Westin Kaanapali Villas is a great place to stay with your family as they are timeshares. You can book directly with the hotel, or you can purchase a timeshare for the week from an individual, which is what we do. We get a 2 bedroom lock off, which is a 1 bedroom and living room, connected to a studio. Each room has a fully stocked kitchen and washer/dryer, which is very convenient if you are traveling with a family. The resort also has several pools to choose from, including a kiddie pool.
Honua Kai Resort and Spa is one property away from the Westin Kaanapali Villas. They offer 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites. The rooms are a nice size and luxurious with full kitchens that have Bosch appliances and the rooms have washer and dryer. They are very nice and upscale. There are a couple of pools throughout the property. We get a 2 bedroom when we travel with the kids and a 1 bedroom when they are not with us. It is a lovely property and Dukes restaurant is located on the property. There is a nice fitness room that motivated me to work out every morning and a great beach to hang out on.
Napili Shores Maui by Outrigger is located in Napili, and has cottages throughout the property. You walk a little bit down the way to go to Napili Beach, which is a beautiful beach with very calm waters.
Kaanapali Beach Club This is timeshare resort. We had a 1 bedroom that was a nice size. The kitchen had a refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave (no oven). There are laundry room facilities on each floor. The pool is a very nice size with a beautiful waterfall and the lounge chairs are very comfy. There is not much of a beach there so we took our rented Tommy Bahama chairs to another beach in Kaanapali and hung out there.
We tend to eat out at a lot of restaurants while we are there, so here is a brief summary of our dining adventures:
Tiki Terrace Restaurant at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel We went here on Christmas Day for dinner, and they had an incredible buffet set up complete with amazing prime rib, rack of lamb, turkey, and a variety of other items. They even had a wide selection of desserts, including chocolate covered strawberries. It was so good that we went back for their Sunday brunch. Not as large a selection as the Christmas dinner but still a great variety of items, and it comes with 2 glasses of champagne.
China Bowl Casual restaurant in a strip mall off the main highway. We enjoy everything we eat here (except the spring rolls). Some of our favorites are the beef with broccoli, Mongolian beef, candied shrimp, chow mein, green onion pancake, and chicken with vegetables.
China Boat Discovered this great, casual, affordable Chinese restaurant in Kahana. Enjoyed the corn soup, chicken fried rice, shrimp in lobster sauce, Mongolian beef, and chicken with vegetables. Everything was tasty, and the staff was very friendly
Koa's Grill We went there so excited for their prime rib, only to discover that it is no longer on the menu. Instead we had the short rib, shrimp scampi pasta, filet, mac and cheese, and a really good Caeser salad. We had Adam as our server, and he was exceptional.
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse We always go here on New Year's Eve. This restaurant is a Benihana-type restaurant located in Lahaina. The food is very good, and the cooking show is always fun to watch.
Kimo's While known for their Mai Tais, we always visit this restaurant for their prime rib. So tasty. In fact, my younger daughter loves the prime rib so much she gets the 32 oz Kimo's bone-in and eats the entire thing by herself. They also have a wonderful Caesar salad and an incredible Kimo's Original Hula Pie for dessert. Yum. The staff is exceptionally friendly and on top of everything. They have live music downstairs in the bar area, and one night we were lucky enough to see Willie K perform there. He is truly an amazing musician with an incredible voice. If you have the opportunity to see Willie K, don't pass it up. In fact, we loved the show so much we returned to Maui 2 months later to see Willie K perform again at Kimo's. What an incredible show.
Slappy Cakes One of my favorite breakfast places. You sit at a table with a built-in griddle and make your own pancakes from a variety of batters and toppings. In addition to the pancakes being incredibly light and tasty, kids will have fun making their own pancakes. You can order off the regular menu, as well, if you don't feel like cooking your own.
Sea House Restaurant My other favorite restaurant to go to for breakfast. I love their chocolate macadamia nut pancakes, and the view while you dine is stunning.
Ruth Chris Steakhouse Even though we go to the one in Los Angeles all the time, we still love this restaurant, so we dine here a couple of times as well. They do offer an early dining special menu from 5:00-6:00.
Frida's Maui A new restaurant opened by Mark Ellman, who also owns Honu and Mala. They serve authentic, as well as eclectic, Mexican dishes. We enjoyed the tacos, corn, and ceviche tostada.
Honu A great restaurant where many locals, as well as visitors, hang out. They have a nice bar and serve really great pizza amongst their many other wonderful dishes.
Sale Pepe Italian restaurant. Quarto 4 cheese dish--not on the menu, but really tasty. Good pizza, too. I think you can bring in your own bottle of wine for a $20 corkage fee, but call to confirm
Sangrita Located in a strip mall off the main highway. Mexican restaurant (known for their chicken, which my husband loved). I had the shrimp fajita, which was very good, and I loved their margaritas and chips and salsa.
Sansei Very popular sushi restaurant (make sure to book a reservation in advance). They have great miso soup, their specialty panko ahi was very good, and the lobster and crab ravioli was amazing. I also enjoyed the sushi combo (great variety), along with the butterfish roll. They have a great drink menu, as well. I loved the drinks--perfect pear martini and Hawaiian Martini were my favorites.
Lahaina Grill This is one of the top restaurants on the island. Many locals, as well as visitors, dine here. I thoroughly enjoyed the corn soup and the toy box tomato as my starters. I ordered the appetizer wagyu beef ravioli in an amazing sauce as my main course, and I was very happy. Finished off dinner with a scrumptious berry pie. The service was impeccable, as Lisa took great care of us.
Teppan-Yaki Dan at the Sheraton Resort This is a Benihana type restaurant. I found it to be much more comfortable than Kobe Steakhouse and the food was a better quality and tastier. However it is more expensive than Kobe. The fried rice was very good and even had bacon in it. Always fun to watch them cook your food.
One of the many reasons we love visiting Maui is that we love listening to live music. There are 2 restaurants in Maui where we can always count on hearing great music.
The first is Fleetwoods on Front Street . Owned by Mick Fleetwood, he has live music every night on the rooftop. He also has special concerts and events. We were there one night when the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band was performing with special guests. What a night! Rick Vito and Willie K performed, as well as Steven Tyler and Luke Spills from the Struts. What an amazing evening to see such great music in such a small venue. In addition to the great music, the food is wonderful as well, especially their rack of lamb. They recently opened the "basement", an underground club below the restaurant where they have special concerts. It's not called the basement but I don't know if it officially has a name yet. Great venue to see a show.
The other restaurant we love is called Java Jazz . They have live music every night as well, ranging from a guitar player to a full band playing rock and blues. This is a local hangout as well, and everyone is so nice and welcoming. Farzad, the owner, is an amazing guitarist and Mary the bartender is really nice and makes great drinks.
In addition to seeing music at these restaurants, we look forward to attending the Willie K's Blues Festival, wherein Willie K has special guests appear and they jam all night long. This year Steven Tyler and Alice Cooper performed. What a magical night.
Mulligans on the Blue is another place to visit for live music and entertainment. We saw Willie K perform there in an intimate setting. There are tables inside as well as outside. Outside has a beautiful view but the music is set up inside and it was a bit chilly outside that night so I would have preferred inside. However, they did give us tablecloths to wrap around us so that helped. It was unusually cold that night so probably not typical that it gets cold outside. Be sure to book your tickets in advance as they do sell out and ask for a table inside if you want to be near the music. This show was a dinner show and the food was very good and the service great. Everyone that worked there was so nice, from Maia who sat us, to Patrick our server. Even Kerry, a waitress working another section saw me try to get Patrick's attention and ran up to me to see what I needed. Truly a magical evening. Mulligans has different shows throughout the week so be sure to check their schedule in advance.
During the day I really just enjoy hanging out on the beach all day reading, but every now and then we like to do a little adventure. Every year we go to Nakalele Blowhole . We have fun hiking down to the bottom to where the blowhole is. Try not to go right after it rains, as it can get muddy and slippery.
One of the beaches I love to hang out at is Napili Beach. The water is beautiful and calm. We rent paddle boards from 808 Boards and spend the day hanging out on the beach after eating breakfast at Seahouse restaurant, which is located on the beach.
I love being out on a boat, so one day we went whale watching with Maui Adventures Cruises. The guys were great, and made us all feel very comfortable. They were quite entertaining. While I was hoping to see whales, I was really just excited to be on the boat. The boat is a large raft that accommodates 40 people, but as luck would have it, there were only 16 people on the boat, so it was very comfy and we were able to easily move around to different areas of the boat. When the captain took the boat full speed ahead, it was so much fun. The boat would bounce a little with the waves and we got water misted on us, but it felt great. Within the first 10 minutes of being out in the ocean, we had our first whale sighting. We saw a number of whales breach, whales swimming with dolphins, and whales swimming with other whales. I never expected to see so many whales, and in truth, the guides said this was their best whale watching experience this season (as it was still early in the season and not that many whales were out yet). They were both very knowledgeable about whales, and gave us great information (in a very comedic way). They even put an underwater microphone in the water so we could hear the whales. This was truly a marvelous experience and one I would highly recommend. If you book online, you get a 15 percent discount.
My kids love adventure, so we decided to spend the day ziplining with Skyline Eco Adventures. We drove to Haleakala to experience the first zipline course ever built in the United States. Since we were staying in Kaanapali, we drove to Paia to do some shopping (Mahina is my favorite store there), and to stop at Paia Flatbread for their famous flatbread. They open at 11:00 and there was already a line waiting to go in. The flatbreads were so good. We then drove 25 minutes to Skyline Eco Adventuresto go ziplining. Once there we went on a very little hike to our first zipline. This one was very short and easy (just to get you adjusted). With each zip they became longer and faster, until the last zipline where we went up to 45 MPH. I have done a number of different ziplines, but this was the first time where the zipline was a pendulum, and you zip back and forth until the guide grabs you by the foot to stop you, and you step down a ladder to the platform. The guides were both very entertaining. Once we completed the 5 ziplines, we were loaded into a van and driven back to the main office, where we were able to purchase all of the photos taken for $15.00. The pictures were then e-mailed to us.
On my last day I decided to go for a little walk. Since we were staying at the Napili Shores, I was told there was a trail right near Merriman's Restaurant, with a parking lot adjacent to the restaurant for beach parking. A path leads to the Kapualua Coastal Trail. This trail has beautiful scenery, and is a really fun hike. Great way to spend the morning. You walk by the Montage Hotel, and if you continue you will end up at the Ritz Carlton (but I did not go that far as I ran out of time).
If you plan on renting a car I have always found great deals at Discount Hawaii Car Rental, or you can contact Brenda from Brenda's Big Island Travel, as she got me an even better deal on a car rental. Her number is 808-966-6528. If you prefer not to drive while on the island, Uber is very popular here now, and we had no trouble getting an Uber.
To save money while in Maui, be sure to sign up at the Safeway and Foodland Farms to get automatic discounts on your groceries. Costco is located near the airport, if you want to buy in bulk. They also have gift cards for restaurants in the area. There are websites that offer discounts, so be sure to check out Maui Leisure Guide and Maui Deals, as well as Travelzoo, Groupon, and Living Social. Also, we rent or buy the Tommy Bahama beach chairs to hang out on the beach. This gives us flexibility when we want to explore other beaches. You can rent them from Boss Frog's Dive and Surf shop and other snorkel rental stores or you can purchase the chairs from the Tommy Bahama store and they will ship them back to you for $25.00.
I want to thank Skyline Eco Adventures and 808 Boards for hosting my adventures and Honua Kai Resort for offering me a discounted rate.