Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Renovated condo property
Outrigger Aina Nalu's 134 refreshed condos are priced a hefty notch lower than many to the North in Kaanapali, but the property has fewer amenities. This is a solid home base for travelers who plan to do lots of off-resort activities. The semi-open-air lobby looks fully Hawaiian with a rattan ceiling, whirring ceiling fans, and fresh orchids displayed under a large hanging lamp. Wooden furniture and an activities desk provide a comfortable spot to check in, but most guests hang out in their condos or by the pool. Tropical grounds are well-maintained. Red and white painted bridges lead to condos and two outdoor pools. Thick patches of greenery and tall palm trees add to the ambience, as do straw-thatched cabanas by the pool. This property draws a mix of families and couples, though there's nothing specific for kids to do other than swim. Past guests have complained that the pool gets noisy with little ones.
In Lahaina, a historic whaling town now filled with bars, restaurants, and Maui's best nightlife (but no beaches)
The Aina Nalu Resort is just outside downtown Lahaina, a bustling whaling port during the mid-19th century and former capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Today, this touristy seaside town is home to some of Maui's best shopping, dining, and nightlife. Chain restaurants like Bubba Gump and Hard Rock Cafe coexist with local establishments, like scrimshaw sellers and shave-ice shops, and art gallery exhibits pay tribute to Lahaina's past as the whaling capital of the Pacific. In the center of it all is a huge, banyan tree that arches over an entire city block.
Front Street is the main drag of Lahaina. This half-mile-long stretch is packed with everything a tourist could need, from activity desks to souvenir shops and fresh island cuisine. Well-preserved, 18th-century buildings give it a historic feel -- most of the town has been designated a National Historic Landmark -- and its many attractions, retail stores, and excellent restaurants make it a convenient and entertaining stop for Maui visitors.
The nearest beaches are five to 10 minutes away.
Lahaina isn't about beaches. It's a former whaling village fronted by a large harbor and filled with shops, restaurants, and Maui's best nightlife. Some surf schools run lessons out of the harbor, but the nearest swimmable beaches are five to 10 minutes away. In general, the water around Lahaina is good for surfing, but the beaches are narrow and hard to reach from the roads. Launiupoko Park is the most swimmable, and busiest, beach along the highway south of Lahaina.
Condos with tropical decor and (most) full kitchens
As Maui condo rentals go, these are in great condition and consistent decor means no surprises. Floral-printed bedspreads, rattan furniture, and palm leaf-shaped ceiling fans give the rooms a tropical vibe. Studios don't have full kitchens, but they do have a microwave and small fridge. One- and two-bedroom condos come with dishwashers, microwaves, stoves, ovens, and dishware. Air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and ceiling fans are standard, but none of the units have Wi-Fi. Contemporary bathrooms include tile floors, clean showers, and single sinks. A black-and-white photograph of a luau dancer hangs on the wall above the toilet and there's a small closet for hanging clothes built next to the sink. Second story condos have balconies furnished with plastic chairs. Some units include a stacked washer and dryer.
The layout and views can range wildly. Past guests have complained about views of the parking lot and noise from the street in supposed "garden-facing" units. Expect to pay an optional extra fee for linens and a mandatory cleaning fee.
Two pools and a lounge area
The Aina Nalu's features are about as minimal as they come. It has two outdoor pools and a whirlpool, which is more than the few other Lahaina hotels can say, but otherwise there's just an activities desk, a lounge area, and free Wi-Fi in the public spaces. The good news is that the pool area is far more relaxing than at one of Maui's giant resorts -- there's no battle for lounge chairs, no crowds at the towel stand, and no constant noise. Though the pools are small compared to Maui full-service resorts, they're fairly standard, or better, than at similar condo properties. There's discounted access to a nearby Internet cafe and fitness center.
The Outrigger Aina Nalu is a mid-range condo property in the bustling, touristy town of Lahaina. Renovated units range from studios to two-bedroom condos. Though layout, views, and amenities vary widely, contemporary tropical decor and updated appliances are standard. Most units have full kitchens and laundry facilities, making them a good choice for guests who want to self cater. Hotel amenities and services are offered at a bare minimum and the beach is a five-minute drive away. Two outdoor pools are a nice touch. Rates are low for Maui, but fees for parking, cleaning, and linens add up. Compare rates at Marriott Maui Resort and Ocean Club for beach access, an interactive kids' pool, and dining options.