S and I did a fun trip to Maui in November, 2013. I used 50k British Airways Avios for two coach round-trip tickets on AA (and only $10 in fees) to fly from LAX to Kahului, Maui (OGG). We had passes to the Admiral’s club lounge at LAX so we waited there for the flight to board, but it was really crowded and they had little to offer as far as food (yucky pastries) and drinks (coffee out of a dispenser machine – eww!)- definitely not as good as the Admiral’s club lounge at JFK. They do charge to check bags on AA if you are using BA Avios, but luckily, we only had carry-ons, which made the travel so much easier.
We rented a car at Avis and then headed over to the Hyatt Regency Maui, on Kaanapali Beach. This is a large property, and pretty crowded as is most of the hotels in this area. I thought that the hotel was dated, but we did enjoy the Diamond Lounge in the Atrium tower for breakfast, drinks, snacks, and appetizers and desserts in the evenings. We paid about $175 for each night (plus resort fees, taxes and parking) and used an upgrade award to secure a suite, but the suite configuration was very strange – you enter one door, then there are 2 doors in front of you – one room has a king bed (old, saggy mattress), table and chairs, a seating area and tiny bathroom, and the other room has a living room area, table and chairs and another small bathroom, and the rooms are totally separate. Not a fan of popcorn ceilings either. There is a lot of noise from the kids and crowds in the pool area and from construction going on nearby, so good thing we were on a high floor. The ocean views from our corner suite were spectacular!
We did enjoy stand-up paddleboarding in front of the hotel and the yoga classes offered by the hotel spa & fitness center (Moana Athletic Club) and some long, beautiful sunset walks along the beach.
We spent the next 4 nights at the brand new Andaz Maui, in a more quiet area of the island – Wailea. This hotel was beautiful, mixing both modern and traditional. We paid about $335 per night (plus resort fees and taxes making it more like $400 per night) and used our upgrade certificate to secure a suite, which was very nice. The furniture on the balcony was the most uncomfortable patio furniture ever but they were so nice looking I didn’t even mind that – I just threw down some towels whenever I needed to use them. There are 2 rooms with a pocket door between them in an Andaz Suite. There are 2 bathrooms, and the one attached to the bedroom is amazing, complete with a toto toilet with heated seat and wash functions. In the other room there is a desk, long table/bench chairs and a sofa and flat screen, but no sofabed.
We did have an issue with air blowing through the vent above the bed all day and night (not very good placement!) and each night they sent someone to try to do something about it – apparently, there are sensors on the door that know when you are in the room or not in the room, and these sensors were malfunctioning. Finally they just dismantled the whole system in our room. The fact that the engineers on duty were willing to do that to make us more comfortable speaks volumes about the Andaz’s level of commitment to seeing that their guests are happy. The assistant manager (Johnny) also called to apologize and offered a credit on our bill to make things right.
The Diamond Breakfast was in their amazing restaurant, Ka’ana Kitchen – they have different stations with everything you can imagine, much of it organic and farm fresh, including green juice (which we had every morning). We chose to eat breakfast outside on the patio to enjoy the beautiful ocean view. They will prepare anything you like at no extra charge – a lady we saw was asking the cook making the omelettes to make the most ridiculous order and he did it with a smile.
The concierge (Deborah Eddins) was amazing – she has a vast knowledge of everything going on in Maui and gave us all the information we needed and made some great suggestions. She made reservations for us to do the Maui Downhill Mt. Haleakala bike ride and it was a blast! She also gave good restaurant suggestions.
The Andaz provides a free shuttle (actually a Cadillac Escalade) around town, but we had a rental car so did not need to use it.
We enjoyed some good local restaurants (Monkeypod, Da Kitchen, Maui BBQ), and the food at the hotel was outstanding (try the lobster mac & cheese and poke bowl at the pool area – to die for!!! We didn’t try Morimoto (on site) even though chef Morimoto was staying at the hotel because the reviews were not good – it had just opened and they were still working out the kinks.
The beach crew at the Andaz is exceptional – they provided paddleboards for our daily SUP ride, snorkel gear, and took us on a fun canoe ride as well. The pools are amazing and the pool crew is exceptional as well. We enjoyed hearing live Hawaiian Music each night from the pool/bar are every evening from our suite.
I can’t say enough about the Andaz Maui… I can’t wait to come back to his hotel in 2014 with my girlfriends!!!