The Question: Can you recommend the perfect hotel in Maui – something that’s intimate, without sharing space with the owners?
The Hawaiian beachfront is crowded with the usual suspects with their white-tea scented amenities, glass-enclosed showers and global brand stylings: You know the Westins, the Hyatts and the rest of the tall-tower crew.
But you want something more intimate. Charlene Ka'uhane, who represents the Maui Visitors Bureau in Canada ( gohawaii.com), says many of the choices on Maui are the large hotels and condos you're trying to avoid. But some medium-size properties have the beach location and secluded ambience that you're looking for. It may not be just you and the sunset – but expect to have elbow room. These are her suggestions:
- Napili Kai Beach Resort ( napilikai.com) is a Canadian-owned property on a crescent-shaped beach. The hotel is low-rise, with “classic Hawaiian charm,” Ka'uhane says. “The service is impeccable and personable, and there's a great sense of place.” It features 163 hotel rooms and condos on 10 oceanfront acres (four hectares). Every morning, a conch shell is blown calling guests to coffee and fresh pineapple at the beach cabana.
- Kaanapali Beach Hotel ( kbhmaui.com) is a more moderately priced low-rise hotel with an expansive lawn between the guest rooms and the ocean. “This area is great for relaxation – reading and lounging under shaded trees steps from the sand and ocean,” Ka'uhane says. The 430-room property promotes itself as “Hawaii's most Hawaiian Hotel,” backing up the claim with a staff of full-time cultural advisers.
- The Royal Lahaina Resort ( royallahaina.com) is situated on a 10-hectare (27-acre) property on a quiet stretch of Kaanapali Beach. Its 333 guests rooms – admittedly in a 12-storey tower – feature contemporary teak furnishings and muted Hawaiian accents. It also has two-storey cottages located among its tropical gardens.
Or if you can trade room service for increased privacy, consider a condo. Holly McBean, a travel agent and Hawaii specialist with Travelonly ( fti.travelonly.com), suggests the Ma'alaea Surf Resort (maalaeasurfresort.com). The one- and two-bedroom condos, situated on Sugar Beach, are spread out over two hectares (five acres) and offer a laid-back Hawaiian experience.
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