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Honua Kai Resort Review: Overpriced or Great Family Vacation in Maui?

Kids pool at Honua Kai resort.

I’m super excited because we recently booked a 2 week trip to Kauai, Hawaii during Spring Break 2018.  Now that our oldest boy is in school, we’re restricted to planning trips around the school year which isn’t easy because it’s when many other families book a vacation.

Hawaii bursts at the seam during Spring Break.  The only silver lining is that school districts throughout North America vary the Spring Break weeks so it’s not as bad as it could be.

Because of having to go during Spring Break, we had to jump on our Hawaii trip planning and get it booked ASAP.  Fortunately, it’s totally booked and we ended up getting great rooms at great resorts.

This will be my fourth time in Hawaii.  You’d think by now we’d be sick of it and would look for Hawaii alternatives, but I’m not.

For our last trip to Hawaii, we stayed one week at Honua Kai resort located in Kaanapali on Maui.

Without a doubt, it was as perfect a stay and vacation as one could hope for in Hawaii.  It was amazing.

If you’re going to Hawaii, I can’t recommend Honua Kai strongly enough.  If we were going to Maui again, we’d book our entire stay there.  The reason we’re going to Kauai is that we’re going with friends… which is totally cool because I’ve never been to Kauai.  After all, it’s Hawaii so it’ll be fabulous no matter what.

About Honua Kai

Honua Kai is a large resort located on the beach in Kaanapali, Maui.  Kaanapali is about a 15 to 20-minute drive to the gorgeous waterfront town of Lahaina (a must-visit town for everyone who goes to Maui).

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The Accommodations

Honua Kai resort tower and family pool.

The reason we booked at Honua Kai 2 years ago was that it offers large, condo-like units.  We got a 3 bedroom unit that had about 1,900 square feet.  It was a palace.

The bedrooms were large, two of which had an en suite and the open concept living space was amazing that included a large living room, dining area, beautiful kitchen with island, and of course access to a large balcony overlooking the ocean.

The unit was beautifully decorated.  The interior design was luxurious.  It was definitely one of the nicest “hotels” I’ve ever stayed in.

Honua Kai offers 1 to 3 bedroom units which are hard to come by in Hawaii at a resort.  Sure, you can book a condo, but what makes staying at Honua Kai so great is you get all the amazing resort amenities plus large, luxurious accommodations.

There are two large buildings that flank a huge inner courtyard where there are three pools, waterslide, numerous hot tubs, patios, and a terrific restaurant called Duke’s.

Booking Accommodations Honua Kai

You can book through the resort, travel booking sites like Expedia or you can book privately owned units via VRBO or AirBnB.  We booked through VRBO because it was a slightly lower rate and we really liked the decor and interior design of the unit we had.

I’m an avid VRBO user so have no problem booking accommodations through the online service.

The big benefit of booking with private owners is…

The big benefit is you know exactly which unit you’re getting.  Often when you book through travel booking sites or via the resort, your room is assigned when you arrive.

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You may get the number of bedrooms you specify but it could be in an area you don’t like.  When you book directly with the owner, you know exactly where the unit was. We wanted to be higher up with an ocean view.  Our unit was on the 6th floor with unobstructed ocean views.

Is Honua Kai Good for Kids?

It’s perfect for kids.  In fact, if you have kids, Honua Kai is as good as it gets.  When we stayed at Honua Kai, we had one child who was 2.5 years old.

For kids they have the following:

  • Dedicated kids pool;
  • Waterslide;
  • Hot tubs for kids;
  • Feed koi fish every morning;
  • Duke’s restaurant on the premises is really nice but still good for kids;
  • Spacious units – studio, one, two and three bedroom units (which is really great when you have kids);
  • Easy access to a really long beach that is super sandy.  The downside is the waves are pretty big so the ocean swimming isn’t good for young kids.
  • Short drive to Lahaina for day outings;
  • Kids daycare:  We never used this service but it’s nice knowing it’s there; and
  • Overall kid-friendly environment: You don’t get the sense it’s a honeymooner resort or some fancy resort for couples.  It really is kid-friendly throughout.

Back then we also went around Spring Break and there are loads of kids at the place.  We met many parents and had an all-around great time… as did our son.

The Beach at Honua Kai

Kaanapali beach near Honua Kai resort on Maui.

The resort is on the beach.  Kaanapali is one of the best beaches in Maui.  I love it. It stretches for miles and the sand is thick and lush.

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That said, and while I swam in the water, the waves can be big so it’s not the best swimming beach for kids.

The Restaurant

Duke's Restaurant at Honua Kai resort.

The main restaurant at Honua Kai is Duke’s.  It’s fabulous.  It’s a huge restaurant with loads of covered and patio seating overlooking the Kaanapali beach.

It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  We only ate dinner there but did so 4 evenings.

It’s a little pricey, but not outrageous.  The food is as good as the setting.  We thoroughly enjoyed several dinners there.

Yes, our 2-year-old son dined with us every night.  He loved the fresh fruit smoothies and the kids’ menu.

The Pools

The pools are a highlight of this resort. There are three, one for kids (family pool), a lazy pool, and one for adults.  The adult pool is a meandering pool with nooks and crannies that leads to various hot tubs.  It’s surrounded by lush vegetation and gardens.

The kids’ pool is large with an equally large patio surrounding it.  It’s nice and open so you can see your kids form any spot on the pool patio.

There’s also a separate third smaller pool with waterslide.

When we went, the resort was busy so we had to get to the pool area in the morning to get lounge chairs.  The place does fill up.  You can order drinks poolside… nothing special here.

All in all the pools were amazing.

The Spa

We booked massages at the spa on-premises.  The spa was nice.  The massage was good.  Overall, a good experience.  Nothing amazing, but nothing bad about it either.  It was expensive though, but that’s par for the course at resorts (I usually get at least one massage on every vacation).

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The Lobby

Yeah, I know it’s weird to discuss the lobby, but a hotel’s lobby is important to me.  I like the grand, nice lobbies.  A hotel’s lobby speaks volumes about the quality of a resort in many ways.  It’s also your first impression of a place too.

The main lobby at Honua Kai is wonderful.  It’s large, offers plenty of seating areas, and flows through directly to the courtyard area where the pools and main grounds are located.

Worth the Money?

Absolutely.  Worth every penny.

While the three-bedroom was fairly expensive, we enjoyed 1,900 square feet of space which is unheard of in most hotels unless you spend thousands per night for the Presidential Suite.  Our cost was just under $1,000 per night.

The one and two-bedroom units are significantly less money.

When we return to Maui, we will stay at Honua Kai.  It’s our go-to resort on Maui.

However, our next Hawaiian vacation is on Kauai, which I’m very excited about.