A brutally honest review of Westin Maui (at Ka’anapali): it was OK I guess

By Scott •   •  9 min read

Standing on the balcony of my room at the Westin Maui watching the sun go down over the beach was one of the best hotel experiences that I’ve had in a while. It was so good that it helped me to forget that I paid nearly $500 for my room. A good sunset can do that.

A full review of my 2 night stay at the Westin Maui Resort and Spa

This is going to be a little different than my normal hotel reviews. You see, the room I had at this hotel was really generic and I don’t have much to say about it (other than it was perfectly fine). However, since the Westin Maui is a fully contained resort, I’m just focus on the overall experience and ignore the bland room for a majority of this review…

location map westin resort and spa maui

Location map of the Westin Resort and Spa Maui – as you can see, it’s located nowhere near the airport (which is in Kahului btw), so getting here was a bit of a challenge. I ended up paying $100 for a round-trip ticket on a Roberts Hawaii shuttle bus, but a rental car is probably the cheapest option.

First impressions

In the spirit of being completely honest and fully transparent, I’d like to point out that my first impressions of the Westin Maui were not all that good. Considering the hefty price that I paid for this two-night stay, I was expecting something a lot more upscale than what I saw when I first pulled up to the property.

Westin Maui sign

Welcome to the Westin Resort and Spa at Ka’anapali! My hopes were high that this would be a good place to ease the tension of spending so much money on a ride from the airport because, well, this travel blogging thing doesn’t pay very well yet and I’m already over budget on this trip.

Westin Maui front entrance

I barely know how to mow a lawn without killing it, so huge props to the guy or gal who carved “Westin” out of those bushes. Oh, and bonus points too for spelling it right!

Westin Maui exterior

This 1960s-era design is not what I would normally associate with the Westin brand, so it was hard not to feel a bit iffy on the way in.

The lobby

Just like most businesses in Hawaii, the feeling was very laid-back and casual from the outside – something I quite liked actually. The problem was that the entire property seemed old and outdated, which I believe is the first time that I’ve ever had that feeling walking into a Westin before. I’m happy to report that it looked much more modern and up-to-date on the inside.

Westin Maui lobby

The main lobby, which is definitely more fitting of that clean Westin design language that I know and love.

Westin Maui concierge area

Keep in mind that this is a full resort though, so the other half of the bottom floor (adjacent to the lobby) was this area full of meeting rooms and concierge service centers. Don’t worry, things start looking a lot more Hawaiian with the next pic…

Westin Maui flamingos

From dry corporate meeting rooms to happy pink flamingos, the lobby of this hotel had it all. This nice little pond was located adjacent to the main reception desk, which didn’t surprise me a bit considering the GPS coordinates of this place. I would’ve been totally disappointed if there were no flamingos!

Westin Maui lobby pond

A slightly wider angle showing how the open air lobby wraps around the pond. And nope, it didn’t smell like flamingo poop at all.

Westin Maui open air lobby

To be honest, an occasional whiff of flamingo poop wouldn’t have mattered to me at all with views like this. This is one of the nicest hotel lobbies that I’ve ever been in I think!

Something that I didn’t like was the fact that I was getting a strong “Disneyland” vibe as I stood there in line waiting to check in. Families with young kids running around and screaming everywhere, the smell of the chlorine from the pools just outside the back entrance…this was not what I had been expecting.

It was at that point I was thinking that I made a bad choice and that I wasn’t going to enjoy my stay.

Getting to my room

As I was handed the card keys to my room way up on the 11th floor, all of those petty annoyances were flicked aside in an instant. My room would most certainly be high enough to escape all of this madness! Right? I sure hope so…

Westin Maui guest room hallway

Fresh off the elevator on the 11th floor in search of my room (and I may have been praying really hard for a sweet ocean view).

Westin Maui room 1151

The fact that it didn’t say “Sweet Ocean View” underneath the numbers was giving me cause for concern. But then again, I don’t know how to read braille so I can’t say for certain that there was no mention of it.

Westin Maui ocean view room

This picture represents the only interior shot of the room that I have (because it was quite generic), but that’s OK because it’s the “sweet ocean view” which is the most important part anyway. If you’re just dying to know what the room was like, check out my Hilton Waikiki Beach review. The room I had there was nearly identical to this one.

The view of the ocean from my room

Good news: the view from my room here at the Westin was a LOT better than the view I had from my room at the Grand Naniloa Hotel (on the Big Island). I felt totally redeemed.

Westin Maui view from room

The view from my room! Everything you see in this picture is part of the Westin Maui Resort and Spa (except for the Pacific Ocean, duh). Not too shabby, eh?

Westin Maui sunset view

Looking to the right, you can see that everyone on this side of the building has an epic Instagram-worthy view – which more than likely got them tons of likes during their vacation.

Westin Maui ocean view

#sunset #hawaii #maui #omg #beyonce (lol)

Westin Maui swimming pools

The view from up here looks just as nice during the day. If you’re a fan of swimming pools, you’re gonna love this place. If you’re not, well…why’dya come to Hawaii in the first place?!

Westin Maui logo on patio door

Ok, one last artsy-fartsy pic from up here looking through the Westin logo on the sliding glass door (because I’m clean out of room pics).

Pools and beach access

Westin Maui pool area

The view from the pool area looking towards the main building in the background. Pro tip: these pools fill up fast as the day goes on, so if you’re not keen on 10-year-olds cannonballing all around as you float aimlessly about on your inflatable flamingo, it’s best to do your lounging in the morning hours while it’s not so busy.

Westin Maui beach

The good news is that there is an entire ocean to escape to when all that cannonballing gets annoying. But then you’ll have sharks to worry about, so you’ve got a descision to make. Personally, I’m willing to gamble on the sharks…

Westin Maui boardwalk

One of the really nice things about the Westin is the fact that it’s located in a cluster of other hotels via this boardwalk, which also leads to a small shopping center stuffed full of good places to eat.

The food

While there are a wide variety of dining options within the hotel itself, I recommend walking along the beach to sample all of the other great restaurants and cafe’s in the vicinity. There’s lots of them, and I promise you won’t ever struggle trying to find something good to eat.

Westin Maui acai bowl

IMHO, the best açai bowl located within walking distance to the Westin Maui Resort and Spa is from Island Vintage Coffee located in the Whalers Village shopping center. I’m pretty sure that you could find something better in the nearby town of Lahaina, but this is plenty good if you’re feeling lazy.

Westin Maui food

There’s also lots of grilled meat topped with pineapple salsa and white rice to be found in any direction of this place. Pretty much the number one criteria for any fine hotel choice, right?

Final thoughts

The Westin Maui Resort and Spa here at Ka’anapali isn’t exactly what I would consider to be fitting of the high-style Westin brand, but by the end of my second day I was really starting to appreciate it for what it was.

It’s an excellent beach hotel. It’s (maybe) even better than the Hotel Del Coronado in my home town of San Diego – at least in terms of offering the complete experience (food, relaxation, beach access, etc). This is definitely not a place to stay if you’re looking for blissful peace and quiet! It’s a very family-friendly resort with lots of young kids running around and having fun (and cannonballing into pools).

It’s important to note that Bonvoy elite members have access to the highest floors – which are an excellent escape from all the noise and activity below.


Scott is the founder and author of SleepAndReview.com, and has been a frequent traveler since 2014. He never had any aspirations of being a hotel reviewer, but one thing let to another, and...well...here we are.

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