Royal Lahaina Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Maui, Hawaii, United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • No full fitness center (just studio for fitness classes)
  • No kids' club
  • Three small, less-exciting pools
  • Daily fee for WiFi

Bottom Line

A 15-minute walk outside Kaanapali's main strip, the family-owned Royal Lahaina has what the Kaanapali mega-resorts lack -- a quiet, isolated beachfront. Its amenities -- just three small pools, a nightly luau, and an 11-court tennis facility -- don't rival those at the mega-resorts, but this is still a great pick for peace and relaxation.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Laid-back beachside resort that's a 15-minute walk from the bustle of Kaanapali; few amenities, but lots of quiet and relaxation

The oceanfront lawn
The oceanfront lawn

Built in 1962, the family-owned Royal Lahaina is an anomaly among Kaanapali resorts. Rather than build multiple high-rise towers and offer a plethora of amenities, this semi-isolated, 27-acre beachside resort keeps a low, unassuming profile, hundreds of feet down the shore from the surf schools, sunbathers, and boardwalk scene on Kaanapali Beach.

Officially, the Royal Lahaina's beachfront is still part of Kaanapali Beach. But because it is north of Black Rock -- a massive lava formation that's considered sacred by Hawaiians and is bombarded with snorkelers and cliff divers daily -- there's a significant sense of privacy and peace here that you can't find at a more central, similarly priced hotels in Kaanapali, like the Whaler. And it's not entirely cut off -- it's only a 15-minute walk along the oceanfront walkway to get to the restaurants that begin near the Sheraton at Black Rock.

But beyond its low-key location, there isn't much to this resort -- no gym; no spa; no business center; and the small pools are tubs compared to the multifeature pools at Kaanapali's mega-resorts. It does, however, have an impressive 11-court tennis facility and a nightly luau. Most guests, though, are happy to while away the day on a lawn chair facing the ocean.

The only other comparable resort in Maui is the Napili Kai, a secluded retreat that is just a short drive from the main Kaanapali strip. Royal Lahaina's older Garden Cottage Rooms were renovated in 2012, as part of the hotel's 50th year celebration, making them comparable to Napili Kai. And the 2007-renovated rooms in Royal Lahaina's main tower are similarly spiffy for less the cost of a room at Napili Kai.

 Service

Standard, for a midrange hotel: luggage assistance; concierge services; valet parking

Hotel staff
Hotel staff

The staff is as friendly as they come, especially the bellmen who are quick to approach guests who've just arrived. Newly checked-in guests are offered pineapple-infused water and wet towels, and guests booked in Cottage Rooms are ferried over in golf carts.

  • Concierge services
  • For package tours -- helicopter tours, whale-watching cruises (seasonal), parasailing, snorkeling and scuba trips -- guests can shop between two booking agents on-site: a Expedia Activities and Tours office as well as a Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays Desk.
  • No business center, but the front desk staff can assist with photocopying and faxing
  • Room service
  • Poolside drinks service available
  • Valet parking charged daily

 Location

In the northern section of Kaanapali Beach; a quiet distance from the mega-resorts

Royal Lahaina Resort is located directly on Kaanapali Beach, but it is north of Black Rock -- a sacred Hawaiian landmark and a popular snorkeling spot -- so the resort's beach enjoys a level of solitude not possible in the most tourist-heavy sections of Kaanapali Beach. Within a half-mile of the hotel, there are no high-rises; just a low-lying condo next door. This means that the guest rooms in Royal Lahaina's 12-story main tower have unbeatable views of the ocean and the Kaanapali area.

  • On-site parking charged daily.
  • For trips to Whalers Village shopping mall and area resorts, you can take the Kaanapali Trolley, a free shuttle service that stops at Royal Lahaina.
  • Whalers Village, an open-air shopping mall with beachfront restaurants, curio shops, and upscale fashion boutiques, is a five-minute walk from the hotel.
  • The free Whalers Village Museum, in the middle of Whalers Village, displays fascinating memorabilia from Lahaina's whaling days.
  • About a 10-minute drive from the historic village of Lahaina, with tons of shopping, restaurants, and Maui's best nightlife.
  • The Sugarcane Train Tour -- offering a history of Maui's sugar-plantation days -- leaves from the station across from the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas in North Kaanapali, a five-minute drive from the hotel.

 Beach

Mostly empty beach with calm, clear water; spectacular snorkeling is just a five-minute stroll away

The beach
The beach

The four-mile-long stretch of soft sand at Kaanapali Beach attracts more tourists than just about anywhere else in Maui. Daily surf lessons take place just a few hundred feet away from a bobbing mass of snorkelers crowding around the beach's landmark, Black Rock. But not many travelers realize that there's another stretch of beach beyond the massive lava outcropping, a much more tranquil shore with amazingly clear water and gentle surf. This is the beach in front of the Royal Lahaina.

  • Less crowded beach than elsewhere in Kaanapali
  • Incredible visibility in the water; you can see turtles and sting rays from the 12th floor of the hotel tower.
  • Spectacular snorkeling just a five-minute walk north at table reef in front of Kahekili Beach Park or south at Black Rock; snorkel gear available at the resort's beach activities center for $15 a day.
  • Calm water means no surfing in these parts. To catch some waves, head to main section of Kaanapali Beach.
  • Four miles of uninterrupted sand between Canoe Beach and Black Rock with mostly calm, swimmable water (though water currents vary in strength)
  • Paved beach walkway runs the entire length of Kaanapali Beach; it's often crowded, but it's a great place to meet locals.

 Rooms

Older Garden Cottage Rooms steps from the beach; or newer, more stylish Tower Rooms -- both great values

The Oceanfront Room
The Oceanfront Room

Of the hotel's 350 rooms, there are two very distinct room types: 114 Garden Rooms housed in cottages near the beach and 236 newer, but more expensive, Tower Rooms.

From the Garden Rooms, the base-level room type, it only takes a minute or two to get from your room to the ocean, a convenience unavailable at most mega-resorts. And while the rooms are comfortable -- all have new beds and carpets (replaced in 2008). And to celebrate the hotel's 50th anniversary in 2012, Royal Lahaina upgraded the cottages, introducing new flat-screen TVs, flooring, interior and exterior paint, furniture, and decor.

You can also opt to move off the beach and into a room in the main tower, which was completely renovated in 2007. The sleek interiors in these rooms continue to represent a chicer side of tropical design: platform beds, textured white linens, wide slat-screen shutters, and monochrome photographs of Hawaiian life. Their true value, however, is in their incomparable ocean views. Because there are no other high-rises nearby, every room gets a panoramic scope of the Pacific and surrounding Kaanapali. No other hotel in the area can boast the same.

  • Standard, Garden Rooms and Tower Rooms are a comfortable, but smaller-than-average at 350 square feet.
  • Much larger one- and two-bedroom suites (some with full kitchens) are also available in the main tower
  • Comfortable pillow-top beds in all rooms; new tower rooms also have textured duvets.
  • All rooms on property feature 27- to 40-inch flat-screen TVs with basic cable (37 channels) and pay-per-view movies.
  • Garden Room bathrooms were renovated in 2012; Tower Room bathrooms are newer, but a little cramped.
  • Garden Room balconies or porches have views of the Kaanapali Golf Course and the mountains behind it (only a few rooms have ocean views); all Tower Rooms have balconies that overlook the ocean.
  • Coffeemaker and complimentary Kona coffee in every room; Garden Standard Rooms have a mini-refrigerator.
  • Locally made, coconut-lime scented bath products
  • In-room Wi-Fi is charged daily

 Features

Small pools and an expansive tennis complex -- but it's a far cry from most other Kaanapali resorts

The tennis complex
The tennis complex

This isn't a hotel you pick for its features. What few amenities this resort has are decent, at best. The point, it seems, is to do a lot of nothing around a beautiful, empty beach. If you need more diversions than that, you're better off booking at mega-resorts like the Hyatt Regency or the Westin Maui.

  • Average-size, oceanfront main pool -- wide enough to swim laps in -- that is more popular with kids
  • Smaller, oceanfront, pool beside the tiki bar that drops to nine feet at the deep end and is more popular with adults
  • The Royal Lahaina Tennis Ranch is an 11-court facility with an additional pool and whirlpool that is also open to the public.
  • "The Myths of Maui" is a nightly luau with good entertainment and a mediocre Hawaiian buffet.
  • Fitness studio on-site for fitness classes, but no machines
  • No business center; guests can use a computer behind the concierge's desk for free. Wi-Fi ($9.95) is available throughout the hotel.
  • On-site shops include a jewelry store and a souvenir shop.

 Golf

Two high-quality courses; hotel guests get discounted rates

There are two 18-hole courses at the Kaanapali Golf Resort, which spans 1,200 acres of land situated between the beachfront resorts of Kaanapali and the mountains to the west. Built in the '60s, both courses have been home to the Champions Tour Kaanapali Classic and the LPGA Kemper Open. Wind and rain are less common than at the neaby Kapalua courses, though the south Maui courses (those in Wailea and Makena) are the best in Maui.

  • Par-71, 6,700-yard Royal Course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. But its wide fairways extend from Kaanapali's main thoroughfare to the beach, and the holes are never far away from traffic and resort structures.
  • Par-70, 6,388-yard Kai Course is designed for easier play, though it's suitable for all levels, and its location in the mountains offers great views of neighboring islands.

 Family

Laid-back family retreat; no fancy kids' features

The beach
The beach

It might not have a kids' club or a game room like at the neighboring (and more expensive) Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, but for low-key families who want to spend all their time on a calm, mostly empty beach or on the tennis courts, this is a great pick.

  • Two clean pools on-site
  • Daily kids' activities, like lei-making and hula lessons
  • No supervised kids' club, but the staff sets out board games and arts-and-craft supplies for rainy days
  • One king bed or two double beds are available in the standard rooms; rollaway beds (charged per night) and cribs (free) are available in all room types.
  • Connecting rooms available in both the tower and cottages, but there is a $50 daily charge to ensure that families and groups are booked in adjoining rooms.

 Cleanliness

Tidy overall, but cottage rooms are a bit older

The hotel has well-maintained grounds and spiffy Tower Rooms (renovated in 2007) and cottage rooms (renovated in 2012).

 Food

Few options onsite; easy access to Kaanapali's restaurants

Seafood pasta at Basil Tomatoes
Seafood pasta at Basil Tomatoes

Dining is limited at the Royal Lahaina, but at least the prices are reasonable. Aside from the main restaurant where all three meals are served, there's just one Italian restaurant near the entrance of the resort. For more dining options, you can take the free Kaanapali Trolley to area resorts or to Whalers Village, a nearby shopping mall.

  • Poolside, and overlooking the ocean, the Royal Ocean Terrace restaurant offers fairly tasty, moderately priced Hawaiian and American food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Breakfast buffet at the Royal Ocean Terrace: fresh fruit, breakfast meats, and made-to-order omelets
  • On-site convenience store and a local ice cream shop
  • Basil Tomatoes, a wonderful, independently owned Italian restaurant near the entrance to the resort, offers fresh seafood and pasta entrees (average $30) made with locally grown, hydroponic tomatoes.

 Destination Weddings

Affordable, laid-back ceremonies overlooking the ocean -- but beware the bar fees

A lawn at the Royal Lahaina, one possible ceremony site
A lawn at the Royal Lahaina, one possible ceremony site
  • Wedding Size: Up to 500 people
  • Extra Fees and Restrictions: All wedding receptions require a setup fee and a site fee; the Beach House requires additional fees (call to inquire). If you hire your own wedding planner (rather than using someone at the resort) there is also another "coordination fee."
  • Wedding Packages: The most basic wedding package, the Ka Pua (or Flower) package covers the site fee for an oceanfront ceremony, an officiant, a marriage license arrangement, two leis, a bridal bouquet, a boutonniere, a six-inch wedding cake (for 10 people), one bottle of champagne, and the help of an on-site wedding coordinator.
  • Ceremony Locations: The Villas Lawn, the Royal Suite, and the cottage lawn
  • Photographers and Videographers: Select wedding packages include photography, but video packages are seperate; outside photographers and videographers permitted at no extra fee.
  • Music: Ceremony options include a soloist, a duo, or a trio and for the reception, a DJ can be hired for a three hour set, with an addition fee per each additional hour. Outside musicians are permitted at no extra fee.
  • Food: Buffets (minimum of 50 guests); plated dinners (minimum of 25 guests)
  • Drinks: There's no open bar but the hotel allows you to chose between a hosted bar (meaning you're covering the cost) and a standard cash bar (meaning your guests cover the costs of each drink). With a hosted bar, the drinks are generally one dollar cheaper than at the cash bar, with the basic beers, wines, and off-brand liquor cocktails (also, note that just a soft drink will cost you).
  • Cocktail Hour: Most hors d'oeuvres come in 50 piece sets, though there are some more elaborate options, like Oysters Rockefeller. You can also set up stations such as sushi, fresh tropical fruit, or cheeses. If the station needs a staffer, however, there's an additional fee per station.
  • Cakes: All wedding packages include a six-inch wedding cake (serves up to 10), but more elaborate cakes depend on the total head-count (call to inquire).
  • Spa Treatments: Full menu of treatments, including in-room hair and makeup
  • Honeymoon Suite: Most couples opt for a one-bedroom oceanfront suite, such as the Molokai Suite.
  • Airport Transportation: The hotel does not offer airport shuttle service; a one-way taxi runs about $100.

 Bottom Line

A 15-minute walk outside Kaanapali's main strip, the family-owned Royal Lahaina has what the Kaanapali mega-resorts lack -- a quiet, isolated beachfront. Its amenities -- just three small pools, a nightly luau, and an 11-court tennis facility -- don't rival those at the mega-resorts, but this is still a great pick for peace and relaxation.

Things You Should Know About Royal Lahaina Resort

Address

  • 2780 Kekaa Drive, Lahaina, HI 96761

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Royal Hotel Lahaina
  • Royal Lahaina
  • Royal Lahaina Hotel
  • Royal Lahaina Hotel Maui
  • Royal Lahaina Maui
  • Royal Lahaina Resort Maui

Room Types

  • Deluxe Ocean View Room
  • Garden Cottage Room
  • Garden View Room
  • Oceanfront Cottage Room
  • Oceanfront Room
  • Ocean View Room
  • One Bedroom Garden Cottage
  • One Bedroom Lanai Suite
  • One Bedroom Molokai Suite
  • One Bedroom Oceanfront Cottage
  • Partial Ocean View Room
  • Terrace View Room
  • Two Bedroom Garden Cottage
  • Two Bedroom Lanai Suite
  • Two Bedroom Molokai Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 457
Pool: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Maui, Hawaii
Address: 2780 Kekaa Drive, Lahaina, HI 96761
(See Map)
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