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Reviewed October 24, 2010

The Westin Maui is one of Starwood's better properties, clearly a cut above the Sheraton and Hyatt. Having said that, yes, there are some annoying flaws. But rather than turn a 5 star review into a negative tirade, I would rather mention them all later in the review and focus on the what makes this an excellent resort. Let me say right up front that the best value is clearly using Costco vacations. Buffet breakfast, rental car and an upgrade to the next class of room is included and you will not want to pay extra for any of that as Hawaii is already insanely overpriced (well, it is still America after all). 7 nights in mid October on the 5th floor of the nicer (ocean view) wing ran us about $2450 (more on the rooms to follow)

Although the brochures claim an abundance of activities on Maui, should you choose to get your money's worth out of the resort, there is little need to spend more than a day or two away from the area. There's an awesome paved path that runs from one end of the resort area to the other. The beach itself is uncrowded since most people opt for the pool area for their relaxation . For easy snorkeling and very personal encounters with large sea turtles, you can walk 5 minutes to Black Rock Beach located by the cliffs opposite the Sheraton. The picturesque (albeit touristy) town of Lahinna can be reached by shuttle all day or by an easy 7 minute drive. Lahainna features some excellent but pricey restaurants with spectacular oceanside sunset seating, a lot of art galleries and jewelry stores and a banyan tree like you've never seen before. Possibly worth a trip, but all your shopping and food needs can be had right next door at the Whalers Village Shopping Complex. (fast food at the food court is the only inexpensive option-if you want cheap, vacation somewhere else or hit Costco and stock up as soon as you get out of the airport).

Although the "5 star" resorts are located on the snobby south side of the island next to the gated communities and Rodeo Drive style shops, Kaanapali Beach is easily the nicest stretch of beachfront property on the island. The hotel grounds are beautiful and feature 5 separate pools, including an adults only area which makes this hotel an excellent choice for both couples and families. Not once during our stay was there a shortage of chaises (Keep in mind we were here in October but the hotel was still full due to the 10-10-10 weddings). There is a beach bar with typically overpriced but good drinks and they constantly come around to all pool areas taking food and drink orders. Be warned; the relaxation factor can add up. The down side would be the ridiculously small 7 person Jacuzzi where you will find the younger couples huddled every night discussing how they packed every possible minute of the trip with activities. A fun place to spend the last hour of the evening.

The facilities include a very beautiful spa (we didn't get a treatment so can't comment on it-prices are typically expensive) and a spacious gym with more than ample exercise equipment (We don't do that on vacation otherwise it wouldn't be called vacation). There are 3 loud parrots, some koi and a very lonely but adorable black swan that are resident pets. The buffet breakfast is served in the restaurant next to the pools and you are given the opportunity to eat at Tropica, the restaurant overlooking the ocean, if there is space. Coffee is typically weak; bring Starbucks Via's from home or pay 5 bucks for "Kona Blend" at the kiosk. More on specifics:

ROOMS:
We had the whole family together but they all opted for either pool facing (garden view)or parking lot facing rooms due to cost issues.There is an enormous comfort difference. The ocean view rooms are 450 sq feet with large double sink bathrooms and enough room to fell like home for a week. The showers have double heads and they provide 2 free bottled waters every day as well as extra small touches like double Starbucks style cups for the average but adequate Kona coffee that is brought to the room every day. Furnishings are contemporary and modern with nice Hawaiian pictures, a full size desk, couch and balcony with an idyllic view (see pictures). Go out at sunrise and enjoy the birds. Only downside: ocean view rooms face Whalers Village and you will hear delivery trucks in the overnight and early AM; however, the soundproof factor is excellent- we heard zero neighbor noise from next door, outside or above with the balcony door closed.

Apparently, you can cut some of the resort fee by requesting every other day maid service but we don't stay at hotels to come back to a smelly unkempt mess. Beds are VERY comfortable, but pillows could be firmer. LG flat screen TV's are excellent; safe size is big enough for large laptops; Wi-Fi connection is average speed and you need to log on each time, kind of annoying. But for the rip-off resort fee, you should try to get something out of it. We visited the parents rooms- smaller rooms are tasteful ,but too claustrophobic for me; feels like a Super 8 that charges Plaza Hotel rates.

PARKING:
Is a disaster and the worst part of the resort-Small self-park lot with room for about 20% of hotel capacity. When there are no spots, (almost always) you give it to the valet. They claim it's free, but CHECK YOUR FOLIO BEFORE checking out- We were charged $14 a day but they reversed the chagres with no problem. They should invest in an expansion-the frustration is ridiculous after a long day of island hopping.

SERVICE:
All staff is exceptionally helpful and friendly; much different than Kauai; mostly white staff that seem to work to a higher standard than other islands. They do give you a "free gift" (tote bag) and try to interest you in standard timeshare crap but unlike Mexican all-inclusives, it's not mandatory to attend any sessions. Just ignore it. An additional unknown charge on our bill was removed promptly and request for coffee, pillows etc immediately acknowledged.

BUFFET BREAKFAST & DINING OPTIONS:
Buffet is good but nothing spectacular; paying for it individually every day would be insane (almost 30 bucks per person). Standard fare of eggs, pastries, French toast/waffles, cereal, fruit (could be better considering it's Hawaii) and bacon/sausage/hash brwons (all greasy and tasteless). Omelet station and fresh smoked salmon are the standouts. Didn't eat at hotel restaurants but prices are typically overpriced.

If you get the Costco package, your vouchers allow you to eat at any of 5 different resorts. DO NOT TRY THE SHERATON-the difference is night and day and it shows-their staff is overweight and barely speaks English, the food is cold and stale, you wait almost 15 minutes and the clientele that stays at the hotel is clearly a social class below the Westin crowd.

Dinner choices: We ate at Roy's, 5 minutes north of resort; excellent but expensive- also ate at Cane and Taro's in Whaler's Village- hint: 20% off entree if you order before 6 PM (but then they tack on 18% tip which is more than they deserve for the good but unspectacular service) Excellent fresh fish through all the pricey restaurants. Make reservations for any trendy place after 5:30. We also tried Hula Grill, pan-Asian -2 minutes away -with entire family. Again, excellent macadamia crusted fish but expect to pay almost $80 for 2 if you have alcohol and appetizer. Same goes for most Lahiana restaurants-try Aloha Mixed Plate for basic but average island fare ("plate lunch" which means a bit of the cheapest cut of pork or ribs, 2 scoops of white rice and an island delicacy known as "mac-potato salad"- at least it's cheap)

EXCURSIONS:
Try Gemini Charters; they leave right from the pool area-We did a sunset cruise with snacks-better than most, food is catered from the Westin the staff is very attentive. Day snorkel and fishing trips are very pricey and that's why I liked Kauai better for self day-tripping. Refused to get up at 2 AM to see the sunrise on Haleakala but highly recommend a drive to the summit-takes about 90 minutes and well worth it. Didn't see the need to drive to Hana when paying so much for the resort and will take an entire 12 hours to do properly. Skip the Kona Botanical Gardens, they charge $10 and my back yard is nicer. Other choices include a Sugar Museum, Plantation Tour and local Winery, none of which struck me as spectacular. I beg to differ with the brochures that rave about how many great things there are to do other than the beauty of the resort area. I tried Zip lining- $187.50 per person for EXACTLY 4 1/2 minutes. The other 3 plus hours are spent carrying your line, watching others come down and chatting with the guides about how they love Hawaii but all have to work 3 jobs to live there. Fun but IMHO, an absolute waste of money Instead, do it in Costa Rica or Panama for $40. Drove one day to "Big Beach" on the south part of the island. Touted as one of the nicest, this beach is nothing spectacular and looks like any California coast beach. Drive to the end of the road and take an awesome short hike on lava rocks instead (about an hour from the resort). Maui roads are very well paved and drivers are not like in Maine (or Kauai)- they drive the limit or faster. Wind is absoultely unbearable in the central part of the island so don't be discouraged when you get off the plane. Some days are better than others. We had 2 windstorm but warm days followed by 5 perfect 82 degree days and no rain.

RESORT FEE:
Absolute BS but every major chain hotel now charges it. Feels like robbery and you get absolutely nothing; Wi-fi is free at most Best Westerns, parking is a joke anyway and those that use the gym on vacation, well, all the power to ya. $25 a day PLUS tax; only good part: Hawaii state tax is low at under 5%. But not worth looking elsewhere because they all do it now.

LUAU:
Although usually cheesy, "Drums of the Pacific" nightly at the Hyatt, was very entertaining; only a 7 minute walk. Food is better than expected- typical fare of salads, kalua pork, fish and chicken. For an extra 10 or 12 bucks, you can opt for "Preferred Seating" which means you go in after the "VIP Seating", (which is a total rip-off and all you get is to be 3 feet closer to the stage and eat 5 minutes sooner for 12 bucks more). Professional production company makes the show kind of like Cirque DuSoleil for the Islands. The fire-juggling will entice the kids and everyone had a good time; watered down drinks suck (of course) but are included for the approximate 90 dollar cost so go crazy. 3 of the other options are the same company anyway so I recommend this one.

SUMMARY:
Only the "W" chain ranks higher than Westin on Starwood's hierarchy. At this Westin, you get the extra 1/2 star without having to stay at the most expensive resort on the island. Overall, an excellent choice.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled with family
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10  Thank rodi2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PaigeCabacungan, Director of Sales at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali, responded to this reviewResponded October 27, 2010

We are thrilled to learn that you’ve taken full advantage of your island gateway. I would expect that our readers would use your experience as a guide to many activities and entertainment ideas on Maui. My only regret on your review is that you didn't get a chance to experience our Wailele Luau. With family style service and vignettes of cultural dances, we pride ourselves in providing a very unique luau experience. I am so impressed with how thorough your review was... ever consider being a Zagat survey participant or do you have a blog??? I'd most certainly read it! Mahalo for your support and we hope to have you and your family return to us very soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 24, 2010

We travel alot and this was our second time to the Westin. We did not bring the kids but the pool looked like a great place for them. Location next to Whalers village and all the good restaurants there was the best. Little need for driving, but we are suffers and there is no surf off Kaanapali beach. Lovely meal at Tropica. Watched all the giants games at the bars. Beach is very sandy and nice for a dip. Can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed: October 2010
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1  Thank SantaCruzSurfer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 21, 2010

Stayed here for honeymoon and experience was ok. Starting with the positive. Great location near shops and surrounding area. Pool and beach great. Ambeiance good.

Bad-food very overpriced for quality. To be honest some of the food was gross.
Everytime you ask a concierge for information they tried to sell you into a ti e share presentation, very annoying !

Room needs updating. Unknown kinda stains found on lamp shade. A/c made room damp and put off a mildew smell.

Room was often not cleaned, only bed made. Had to call front desk to have room cleaned.

Over all ok place but next time I'll save more and stay at the Four Seasons.

Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
2  Thank lawman007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 21, 2010

a very nice hotel in a beautiful location. the beach was nice. the restaurants within the hotel were great. very relaxing atmosphere. will definitely return.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled on business
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Thank ilovecupcakes2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 20, 2010

The resort was in an excellent location in Maui. The entire hotel had beautiful environment.
However, the $25 per night resort fee plus tax was a rip off, which included internet only as WiFi connection, otherwise they charged $10 per 30 minutes to use their computers. The air conditioning in room was not functioning properly and had to be reset as it kept shutting
down. There was a bee in the room and complained to woman in reception, she replied "this is tropical place and should be expected." The worst part about it was the parking, the spots were very close together and if you were out past 9 pm you were out of luck and your car was parked by valet parking behind the other cars in lot. Therefore, you have expense each time to tip valet attendants. The parking lot is too small for the number of guests as October is the low season!

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank CPharm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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