Masthead header

Maui 2013 – The Honua Kai Resort and Spa

This post is part of our 5th Anniversary Trip to Maui, where we stayed 4 nights at the Hyatt Andaz Maui in Wailea and then a week at the Honua Kai resort in Kaanapali.

The Honua Kai is a fairly new resort complex on the west coast of Maui – it’s large, modern, and spans 2 buildings with 3 large pools. There’s a lot of great reviews on the Honua Kai and it seemed like a great place to spend the latter half of our Maui vacation. We rented the condo via Chase’n Rainbows, which is a third party rental operator in Maui. They were great and the transaction was smooth and easy. After our 4 nights at the Andaz, we drove the 45 minutes towards Kaanapali, stopping off in Lahaina to pick up the keys to the unit from the Chase’n Rainbows office.

Driving up to West Maui you can’t help but notice the beautiful scenery.

As we drove up to the Honua Kai, we noticed how big the resort actually was.

One of the 2 massive structures at the Honua Kai resort

You have to pay a 12 dollar fee per day for parking which is located underground below the buildings. You pay this fee to the resort directly when you check in, however all the other rental fees and any requests had to be made to Chase’n Rainbows. We rented beach towels for the whopping sum of 4 dollars for our stay. Probably the cheapest fee we had to pay yet on Hawaii!

Upon entering the resort, we noticed just how many more people and kids were at this resort compared to the Andaz. Understandably, the Andaz is more of an exclusive retreat which appeals to couples and honeymooners, but I would say the Honua Kai is definitely a high-end resort too but has a more lively family scene.

The lobby of the Honua Kai Hokulani building which houses the Aina gourmet market/cafe. They sold local products, take out meals, and brewed Maui-grown coffee too.

A lot of the produce served at Aina, including the Maui-grown coffee is actually grown at O’o Farm, which is where we had an amazing farm tour and foraging luncheon. Read more about that fun experience in Upcountry Maui here.

One of the 3 pools at the Honua Kai resort

Definitely a family-friendly scene here! The pools were nice, but a little cold. 

I had seen some reviews on websites which (although rare) complained about some sort of sewage smell, high winds at the pool area, and bad saggy lounge chairs. I’m happy to say we didn’t really get any of this. There was no sewage smell at or around the resort. The only high winds we experienced were at the front entryway to the resort, but you’d only be going here if you were getting picked up or walking out the front of the resort, m; st of the time you’d most likely be driving and would park underground. The pool lounge chairs have all been replaced so they were sturdy and nice. They weren’t padded but were comfortable for an afternoon.

There was some chatter about how uncomfortable the lounge chairs were, but they have all been replaced. Here are the new non-saggy chairs!

Our unit was in the Hokulani building, which is the older of the buildings, and was on the 2nd floor and faced south. We got the unit at a great price from Chase’n Rainbows, it didn’t have a pretty ocean view, but it was large and quiet as it faced away from the bustling courtyard and pools. Note, the gourmet cafe, Aina, was in the Hokulani building, but the gym is located in the Konea building. I believe the Ho’ola spa was also in the Hokulani building but we did not go there. It does sound like a lovely small day spa, but the prices are expensive.

The living room of our unit, Hokulani 214. Our unit was the larger layout of the 1-bedrooms giving us plenty of space to spread out.

View of the other side of the living room/dining area and into the bedroom.

Chase’n Rainbows had provided us with an amenity kit that included some dish washing detergent, paper towels, soaps, garbage bags, and some coffee. The cabinets were well stocked with glasses, cookware, dishes, etc. The bathroom also had plenty of towels and soap/shampoo/conditioner/lotion and a hairdryer. It was all we needed for the week and they even included some lovely orchids.

We had everything we needed in the condo.

Flowers on the dining table courtesy of Chase’n Rainbows.

This was our actual view from the lanai (balcony). There was a peek-a-boo ocean view, but it was pretty much an empty plot of land. It was quiet and serene, which is a different scene than facing the pools and courtyard.

I didn’t take too many pics of the resort since there are plenty of pic online. Each unit pretty much looks alike with very similar furnishings and fixtures. They are all very well appointed, and the furnishings are great quality. The appliances in the kitchen are also all high-end and worked well. I’ve included some pictures of the unit here, courtesy of Chase’n Rainbows.

The bedroom of the unit. Pic from Chase’n Rainbows

The large bathroom with separate shower and tub. Pic from Chase’n Rainbows.

Fancy high-end kitchen with granite counters and Bosch appliances. Behind the closed door is the washer/dryer unit. Pic from Chase’n Rainbows.

Staying at the Honua Kai is like staying at a large condo apartment building (albeit in a nice beach location) which can mean long meandering hallways, congested elevators, and tight parking spots. I often got lost getting from the garage to our unit and vice versa because I couldn’t remember which elevator to take. We also had a few long waits for the elevator at times. Since we were on the 2nd floor I guess we could have taken the stairs too, but we were on vacation! These are just minor things though, and it didn’t really bother us too much.

The pools were large and there were 3 of them, but the middle pool with the rocks and waterfall was the most crowded. I think it was because the other 2 pools were freezing! Once you got used to the cold though, I thought the lazy river-like pool was really nice and probably the least crowded of them all.

The lazy river pool at the Honua Kai in front of the Konea building. Pic from Chase’n Rainbows.

Even though the resort had a lot of people, we didn’t have an issue finding lounge chairs as there were plenty of them but the ones in the ideal spots close to the pool and beach were always taken first. Granted we went during slow season. I can’t imagine what this place would look like in high season!

The beach in front of the resort is pretty, with golden sand and blue-green water. However, it sometimes got too surf-heavy for swimming. This is probably only an issue during the fall/winter months.

The beach in front of the Honua Kai. Sometimes the surf was a bit rough so we ventured further south to Airport Beach for nice snorkeling.

Just a short walk south of the Honua Kai on a paved beach walk was the Westin Villas which fronted a beach known as Airport Beach (think an airport used to be here a long time ago). The waves were calmer here and there was some good snorkeling. It’s popular with locals and tourists alike.

Airport beach next to the Westin Villas.

The onsite restaurant at the Honua Kai is a well-known Hawaiian chain of restaurants called Duke’s. It looked like a good place to eat but we didn’t try it as we weren’t hungry the times we were around, or we were just in the mood for something else. It is a popular place for many visitors, including many non-resort guests, and the views here are great! Apparently there are supposed to be Duke’s servers coming around the pool area taking drink orders but we only saw one person during our 6-day stay. We brought our own drinks to the pool in any case.

Dukes restaurant at the Honua Kai, with a lovely beach view. Gorgeous sunsets! Don’t expect much pool service from them though.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay at the Honua Kai, and I would absolutely stay here again, but I’ve decided that it’s more of a family vibe so coming here on our next group or family vacation would be ideal. Our unit was beautiful, it had everything we needed for a relaxing stay, and the space was clean and well-kept (we were in unit 214 in Hokulani, but all the units are furnished almost identically). I definitely prefer having a kitchen and washer dryer on vacation so that was convenient, however, for our next stay on Maui I’d probably look into other condo buildings that are a little smaller and low-key.

Read the rest of our 5th Anniversary Trip to Maui.

Thanks for reading! Less than 20 days until we travel to Bali, Indonesia!


October 23, 2014 - 4:25 am

Cindy Wong - Thanks for this review, so helpful! I just booked our flights today and now I’m looking for hotels or places on airbnb!!!! 🙂

April 17, 2015 - 11:30 pm

Dee - Great review of the Honua Kai. We stayed there in July and really loved it. Definitely a family vibe, but since we were there with our two teen boys, that worked for us.

Were you there during whale season? I have read that you can sometimes see whales from the beach at the resort.

April 19, 2015 - 11:47 pm

Su-Lynn - Hi Dee, Thanks for visiting! I’m glad you guys enjoyed the Honua Kai. I think it’s a lovely resort and our condo was really comfy (something has to be said for central a/c…it’s heaven!) 🙂

We were there at the start of whale season but there wasn’t much activity just yet that can be viewed from that far away. I think the tours on the boats would have better luck. Heard its really good in January!

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *