Westin Maui Resort & Spa Raises The Luxury Meter On Ka’anapali Beach

Food & Drink

While we were waiting it out on lockdown, counting the days until we could get back to Maui, the Westin Maui Resort & Spa team was busy executing a $120 million transformation. Once I was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, I donned my N-95 mask and hopped a plane to check it out for myself. When you get a chance to return to beautiful Ka’anapali Beach, on Maui’s west side, you’ll be pleased to see the results, which include a dedicated club lounge and a new destination beachfront restaurant.

The former Beach Tower has been completely transformed into Hōkūpaʻa, guests of which get to experience The Lānai, a daily gathering place that offers breakfast, dinner pupus, a private bar, food service off the restaurant menu, and a warm plunge pool. Yes, you can swim and sip while gazing at the mighty blue Pacific from this second-story perch. It’s a true value-added luxury that elevates the experience of the otherwise trendy, on-point property with friendly, attentive service. The Lānai is a cut above, with personalized, high-touch attention. Hosts know your name, bartenders know what you like to drink, and the club also welcomes families, an emerging trend in the luxury space. (It’s a good call.) There are daily educational opportunities here, as well, from poi-making to ukulele lessons.

Guest rooms in Hōkūpaʻa are done in white and blue tones that evoke their setting on one of the best (and longest) swimming beaches in the world. The rooms have deep ocean views and wall-length sliding-glass doors you can open wide onto the view. (Pro tip: king rooms have showers only, while rooms with two queen beds have a shower-tub combo. The thinking is that the latter are preferred by families with young kids, but as an adult who prefers a nice hot bath, I opted for a queen even though I was traveling solo.)

The adult pool has also been renovated, and now this peaceful spot has a more direct view of the beach from your lounge chair. Staff members are taking all the precautions to sanitize in between each guest, making sure we all stay safe.

Perhaps the most exciting property news is the opening of waicoco, star chef Chris Kajioka’s beachfront spot with a seafood-driven menu that may just rival Mama’s Fish House, a first stop for many on the way to Ka’anapali from the airport. The Oahu chef has partnered with San Francisco’s Mourad Lahlou to create an intriguing fusion of world cuisines that is surprising and unpredictable, happily difficult to pigeonhole. The restaurant is waiting for permits to open for evening service, but the brunch menu, alone, is worth a drive.

Over the course of several days, I tried the Maui Gold pineapple sliced into this fans and served with a chile-lime salt reminiscent of a street vendor’s pico de gallo in Sonora, Mexico, and the sublime shakshuka with kiawe-smoked tomato sauce and goat cheese. I can’t wait to see what the dinner menu brings.

The excellent spa has re-opened with oceanfront massage cabanas, and services include time in the terrace plunge pool afterward. Other upgrades include an enhanced arrival service that ensures shorter wait times.

The Westin Maui Resort & Spa sits right next door to the Whaler’s Village Shops, which have expanded with some upscale boutiques (like L.A.’s Johnny Was, also in The Shops at Wailea). And Monkeypod Kitchen is still there serving up some of the best food and drinks on the beach.

This hotel is a terrific choice for a mid-priced vacation, especially with all the care and attention that has gone into recent renovations. Hopefully, this is a harbinger of what’s to come for other properties on Ka’anapali Beach, one of the world’s most beloved vacation destinations.

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