by Lissa Poirot
One of the newest properties in Maui is Honua Kai Resort & Spa, located along Kaanapali Beach. Its south building, Hokolani, was constructed in 2009, and its north building, Kona, and lobby were developed in 2010. The 38-acre property is a condominium property, whose owners offer a plethora of accommodations, which range from studio to three-bedroom condos with one to three bathrooms and fully stocked kitchens, dining areas and living spaces. Honua Kai’s management ensures the condos are outfitted with a unique style, such as Viking appliances in the kitchens, so guests never have to settle for second best.
And while it’s a condo property, Honua Kai Resort & Spa certainly looks and feels like a hotel, with four swimming pools, onsite dining, a sandy beach with water sports, an intimate spa, and a fitness room, plus a sense of serenity and luxury. You’ll only feel like you’re at a condo when you visit one of the numerous barbeque areas on the grounds — where families can conjugate and grill — or see other guests walking the halls with arms full of groceries from a trip to the local store. It’s the best of both worlds and a truly relaxing resort.
Our Editor Loves
- New property on Kaanapali Beach
- Accommodations for up to eight
- Kids' pool with sandy beach entry
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Honua Kai is a 628-room resort occupying two towers. Three hundred of the condos are studios, while the remaining 328 are a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom condos, available to rent in a hotel-like environment, including daily housekeeping. Each suite features an open floor plan, granite countertops, fully equipped gourmet kitchens, washers and dryers, and contemporary Hawaiian dÃ©cor, often with warm, exotic woods. They are also equipped with flat-screen TV's, wireless Internet service and DVD players. Cribs are available to rent for $50 per day.
Tip: When leaving the airport, 45 minutes from the resort, make a stop at Costco and purchase bulk bottled water, sodas, snacks and other foods, toiletries and needs so you won't need to leave to get items (and you'll save money). Costco even has an area in the front with discounted restaurant and attraction cards; you can save up to 35 percent on your food and fun by purchasing these in advance.
Best for small families, 595-square-foot Studios feature living, sleeping and eating quarters, all in one open space. Suites include one king bed and one queen sofa bed to accommodate four guests. Studio kitchens feature Bosch appliances.
Providing ocean or resort views, One-Bedroom Suites accommodate up to four with one king bed in a separate bedroom and a queen sofa bed in the living room. Suites range between 630 and 750 square feet, feature a large balcony space and have kitchens outfitted with Bosch appliances.
With the exact features of a One-Bedroom Suite, the larger Two-Bedroom Suite (1,100 square feet) offers a second bedroom with a king bed, and can accommodate six.
The largest of the resort's offerings, Three-Bedroom Suites are 1,750 square feet in size and accommodate eight with three king beds and one queen sofa bed. King bedrooms can be changed to hold two twin beds. Three bedrooms often feature Viking appliances in the kitchens and also offer ample balcony space.
After a ton of research on Maui hotels for the first part of our honeymoon, I landed on booking a studio unit through Maui Resort Rentals. I wouldn’t say I regret choosing Honua Kai, but I also probably wouldn’t be returning UNLESS I had kids with me.
-The room itself was spectacular. Good size, amazing view of the pool and ocean (although that was expected, since we booked an oceanfront room). Loved the kitchen and washer/dryer
-On-site restaurant (Duke’s) was very good. One of the towers has a large gift shop/convenience stop, which was very nice
-There were a ton of kids. I knew the resort catered to families, but since we were traveling in early November, I didn’t expect to see as many. Nope, they were everywhere. Not necessarily a bad thing, but we were on our honeymoon and the pool area just wasn’t as relaxing because of this
-Parking is a pain. There’s an underground garage, but it’s very tight and difficult to maneuver. After parking there the first night, we decided to fight for one of the surface lot spaces, which were easier to park in. There was actually a pretty good size surface lot, but they had a large portion it blocked off for the valet, which was frustrating since all the spaces they had blocked off were never filled up. To be fair, we found almost all parking on Maui to be a bit difficult as it seems the parking spaces are just generally smaller
-Check-in/out was a bit...weird. Since we booked with Maui Resort Rentals, we just had to grab our wrist band keys from the bellhop outside, not the front desk. It was just quick and didn’t really feel like we were interacting with an expensive resort. There was no real welcome, just a passing over of keys and an explanation of where to park
Overall, we had a good time and enjoyed our stay, but it really is a family-oriented place.
I loved this resort! We were drawn to it the minute we found it on the Costco website when looking at Maui beach front spots. What Costco could NOT guarantee was a ground floor room and thats specifically what we wanted. And while a full giant 2 bed was a bit out of our price range.. as luck would have it... on Air B and B we found a 1 bed den (which is totally a 2 bedroom -just without a window..which actually makes it even better for toddler security and for naps). We were stoked on this find but didn't realize how good of a find it was until we got there. The proximity to the pools, and Dukes beachfront restaurant and Aina's gourmet market (OH MY GOSH EAT THE MALSADAS STUFFED WITH CUSTARD... YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT), the proximity to koi pond with we spent lots of time at (remember..toddler) the entrance both to the valet.. and to the alternate "back" entrance to the building which takes you to the other set of pools and BBQ's with ease.. seriously it was like we totally won the vacation lottery. The unit was clean and stocked with all those super helpful extras (beach stuff sand toys)... the on island contact was totally helpful and responsive. The resort is so family friendly. The beach is like a stones throw from the pools and the units themselves. (Like for example we ate at the Ritz and played at their beach one day and the trek from the hotel across the grounds to the beach was super far.. with kiddo and all their swag mind you) The sand on the beach is gorgeous...
Yes a couple of the tiles on the pools are falling off and need repair yes a lounge chair or two have tiny tear from overactive kids but it doesn't take away from everything amazing about it along with its superb location to walkable markets, food truck gatherings, and the proximity both rather cramped but totally amazing to spend the day in Lahaina.
The resort is home to four swimming pools, including the kid-favorite activity pool. Here, a Keiki area provides a zero-entry, sandy beach pool for little kids to enjoy safely, while bigger kids will move on to the pool with a waterslide, waterfall and lazy river. The resort also offers a quiet pool for adults and a smaller lap pool, open from 6 to 8 a.m. Poolside cabanas are available for rent. Pool hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hot tubs are also available throughout the Aquatic Playground.
Nestled along Kaanapali North Beach -- one of the best stretches of beach in Maui -- guests can enjoy water activities like snorkeling, boogie boarding and paddle boarding. Equipment is available to rent or purchase. Note: Cabanas and umbrellas are not available for rent on the beach.
Westin Kids Club
Honua Kai does not operate a kids' club, but instead partners with the neighboring Westin Maui for kids to spend mornings, afternoons or full days in a camp-like environment that includes arts and crafts and outdoor play.
The resort offers one onsite restaurant for families and one market for grab-and-go items.
Duke's Beach House
Named for legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku, Duke's provides a casual atmosphere with a traditional Hawaiian vibe overlooking the ocean. Recently expanded to include covered, open-air seating, Duke's serves breakfast daily from 7:30 to 11 a.m., and lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. and 9:30 p.m, respectively. A kids' Keiki Menu offers grilled cheese, mac and cheese, a cheeseburger, cheese quesadilla, fish and chips, BBQ ribs, grilled fish and more, ranging in price from $6.25 to $13.95.
For grab-and-go breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner items, visit the lobby market, 'Aina Gourmet. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., the market offers seasonal and local items from area farms and businesses. Grab breakfast pastries, salads, sandwiches, fresh fruit and more, and visit when you need to stock your kitchen with a few snacks and treats.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The resort, like many in Maui, charges a resort fee ($29). This includes parking, Wi-Fi and hotel amenities.
Although the resort does not offer onsite kids' programs and childcare, the concierge will be happy to provide babysitter names through its trusted network.
The resort features a small fitness center that admittedly feels a little claustrophobic to utilize, however, it's expected to undergo an expansion. It currently offers treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, free weights and strength-training equipment.
The Art of Smart Timing
The warm, tropical island weather makes Maui a popular year-round destination. The resort finds Christmas to be its peak season, and owners may be in town, so book ahead if planning to spend the holidays on the island. Spring break and summer months are also busies times on the resort. As an owner resort, many actually use their condos during off-peak times to capitalize on peak seasons, so you may not have too much trouble booking.
The resort is roughly 45 minutes by car from Kahului Airport. The resort does not provide a shuttle service, but island shuttles (SpeediShuttle), rental cars and taxis can get you there.
Honua Kai is situated on North Kaanapali Beach, close enough to enjoy the restaurants and shopping at Kaanapali, but also far enough from the collection of popular high-rises, giving families privacy and a home-away-from-home environment. You may want to rent a car to enjoy the attractions, restaurants and beaches of the island.
For Mom and Dad
Ho'ola Spa, added to the resort in 2013, may only provide four treatment rooms, but size does not matter if it's a relaxing treatment you seek while staying at Honua Kai. Be sure to duck into the Salt Room, where purifying and detoxifying takes place via salt panels with color therapy lighting. Guests of the spa can have 25 minutes free in the Salt Room if they book a treatment. The spa provides full body and massage treatments, and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Additionally, golf can be enjoyed at the nearby Royal Kaanapali course, located just outside of the resort. Kapalua also offers two more courses and is about 20 minutes from the resort.