Fodor's Expert Review The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas

6 Kai Ala Dr., Kaanapali, Hawaii, 96761, USA See on Map

Abundant resort amenities and pools are notable at these luxury villas just north of Black Rock (Puu Kekaa) along the beach in Kaanapali. The large studio and one-bedroom units are available for vacation ownership and provide the comforts of home (kitchens, washers and dryers, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and Internet access) and then some (Westin Heavenly beds, Westin Heavenly baths with separate showers and whirlpool tubs). Spa Helani, a Heavenly Spa by Westin, incorporates Hawaiian elements in massages and treatments. There are also two fitness centers (open 24 hours), tennis courts, two general stores, and three restaurants. Even though the villas are oceanfront, you may never see the beach because of the acres of water features—a meandering lagoon, cascading waterfalls, a huge heated pool with a 90-foot waterslide, a revitalizing pool, whirlpool spas, and a separate children's pool complete with a pirate ship. The Puuhonua cultural center hosts "talk story" sessions and other programs with Native Hawaiian experts. Just about anything you could ever want inside and out is here.

If you can get into one of the phase 3 villas, these are the nicest of the bunch.


There are six varieties of rooms, two studios and four villas (one- and two-bedroom) with either island or ocean views. Decor is contemporary and unfussy, with lots of browns and earth tones. Villas include lanai, full kitchen. Studios don’t have lanai, but the kitchenettes may as well be considered kitchens because they are very well-appointed. All rooms include the Westin Heavenly Bed, at least one sofa bed, air conditioning, coffee maker, and washer/dryer.

YOU SHOULD KNOW A few of the ocean view rooms are a bit mislabeled, according to guests, with barely an ocean view at all (one of them notoriously has a view of the restaurant and the restaurant has a view of it). If you definitely want an ocean view room, try calling to book directly and speak to someone who can assure that you have the type of view that you want.


Large, luxurious bathrooms include marble accents, an oversized bathtub with spray jets, separate shower, double vanities, and chic decor.


The lobby is spacious and inviting, if not a bit boring in decor. There is plenty of seating for guests and the partially open-air nature of it make it a nice place to linger.


There are six pools at this hotel, including the South Pool, a massive, free form pool in a garden setting that includes waterfall, ocean views, and a slide. In addition there are two kid’s pools, one with a pirate ship near the playground and an adults only serenity pool.


Spa Helani, part of Westin’s Heavenly Spa line, focuses on authentic Hawaiian treatments in a natural, serene setting. They offer a wide variety of treatments, including the standards, but it’s the “ritual” experiences that you’ll want to dive right into, including the Road to Hana and Polynesian Ritual. Both of these unique treatments take you on a real journey to Maui using sand and other natural elements.


The two WESTINWorkout fitness centers in the hotel are open 24 hours and include a variety of cardio and weight machines, as well as Peloton bikes. There are also fitness classes available through the spa for an additional fee. Runners should pick up a map at the concierge for info on all of the best running trails in Kaanapali.


Grab a bite to eat poolside at Auntie’s Kitchen, where island comfort foods are served up from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For casual sports bar by the ocean relaxation, Pailolo Bar & Grill serves lunch and dinner. Noted as some of the best food in Maui, Pulehu, an Italian Grill serves up classic Italian with a Hawaiian flare for dinner. There are also two on-site grocery stores with snacks and drinks.


Auntie’s Kitchen (poolside) has a full bar with daily happy hour and entertainment on some nights. Pailolo Bar & Grill has a daily happy hour in a sports bar environment, with live music some days of the week. Pulehu includes a full bar and an award-winning wine menu.


Getting Around

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).


Star Noodle (10-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 (7-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.


Monkeypod (6-min drive) has some really great food, with a focus on local products that create a variety of appetizers, pizzas, noodles, salads, and seafood dishes in a fun, family-friendly environment. Their newest location in Whaler’s Village has two daily happy hours from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m., as well as live music most days -- performances start at 1, 4, and 7 p.m.

Hula Grill’s Barefoot Bar (5-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 p.m.


These villas are the type of vacation property that guests fall in love with and return to time and again. Accommodations are beautiful and spacious, staff is warm and accommodating, the views are incredible, restaurants are great, and there is really nothing missing at this resort -- it makes for an all around good choice.


On the beach


Phones: 866-716–8112;808-667–3200

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