Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort Rating: 4.5 Pearls
An extraordinarily elaborate pool complex -- a veritable water park, in fact, with four waterslides, whitewater rapids, caves, a lazy-river pool, rope swings, and a "water elevator" inside a man-made volcano -- puts the Grand Wailea in a class by itself when it comes to keeping the kids stimulated. Add in the 20,000-square-foot kids' camp, complete with video arcade, Playstation room, and a small movie theater, and the only open question is whether your family will agree to return to ordinary life.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort And Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Hyatt Regency has it all. With a rope bridge, waterfalls, 150-foot waterslide, and separate children's area, the massive pool complex rivals the Grand Wailea's impressive water park. The large standard rooms can easily accommodate a family of four. There's no kid's club per se, but somewhat pricey supervised activities run throughout the day. Plus, kids will love the flamingos, parrots, and penquins on the grounds. This kid-friendly paradise is nipping at the Grand Wailea's heels -- and rates are lower.
Four Seasons Maui Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Yes, the Four Seasons Maui is one of the priciest resorts on the island -- not surprising for a hotel that tops our list of Maui's best luxury properties. But the hotel deserves credit for throwing a free kids' club into the deal; most resorts, even some of the most expensive ones, charge a hefty daily fee to keep kids entertained while their parents enjoy some rest and relaxation. And the family pool, though not as elaborate as the Grand Wailea's, features a small waterslide, a waterfall, and a shallow area where the smallest kids can splash safely. Also worth noting: The resort's large standard rooms can easily sleep four; and kids under six eat free at two of the on-site restaurants.
The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Rating: 4.5 Pearls
A new kids' club and several pools -- including a long, twisting waterslide that runs between two of them, plus a separate shallow pool for small children -- would together make the Fairmont a strong contender in this category. And the suite-style standard rooms, ranging from 840 to 1,000 square feet, allow the grown-ups to stay up after the kids go to sleep.
The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Westin Ka'anapali's condo-style units, which come equipped with full-size refrigerators, microwaves, stovetops, diswashers, and sinks, are a good choice if you're traveling to Maui with a large brood and want to save money by preparing your own meals. The pools feature a waterslide, a pirate ship, and a basketball hoop; the resort sits directly on an uncrowded stretch of North Kaanapali Beach; kids under 12 eat free at some of the on-site restaurants; and the kids' club, for five- to 12-year-olds, is reasonably priced.
The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Families who prefer hiking and snorkeling to water parks and video-game centers will appreciate the Ritz-Carlton's low-key vibe and focus on the outdoors. The Ambassadors Center leads environmental education programs for kids; Koi-fish feeding and snorkeling lessons are free; and the remote, scenic location is minutes from a milelong, white-sand beach. (One caveat: Rough surf at the beach isn't ideal for small kids.)