Some of the most difficult decisions to make when planning a vacation involve deciding on a destination and where to stay. Then as one would guess, this task doesn’t get any easier when the accommodations need to fit 11 people over the holidays and keep everyone happy. There are certain places that work much better than others; you just need to know the right one to choose. After researching many places the executive decision was made by my Grandma to stay at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas. This resort is a timeshare development owned by Starwood that sells their unused rooms to non-owners. What does this mean? You pay a very similar price to a typical resort but get the added bonus of a kitchen or kitchenette and living area. The downside for anyone with Starwood (and now Marriott) status is they have limited recognition for gold and platinum members since they are a timeshare, but you can still earn points. They just don’t offer free breakfast or the other perks one would be used to with their status. The resort is also in the Ka’anapali Resort area which is known for its great weather and great beaches.
The resort consists of two towers, the North tower and the South tower. The above photos come from the South tower lobby, which is open air and has views straight out over the pool and to the Pacific right when you walk in. The lobby had a nice tropical breeze and the employees behind the desk where extremely helpful and accommodating. It really makes it feel like you’re in Hawaii.
After the lobby and resort grounds I had high hopes for the room and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The photos above can be clicked on to enlarge and they consist of the elevators, sitting area near the elevators, the hallway, and also the entry foyer into the villa which can either be booked as one large 2 bedroom villa or 2 separate rooms. One of which has its own sitting area and kitchen while the other has a smaller kitchenette and pull out couch. Also of note, I noticed a sign on the mirror that said they would deliver New Balance workout gear directly to your room for $5 if you either forgot to pack or decided to pack light. I didn’t use this but it could be a nice perk.
The bathroom in the studio room is not as big as the master bathroom but the actual shower is larger. It has the same design with the rainfall shower head and hand shower. Both showers also have a bench, and the jacuzzi tubs are the same in both bathrooms as well. The small oddity that you can probably notice in the picture is they have dividers that can be opened or closed along the tub. We left ours closed but if you really wanted someone to watch you bath or shower they could be left open. It was surprising at first, but didn’t cause any issues. Also of note, my sister slept on the pullout couch and said it was one of the better pullouts she has been and so tired every night she didn’t have any issues sleeping. She did want me to mention the pullout bed would feel a little short for anyone over 6 ft tall.
The resort area is finally manicured, has views of the ocean and West Maui Maintains, 4 pools, hot tubs, and multiple restaurants. The above photo shows one of the many grill areas on the resort grounds. The grills are excellent and many have a view of the ocean and are near the pool. We never had any issues finding an open grill to use, which was one of our concerns before arriving when thinking about meals.
The pool area also has showers to wash off sand from the beach before going to the pool or returning to your room.
As you can probably tell from the photos the resort is right on the beach. Above is the view of the beach directly out from the South towers. There is a view of Lanai and Molokai in the back drop and the resort offers lounge chairs for full day rental on the beach at $10 per lounge chair. Not a bad deal if you plan on spending the entire day on the beach.
For anyone who wants a little less sand they also offer shaded chaise loungers for $50 a day. As shown in the picture above these have cushions and an adjustable shade. My biggest disappointment with these is they don’t offer much in the form of privacy or views. The majority of them are behind rows of lounge chairs obstructing the view. Personally, I think the best use of these would be near the pool if you have children swimming or the loungers numbered 20 & 21.
I noticed these 2 chaise lounges had the best view (pictured above) but they were fully in the shade until about 11 am. There are no other chairs in front of these and the only obstructions come from people walking by on the path further down. If I were to rent a chaise lounge for the day it would be either 20 or 21 since it seemed to offer the most privacy of all the options and a great view. The resort also offers an app that anyone renting a chaise lounge can download to order food or drinks to be delivered directly to you and charged to your villa. I cannot speak to how well this works since I didn’t rent a chaise lounge to try, but the concept seems really convenient. Also, for some of the deals that don’t require renting a lounge chair – happy hour. During happy hour the resort offers $5 Mai Tai’s, $5 craft pints, and other various drink specials.
The above photos are all from around the resort grounds and include 3 of the pools, one of the Koi ponds, additional sitting areas, and one of the pool stores with water toys, water activities, and towels. Bodyboards can be rented here for $18 a day or $35 a week. They also have snorkeling equipment, sunscreen, rafts, and other pool related items. Every guest is also given a towel card at check-in that can be exchanged for a clean towel at the pool. The main pool also has a water slide, which wasn’t anything overly exciting, but the younger children seemed to be enjoying it. Then the pool at the North towers has a lazy river.
As great as I found the overall resort grounds and pools, I was less than impressed with the adult only pool. This pool was rather small, and back in the corner between two buildings with no view of the ocean. Ultimately it didn’t change anything for me as the combination of the other pools and beach access more than made up for it. But I was still surprised and wanted to make note of it in case anyone is thinking of going to the resort and noticed the adult only pool as a point of excitement.
Also of note for anyone with smaller children is the kids area. There is a shallow water pool with a pirate ship play area and small slide. Then also a shuffle board court, a very small mini golf course, open grass for games, and additional grills. There is also a ping-pong table near this pool. The photos above can be clicked on and enlarged.
As I mentioned before the resort has limited recognition of elite benefits, but one thing they were able to help out on was late checkout. They still had to check on availability but due to my Platinum status they were able to 12 pm check out in the one bedroom suite, as long as we moved everything over from the studio, instead of the posted 10 am check out time. This was a huge bonus since our flight didn’t leave the island until 7 pm that night.
Would I stay here again? Absolutely. Is this resort a perfect fit for everyone? No. If you are traveling as a family and value extra space in your room and the ability to cook some meals, while still having resort amenities, then I highly recommend considering this resort for your next vacation to Maui. However, if you aren’t traveling with the kids then you would probably enjoy a place more like the Hyatt or Westin further down the beach, or maybe even the resorts over in the Wailea area, which offer more amenities and status recognition. Ultimately this is a very family friendly resort, which fits the needs of a lot of people perfectly, just as it did ours. Hopefully this helps make your decisions a little easier when planning your next vacation but if I missed anything you have a question about comment below. Or if anyone else has stayed here and would like to share details about their stay I am sure it would help everyone to get multiple perspectives. Until next time!