Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Westin Maui Resort and Spa

I have stayed in many beautiful places - and Hawaii is full of such choices. But I don't write about every gorgeous Hawaiian resort I have visited here on this blog. I think it's important to note: I am not paid for these reviews and the hotels do not know they are being written about here - I only share discoveries that I think are special or maybe not something that everyone knows or realizes. Things I would tell my friends and family if they wer trying to choose where to stay. And in all of the beautiful resorts and the great specials that I see, there are a few resorts that really make an effort to go above and beyond. Usually, I think it is because they are aware of the expense involved in a family vacation, and they try to have some value-added offerings - which is something I am always looking for when putting together an itinerary for a client. This can make the difference between a nice resort, and a great resort. And a great resort on Maui is the Westin Maui Resort and Spa. And after spending a few minutes reading the brochures in our guestroom this weekend, I was able to find some great deals that made this a resort worth profiling here. They strive to accomodate everyone - even pets - with comfort and elegance. The property is not just lovely but also accessible and relaxing. Everything just seems so easy here.

In fact, the thing that strikes me most about the Westin is a feeling of openness and ease.

First the rooms themselves. The rooms are light and bright and airy, and the beds are incredibly comfortable. The bathroom is not enormous, but it is spacious, clean, and modern. There was an empty refrigerator to fill with beverages and snacks that we brought with us, a flat-screen TV, and best of all (I dont know why this isn't the case in every resort EVERYWHERE by now, but it's not) wireless internet is included in the daily resort fee (which also includes self-parking, 2 bottles of water, the daily paper, and other amenities - value added!) Our room had 2 double beds and a twin sleeper sofa, with a patio to take in the gorgeous view. Even with all of the bedding accomodations and seating, there was plenty of room for all four of us to hang out and watch movies or just enjoy the view. We decided not to bring the dog - but they do welcome well-behaved pets :)

The property itself is large but not sprawling - very easy to navigate with small children, and it is easy to avoid long walks and stairs while enjoying all of the amenities. The pool area is central, and the spa and gym are right in the middle of things too - not off in a remote corner of the property - with killer views. They offer classes in the gym and all sorts of luxury spa treatments, so be sure to check out their menu of services.

A big part of our vacations - all of them - are the food offerings. At The Westin, they have a nice room service which we usually enjoy at lunch time during the hottest part of the day, to take a break from the sun. There is also a takeout snack bar between the pool and the ocean, and a sitdown restaurant and bar right next to the pool area (which is also where the excellent breakfast buffet is located), and a coffee bar in the lobby serving Starbucks. They offer the children's menu property-wide and there is poolside service from the restaurant and bar area. On the oceanfront side of the resort, they have Tropica - a signature restaurant which has an amazing view and a unique menu. I need to stop here and say that Tropica also has excellent discounts available during certain hours of the dinner service - while we were there, they offered a three-course tasting menu (each course has 3 choices) for $33 from 5-6pm, and again from 8:30-10pm. I enjoyed a glorious sunset dinner, with a BLT Butterfish appetizer, flavorful lamb served over polenta with green beans and grilled tomatos, and then a leche cake for dessert - all for $33.

After dinner we enjoyed the short walk along Kaanapali Beach to Whalers Village, which is an upscale beachside "barefoot" shopping mall located right next door to the Westin. There were lots of people walking, enjoying the sunset, heading to dinner at one of the neighboring resorts or at the shopping center with absolutely no need for a car, or shoes for that matter. If we had wanted to go to Lahaina (a 5 minute drive) there is a free shuttle picking up guests from the three Starwood properties and bringing them to Front Street free of charge. There are also several sunset cocktail cruises that depart directly from the beach in front of the Westin - but even with all of these options, we were happy to stay right at the resort - it had everything we needed for a great vacation.

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