The anticipation of a travel day often prevents me from getting a full night sleep and so it was with my trip to Maui as while upgrading to WestJet’s Plus seats on the outbound flight (more on that in this blog post) allowed me to catch a few winks in-flight I still arrived tired. That fatigue however fell away upon I opening the door to my 11th floor deluxe ocean view room at the Royal Lahaina Resort and soaking in this stunning vista.
All photos by author
The sweeping ocean views with the island of Molokai in the distance, the golden brown sand of Kāʻanapali Beach and the rolling Maui hills proved the perfect cure for jetlag and offered hours of peaceful viewing during the six night stay.
The balcony, or lanai as they are known in the islands, while not huge does offers enough space for two guests to enjoy the scenery with a small table for books or beverages.
The rich wood highlights in the room include the headboard, bed frame and sliding louvered doors used in place of drapes. As an early riser I rarely closed these sliding doors preferring instead to leave them open along with the balcony door to be lulled to sleep and awaken to the gentle sound of waves slapping on the beach.
The wooden bed frame does stick out an inch or two so takes a little getting used to but the bed itself was very comfortable and wrapped with quality Egyptian cotton linens. The bedside alarm clock and MP3 player with docking port was handy and I liked it’s low glow instead of the bright red light of most hotel digital alarm clocks.
The 350 square foot room features separate vanity and closet storage from the bathroom and shower stall with the vanity area having the same louvered wood doors for some privacy.
Extensive room renovations in recent years added some quality touches in the room including the vanity sink faucet which was a faux bamboo stalk with water flowing on open top tube but this wasn’t to my liking as it didn’t generate enough water pressure at times for shaving or brushing your teeth. The shower stall was fine but a new shower head would make it even better but in the grand scheme of things these are quite minor nitpicks. The room offers plenty of storage space in drawers below the vanity and directly behind in a tall wardrobe with an ample supply of hangars rarely found in most hotels these days. The large safe will hold a laptop, camera and travel documents with ease and a mini-bar rounds out the vanity & closet area just off to the side of the door into the room. Speaking of electronic devices it should be noted the room is well laid out with handy bedside and desk plug-ins to recharge all your essential gadgets.
The room was cool and quiet as I didn’t hear guests in neighboring rooms though knew they were there having exchanged a polite nod while on our respective balconies so the sleep quality for this light sleeper was excellent.
This is more than just a room with a view as while the stunning scenery is a highlight it’s the casual comfort of the furnishings that make for a very pleasant stay.
The Royal Ocean Terrace Restaurant & Lounge is a focal point of the resort as breakfast, lunch and dinner are served on terraced levels overlooking the main pool and ocean. The big buffet breakfast is available for USD$25 per person but being an early riser opted for the much less expensive ‘Breakfast Sunrise Special’ served daily from 6:30 – 7:30 AM for USD$8.99 and features two eggs made to order, choice of breakfast sausage or bacon and choice of rice or hash browns.
On my first Maui morning I was enjoying breakfast and staring out to the ocean when a few whales started ‘breaching’ or playfully leaping out of the water miles offshore and while a few other diners happened to spot the natural wonder playing out before us sadly most had heads bowed entranced with their handheld devices.
The staff was another highlight of this dinning space as most would offer a warm welcome or call you by name whether you were passing through or stopping for a beer during happy hour. I appreciated being able to sign charges back to my room as it saved having to carry cash or a credit card around during afternoons at the beach or pool.
Kāʻanapali Beach is a beautiful golden brown sand beach that stretches for miles on either side of the resort and became a favorite spot for an hour-long walk just after sunrise each morning as to me there’s nothing like a long walk on an almost empty beach in the still of the dawn to begin a day in paradise. For those wanting to get their morning exercise off the sand there is a winding pedestrian-only corridor called the beach walk that runs for miles steps off the beach between the various hotels and resorts so look for the signs and mind the joggers.
Adjacent to the Royal Lahaina’s main pool is the beach activity hut offering a long list of tropical rentals including fancy cabana loungers, snorkeling and watersport equipment. The local ABC store has most of the items for sale cheaper than renting a few times but that’s a decision each traveller can make for themselves. I rented a snorkel set just after 2PM one afternoon and happily splashed around for 90 minutes without seeing too much before returning the fins, snorkel and mask.
The resort’s second pool is smaller and seemed popular with the younger children staying in the ocean front cottages nearby.
There is a beach bar to the side of the pool and it’s a nice place to find some shade, consume a cool cocktail or two and mingle with other guests.
The lobby is just off the main driveway and is an open, airy space with a good supply of chairs to perch on while awaiting a shuttle or ride to appear.
At check-in guests are given a schedule for both the free Kāʻanapali Trolley that runs a route amongst the hotels and resorts and Whalers Village, a shopping complex next to the Westin Maui Resort, as well as the Outlets of Maui shuttle which for $2 one way takes guests to the outlet common located a few blocks off Lahaina’s bustling waterfront avenue aptly called Front Street.
As I wasn’t wanting to rent a car on this trip and explore more of Maui having the shuttles to go the roughly 5 miles into Lahaina for some light sightseeing was convenient. There is self-parking with in & out privileges for USD$10 per day or $15 per day for valet parking.
Right next door to the Guest Services office with its free 15 minute computer terminals and help yourself individually wrapped cookies is the Royal Scoop serving locally made ice cream, specialty coffees, snacks and sandwiches.
While I was staying in a room in the Lahaina Kai Tower there are cottages spread around the 27 acre resort with a number being completely renovated this year to add more modern furnishings and amenities. These one and two storey cottages are connected to accommodate larger families and are popular for their relative value and proximity to both the beach and adjacent golf course.
The Royal Lahaina Resort’s Myths of Maui Luau is the longest running Polynesian luau on the island and is held beachfront nightly. Included in the admission is a buffet meal with traditional island food, open bar, and the big stage show with Hawaiian hula dancers and performers from Tahiti, Samoa & New Zealand with the big fire juggling finale. The line-ups can be long so arrive early.
My first visit to Maui went by all too quickly but I thoroughly enjoyed it because of the really relaxing time spent at the Royal Lahaina Resort and look forward to my next visit to this hotel and to this island.