Westin Maui Resort Review:
If you are planning a vacation to Maui, then you will want to consider staying at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. The Westin is located right along the famous Kaanapali beach just north of Lahaina and south of Kapalua. The Westin Maui offers almost everything that a family or couple would want. You get excellent food at the restaurants, 5 different pools to choose from, luxurious rooms, friendly staff, and access to over a mile of beach that is great for swimming or just relaxing. I just came back from a 6 night trip (December 2009) and my family stayed at the Westin through a package deal with Costco. We had never stayed there before but I must say I would highly recommend this hotel in Maui. Perhaps it was because the crowds were light due to the recession or because it was early December and we took the kids out of school so less families were there. The weather was spectacular (80+ degrees each day) with no rain and sunshine from dawn until dusk.
As I mentioned, we made our Westin Maui reservations through Costco (which included lots of resort perks) and flew over on Hawaiian Airlines from Portland. The hotel is about 35 minutes drive from the Kahului airport on the other side of the island. On one side of the resort is the Kaanapali Ali property and the other side has the Whaler Village shopping area. Although I could not find a Westin Maui resort map on the internet, you can see an overhead shot via Google maps which shows the pools, how close it is to the ocean, and the general layout. The entrance to the resort is nice with a huge open air check-in and reception area. There are flamingos, parrots, swans, koi fish, and waterfalls to help welcome you to the resort. We found the staff more than friendly and helpful - I think it helped that they were only at about 70% capacity. Our room was on the 9th floor overlooking the ocean and we had a small balcony to enjoy the sunshine and breeze. The room had 2 doubled beds (wish they changed them to queens), a flat screen TV, a refrigerator (ample size for drinks), and a free internet connection if you wanted it. From our room we were able to watch their luau one night which the kids thought was great. The dancers with fire spinning sticks was the highlight for us. There is a keiki club for kids, but we found that we were able to entertain our 8 and 4 year old just fine with the daily resort activities. We paid one day to let them make lei's with staff members. Each night a man played guitar by the Ono Grill restaurant as evening entertainment. You can't get a better location along the Kaanapali beach coastline. Although the waves were a bit much for our kids, I was fortunately enough to swim and boogie board in the ocean with my nephew. The only negative things I can say about the resort is that one day the elevator closest to our room was shut down due to carpet being put in on the first floor. Also, a baby cried in the room next door a few times which woke us up. Otherwise, the entire stay was without incident and only positive memories. You can find the official website for the resort at Westinmaui.com
. One last word on the resort, their website shows people playing tennis in the activities section. That is a misleading photo since they have no tennis courts. You can use the courts at the Sheraton or Royal Lahaina for a fee.
Westin Maui Restaurants:
As far as resort food goes, often you get let down by places like the Westin Maui. Not in our case. The Ono Bar & Grill was the place we had breakfast and lunch most days. The buffet breakfast is unbelievable and worth eating if you stay here. We had daily coupons for a FREE buffet which made it nice. The food included omeletes, salmon, french toast, fresh fruits (pineapple, mango, grapes), bacon, muffins, etc. - did I mention it was all you can eat. I would usually fill up on breakfast and take a bagel to go as a snack later and have a light lunch each day. We ate at the Tropica Restaurant & Bar (their oceanfront dining experience) one night and had a decent meal. The kids menus offered a good variety and the regular adult menus served up some delicious food. Prices are of course fairly expensive - you are on an island after all. Once you get past the higher cost of meals, the food was wonderful. We did venture out to get some authentic Maui fish tacos one day up at Napili Bay and on another occassion we drove into Lahaina to eat at Longhi's (good seafood, pasta, meats). Although the Wailele Polynesian Luau is shown a few nights each week at the Westin Maui, we decided to do the luau in Lahaina with friends. Back to the resort food, the Sea Dogs snack bar is great for keeping the kids busy while at the pools. You can get hot dogs, shaved iced, snacks, drinks, etc. Lasty, if the buffet breakfast is too much, then go to the Colonnade Cafe get a la carte items like bagels, coffee, smoothies, scones, and more. The selection and variety of foods was perfect for us and the resort dining credits definitely kept us onsite.
Westin Maui Pool - Water Slide:
One of the standout features of the hotel is definitely the 87,000 square feet of pool area - there are 5 pools to choose from at the resort. Four of the 5 are for all guests and one is set up just for adults. Our kids loved the 2 water slides - I must confess the larger waterslide was totally fun to go down. The one drawback for our 4 year old was that there were no "walk-in" style pools. All of them had stairs but pretty much dropped off to 4 feet almost instantly. Also, the pools were never really heated - I found the ocean water to be warmer when you first got in. The water was refreshing, though, so overall we had a great time at the pools. You go to the towel shack and tell them your room # and get towels for the day. Also, they put a colored wristband on each person so they know you are guest at the resort and have access. The reason they do this is because the pathway along the beach is totally open for people to come and go through the resorts along the way. The Westin just wants to make sure people aren't coming off the path and enjoying their pools if they are not guests at the hotel. Two of the pools are connected by twin waterfalls and a hidden whirlpool is between them. Your kids will love the pools.
Westin Maui Deals - Getting the Best Rate:
It seems that Hawaii is always having some kind of sale on room rates or package deals that include airfare. We found our Westin Maui deals through Costco which offered a 6 night stay for roughly $1600. We got an upgrade to oceanview room, a $150 resort credit, a $100 dining credit at Ono Grill, all Westin Maui resort fees paid each day, a free buffet breakfast for 2 (plus our 4 year ate free), a rental car for the week, and all hotel taxes paid for. Getting the best rate was easy given the economic conditions and the time of year, but still I feel like we completely got our moneys worth on this trip. Costco offers up some huge savings on hotel packages throughout Maui and the rest of Hawaii. Airfare was the most expensive part - $450/each from the West Coast. We now have Alaska Airlines flying from PDX to Hawaii to compete with Hawaiian Airlines so perhaps the airline ticket prices will come down a bit in the future. Look for deals on Expedia. Most of the cheapest room rates will never be published on the Westin website - seems contrary to thought but that is the way these resorts operate.