There are many options for places to stay when vacationing. Do you do the hotel or condominium? The beach house for big bucks or the Motel 6 for bed bugs? For our family of six, we opt for the condominium.
As a teenager I was lucky enough to go to Maui almost every spring break with my family. We would stay at a very simple but comfortable condominium called Napili Point, a spot right the water where the waves crashes against the cliffs and the turtles are plentiful for your snorkeling pleasure.
My kids are young and there are quite a few of them, so we decided we need to hunt for a big resort style condominium that offered two bedrooms. Upon very high recommendation, we found a newer resort on the North end of Ka’anapali called Hanua Kai that met all of our needs.
Honua Kai is a big resort of one, two and three bedroom condominiums situated in North Beach Ka’anapali. Check out the link to to the resort to find out more about it. A few things that I really liked about it is that it’s relatively new, which means that you get granite counter tops, walk-in closets, a washer and dryer and flat screen televisions in each room. Our condominium had two large bedrooms. Our room even had a vacuum for all of the sand that evacuates bathing suits at the end of a long beach day.
Some of the condos are owned and rented out by the owners (we rented ours off of VRBO). The condos available to rent through the hotel are significantly more expensive. If we rented the same room through the hotel, it would’ve cost $200 more per night.
The grounds are pretty, not up to par with the Hyatt Kauai, but definitely well maintained. There are three pools on the property: shallow children’s pools, several hot tubs and a waterslide. Duke’s Restaurant is on the property, and it butts up right against the ocean for beautiful views.
Here are some little facts that you won’t find in the guidebook or on the Internet that made our stay at the Honua Kai a success:
1. There was easy access underground parking with an elevator that went straight up to our room on the 9th floor. I loved the convenience of this. I also learned from being on the 9th floor that when the elevator doors shut, the red heads go CRAZY. There was lots of screaming and dancing behind elevator doors. The brown-headed child held strong to my leg and wondered how she ended up with those siblings.
2. Our room had a keyless/cardless entry. We simply pressed in a six digit secret code, which I made my eldest child who is smarter than me, memorize. I never had to ask my husband, “do you have the key?”
3. There was an awesome gourmet store on the ground floor called Aina Gourmet. Aina serves up home made desserts, sandwiches, snacks, coffee and Gelato. It also offers limited gourmet food items that cost a small fortune, but is nice to have in a pinch. One night I went down to get a Hawaiian rub for the rib eye steak we were cooking in the room that night. I picked up a beautiful small package of Lavender seasoning spices and went to pay for it, only to learn then that it cost $28.00. Being occasionally sensible, I returned the gourmet lavender spices for a more basic Hawaiian rub that cost $8.00.
4. Duke’s Restaurant is on the resort grounds which means Hawaiian drinks and Pupu’s by the pool!
5. The powerful water pressure in the showers of our condo were amazing for those in my family with ultra thick hair and crotches filled with loads of sand.
Here is what was disappointing about our stay at the Honua Kai:
1. To top the list as the absolute worst thing about our stay was the sewer smell that would waft over us when we had our windows and doors open. As it turns out, there is a sewage treatment plant across Highway 30 and it smells like SHIT. The kids would yell “who tooted?!” from time to time. I would try to explain about the sewage treatment plant nearby but my words wafted right over their head with the sewage smell and again they would ask, “who tooted?!” Instead of looking at ocean swells we got sewer smells.
2. Just splurge and get an ocean view. We had the “mountain view” which indeed had views of the mountains, but also a view of the busy highway. When we opened our doors we heard heavy traffic noise instead of the ebb and flow of the tide. My sister and brother-on-law had a view of the front lobby entrance and the grocery store.
3. Poolside service was sloooow. I know, waaaaaa. But when you order lunch for the kids and it takes an hour to arrive…problems. When the Lava Flow is lagging for mamma, bigger problems. All in all, service was slow and expensive and it was a bummer.
Although we liked the Hanua Kai well enough, we decided we would not stay there again unless we had either an ocean view or very quick access to the ocean away from the breezeway of the sewer treatment plant.
As it turns out, Napili Point, the hotel I used to stay at as a kid, has been fully remodeled and we may need to give that a try on our next stay.
In Maui, Part 2, I will recap adventures on sand and sea; the various beaches that made up our days in Maui.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.