Across the postcard-perfect 3-mile stretch of white sand, the Kaanapali Beach Resort area has been hit by a wave of expansive renovations over the past two years. Today, Hawaii’s oldest planned community boasts some of the newest room products, state-of-the-art amenities, and multi-faceted pool complexes throughout the Aloha State.
Almost all of the work was planned before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but several projects were accelerated or increased during the seven-month shutdown from March to October 2020, before Hawaii launched its Safe Travels program. to screen incoming travelers.
The 1,200-acre Kaanapali Beach Resort is home to shops, restaurants, condominiums and more than a dozen hotel properties. The area includes a long stretch of sandy beach, proximity to historic Lahaina, top-notch whale watching, and access to many other activities.
“With all the improvements that have been made, the renovations all across the coast, I think this is the biggest period of updates we’ve seen in at least 20 years,” said said Shelley Kekuna, executive director of the Kaanapali Resort Association.
“Kaanapali really has something for everyone, with a great choice and range of accommodations and a beautiful beach that always draws in,” Kekuna said. “For culinary tourists, the area offers incredible cuisine and hosts the annual Hawaii Food and Wine Festival (scheduled for October 7-10 this year).
Here is an overview of the most recent improvements made or in progress at Kaanapali Beach Resort properties.
Sheraton Maui Hotel
A two-phase $30 million renovation of the Sheraton Maui Hotel was fully unveiled in January 2020.
First, a refresh of the 508 rooms and suites was completed in July 2018. Previously all accommodations followed a similar design, but now the six buildings are done in one of three styles inspired by the three islands comprising the county from Maui: Maui, Lanai and Molokai.
The Anuenue and Nalu buildings are Maui-based, featuring high-contrast artwork and a color palette of warm pinks and reds. Both the Lahaina and Ohana buildings are Lanai-themed, with designs featuring abstract artwork and a color palette emphasizing orange and blue tones. Finally, the Moana and Hoku buildings are Molokai-inspired, showcasing ocean views and green and aqua tones. The resort has upgraded all in-room TVs to 52-inch screens, and bathrooms have been redone with new vanities, tiling, and a bright, modern look.
The second phase of the project affected the common areas and was completed in early 2020. The lobby was completely reconfigured with a new open-air terrace offering panoramic views of the beach and the ocean. The Sheraton also introduced the resort area’s first lobby bar, Sandbar. The lobby bar and cafe transitions from coffee and breakfast in the morning to cocktails and small plates in the evening. On the lower level of the lobby there is a new family games room, featuring a digital projector and screen for movies as well as foosball, shuffleboard and video games, including vintage arcade games such as Pac-Man.
“Before the transformation, the lobby was more check-in and check-out, that’s all. It was very transactional,” chief executive Tetsuji Yamazaki said. “Now it’s more open, and there’s space for people to get comfortable, enjoy the view, and hang out.”
The Westin Resort and Spa, Kaanapali introduced a new luxury tower, Hokupaa, in December that offers rooms with private balconies with ocean views. Photo credit: Courtesy of Westin Resort & Spa
Search The Westin Resort & Spa
The 12-acre resort began a three-phase, $120 million renovation in 2018, with work completed in time for reopening last November.
The redesign of the 87,000 square foot “pool playground” included expanded seating areas, new cabanas and a redesigned family pool with swim waterfalls connecting two connecting pools. A new adults-only infinity pool has its own dedicated bar and small plate service. The area reserved for children has been completed with water jets, a mini-slide and a waterfall.
In December, the property opened the 217-room luxury Hokupaa tower, which general manager Gregg Lundberg called the “crown jewel” of the project. Tower rooms have private balconies with glass partitions for stunning ocean views. Hokupaa Tower guests have exclusive access to the new Lanai at Hokupaa, a private second-floor bar and lounge with panoramic views, an infinity pool, and morning breakfast service in addition to exclusive programming.
The new signature restaurant, Waicoco, is run by Chris Kajioka, James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef in the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Region, who calls his cuisine New American with Japanese influence and Hawaiian flavors.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
The Hyatt Regency Maui completed a full renovation of its rooms and updated the lobby in 2020.
The bedroom closets have been opened up to create a feeling of more space, and the balconies have been redone with new sliding glass doors and a glass barrier for better visibility. The bathrooms have new tiling, granite counter tops and double sinks.
The lobby was also renovated for the first time in the property’s four-decade history.
The Royal Lahaina
The 27-acre property has updated lobby, lounge, pool, restaurant, and guest rooms.
The lobby renovation includes a new ceiling with ipe wood slats, fresh paint, wall coverings and bright accents. The Royal Lahaina’s restaurant, the Royal Ocean Terrace, now has a renovated indoor dining room, and changes to public areas have created more unobstructed views of the beach.
The pools have been redesigned with reflective blue tiles. The seaside cottages have received new furniture, floors and decor.
Additionally, solar panels and other energy efficiencies have been introduced.
Kaanapali Beach Hotel
In its biggest update since 2008, Kaanapali Beach Hotel introduced a signature restaurant and completed renovations to two of its four guest room towers.
The $75 million project includes Huihui, a beachfront restaurant. Executive Chef Tom Muromoto has crafted a menu focused on contemporary cuisine using traditional Hawaiian foods and cooking methods. The 5,000 square foot site also functions as a new sailing academy for guests to learn early Hawaiian traditions of travel and orienteering.
The two bedroom towers that have been significantly redesigned have also been renamed: Papaku South Wing (formerly Kauai Wing) and Kauhale Southeast Wing (formerly Lanai Wing). Rooms in these towers have been revamped with modern design elements while retaining elements of Hawaiian culture, including new staff makamae (precious gifts) shadow boxes in each room that contain handmade traditional Hawaiian items. The other two bedroom towers are also slated for renovations; dates for these projects have not been announced.