For a vacation in a tropical paradise, it's hard to beat Maui. Who can resist its sparkling seas, sandy beaches, and towering waterfalls? Then there's the snorkeling! We recently spent a week in Maui at the Kahana Beach Resort, and loved (almost) every minute of it.View from our lanai at Maui's Kahana Beach Resort
A little about Maui
Affiliated with RCI & II
Kahana, Maui, Hawaii
Highrise condos, right on the beach.
Maui is probably my favorite of the Hawaiian islands. Maui is more laid back than Oahu, and you'll never get the congested, big-city feel of Waikiki. Maui is smaller than the big island, so places you want to visit are closer together, and it's easier to explore the entire island. It also has more variety and more to do than Kauai or Lanai, so for my tastes it's just about perfect.
(That said, however, I always find things to love about whichever island I'm on, and I'd never pass up a trip to any of them!)
You can choose to spend your days lounging on beautiful beaches, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, scuba diving, playing golf, cycling, touring the island, or snorkeling. We went snorkeling every day, checking out different coves and seeing fabulous corals, reef fish, rays, and sea turtles.Along the Hana Highway on Maui, you can hike to waterfalls like this
You can also drive the famous "Hana Highway", a winding road through lush greenery, where you can hike through a forest of bamboo to reach waterfalls and picturesque pools.
What's the Kahana Beach Resort like?
Highrise timeshare right on the beach. Casual place, tropical decor. Murphy beds not so comfortable, but ocean views from your private lanai.
We stayed in a studio suite, which we got through a timeshare exchange. The unit had an off-the-wall bed, one bathroom, living room area, and dining area. Furnishings were appropriately airy and tropical, with bamboo, wicker, and bright flowery prints. The kitchen was spacious enough by studio standards, and was equipped with a full-size fridge, stove, oven, and microwave.The units at the Kahana Beach Resort feature tropical style and views
The best part of all was the ocean front location, with a private lanai directly facing the water. We could watch the sun set over the ocean, and had great views both up and down the beach from our 10th floor unit.
One day, I was standing on our lanai, looking down, and saw a sea turtle swimming by, 10 floors below me. We grabbed our snorkel gear and ran down the stairs. Within a few minutes we were snorkeling with a group of sea turtles. How cool is that? 🙂
Kahana Beach is located on the northwest side of Maui, between the famous resort areas of Ka'anapali and Kapalua. This is the dry side of the island, and from our balcony, we could see the islands of Lanai and Molokai. Frequently, one or both of those islands were shrouded in clouds, while we had blue skies ourselves.
The resort has an outdoor pool and hot tub, both right by the beach. All units have a private lanai, and air conditioning if you want to use it. There's no restaurant on site, but there are several within easy walking distance. When we were there, the activity schedule was fairly limited, and included nature walks and lei making.
Upsides of Kahana Beach Resort
- Beach front. The resort is right on the beach, and most of the units have a lanai directly overlooking the ocean. When the door was open, I loved being able to hear the waves from our room.
- Neighborhood location. Unlike nearby Ka'anapali Beach, which is totally covered with tourists, this is located next to a residential neighborhood. You can walk to shops and restaurants where locals go, so it feels a bit more real.
- Uncrowded. At other resorts on Maui, you'll find beach chairs lined up side by side, so you're practically rubbing elbows with the stranger next to you. Here, it's relatively uncrowded. You take your beach chair and put it wherever you want it.
- Reasonable. You can do a reasonably priced (for Maui, at least) vacation here. The resort itself isn't too expensive, and you don't have to pay extra for things like parking or covered beach chairs. There are inexpensive restaurants nearby, so you don't end up paying upscale resort prices for everything.
Downsides of Kahana Beach Resort
- Murphy bed. We stayed in a studio unit, and these are equipped with off-the-wall beds. I'm really not a fan of Murphy beds, and this wasn't the most comfortable way to sleep.
- Broken elevators. One of the two elevators was out for repairs during much of our stay. That's understandable, but what I couldn't understand was why they shut the other one down for painting one day. We were able to walk up the stairs to our 10th floor unit (twice), but many people simply couldn't do that. Why couldn't the painting wait, so there was always a working elevator?
- It's not luxurious. This isn't a luxury resort, and you won't find fine dining or room service here. There's no fancy lobby, the bed linens aren't high thread count, and the pool will never make a magazine cover. Of course, you don't pay luxury prices, either.
- No wifi. Even in Hawaii, I can't live without my wifi, and this resort didn't have any. We ended up working on our laptops at local coffee shops and restaurants. Working outside with a latte in Hawaii isn't exactly a hardship, but it's so much more convenient to be connected in your room. If you can tether your phone to your laptop, that gives you an easier solution. Or perhaps there are people left in the world who can travel without wifi?
We had a great time at the Kahana Beach Resort, and I'd be happy to go back again. It's not a luxury timeshare, but it has a great location on the water and away from the crowds. Seeing a sea turtle swim by right below our balcony was a treat I'll never forget. There's nothing like lying in bed listening to the waves, or watching the sun set over the water from your oceanfront lanai, to give you that tropical vacation feel. Ahhh... 🙂
Maui travel tips
* Best time to go? The weather is great year round, so there's no bad time to visit. Summer vacations are popular for families, so if you're not tied to school schedules, other times of year are less crowded and easier to book. Hawaii makes a great getaway from cold winter weather, but it's really quite nice any time of year. See Maui weather averages...
* Activities nearby? Beaches abound on Maui, and you can easily spend your entire trip visiting a different beach each day. Snorkeling and scuba diving are excellent, and a wide array of other water sports are available here, too.
For land-based activities, you can drive around the island, hike through a bamboo forest, or drive to the top of Haleakala, and explore the top of the volcano.For something entirely different, head to the top of Haleakala volcano
- Good eats. If you stay at the Kahana Beach Resort, check out the nearby Maui Brewing Company (a few blocks away) for good beer, good food, and reasonable prices.
- Free snorkeling. Lots of places want to sell you a snorkeling trip to Molokini. It is a pretty cool place, but there are many snorkeling spots around the island you can get to without a pricey boat trip. Pick up one of the dive maps of the island, and you'll have a wealth of choices.
- Hana Highway. Every guidebook mentions this road, and the scenic drive is well worthwhile. Just make sure to get an early start, and realize that it may not be many miles, but it can easily take all day!
Have you stayed at the Kahana Beach Resort, or a different timeshare resort on Maui? Any tips or recommendations for others? Drop a line in the comments below, and let us know. I'd love to hear from you!