We have stayed at most of the brand name resorts on Kaanapali beach and have really enjoyed them – from the Marriott Maui Ocean club to the Hyatt to the Sheraton at Black rock. We felt that South Kaanapali Beach ( from the Hyatt at the southern point to the Sheraton to the North ) was really our comfort zone… but having come to Maui for almost 20 years, I felt it was time for a change.
After some extensive research we decided upon the Honua Kai Resort. The resort is located on North Kaanapali beach and was opened in 2009. The Canadian company Intrawest designed and developed the resort. The original sales opening was held back in 2005 and nearly 400 of the 720 total projected condos were sold in a single day. Of course, with the ensuing stock and real estate market collapses, many of the units fell out of escrow and in some cases the owners of the units sued the developer to get out from under their contracts.
So with a somewhat controversial beginning, the Honua Kai resort had some work to do to overcome the original upheavals.
I met one of the owners who was one of the first to close and occupy and he told me that in the beginning the resort was nearly deserted. He likened it to the infamous hotel setting in the movie “The Shining” – sans the ghosts and other paranormal activities.
Upon arriving at the Honua Kai resort we were greeted with a bustling, thriving resort community that seemed to place is main emphasis on the themes of land and sea (Honua Kai translates to earth and Ocean in Hawaiian) – with huge swaths of grass, dunes, open beaches, the vast Pacific and 38 acres of land – this was quite a beautiful and inviting place.
I did have some qualms with the property: it’s located across from a business center and sewage treatment center ( about 500 yards north of property across from road ) – although I never noticed any malodorous smells – just the idea of a stink factory coupled with the less-than-Hawaiian feel of the business center registered a few marks in the negative category for me.
Overall the resort was beautifully appointed, the accommodations were first class and the staff and amenities were excellent. Once inside the resort grounds you are transported away from everyday life, it’s relaxed and tropical setting contributing to a carefree and wonderful vacation escape.