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Huge, sprawling mega-resort with comparitively ordinary features
The Sheraton's towers are spread across 23 acres.
The 508-room Sheraton Maui has all the trappings of a typical Maui mega-resort. Its myriad features include a spa, streaming pool, gym, and live entertainment. But on Maui, even a 142-yard "lazy river" pool that wraps around a pool bar is fairly ordinary, and the hotel's on-site features can't compete with the bigger hotels nearby, like the Westin Maui or the Hyatt Regency.
Since its construction in 1963, this Sheraton has undergone many phases, including a $160 million overhaul in 1997, and additional refurbishments in 2005 and early 2012. Buildings were added around the 23-acre property, and the wide layout results in long, winding routes from the most far-flung rooms to the lobby and the pool. As other guests complain, getting around the resort can be a challenge -- just getting from the lobby to my Deluxe Oceanfront Room required walking through three long hallways and taking three different elevators. But even with its expansive layout, the Sheraton feels far less crowded than the nearby Westin Maui (759 rooms) or Hyatt Regency (806 rooms).
Great service features, including a $40 dining credit if you reject housekeeping
A chef at the luau
Mega-resorts tend to suffer in their level of service due to the sheer number of guests, but the Sheraton has found inventive ways to keep this from happening. The seamless check-in and elective housekeeping features are both great ways to avoid lines at the front desk and at the restaurants (guests who forgo housekeeping dine very early or very late to get a dining credit). This helps keep the guests in good spirits, and probably the staff too, since every one of them I encountered was very friendly and attentive. If only they could speed up the luau line that keeps guest scorching under the late afternoon sun for up to an hour.
- "Seamless check-in": on arrival, you can by-pass the front desk and go straight to your room (so long as you return to the front desk at some point with a credit card).
- Room service for breakfast and dinner
- No poolside drink service -- you'll have to walk up to the bar.
- "Elective housekeeping": this program gives guests a per-day dining credit at the hotel dinner restaurants if they call the desk one day ahead of time and forgo housekeeping.
- Nightly turndown service, by request
- Concierge services, including a separate pool concierge in charge of booking ocean activities
- Friendly and efficient porters
The Sheraton has a prized location atop Black Rock, Maui's famous landmark on Kaanapali Beach. Built both on and around the ancient lava formation, the hotel has itself become a landmark by association, since guests from neighboring hotels come to snorkel and swim around the lush reefs in front of the Sheraton, and to witness the nightly cliff-diving ceremony at Black Rock.
Kaanapali is centered around two golf courses and bookended by the massive Hyatt Regency to the south and the Sheraton to the north. Six hotels and a handful of condo rentals are squeezed cheek-to-cheek along four miles of uninterrupted beachfront; guests mingle on the sand, using the beaches (and even, at times, the pools and facilities) of neighboring properties. Kaanapali is less crowded north of Black Rock, where the lodging is mostly composed of small hotels and condo rentals, like the Royal Lahaina.
- Four miles of uninterrupted sand between Canoe Beach and Black Rock with mostly calm, swimmable surf (though water currents vary in strength)
- Paved beach walkway runs the entire length of the beach; it's often crowded, but a great place to meet locals.
- Next door to Whalers Village, an open-air shopping mall with beachfront restaurants, curio shops, upscale fashion boutiques, and its own free museum
- 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, an five-minute drive from the hotel.
- Free shuttle to the Westin Maui and to the historic town of Lahaina
- Free Kaanapali area shuttle
- Free self-parking
The hotel has a unique location on Kaanapali Beach. Since the resort was built on and around Black Rock, everyone staying at a resort on the four-mile stretch of beach is bound to end up here, whether it's for the excellent snorkeling or to witness the nightly cliff-diving ceremony. Turtles swim incredibly close to the shore, which is packed with both tourists and locals. It's a fun and festive atmosphere, but don't expect to have a private sunbathing experience.
- Located along Kaanapali's four miles of continuous, swimmable beach
- Beach is public (like all beaches in Hawaii), so even in front of the resorts, alcohol is prohibited.
- No lifeguards
- Wind and currents vary, but water sports from kayaking and snorkeling to windsurfing and beginner's surf lessons are possible along the beach.
- Excellent snorkeling at Black Rock, directly in front of the resort
- Beach rentals: cabana; gazebo; chairs; umbrellas -- chairs and umbrellas are free at the Westin Maui and the Hyatt Regency.
- Surf schools are about a 20-minute walk south.
Simple, stylish rooms, some with amazing ocean views
The Deluxe Oceanfront Room
Refurbished in early 2012, the rooms have a fresh look that's more "modern American" than "traditional Hawaiian" -- taupe carpets; paisley curtains; pastel watercolor paintings. Rooms are slightly larger at the similarly priced Westin Maui, but the amenities are about the same, and the Sheraton rooms also have a microwave. Also, it's worth upgrading to the Partial-Oceanview Rooms as the "Mountain View" Rooms could mean that your balcony opens out to a rockface just a few feet away.
- Simple, stylish and average-size rooms ranging from 320 to 420 square feet; Suites range from 665 to 1,600 square feet
- All rooms have private, tiled balconies; 80 percent of which have some sort of ocean view.
- Very comfortable Sweet Sleeper Bed: down duvet; down pillows; suede runner
- 32-inch flat-screen TV with premium cable, including HBO
- Internet access (both wired and Wi-Fi) included in the per day resort fee.
- Coffeemaker, microwave and mini-fridge in every room
- High quality, mandarin-and-mint scented soap, shampoo, conditioner from Bliss spa
- Two waffle-weave bathrobes
- Because the resort was built on Deluxe Oceanfront Room has the most incredible view in all of Kaanapali -- but it's also a long and confusing 15-minute walk away from the pool, beach, and lobby.
Lots of quality features, but nothing extraordinary
Like most Hawaii hotels, the Sheraton has a resort fee (in this case, $25 a day) that includes "free" use of in-room hard-wired Internet, Wi-Fi in lobby and at the pool bars, self-parking, local phone calls (on Maui), and daily resort activities like hula lessons or lei-making.
- 142-yard swimming pool, with a lazy river, short slides and a whirlpool -- just be sure to hang onto your towel cards, as the resort charges for a lost card.
- Beachside adult-only pool (18 and over); but it's so close to the main pool that it's hardly a relaxing retreat from the kids
- Boutique Spa has 10 treatment rooms including three private open-air rooms, manicure and pedicure stations, and a relaxation garden.
- Fitness center with modern cardio and weight machines, as well as lockers and showers plus twice-weekly yoga and Pilates classes ($10 per class)
- Three lighted tennis courts
- Gift shop with Hawaiian souvenirs, convenience items, and resort apparel
- 10 function rooms spread out over 12,000 square feet
- 5 Star Scuba offers free daily introductory scuba lessons as well as PADI and SDI certification courses. Rental equipment -- snorkel gear, undewater cameras, boogie boards, and rafts -- as well as guided scooter and night dives are also available.
- No business center, but there's free Wi-Fi in the lobby
- On-site Enterprise car rental office
Near two championship-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.
Fine choice for families, but better pools and on-site kids' clubs can be found elsewhere
Children run towards the luau line
- Narrow, shallow, lazy-river pool
- Free daily guest activities like lei-making
- Standard rooms available with two double beds; connecting rooms also available
- Free cribs, but rollaway beds are expensive
- Children under 12 eat free from kids' breakfast menu at Keka'a Terrace with paying adult -- a rare treat in Maui.
- Kids' Camp is held at nearby Westin Maui and includes Hawaiian crafts and cultural activities for ages five to 12; evening programs also available
- No game room
A Hawaiian legend commemorated every evening, and a bland luau three to four times each week
The Sheraton Maui Resort has a distinction no other resort in Maui can claim: it's situated on Puu Kekaa, known as Black Rock. Hawaiians once believed that anyone who jumped off the lava rock would enter the spirit world. Only King Kahekili supposedly made it back to the land of the living. To commemorate this legendary dive, every evening at sundown, a torch bearer dressed in a traditional loincloth runs through the resort grounds, culminating his run with a dramatic cliff dive at the tip of Black Rock.
The hotel also has a mediocre luau. For a better show in a more intimate setting, check out the Old Lahaina luau. Click here for more information.
Clean; last renovated in 2005
Average food, above-average prices
A hibachi chef at Teppan-yaki Dan
Food is expensive all over Maui, especially at hotels. A dinner entree costs $30 on average, and at the Sheraton, the high price doesn't translate to great food.
- Breakfast buffet with American morning staples, including an omelet station at Keka'a Terrace, an open-air dining room. A la carte breakfast menu is also available.
- Lunch is limited to poolside dining at the Lagoon Bar or the Sundowner Bar, both of which serve grilled sandwiches or midday cocktails.
- For dinner, Teppan-yaki Dan serves fresh and hearty hibachi-style meals.
- Black Rock Steak & Seafood takes over the space at Keka'a Terrace at night to serve, well, steak and seafood, including a Prime Rib Buffet.
- In-room dining, available only for breakfast and dinner
- For off-site dining, there are ample beachside restaurants along the oceanfront walkway.
Average food for above-average prices is not ideal, but the location is believed to be sacred and the packages are more affordable than at other Maui resorts.
One of several ceremony sites around the huge property
- Wedding Size: Up to 900 people; up to two weddings performed daily
- Wedding Packages: The Sheraton has two basic wedding packages: the Ka'anapali Sunset Package (just two people) and the Just Maui'd Package (25 guests). Both packages only cover the cost of a marriage license appointment, an officiant, a certificate, a bridal bouquet, a boutonniere, loose petals, a ceremony location fee, and the help of a wedding planner.
- Reception Locations: The Black Rock Lawn, the Coral Reef Room, and the Ali'i Suite
- Photographers and Videographers: Photo and video packages available; outside photographers and videographers permitted at no extra fee
- Music: A live band charges per hour, a DJ set lasts for three hours; outside musicians permitted at no extra fee
- Food: Buffets and plated dinners charged per person
- Drinks: An open bar available. Alternative options include a margarita or mojito bar or just ordering wine by the bottle.
- Cakes: Couples can mix and match flavors (yellow, chocolate, vanilla), frostings (butter cream, whipped cream, cream cheese, ganache, and fondant), and fillings (fruit crème, mousse, and custard).
- Flowers and Decorations: As the standard wedding packages don't offer much in the way of decorations, plan to spend a bit extra on flowers (reasonable rates, compared to other resorts in Maui).
- Spa Treatments: A full menu of treatments on-site, and hair styling and makeup services are available at the Sheraton's sister resort, the Westin Maui
- Freebies: If you spend a certain amout in food and drinks during the wedding, you receive a free room upgrade to an oceanfront suite, a free bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, and a free welcome reception (choice of beer, wine, or mai tai punch).
- Airport Transportation: The resort does not provide airport shuttle service; a one-way taxi averages $40.
Built on Black Rock, a sacred Hawaiian landmark and one of the best snorkeling sites on Maui, the 508-room Sheraton has all the qualities of a modern mega-resort -- clean rooms, big pool, full spa, quality gym -- but nothing that compares to the enormous pool complex at the Westin Maui. Still, for the price, it's a fine choice.
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Things You Should Know About Sheraton Maui Resort
- 2605 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761
Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As
- Lahaina Sheraton
- Maui Sheraton
- Sheraton Lahaina
- Sheraton Maui
- Sheraton Maui Hotel
- Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa
- Ali'i Suite
- Deluxe Oceanfront
- Deluxe Oceanfront Suite
- Deluxe Ocean View
- Garden View
- Junior Suite
- Luxury Suite
- Mountain View
- Ocean View
- Ohana (Family) Suite
- Partial Ocean View