Makena Beach and Golf Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Maui, Hawaii, United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Directly on beach with excellent snorkeling
  • More secluded, mellow vibe than at most Wailea resorts
  • Scenic 18-hole golf course (closed until early 2014 for renovations), tennis courts
  • Five restaurants and morning coffee stand
  • Weekly luau and free resort activities (coconut-leaf weaving, lei-making)
  • Free shuttle to other Wailea resorts, shopping center, golf

Cons

  • Out-of-date electronics (tube TV, old Sony clock radio)
  • Daily resort fee
  • Small, cramped fitness center, no spa (just massage room)
  • Small kids' club, no fun waterslides at pool
  • Daily fee for Wi-Fi, pricey business center
  • No 24-hour room service

Bottom Line

A quieter, less-crowded alternative to nearby Wailea luxury resorts, the 310-room Makena Beach and Golf Resort boasts a great snorkeling beach, five restaurants, a golf course, and weekly luau. The small kids' club and tiny pool pale in comparison to what you get in Wailea, but room prices can be lower too. And since rooms and public spaces were renovated in 2012, the hotel's upgraded style and comfort make it an attractive option.

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 Scene

The only resort in Makena, the 310-room Makena Beach and Golf Resort is a less-crowded alternative to popular Wailea.

The hotel is quieter than its Wailea neighbors
The hotel is quieter than its Wailea neighbors

Located in Makena, just south of Wailea's strip of luxury resorts like the Four Seasons and the Fairmont, the 310-room Makena Beach and Golf Resort offers a quieter, more secluded resort experience. Maluaka, its golden-sand beach with turquoise-blue waters, is a popular site for weddings and home to some of the best snorkeling on the island. The resort's nearby 18-hole golf course — closed until early 2014 for renovations boasts the highest elevation on Maui's South Shore, affording players stellar views of Mount Haleakala and Kahoolawe, Molokini, and Lanai islands.

But while the Makena Beach and Golf Resort (formerly the Maui Prince) was once the crown jewel of Wailea, it's now showing its age. In the rooms, guests will find crisp white 250-thread-count linens, a featherbed, and pleasant light-wood furniture -- plus old tube TVs, Sony clock/radios and Clairol lighted makeup mirrors. The resort has fallen on hard times, recently undergoing foreclosure proceedings after the last owners, Prince Hotels, defaulted on the mortgage. Management was taken over by Benchmark Hospitality, which also runs Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, and the hotel was renamed Makena Beach and Golf Resort in September 2009. The hotel underwent some renovations in late 2011 and early 2012, and now rooms have new carpeting, granite countertops in bathrooms, and new cherry wood furnishings.

But even before the latest financial troubles, the amenities at the Makena Beach and Golf Resort paled in comparison to the glittering spas, expansive kids' clubs, and multiple pools of Wailea's other big resorts. The massage room and kids' club are just revamped guest rooms, as is the cramped fitness center. The small pool lacks a waterslide. What it does have going for it is direct access to one of the best snorkeling beaches in Maui, five restaurants with tasty food, and nice extras like a free area shuttle. But if you can score a better room rate at the Wailea Marriott, book there for the more modern rooms with flat-screen TVs and the five pools.

 Service

A wide range of services, though less than at Wailea's top luxury resorts

An Aloha welcoming
An Aloha welcoming

Service stops short of the personal-escort-to-the-room kind of treatment the Four Seasons and the Fairmont offer, but guests can expect the extensive breadth of services that's customary at a large resort, such as porters and poolside wait service. Like many other Maui hotels, the Makena Beach and Golf Resort charges an annoying resort fee, but it is lower than what some competitors charge.

 Location

Just south of Maui's resort-rich Wailea, in more rugged Makena

Makena Beach and Golf Resort lies just south of Wailea, a manicured, planned resort development that lines two spectacular beach-dotted miles of Maui's southwestern shore and is one of the most desirable resort destinations in Hawaii. Besides the beaches and the almost perfect weather -- rain rarely falls in this arid microclimate, and the temperature hovers around 85 degrees year round -- golf and shopping are the area's big draws. Because Makena Beach and Golf Resort is the only hotel in Makena, it's quieter and more isolated than Wailea's strip of hotels. But that also means hotel guests don't share their fantastic snorkeling beach, Maluaka, with guests of other resorts.

  • 40-minute drive from island's primary entry point, Kahului Airport
  • Free shuttle to other Wailea resorts, shopping center, and area golf courses
  • Shops at Wailea, an open-air mall with high-end shopping and dining options, as well as grocery stores
  • A long beachfront jogging or walking path spans several of the resorts in Wailea, with the Grand Wailea resort as the midpoint.
  • Four highly regarded golf courses in the area
  • Big Beach, the largest beach in South Maui, is just 10 minutes away by car; popular for snorkeling, lounging, and boogie boarding.
  • La Perouse Bay, great for snorkeling and dolphin watching, is about 25 minutes away.
  • Some of the island's most popular tourist destinations, like Mount Haleakala, the island's dormant volcano, are considerably farther -- expect at least two to three hours of beautiful but challenging driving along twisting, narrow highways.

 Rooms

All 310 rooms have at least a partial view of the ocean.

The Oceanfront Room
The Oceanfront Room

After renovations in early 2012, rooms at Makena Beach and Golf Resort are decorated in a contemporary island style similar to other Wailea luxury hotels -- crisp white linens on the bed, light wood and rattan furnishings, and pale accent throws and pillows. But old tube TVs and worn bathroom tiles reveal that the renovations stopped short of the $60 million overhaul at the Wailea Marriott. That said, if you score a cheaper nightly rate here than at the Marriott, it's a trade-off worth considering.

  • Standard rooms on 1st and 2nd floors are bigger (515 square feet) than those on floors 3rd to 5th (433 square feet), yet room rate is the same.
  • All rooms have some view of the ocean; even partial ocean view isn't bad.
  • All rooms come with either a king bed or two doubles.
  • Serta Perfect Sleeper pillow-top mattresses, 250-thread-count poly/blend sheets
  • 27-inch tube TV with about 35 cable channels, but no premium movie channels; pay-per-view is $14.99 a movie.
  • Bathrooms have separate toilet stalls, but toiletries are a generic brand and shower tiles are worn. Granite countertops were added in the 2012 renovations.

 Beach

Right on Maluaka Beach (aka Turtle Beach), one of the best snorkeling spots in Maui

The hotel's beach has calm waters and great views.
The hotel's beach has calm waters and great views.

As the only hotel in Makena, Makena Beach and Golf Resort doesn't have to share its beach with any other resort -- unusual for Wailea. No five-minute walk to the beach here, like at the Wailea Marriott. Hotel guests enjoy direct beach access (i.e., no crossing the street) to the golden sands of Maluaka Beach, considered one of the best snorkeling beaches in Maui.

  • Nicknamed "Turtle Beach,", Maluaka has a coral reef on one side, which draws sea turtles and fish, and keeps waters calm enough for swimming.
  • With gorgeous views of Molokini and Kahoowale islands, popular site for weddings
  • No lifeguards
  • The resort's water-sports hut dispenses beach towels (free for guests); rents out umbrellas, bodyboards, and snorkeling gear
  • Catamaran tours to Molokini island for snorkeling (20 minutes away)

 Features

From a pool to tennis, plenty to do. But not on par with top Wailea resorts.

The pool is small for a Wailea resort.
The pool is small for a Wailea resort.

The Makena Beach and Golf Resort's features, while extensive, fall short of what guests will find at competing area resorts.

  • Small, shallow pool is less impressive than the numerous pools and slides at Grand Wailea and other Wailea resorts.
  • Pool bar, poolside wait service, children's pool, and Jacuzzi
  • Cramped two-room fitness center with seven good-condition Nautilus strength-training machines and StairMaster cardio (one elliptical, two treadmills, three bikes)
  • Six well-maintained tennis courts next to golf course, two lit for night play, guests can play at reduced fee. Worn rackets for rent at pro shop. Must take shuttle to reach courts.
  • Expensive business center is just two PCs with printers
  • Free valet and self-parking
  • Free use of Schwinn bicycles. The hotel provides helmets, locks and water bottle holders.

 Golf

Great views and tough shots on the highest-elevation course on Maui's south shore.

Makena Golf Course
Makena Golf Course

Wailea is home to some of Hawaii's best golf. As the highest-elevated course on Maui's south shore, Makena Beach and Golf Resort's Makena Golf Course — closed until early 2014 for renovations — gives players stunning views of Mount Haleakala, the island's dormant volcano, and the Molokini and Lanai islands. Like the Wailea Golf Club's Emerald and Gold courses, the 18-hole Makena course is designed by famed golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. But the 6,914-yard Makena, with its narrow fairways, is considered the most challenging of the three.

  • Free shuttle takes guests to the golf course
  • Green fees reduced for guests with advance reservation
  • As with other Hawaiian resorts, no caddies
  • Golf lessons available for hour and half-hour long sessions.
  • Wailea Golf Club also boasts the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.

 Family

Kids' menus at the restaurants, but a weak kids' club and unimpressive pools

The weekly luau is family friendly.
The weekly luau is family friendly.

The Makena Beach and Golf Resort has a kids' club, a kids' pool, and kids' menus, but with a small pool, no waterslides and a small space for the kids' club, it can't hold a candle to the multipool majesty and extensive kids' activities at other Wailea luxury resorts (Grand Wailea's 20,000-square-foot kids' camp, Fairmont's impressive kids' fitness programs).

  • A small pool, kids' pool, and Jacuzzi, but no waterslides
  • At Prince Keiki Club, kids ages five to 12 can join in activities like sandcastle building, hula dancing, and Hawaiian crafts, for a steep fee
  • Unimpressive kids' club room is converted guest room.
  • Affordable kids' choices on room service menu and poolside restaurant
  • Free cribs, and rollaways are charged per night.
  • Maximum four people per room (can book room with two double beds instead of king)
  • Free use of Schwinn bicycles

 Cleanliness

Clean but showing wear-and-tear

Overall clean rooms and common areas, but worn bathroom tiles and scratched-up doors call out for a renovation.

 Food

The five restaurants aren't cheap, but on par for a Wailea resort.

Hakone is highly regarded for its sushi.
Hakone is highly regarded for its sushi.

Four on-site restaurants, a morning coffee stand, and a clubhouse restaurant at the golf course offer a tasty range of Japanese, Pacific Rim, and classic American cuisine. Prices are high compared with the cheap dining in the nearby town of Kihei -- especially Hakone, where combo sushi platters reach the mid-$30s -- but that's pretty typical for Wailea.

  • Served overlooking the hotel's Japanese garden, the $18 breakfast buffet at Cafe Kiowai goes beyond chafing dishes of stale French toast to include eggs Benedict on cornbread and buttermilk pancakes.
  • Weekly sunset luau. Open bar, hula performances, and a decent buffet -- but not as grand as the one at the Marriott Wailea
  • Makena Grille, formerly called Molokini Bar & Grille serves hawaiian fusion cuisine and is worth a visit at sunset.
  • Room service available until 9:30 p.m.
  • The Pool Bar & Grill serves up burgers and pizzas
  • Barista 5400 is a casual cafe with light fare and Starbucks coffee
  • Cafe on the Green has great views of the golf course and the ocean, and has a good lunch menu and a daily happy hour.
  • A buffet is offered every Friday and Saturday night.

 Bottom Line

A quieter, less-crowded alternative to nearby Wailea luxury resorts, the 310-room Makena Beach and Golf Resort boasts a great snorkeling beach, five restaurants, a golf course, and weekly luau. The small kids' club and tiny pool pale in comparison to what you get in Wailea, but room prices can be lower too. And since rooms and public spaces were renovated in 2012, the hotel's upgraded style and comfort make it an attractive option.

Things You Should Know About Makena Beach and Golf Resort

Address

  • 5400 Makena Alanui, Makena, HI 96753

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Makena Beach & Golf Resort
  • Maui Prince
  • Maui Prince Hotel
  • Prince Hotel Maui
  • Prince Hotel Wailea
  • Wailea Prince Hotel

Room Types

  • Honu Room
  • Makai Room
  • Makena Suite
  • Nalu Room
  • Naupaka Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 310
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Maui, Hawaii
Address: 5400 Makena Alanui, Makena, HI 96753
(See Map)
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