For most people, the word “staycation” means taking a vacation at home, spent perhaps in the backyard pool. Here in Hawaii, we have a different meaning that applies to a vacation where you check into a resort just a few miles from home. At a recent staycation to check out the Ka’anapali Fresh Culinary Festival, I scoped out the newly renovated Westin Maui Ocean Tower.
The Westin Maui opened in August 1971 as the Maui Surf Hotel with 12 stories 357 rooms. The hotel closed for renovations in 1985, then reopened two years later as the Westin Maui and Spa. The enhancements included the newly added Westin Maui Beach Tower with an 87,000 square-foot aquatic playground and 759 rooms.
One of the things you notice on the 12-acre property is that it’s comparatively compact. There are still lovely walkways, exciting flora and fauna, luau grounds, exotic birds, koi ponds, waterfalls, five pools and two slides, restaurants and shopping and a spa and fitness center here.
In 2000, Westins around the world added Heavenly Beds to their brand, claiming that they’re the best beds to sleep in and even offered them to guests to purchase. In 2004, Westin added Heavenly Spas and Maui was the first to open one (it’s located in their mezzanine in the Beach Tower). Westin was also one of the first hotel brands to embrace traveling with your pets, allowing small dogs at the resort.
A major $70 million investment in the original Ocean Tower ended in March of this year, revealing 553 newly transformed rooms. Striking new balconies replaced the old slatted metal ones. There was also new furniture and redesigned bathrooms. There, in the vanity counter, the mirror is suspended with space all around so you can check out the mauka or makai views while you wash and primp. Westin also has new executive suites with separate bedrooms and living areas for bigger families and those seeking more spacious accommodations.
The Westin Maui’s Restaurant Chef Jennifer Evetushick teamed up with Maui Farmer Geoff Haines to wow Ka’anapali Fresh “From Range to Sea” attendees with her House Smoked Ahi Bacon (served with white cheddar corn grits and salted crispy leeks) and a Local Watercress & Kula Strawberry Summer Roll. Evetushick shows a lot of versatility with the menus available at the Westin Maui. Her restaurant Relish Burger Bistro plays up the best of the bistro while still offering tastes of Maui. The spicy poke on that menu is phenomenal and the Kobe beef served in their burgers is top notch. There are lots of other hot Bistro sandwiches to choose from like the grilled mahi with popcorn shrimp, salmon BLT, garden burger, and Reuben.
The Westin sits next to the Whaler’s Village, which means you’re within walking distance to all the food and drink and shopping offered there. Yet when I was there, I ended up remaining at the resort–ordering from the poolside menu was too easy and way more relaxing. The pool menu is also the healthiest and most bikini friendly I have seen: vegetable crudite with coconut ranch, summer rolls and an edamame hummus with spicy lavosh that was to die for. Their skinny drink selection kept it all (relatively) guilt-free.
The aquatic playground features an adult pool area, with an adult bar and hot tub, a kiddie area with toddler-friendly slide and a full size slide that will appeal to adults and kids alike. People were playing volleyball and basketball in the pool, and there are blow-up rings and mattresses to buy and blissfully float around in. Waterfalls all around the poolsides are meditative and relaxing, no matter how many children you have.
The resort fitness center has a new yoga room that I tried out on a Sunday morning with instructor Danielle. They have a full schedule of daily fitness classes from plyometrics to beach yoga, and the fitness room is available 24 hours.
Westin Maui offers competitive kama’aina rates for their rooms, and has several different categories– garden, golf, mountain and ocean views. If you’re in Hawaii, call the resort itself instead of their toll-free number to get the best rates possible by letting them know you have a valid Hawaii ID. For example, I called the reservations line for kama’aina and got a rate of $229, but then called the hotel for rates for the particular date I was looking and found they had a value paradise promotion offering $189 per day, a 25 percent off discount on food ordered on room charge and a 15 percent spa discount. All rates are subject to the hotel tax and resort fees of $31.25 per day, which include your parking, internet services and a host of other amenities.
Resort Name: Westin Maui
2365 Ka’anapali Parkway
Central Reservations: 866-716-8112
Rooms: 759 guestrooms and suites, Golf/Mountain View, Ocean View, Superior Ocean View, Deluxe Ocean View, Premium Deluxe Ocean View, Luxury Ocean Front
Size: 12 acres
Pools: 5 pools, 87,000 square-foot aquatic playground with five free form outdoor pools including one dedicated for adults called Oahu Pool. 1 child slide, 1 kid/adult slide
Resort Fee Covers: ($31.25 per day) 24 hour fitness room, internet, wifi, self parking, shuttle service to Lahaina and other Starwood properties, 2 water bottles daily, Westin Maui souvenir eco bag; and outdoor portrait sitting.
Restaurants: Relish Burger Bistro, Relish Oceanside (formerly Sugar House), Colonnade Café, SeaDogs, Beach Bar
Shopping: Accents, Nalu Pearl, Martin & MacArthur Makai, Commotions, Elan Vital Gallery, Mondays local craft fair
Kama’aina Rate: Starting at $229 per room night for newly-redesigned golf/mountain view rooms. Other room categories are also available. Proof of Hawaii Residency required. Reserve online or call 866-716-8140 and request KAM.
Hack: Call the resort direct at 808-667-2525 and ask for reservations, then let them know that you’re looking for the best kam’aaina rates and special promotions.