No kids' club (although kid-oriented amenities are on hand)
Daily charge for parking
The mid-range Royal Lahaina Resort is a solid bang-for-your-buck pick on Kaanapali Beach. With 350 rooms, two pools, a nightly luau, 11 tennis courts, an open-air restaurant, a tiny spa, and a modern fitness center, this property has many of the same amenities as its pricier neighbors. Plus, it offers free Wi-Fi and doesn’t charge a daily resort fee. The hotel shows some signs of age, but its rooms have been nicely refreshed and feature tasteful Hawaiian inspired decor. Travelers should note that entry-level rooms are located in the not-so-nice Kaanapali Ocean Inn next door. Those looking for something a bit more upscale may prefer the Sheraton Maui Resort, which has better amenities but is pricier.
A slightly dated mid-range resort that attracts all kinds of travelers
The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” certainly applies to the Royal Lahaina Resort. Its 1960s high-rise exteriors impart a somewhat underwhelming first impression. But once inside, public spaces show a bit more polish. The open-air lobby feels authentically Hawaiian, with carved koa-wood tables and handsome rattan furniture -- even if the stone-covered feature walls and dark-wood paneling reads a bit "Brady Bunch." This space is always buzzing with activity, and long lines tend to form around check-in and check-out times. But naturally the real gathering points for the resort are the pools and the beach -- one of Maui's top sandy spots. Royal Lahaina guests run the gamut, from families with kids, to honeymooners, to bachelorette parties, to retirees, and all seem equally at home here.
Directly on Kaanapali Beach, walking distance to other hotels and restaurants via a beach path
The Royal Lahaina is located directly on Kaanapali Beach, one of Maui’s best and most visited beaches. The hotel offers direct access to the sand, and it's connected to nearby hotels and restaurants via the Kaanapali Beach Path. The Royal Lahaina is about a 15-minute walk (or three-minute drive) from Whaler’s Village, an outdoor shopping and dining complex. It’s also a 10-minute drive from Lahaina, Maui’s largest “city,” with lots of great shops, bars, and restaurants. Kahului Airport is a 45-minute drive -- though times can vary during rush hour.
A variety of room categories, with updated Hawaiian inspired decor
There are a multitude of room types at the Royal Lahaina, but there are three major distinctions -- Kaanapali Ocean Inn Rooms, Tower Rooms, and Cottages. Though it isn’t clearly advertised on the Royal Lahaina’s website, the hotel’s cheapest, entry-level rooms are located at the Kaanapali Ocean Inn -- a budget hotel that shares the Royal Lahaina’s property. Guests who stay at the Kaanapali Ocean Inn are entitled to all of the amenities and services at the Royal Lahaina, but rooms here are smaller and not as nice as Tower Rooms or Cottages. During our visit, we watched plenty of guests check-in and disappointedly discover that the rooms they booked were actually located at the Kaanapali Ocean Inn.
The Lahaina Kai Tower is the resort’s main tower, and houses the majority of its rooms. Though the tower was built in the 1960s, rooms have been nicely refreshed, and feature decent amenities, like flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, mini-fridges, and electronic safes. Decor can be described as "Hawaiian traditional," with carved dark wood furniture, plantation-style sliding doors, and black-and-white photographs of outrigger canoes. Beds are dressed with white linens, but hibiscus-print pillows and bed runners add personality. Bathrooms are tight on space, but feature honed-marble counters, glass-enclosed shower stalls, and locally made toiletries. Guests should note that most tower rooms do not have bathtubs. All do have outdoor balconies, many with partial or full ocean views.
Next to the Lahaina Kai Tower there are several two-story buildings known as cottages. The cottages range from standard hotel-style rooms to larger units with full kitchens. In our opinion, the cottages aren’t as nicely decorated as the tower rooms (they’re a bit generic), but they’re a more economical option for travelers who plan to cook most of their meals. Oddly, the hotel’s two-bedroom beach cottage doesn’t have a full kitchen, but its decor is more upscale. The Royal Beach House is the hotel’s premier suite. It features sleek, modern decor and has a full kitchen, separate living space, two bedrooms and bathrooms, and a private backyard with a plunge pool and direct beach access. Bathrooms, however, are slightly dated, and disappointing for a villa in this price range.
The Royal Lahaina has tons of on-site features, and unlike many of its neighbors, it doesn’t charge a resort fee. The hotel’s most noteworthy amenity is its on-site luau, the Myths of Maui. The luau is one of the best and longest running on the island. With capacity for up to 500, the Myths of Maui is a grand show, with a buffet dinner and traditional dances from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and New Zealand. The luau takes place nightly, but advanced reservations are strongly recommended.
Kaanapali Beach, one of Maui’s most famous stretches of sand, is located directly in front of the hotel. Kaanapali Beach is known for its soft sand, calm blue water, and stunning views of neighboring islands Molokai and Lanai. Kaanapali Beach has a reputation for being narrow in some areas, but the Royal Lahaina has an excellent location in front of a particularly wide part of the beach. Like all beaches in Hawaii, Kaanapali is open to the public, so guests will see a mix of tourists and locals.
The Royal Lahaina has two oceanfront pools. Neither is jaw-droppingly spectacular, but both draw large crowds throughout the day. The main pool is located in front of the hotel’s restaurant, and serves as a property hub. The main pool is usually crowded with families and couples, and has an upbeat (though not rowdy) atmosphere throughout the day. The cottage pool is located in front of the resort’s cottages. It’s somewhat smaller than the main pool, but draws crowds thanks to its adjacent pool bar. Between the two pools there are two hot tubs and a shuffleboard court.
In terms of dining, the Royal Lahaina’s only restaurant, the Royal Ocean Terrace, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. The restaurant is large, has its own bar, and a beautiful outdoor terrace, but it could benefit from a few upgrades -- the interior’s rattan-paneled walls and tiki heads are a little tacky. However, the humdrum decor doesn’t seem to stop people from hanging out around the bar, which airs mainland sporting events and offers solid happy-hour specials. The food at the Royal Ocean Terrace isn’t anything remarkable, and it’s overpriced for the quality offered, so guests are probably better off heading elsewhere for memorable dining. For quick snacks and drinks, the hotel also has a coffee shop/ice cream parlor. Rooms service is also on hand.
The property also has a small spa and a modern fitness center. The spa holds a few nice massage rooms, including a room for couples, but there’s no sauna, steam room, or hydrotherapy pools. The fitness center features modern Precor cardio and weight machines, and has a separate room for warm-ups and stretching. Guests who’d prefer to get their exercise in the fresh air can take advantage of the hotel’s 11 tennis courts -- five of which have lights for nighttime play. There's also championship golf courses by the property, though they're independently owned.
It's worth noting that there's no kids' club on the property, but some kid-friendly activities (like lei-making) do take place, and staff can provide babysitting referrals. Wi-Fi is free, but there is a daily charge for parking.
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