a $30 nightly resort fee on a top of that. Importantly (since I was renting a car), the resort fee includes self parking.
The hotel is in the Ka’anapali area of Maui, just outside the town of Lahaina. It’s home to several high-end beach resorts, and the Whalers Village shopping area is immediately adjacent to the property (an easy walk). There is a free trolley that picks up and drops off at resorts and attractions in the area. Starwood also has free shuttles between its local properties and some nearby shopping centers.
Ka’anapali is about 45 minutes from Maui’s main airport in Kahului, without traffic. (I say “without traffic” because the biggest negative I encountered on Maui was how much traffic there was, especially on the road between the airport and Lahaina, and for that reason in the future I might consider staying in the Wailea area, which is closer to the airport.)
There is an airport closer to Ka’anapali: Kapalua Airport. Mokulele Airlines and Hawaiian’s regional subsidiary (‘Ohana) offer turboprop service to Honolulu and a couple other island airports, but the service is much more limited than at Kahului.
The lobby area is really welcoming. Like many tropical resorts, it’s open-air, with little distinction between the indoors and outdoors. There’s a cool “living wall” right by the entrance. Just outside, there is a lush waterfall area where several pink flamingos hang out all day.
We arrived around 4:00 pm and waited in a short line to check in. The agent who helped us was very friendly and genuine. She did ask to see my federal employee ID, since I was booked on a government rate (I’m so glad I remembered to bring it!).
I don’t have any status with SPG, and I overheard another check-in agent telling a guest that the hotel was about 80% full at the moment, so I was pleasantly surprised when we were upgraded to an ocean view room.
The agent also told us that we could text with the concierge if we needed anything, and she sent a text to my phone so I would have their number. I never ended up using it, but it was a cool feature, especially for someone like me who dreads phone conversations (as awkward as I am in person, I’m about twice as awkward on the phone).
The room was fine. That’s really all there is to say about it. I was staying in the “Beach Tower,” which is slightly closer to the water but a couple minutes’ walk from the main lobby.
There were two comfortable double beds, as well as a clean bathroom, furniture that has seen better days but is still serviceable. You’re not in Hawaii to sit in your hotel room, so hotels don’t focus much on keeping the rooms as chic as an Architectural Digest centerfold.
The bathroom had typical Westin-branded toiletries, and I appreciated the dual sinks.
Really the best thing about the room was the view from the balcony, which was lovely.
This hotel has been around for decades, but you’d hardly know it from walking around the grounds. It’s well maintained, beautifully landscaped, and professionally staffed.
There are several swimming pools, which meant we didn’t have to sit at the same pool more than once or twice. There is an adults-only pool as well, which is a little quieter than the other ones. They also have a hot tub, though I didn’t try it because I always feel weird staring at strangers a few feet from my face while we’re all mostly naked.
The beach is beautiful, as you’d expect. One day we rented a cabana on the beach (it’s $75 for a full day or $40 for a half day). An attendant was available all day to bring water and other drinks, as well as pineapple chunks. I didn’t take advantage of the service, though…I literally slept the entire day from the moment I set foot in the cabana.
They also have gazebos available, which are larger (and more expensive) than the cabanas, and are poolside rather than beachside.
There are a few restaurants on the property, including a burger bar. I must admit I didn’t try any, aside from the coffee and pastry place.
The hotel is also home to a number of tropical birds. Here’s a photo of my boyfriend and me with one of them. I Instagrammed this pic, but the bird preferred to tweet about it. (Apologies to my friends who have heard me make that joke half a dozen times already.)
There was a small lagoon running through much of the outdoor area, and it was populated with koi, and there are daily feedings at which you have the chance to offer some fish food to them.
Coming back to reality after this trip was tough. It took actual effort not to greet people back home with “aloha” after saying that everywhere in Hawaii for several days.
This hotel is a quintessential Hawaiian beach resort, and it’s pretty much exactly how I hoped it would be. If you’re looking for a self-contained beach property, this is a great place. However, if you plan to do a lot of exploring around the island, you might consider staying somewhere like Wailea, where you won’t encounter quite as much traffic on the roads.