Planning for a Maui Vacation
Planning for a vacation can be overwhelming. It takes time, planning and research to decide where you want to go, what type of accommodations you want, and what activities you'll do while there. You can plan a trip on your own or with an agent or utilize Costco Travel (discounted rates).
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You can also incorporate pre-planning into the week before your trip by booking tickets or making reservations at restaurants before leaving home so that once you arrive, all you have to do is enjoy yourself!
I researched and planned and research and planned but when it comes down to it the island has it's own timeline and you'll end up having to go with the flow so be prepared to stay relaxed and chill. For example, while we were there the road got shut down for 5 hours so we went to the beach, cancelled our reservations and got dinner at a small restaurant to make the best of being stuck and it turned out to be one of the best days.
Why did we choose The Ritz Carlton, Maui?!
We wanted to be able to soak in the beauty of the ocean while still giving our children plenty of space and privacy. The Ritz has a separate pool area that's very quiet, which was perfect for our family!
The hotel also has an outstanding reputation (and ratings), so we knew we were going to get high quality service and accommodations.
We ended up choosing The Ritz Carlton Kapalua, Maui for our vacation because we wanted a suite that had a private room from the kids. We looked at booking 2 rooms (but we could get no guarantee they would be connected from any hotel or resort) and a lot of the AirBnB's that had these options weren't available for when we wanted to go so we settled on The Ritz.
Our Impressions, of The Ritz: Good and Bad
We had a great time at the Ritz, but it's not without its faults. Here are some of our impressions:
This was our first time staying at a Ritz Resort.
The good: The things that impressed us were the staff (always friendly and helpful – I kept lots of cash on me to tip!), the valet service; it was nice to just have our rental car taken care of, they also would offer cold water and beach towels when you left and take them back when you arrived. I loved this!
Upon check-in we were greeted warmly, given Hawaiian kukui nut leis (kids got puka shell necklaces), a cold Hawaiian refreshment, information on the events the hotel hosted (while we were there things like – origami class, hula lessons, sunrise yoga, etc.). My son announced it was his first visit to Hawaii and the staff brought him a cute Ritz Kids gift that had bubbles and a tropical fish in it – he was thrilled.
Our room was nice but older, it was a suite with a full kitchenette which was nice since we stayed over a week. So we had a mini fridge, microwave, sink, dishwasher, counter and Nespresso coffee maker – which they also provided coffee pods, creamer and sugar for, which was much needed with the time change (it was a 4 hour difference for us).
The downside was that our room was near an elevator and we didn't realize till the next night how noisy that would be – we could hear it going up and down the shaft alllll night long and this was hard on my anxiety (repetitive noise is a trigger for me). With the A/C on it helped drown out the noise. But it did not help being a neuro-sensory family (our son has sensory processing disorder and autism) having that on-going noise during our vacation.
They were doing construction on the back of the hotel, I wish I had known this – it did obstruct some views and create some noise but it wasn't overly obnoxious.
What room did we stay in?
We were in a garden suite but we still had a view of the ocean. They did offer to upgrade us to an “ocean” view for an additional $300 night ($1800 for the trip) but I declined wanting to spend that on eating out and excursions.
The suite was spacious and comfortable, with plenty of room for our family (four people) to spread out and relax. When we wanted to be together as a family unit, we could all sit around the kitchenette counter for meals or games—or eat on the balcony!
Since they knew it was our anniversary trip; we did arrive to a bucket of ice cold Champagne, card and dessert – which was very thoughtful.
What we loved about our Maui Vacation
Our room was great and we had an amazing view of the ocean. The staff was incredible! They were so attentive and helpful from check-in to check-out. The location of this property is perfect.
I did like that it's near a beach you can walk to! They also have Beach Hut Concierge where you can get towels for the beach and drop them off (for rental fee you can also get chairs / umbrellas). I wish the beach had been private for just the resort guests but it is public so it does get busy. It's a great beach for boogie boarding and body surfing – it does have large breaks and can get windy so be prepared (we lost some beach toys to the wind).
There are 4 pools, 1 adult pool that children are not allowed in, 2 pools for everyone and a small kids wading play area, also 2 hot tubs – but one was closed down for repair so only 1 was open and usually busy. There is also a pool concierge where you can get towels for the pool, you can also buy pool toys etc but I'd bring your own – they don't have a large selection. You can also get pool side service for food / drinks (limited hours) and for an additional cost rent a cabana.
What about the weather?
It rains on and off on the island all the time – don't worry about it because it will usually stop within a few mins and rainbows will appear. You don't need to leave the beach, hike, or pool. Just enjoy the tropics.
Even on the rainy days, we saw many rainbows after the storms which made up for it. The sun especially liked to come out during our hikes. We were there in July and it wasn't too hot or humid at all for me (I'm from CA, AZ and ID – so I've lived in dry heat and humidity). I would recommend wearing sunscreen even when it's cloudy because you never know when that sun will show up again!
You'll also want to be prepared with water-proof shoes if you plan on doing any hiking; there are plenty of trails around Maui that offer beautiful views from high altitudes overlooking the ocean below.
Dining Options In The Hotel
We did have dinner at their Alaloa Lounge inside the Ritz the prices were what you'd expect (for example; $22 for a cocktail), the food wasn't impressive though the sushi was the highlight and fresh, the staff was great, albeit slow to get our food – most of Maui is this way just a chill pace so don't get worked up that things take time.
We also had breakfast at Ulana, their buffet. I am not a fan of buffets but it was a convenience to have it in the hotel. It was $46 per adult and I think kids were $32-26 range, I can't remember – but my kids do not each much and I've had surgery on my stomach so I can only eat 1-3 oz at a time. I chose not to eat because I was not paying $46 for 1 oz of food. The food was what you would expect at a buffet, was it amazing? No. Was it fine and convenient ? Yes.
They did have options you could order and have brought to your table since COVID; certain items like: eggs, bacon, fruit and pastries you could still get up and pick up at the buffet line.
We also got breakfast one morning in the Ritz coffee shop; Kai Cafe which has coffee and on-the-go items like fruit cups, granola, cinnamon rolls etc. The coffee was piping hot and good – but a better option is the Honolua Store just a block down the road (walking distance) where they have an Island Gourmet Coffee Shop inside, better pricing but a long line.
Lots of locals were lined up to get their coffee drinks, smoothies, boba tea etc. at the Honolula Store because it is so delicious.
Overall would I stay there again for another Maui Vacation?
Was it as luxurious as I hoped and expected ? No.
Would I stay again ? For the price. Again, No.
Did we still love Maui and will be back? Yes!
Our answer is no. We really enjoyed our stay overall but we would not stay at the Ritz Carlton, Maui again. The weather was great and we had a great time but there were a few things that bothered us that made this trip feel like it could have been better.
The hotel was beautiful albeit older and the staff was very friendly but I think all of this goes without saying when you are staying at a luxury resort for thousands of dollars per night.
Want more about our Maui Vacation? All the amazing restaurant, beaches and excursions we explored? Let us know in the comments.
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