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Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach is a sublime study in contrasts.
It’s family-friendly with generously sized suites, but quiet enough for couples craving a romantic vacation. It presents the convenience of condominium living with all the expected perks of a hotel. It’s set in the middle of the three-mile destination resort of Kaanapali, yet it feels like a private estate.
This yin and yang approach to Hawaiian hospitality makes the 359-room Whaler a surprise hit with clients who are under the misconception that Kaanapali only has big, busy hotels, according to Terry Dowsett, general manager for the hotel.
“The Whaler offers guests the chance to be in the heart of the action of Kaanapali, with incredible beachfront access, while providing a more intimate oasis of tranquility compared to the more crowded resorts in the area,” Dowsett said.
Arriving guests immediately sense the personal nature of this northwest Maui retreat as porters and valet employees greet them like old friends. Check-in takes place in the recently renovated lobby, where an open-air design gives way to cool tradewinds and ocean views.
“Some of our staff have been here for more than 25 years,” Dowsett said. “They enjoy sharing aloha with new visitors and with our many guests who return annually.”
Once in their accommodations, clients are welcomed with a fresh Maui pineapple, cut into juicy chunks and ready to eat.
In its two 12-story guestroom towers, The Whaler’s studios and one- and two-bedroom units offer plenty of living space, with amenities appealing to families as well as friends traveling together. All accommodations feature full kitchens, flat-screen televisions with DVR, DVD players, private balconies and daily housekeeping, with free washer-dryers on each floor.
When clients walk out of their tower, they find themselves in peaceful public areas landscaped with gardens and koi ponds. The property’s low-key pool and hot tub hug the beachwalk, as does a kiosk where guests can borrow beach towels, grab some complimentary iced tea and water, rent snorkel gear and buy reef-safe sunscreen.
While technically a condominium, The Whaler regales clients with loads of hotel-style extras. An on-site photographer stands at the ready to capture vacation memories. Concierge staff skillfully arrange water activities such as snorkel sails, sunset cruises and winter whale-watching tours, all launching from the beach by the resort. Newly revamped facilities include a spa with three treatment rooms and a fitness center with a range of both equipment and machines. Guests relax with yoga on the lawn three mornings per week, and kids lend a hand with daily koi feedings.
For off-property activities, The Whaler’s prime location aims to please. Right next door awaits Whalers Village, Kaanapali’s vibrant retail and restaurant hub. Kaanapali’s golf clubhouse is a two-minute drive away. A regularly scheduled shuttle runs between Kaanapali and nearby Lahaina town, which offers shops, eateries, tours and history.
With such a wide array of offerings, it makes sense that The Whaler hooks first-time guests and lures them back in the future.
“We want guests to think about their stay long after they leave, and we hope they return frequently,” Dowsett said. “The Whaler is meant to be a home away from home.”
The DetailsAston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beachwww.whalerkaanapali.com