It’s a kid magnet for sure. At the Westin Maui Resort and Spa Ka’anapali, a new interactive Keiki Splash Zone features tall, lime green poles resembling tilting stalks that are actually spray jets in the sandy toddler pool. A mini-waterslide and waterfall add to the watery whimsy. And for older kids and those of us who act like kids, the 270-foot twisty waterslide challenges the mettle of the most courageous Olympian.
This spectacular oasis is part of the new Kawaiola Aquatic Playground with six swimming pools sprawled across 87,000 square feet, including an adults-only area studded with shaded cabanas, a lushly rimmed swimming pool, and, located one level up, a soaking infinity edge pool where you can rub clean sand between your toes as you gaze out at the Pacific.
Westin designers and architects have thought of every family convenience necessary to win over your clan. At the pools, you’ll find a station that has a free pump for blowing up floatie toys, retail hut selling sunscreen and sunglasses, food and beverage within a few flipflops, and poolside service, of course. All of these amenities make life easier and simpler especially when you can charge the items to your room without having to bring your wallet. Just show your wristband so the staffers know you are a guest.
Last year’s fabulous $120 million remodel exceeds expectations when it comes to settling into a Maui family vacation. If you’re already considering getting pampered at a hotel instead of an Airbnb, consider this 750-plus room mega resort that has everything Little Junior’s heart could ask for.
The refreshed rooms that range from 310 to 340 square feet each feature the signature white Heavenly bed with plush mattress, and a calming oceanic color palatte. Then there’s the practical stuff you absolutely have to have: wireless Internet, USB charging ports, 42-inch flat screen TVs, and mini-refrigerators. You get a coffee maker, plus your own water bottle that can be refilled with purified water hubs throughout the resort. If you need a microwave, ask the front desk to place one in your room before your stay. There is a Starbucks downstairs along with Mahele Market and Eatery, a casual grab-and-go spot for breakfast fare, sandwiches, and treats.
Also convenient for families is the resort’s beachfront location. Less than an hour from the Kahului Airport, it is sited on a leisurely paved walking path next door to Whaler’s Village shopping center. When you need a snack or a gift or some retail therapy, hoof it to the ABC Store, art gallery, or one of the many pizza, yogurt, and ice cream haunts. On Sundays, attend a non-denominational church service on the patio of Hula Grill, where hula worshippers will usher you into a state of peace.
A WARM CULTURAL ALOHA
Meanwhile, back at the resort, you’ll experience a deep connection to Hawaiian culture. Westin Maui employs a manager of Hawaiian programming who makes sure every aspect of the offerings are authentic. Buildings have been renamed with Hawaiian monikers. Speaking of buildings, the management is taking great pride in its new 217-room Hopkupa’a Tower. Filled with serene white, cream, and gray tones, the guestrooms are generously sized with balconies and Hawaiian art.
Blessed folks staying at this tower have exclusive access to The Lanai, the private lounge where they can get views of the ocean, light bites of food, and beverages all day long. There is a shallow infinity pool that you can actually sit in while imbibing a signature cocktail. Think of this space as a retreat within a retreat. Guest must be 18+ to enter the infinity cocktail pools.
The Kids Camp is open daily for parents. Available for ages 5 -12 Half Day from 8:30am – 12:30pm, includes lunch. $65 per child. Night Camp from 5:30pm – 9:30pm, includes dinner. $75 per child. Reservations are required.
You and your family will be sure to learn a few more things about the culture when you take advantage of the spate of resort activities. There are the cultural arts classes, complimentary to room guests. String plumeria on a lei, weave a basket out of coconut leaves, play a short ukulele song, all while culture experts explain what you are doing in historical context. On weekends, free hula shows accompanied by live music are worth many a photo as they are staged in front of the hotel’s magnificent waterfall with strutting flamingos. The pet macaws are brought out daily by their handlers, by the way. You can see them during the macaw office hours in the walkway cages.
Nightly music at the new outdoor Hale Mo’olelo casual restaurant and cocktail lounge could not yield a more romantic experience. Sipping a mai tai at sunset with your loved one with the strums of ukulele music in the background is not cheesy, believe me. It’s magical. And, by the way, this romantic spot also features a children’s menu if you want to bring the kiddos.The fun doesn’t end there. The resort hosts the outdoor Wailele Luau, a three-hour extravaganza with Samoan fire knife dance and all types of Polynesian entertainment.
The Hawaiian buffet is an all-you-can-eat affair along with an open bar you can visit repeatedly. You dine at round tables set for eight people, and the performances are set on a high stage so everyone can see. Making it different compared to other luaus is the hotel limits the number of guests to 250 whereas other places seat 500 or more. Prices range from $210 to $250 for adults; $110 to $150 for kids ages 4-12; and ages 3 and under are free.
Note that resort living comes with a high pricetag. Expect to pay well over $500 per night for a standard room. It costs $40 per day for parking. Then there’s the $45.79 resort fee. As of this writing, you’ll be dropping an extra 14.42 percent state tax on top of the bill.
Our advice? Look for specials. For instance, book a room with a breakfast package. Other promotions on the hotel website include a $50 resort credit daily. Now, through Sept. 3, you can book a spot in the Hokupa’a Tower (where each room has an ocean view) and get $100 daily resort credit. There’s also a complimentary room upgrade program through Sept. 4.
The Westin is opulent, but kid-friendly, so go ahead and splurge. This is a treat your family will never forget. Swaying palm trees, outdoor music and dining, the magnificent aquatic playground, and the lull of the Pacific may not solve your troubles back on the Mainland, at least you can forget them for a little while.
When You Go:
Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Ka’anapali
2365 Kaanapali Parkway Lahaina,