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Many consider Kaanapali Beach to be the “hot spot” on Maui. The three-mile stretch of sand on the Hawaiian island’s west shore — originally a retreat for Maui royalty — was Hawaii’s first planned resort area and features several luxury hotels, a world-class shopping complex and two championship golf courses.
Just steps from the famous beach, the 12-acre, 770-room Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali is fresh off a $120 million transformation that includes the refreshed 217-room Hokupaa tower (named after the Hawaiian word for “the North Star”). The reimagination of the resort as an "oasis of well-being" included an enhanced emphasis on Native Hawaiian culture and a connection to nature with upgrades to the resort’s six pools and landscaping, a new wellness spa and guest programs that focus on the environment and sustainability.
"The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali should be at the top of every travel advisor's recommended list of Maui resorts," said Gregg Lundberg, general manager of the resort. "We just completed the final phase of our resort transformation, and the results are stunning. No detail was overlooked — from the private cabanas scattered across our sprawling pool playground to the superior culinary offerings at our four new restaurants to our well-appointed guestrooms and suites."
The newly renovated Hokupaa tower provides clients with a curated luxury experience and exclusive access to The Lanai at Hokupaa, which offers daily seasonal breakfasts, a private bar, inﬁnity-edge cocktail pools, nightly live music and unique cultural experiences such as Hawaiian language sessions, lei-making, star navigation classes and moolelo ("talk story") sessions.
"Our goal is to provide Hokupaa guests with unique and personalized service and amenities to make their stay with us a truly memorable one,” Lundberg said. “The Lanai is the grand finale of our two-year transformation, and we are thrilled to showcase this luxury experience … not found anywhere else on Maui.”
The star of the resort’s culinary transformation is undoubtedly Waicoco, an oceanfront restaurant from celebrated Hawaiian chef Chris Kajioka that’s named for the Hawaiian words for “water” and “coconut.” With an eye on Hawaii’s cultural diversity, Waicoco’s menu draws inspiration from Kajioka’s award-winning Honolulu restaurants, featuring his signature shared bites comprised of locally sourced ingredients with strong flavor profiles. When it opens in late December 2020, the restaurant will consist of The Dining Room for indoor dining, Trades for casual poolside meals and The Deck, an open-air space with views of the Pacific Ocean and three islands.
"A beautiful meal starts with amazing ingredients,” Lundberg said. “We’ve been able to source the best from the waters of the Pacific and the fertile farmlands of the Valley Isle. Chef Kajioka wanted the restaurant to have a distinct sense of place, and he successfully captured that feeling in his menu and the ambiance."
In addition to Waicoco, clients can dine at Mahele Market, a breakfast and lunch spot featuring “Maui-only” favorites; Hale A, a poolside bar serving artisanal cocktails and bites on the new adults-only pool deck; and Hale Moolelo, an outdoor restaurant inspired by the art of storytelling, represented by seven handcrafted cocktails that each pays tribute to a story about Maui. Each evening, guests are invited to a “chase the sunset” end-of-day experience at Hale Moolelo that includes the blowing of conch shells followed by the opportunity to toast the setting sun and reflect on the day.
Another end-of-day experience is the cliff-diving ceremony at Kaanapali Beach’s northernmost cliffs, known as Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock. At sunset, a diver lights torches along the cliffs and then dives off Black Rock into the ocean, reenacting a feat by Maui’s King Kahekili.
The DetailsWestin Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapaliwww.marriott.com