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Clean rooms and low rates for Maui, but not much else to boast about
The open-air, high-ceilinged lobby
Small compared with the mega-resorts 10 miles down the road in Wailea, with few of those hotels' amenities, the Maui Coast has the laid-back air of a mom-and-pop establishment. The reality isn't too far off: The Maui Coast is one of just 40 hotels in the Coast Hotels & Resorts chain, which runs budget properties in western North America, primarily Canada, under the slogan, "Real value, real convenience, and real people."
The Maui franchise certainly lives up to Coast's motto in the value department. Situated in Kihei, a town known for budget lodgings, it's one of the most affordable hotels in Maui, and a better option than the nearby Aston Maui Hill, whose chief selling point is that you can fit four people into its condos. The Maui Coast's rooms, though somewhat generic, are clean and comfortable. Two free Internet terminals sit by the front desk in the open-air, high-ceilinged lobby. Two hard-surface tennis courts are kept lit well past sunset, allowing for cooler night play. And Tradewinds, a small poolside bar and snack shack by day, becomes a festive gathering place at night, when live bands play.
Still, low rates are the primary draw here, and few of the amenities shine. The pool is small, and the restaurant serves mediocre pub fare with a few island add-ons. The staff is friendly, but the service is no better than at a Best Western. As for the chain's "real convenience" slogan, the Maui Coast's location falls short. The only attractions within walking distance are two so-so beaches across busy Kihei Road, and nearly all vacationers in Kihei rent cars to get to Maui's more attractive areas.
Friendly, but mostly the do-it-yourself approach typical of budget chains
Room Service at The Deluxe Room
As you'd expect at a budget hotel, service at the Maui Coast, though friendly, is more do-it-yourself than doting. When business is slow, check-in can be slow, but mainly because the clerks are friendly and chatty -- they pick up the pace when a crowd arrives. And although the hotel's website lists bellman service, the staff didn't offer to help with my bags.
- Room service available 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Free shuttle takes guests to neighboring sites.
- Activities desk run by Expedia open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; books activities like luaus, zip lines, and snorkeling.
- Daily housekeeping
- Free laundry machines on every floor
In low-key Kihei, where budget hotels and condos abound
The Maui Coast is on South Kihei Road, a busy two-lane coastal highway that runs through the sprawling beach town of Kihei on South Maui's western shore. Unlike Wailea, the manicured, planned beachfront resort that's 10 miles and a 15-minute drive to the south, Kihea is the home of budget hotels, condos, and reasonable restaurants, making it a good value option in South Maui. 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.
- The hotel provides a free shuttle to anywhere within a three-mile radius, which covers Kihei and Wailea. The shuttle operates on a first-come-first-served basis from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Public beaches on the other side of South Kihei Road are five-minute walk away, but most visitors drive rather than brave crossing the busy road.
- The area's four excellent golf courses -- Wailea's Blue, Gold, and Emerald, and Makena -- are no more than a 10-minute drive away.
- The popular Shops at Wailea, an open-air mall with high-end shopping and dining options, as well as grocery stores, are about a five- to 10-minute drive away.
- Kihei is a 35-minute drive from the island's primary entry point, Kahului Airport. The Maui Coast doesn't provide an airport shuttle. Most guests rent cars so that they can reach other Maui attractions.
- South Maui destinations like Big Beach and La Perouse Bay and West Maui towns and beaches are anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour by car.
- Popular Maui destinations like Mt. Haleakala, the island's dormant volcano, and Hana at least two- to three-hour drives on beautiful but challenging highways that are narrow and twisting.
Generic but clean, with modern furnishings, great beds, and tiny bathrooms
The Deluxe Room is clean and modern.
The 335-square-foot Deluxe Room (the standard) is typical for a budget hotel: Clean, with modern furnishings, but nothing memorable. What's best are the large flat-screen TV and a great bed.
- Deluxe Room comes with either one king-size bed or two queens
- Tiny balcony
- Mini-fridge and microwave in the coffee nook
- A great bed with Sealy Posturepedic Encore pillow-top mattress and featherbed
- Tech is mixed: Large 37-inch flat-screen TV, but run-of-the-mill clock radio
- Bathrooms are about as small as they can be while still fitting in a shower-tub, toilet, and sink.
- Toiletries from generic-brand Garden Elements. One touch not often seen in Hawaii hotel bathrooms: a glass jar containing Q-Tips and cotton balls.
- In-room Wi-Fi is $9.95 a day.
- The 519-square-foot junior suites have, along with a wet bar, either two queen beds or one king and a sleeper sofa.
- The 545-square-foot one-bedroom suites have a king bed, a living area with sleeper sofa, and two TVs.
A modest lineup of extras
The tennis court is open until 9:30 p.m.
On-site features at the Maui Coast range from ho-hum to slightly above ho-hum.
Two sandy beaches are a five-minute walk away
Two public beaches -- Kamaole I and Charley Young -- are a five-minute walk from the hotel (across a highway), but the Kihei shoreline near the Maui Coast is fairly unremarkable by island standards. Most guests at Kihei hotels rent cars and drive to better beaches in Wailea and Makena, five to 10 miles to the south.
- Kamaole I, to the south, is a public park with a beach and lifeguard stand. It's good for sunbathing and dips in the water, but not snorkeling.
- The surf at Charley Young Beach, to the north, attracts beginner surfers; no lifeguard
- Hotel provides towels at the front desk and has one umbrella for guests to borrow.
- Big Kahuna Adventures dive shop on Kihei Road, right by the entrance to Kamaole I, rents snorkels, kayaks, and surfing gear.
- Excellent snorkeling at Makena Beach by Maui Prince Hotel, a 10-mile drive along the coastal highway.
Not much sets the Maui Coast apart when it comes to pleasing families.
The pool has a shallow splashing area for kids.
Families may appreciate the low room rates, kids' splashing area at the pool, and free laundry machines on every floor. But beyond that, the Maui Coast isn't a standout family resort.
- The nearest beach is a five-minute walk away; there's a traffic light for crossing busy Kihei Road, but it's a long trek with youngsters.
- Kids menu at the restaurant and on room service menu
- Standard rooms with two queen beds can sleep four, but it'll be cramped, especially in the tiny bathroom
- Rollaway beds don't fit in standard rooms
- Cribs are free
Skip this mediocre fare and head into Kihei.
The poolside bar has food along with live music.
At the Maui Coast's restaurant, Spices, the food is lacking and the tables are often empty. The poolside bar Tradewinds is lively at night, but that's owing more to the drink specials and live local music than to the food, which comes from Spices' kitchen. Instead of dining at the hotel, try out Kihei's cluster of affordable local spots and well-regarded Hawaiian chains -- all 10 minutes from Wailea's strip of pricey resort restaurants, but worlds away.
- Many popular Kihei restaurants are on or near the main strip of South Kihei Road, a five- to 10-minute drive.
- For the freshest catch of the day and excellent seafood chowder, Kihei natives hit up Eskimo Candy, a wholesale fish supplier that runs a take-out counter for lunch and dinner.
- Da Kitchen, next to Denny's in the Rainbow Mall, serves tasty lunches -- try the loco moco, an Hawaiian specialty consisting of a hamburger patty on top of rice and eggs, drowned in brown gravy.
- Stop by L&L Drive-Inn for quick Hawaiian BBQ, a fusion of American and Asian BBQ.
- With raves from Travel and Leisure, Bon Appetit, and Wine Spectator, Sansei is widely considered the best sushi in Kihei.
- For savory baked tiger prawns and the daily fresh catch, try Cafe O'Lei.
- Just across the street from Maui Hill, Sarento's on the Beach serves a Mediterranean Rim cuisine that marries Italian fare with local flavors -- think wild tiger shrimp over homemade baked-potato ravioli -- and sunset views at dinner.
Adequate, but the hallways and lobby look a little worn
The rooms have no obvious stains or offensive smells, and the bathrooms aren't tarnished with mildew. But the common areas don't sparkle.
A great value pick for Maui's South Shore, the 265-room Maui Coast has clean rooms, tennis courts that stay open late, free laundry facilities, and a fun poolside bar with live music at night. But the closest beach is a five-minute walk away, and guests will likely want to head into town for a good meal.
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Things You Should Know About Maui Coast Hotel
- 2259 South Kihei Road, Kihei, HI 96753
Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As
- Hotel Maui Coast
- Maui Coast Kihei
- Deluxe Room
- Junior Suite
- One Bedroom Suite