Though the name claims Kaanapali, this older, 12-story oceanfront condominium complex, where all units have unobstructed panoramic views of the ocean and nearby islands, is actually in quiet, neighboring Honokowai. There's a range of studios, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units, all with spacious bedrooms, kitchens, and living areas. Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that make them seem even bigger. Built in 1974, the property has been regularly updated since, but the interior style of individually owned units varies; many have been upgraded. An elegant pool faces a sandy beach that's good for snorkeling because of the shallow reef.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There is a three-night minimum stay required.
Each individually owned condo unit has one very important feature in common -- floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean that make a vacation spectacular. Guests can choose from studio to 2-bedroom suites, with an option to choose a premium accommodation for more contemporary decor and furnishings, as well as upgraded appliances. Each suite also has free Wi-Fi, a full kitchen, private lanai, and washer/dryer.
Because each unit is individually owned, it helps to call directly and discuss your needs and taste levels with an agent to ensure that you are assigned a unit that you will really like.
Bathrooms differ based on the unit, with some fairly plain, and others in the premium units boasting unique-looking glass showers and marble countertops.
The large, wide lobby at Mahana is full of greens and browns, with lots of wooden accents and wooden and wicker furniture.
The medium-sized rectangular pool sits in a courtyard between the two towers of the hotel. It’s surrounded by loungers, with a few umbrella tables. Like the rest of the property, the ocean views from the pool can’t be beat.
There is no on-site gym at Mahana, but guests can access the fitness center at nearby Aston Kaanapali Shores. For outdoor exercise, guests can use the tennis/pickleball court or the shuffleboard court.
It’s easy (and preferable) to explore Maui’s smaller towns by foot, but to get to them and around the island, you’ll need to rent a car. If you plan on exploring the Road to Hana, get something with a little extra horsepower (but not too big as the road can get very narrow). Aston Mahana offers free parking to its guests.
Star Noodle (12-min drive) is a favorite among locals and visitors, a place where creative chefs integrate new ideas into old dishes. The family-style concept is applied to the tasty plates that illustrate a Maui twist on Asian classics. Fish, pork, and of course noodles dominate the menu, but there are definitely plenty of veggie options, along with vibrant cocktails and mocktails made with fresh-pressed juices.
Enjoy fine dining while practically sitting in the ocean and relaxing with the sea turtles at Mala Ocean Tavern (10-min drive) -- this restaurant is so close to the water that at some tables you can feel the surf splashing your toes. The fresh, vibrant menu is not only full of locally-sourced items and lots of fish, it also features a gluten-free menu. Wine choices are fantastic, as are the cocktails with a few special martini options.
Hula Grill’s Barefoot Bar (7-min drive) is a great place to kick back with your fingers wrapped around a tropical drink and your toes dug into the sand. Their Aloha Hour lasts from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and includes live music. After drinks, saunter into the dining room for more food options and to enjoy hula performances and live music that lasts until 9 pm.
Find a daily happy hour from 5 to 6 p., live music from 6 to 9 pm. Saturday through Monday, and trivia nights on Wednesday at family-friendly Pour House (10-min drive) that features cocktails, beer, and an extensive wine list.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Though this condo community doesn’t boast a ton of amenities, the views from the condos, free and abundant parking, and beautifully kept grounds make a it a comfortable home away from home that happens to have direct beach access.