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dina4 Jan 7th, 2009 08:41 PM

PLEASE help me choose hotel in Maui or Kauai
Please help me choose one of the following Starwood hotels in Hawaii:

Westin Maui

Sheraton Maui

Sheraton Kauai

We are a family of 4 with two older teens. Here are some things to keep in mind:

--- We do not like loud, bustling hotels with lots of kids or crowds, but prefer quiet tranquility.

--- We have not been to either island. (been to Oahu and the Big Island)

--- We love water sports (body surfing, kayaking, snorkeling)

--- We are also golfers and hikers.

--- We plan to spend a week in one of these resorts.

Thank you so much for any input!!
I really appreciate it!

sf7307 Jan 8th, 2009 08:29 AM

Since you specified Starwood properties, I assume you are using points, and therefore recommending other hotels would be fruitless, so I will just point out that the Westin Maui is a higher-end hotel than either of the two Sheratons you mentioned, but is also more "bustling". Both of the Sheratons you mention are kind of laid-back, low-rise, pleasant, but not particularly upscale places. The Sheraton Maui is at Black Rock, which is great for snorkeling right at the beach (that also means, however, that that part of Kaanapali Beach is pretty busy, because everyone comes there to snorkel and because it's the widest part of the beach). Kaanapali Beach in general is more "developed" and busier than Kauai in general (well, that's true of all the west Maui resort areas compared to Kauai). The Sheraton Kauai is right next door to Kiahuna Plantation, low-key, very nice beach, across the street from a small shopping center (small, nothing like the Whaler on Kaanapali Beach) with decent restaurants, a few (4?) miles from a small town. My daughter surfed at Kiahuna which was fun.

Generally speaking, if you prefer tranquility, there's no question that you should pick Poipu Beach over Kaanapali Beach.

elsiemoo Jan 8th, 2009 10:53 AM

In your case, the Sheraton Kauai. Much more laid-back area than Kaanapali Beach ...

beachkomer Jan 8th, 2009 11:04 AM

YES, Kauai is very quiet.

We liked the Sheraton in
Maui, I didn't find it too

Maui is a more busy island
thank Kauai.

Have fun, they both are beautiful and you will enjoy either one!

dina4 Jan 9th, 2009 04:33 PM

yes, we are using points, so that's our only option.

thanks so much for the info.

i wish i could get the more "upscale" part of the Westin, the snorkeling of the sheraton maui, and the quiet of kauai all in one property!

is the westin maui really that much nicer than the sheratons?

and is the kauai sheraton really a LOT quieter?

thanks SO much!!! i really really appreciate the input.

fastandfurious Jan 9th, 2009 09:09 PM

Pick the Sheraton Maui.
1.) EXCELLENT snorkeling, especially near sunset at the black rocks.

2.) Two golf courses at your back door.

3.) A real sand beach - yes, perfect for older teens.

4.) Hike up toward the West Maui mountains from your hotel.

5.) Do rent a car for the road to Hana. It's NOT that Hana is the destination BUT the road is the attraction. Stop frequently at all the sights - especially the bamboo forest.

jojo46 Jan 9th, 2009 10:20 PM

After spending years visiting Oahu and Maui, I feel Kauai has equal attractions but on a smaller, more intimate scale....

1) The Sheraton anchors one end of a Poipu sandy bay which also fronts the Kiahuna and connects to a small series of sandy beaches (in front of Waiohai and Poipu Beach Park) divided by rocky outcroppings and can be suitable for swimming, surfing (lessons available) or snorkeling. In front of Waiohai, my son-in-law was thrilled to snorkel beside a giant sea turtle! Brenneke's, just on the other side of Poipu Beach Park, is very popular for body surfing. Apart from the hotels' various amenities and food options, there is a a restaurant/deli/surf and rental shop across the road from Poipu Beach Park. It's a short walk to Poipu Shopping Village.

2) Lots of nearby golf, both high end and reasonable, ranging from Poipu Bay at Hyatt (former site of PGA Grand Slam and yes we got to see Tiger play twice!) the middle range Kiahuna, to the bargain of the islands a little farther away in Kalaheo, the Kukuiolono (fee/rentals so inexpensive, our 'kids' love playing it, roosters and all)

3) The whole island abounds in excellent hiking opportunities... and Just walking westward/eastward from the Sheraton Hotel you can spot lots of sea turtles swimming in the rocky coves and the more than occasional monk seal basking or swimming!

4) Don't miss the drive to the north, the beauty of Hanalei Bay and the beaches before and beyond. The one lane bridges here have helped limit development and this is a special part of Paradise.

Supercilious Jan 9th, 2009 10:25 PM

The body surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and golfing are better (or at least there are more options) on Maui than Kauai.

You say you do not like "loud, bustling hotels with lots of kids and crowds". Are you describing your whole family or would the teens like something more exciting? I would think they would like Maui better.

Hiking is great on both islands. Depending on the time of year, Maui may have the better weather.

globetrotterxyz Jan 9th, 2009 10:51 PM

My vote would be for the Sheraton Kauai. Like some of the previous posters said, in general, Kauai is not as crowded compared to Maui. Waimea Canyon offers great hiking trails, and there are swimming/snorkeling/surfing options steps away at Poipu and Brennecke's beaches.

You can't really go wrong either way, though! Have fun!

KarinNp Jan 9th, 2009 11:09 PM


I like Kauai because it is quiet, but I am not a teenager. Kauai has some wonder chickens waiting to wake you a 3am.

Kauai is rustic, Maui is resorty.

Take a motion sickness med before your ride to Hana and stop a lot. You miss so much of Maui if you don't see the sights to Hana. Remember black sand waiting for you at the end.

Go see the sun rise and dress warmly.

We did resorts for 10 years then it dawned on me that a condo was better, we go for 2 weeks, cuts down on luggage to have a washer/dryer.

Have a safe trip.


FrankS Jan 10th, 2009 11:02 AM

As other posters have stated, Maui is indeed the better choice for the activities you desire. Kauai is very nice too, and offers the peace and tranquility you desire(espicially the N Side of the island).
Im not crazy about Starwood Hotels in general, but cant you use the Maui Prince? Starwood bought them a long time back. It is in a location that might give you all you want. Its on a quiet corner of Maui on a real quiet beach with some challenging golf too. You dont even have to make the long drive back to Lahaina for snorkel or whale watch tours as there is a nice boat that leaves directly from the property.

travelingirl Jan 10th, 2009 11:23 AM

My vote is for the Sheraton Maui. I have stayed at all 3 of these properties. My most recent trip (2006) we stayed at the Sheraton Maui and LOVED it! THe rooms were very nice and the grounds and snorkeling were terrific! I did not feel it was "bustling" at all. The Westin is bustling. As far as the Sheraton Kaui, we really did not care for it - we didn't like how the garden view rooms were across a small street and also the pool there (2001) was SO small and uninteresting. Not that we need a big pool but it just felt like a motel out by the pool - nothing that special BUT the beach area, Poipu is great!

Barbara5353 Jan 10th, 2009 11:38 AM

Have you looked at on-line photos of reviews of all 3 properties?
The Sheraton on Poipu is a much smaller property than the two on Maui. I've stayed there, and liked the low-rise architecture. It has 394 rooms, vs 510 for the Sheraton Maui and 762 for the Westin. I don't care for the cement-block look of the Westin. The pool complex is lavish, which your teens might enjoy...along with all the other kids who would probably be there. The section of Poipu Beach by the Kauai Sheraton is magnificent..beautiful turquoise water and smooth, sandy bottom. I also like the large lawn area that slopes gently down to the beach.
For your description of "quiet tranquility", I would not recommend either of the Kaanapali properties.
The downside (for some) of the Kauai Sheraton is that there is nothing very special about the pools. The oceanfront pool was often crowded, but I LOVED the garden pool. Usually just a few people. Beautiful flowers surrounding it, and the sound of a little waterfall. As far as the islands go, you can find hiking, relaxation, lovely scenery, etc. on either.

gyppielou Jan 10th, 2009 12:00 PM

I am not a fan of Sheraton Kauai.

Can you use your points at the newish Westin Princeville?

sf7307 Jan 11th, 2009 11:43 AM

I think the grounds/pool at the Sheraton Kaanapali are pretty low-key and tranquil (and very nice, but not "glitzy" -- no water slides and in-the-water pool bars and the like). The "un-tranquil" part is the beach, which is a really nice beach but can get pretty populated because of the great right-off-the-beach snorkeling. I've not been in them, but the rooms appear from the outside to be fairly run-of-the-mill/plain jane.

I generally find the best place to look at photos is in the "traveler's photos" section on the review page for the hotel in tripadvisor. These are actual vacationers' photos as opposed to the professional photos that always seem to be taken with trick lenses for the hotel's own brochure.

dina4 Jan 11th, 2009 04:57 PM

thanks so much, everyone, for all the great information!!

i really appreciate your feedback. it will be so helpful as we try to decide...

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