The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
What We Love
- Free cool towels, cucumber eye masks and lavender spritzers poolside
- Family-friendly movies (and free popcorn) screened poolside during the summer
- Environmental activities led by trained naturalists and a cultural adviser who instructs in Hawaiian traditions
- Multilevel pools and hot tubs open 24 hours
What To Know
- Kahului Airport is a 45-minute drive away; the Kapalua airport, which handles inter-island flights only, is five minutes away
- Self-parking is $10 per day; valet parking is $18 per day
- Daily $25 resort fee includes local calls and WiFi access
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Located on a hill above D.T. Fleming Beach, which many locals deem the island’s best, is this posh resort, which was completely renovated in 2008 to the tune of $180 million. Gone are the chintzy curtains, the library fireplace and the faux-European ambience. These days the resort offers a true island sense of place, with airy rooms and public spaces that take design cues from the colors of the ocean, beach, mountains and rain forest that surround it. There’s also a new 10,000-square-foot three-tier pool, a humongous spa and a partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program offering such activities as hiking, nature photography, snorkeling and whale watching to all guests.
Bed and Bath
Guestrooms feature dark Brazilian wood floors covered with kukui tree–patterned rugs, and elegant beds and chaises positioned near floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Rooms open onto wrought iron lanais that afford views of the ocean or resort grounds. On the sand-colored walls hang Hawaiian-inspired artworks, while flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations sit on elegant armoires and side tables. Bathrooms are clad in marble and outfitted with luxurious bath products, piles of plush towels and terry bathrobes.
With six bars and restaurants, guests never go hungry (or thirsty) at this resort. Serving sandwiches and salads, the Beach House is the most casual, while Alaloa Lounge, with its striking black lava stone wall, serves delicious cocktails and small plates. The Terrace restaurant offers a menu that highlights the island’s local produce and seafood; think quinoa and roasted kula beets or Kona seafood paella. The 17,500-square-foot Waihua Spa features saunas, a whirlpool with lava stone walls, a fitness center and 15 spacious treatment rooms. Children are taken care of with free arts and crafts, beach activities and environmental learning programs.
In the Area
Join the resort’s chef for Ai Pono (Eat Well), a free tour of the garden, to learn to cultivate herbs and spices and incorporate them into healthy cooking. Rent a car or book a guided tour along the legendary Road to Hana, where guests wend their way through some of the island’s most beautiful scenery, including emerald rain forests and gushing waterfalls, past roadside vendors selling tasty banana bread. Take a helicopter tour for a bird’s-eye view of the amazing Haleakala Crater as well as the island’s tallest waterfalls and gorgeous cliffs. Back at the resort, sign up for a snorkeling and underwater photography adventure offered at Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Education Center.
How to Get There
We stayed at the Ritz for 3 nights, following our 4 night stay at the Fairmont for our babymoon. The attention we received at the Ritz was far superior than at the Fairmont. Although the rooms were not suites like at the Fairmont, they were still very comfortable and lovely. The all you can eat buffet is absolutely delicious- my favorite was the omelet stand and the homemade donuts! A special thanks to Thomas Hussey at the concierges desk who helped us plan all of our excursions. We explained to him exactly what we were looking for because the lady at the Fairmont concierges was of no help. We loved the Luau and sunset cruise he recommended for us. He even went into great detail with directions, parking, etc etc, something the Fairmont obviously could not do for us. Thank you Ritz and we cannot wait to be back!
I think part of the reason you stay at pricey properties is for nice rooms and a ‘personal touch’ type of service. We celebrated our honeymoon here as platinum SPG/Marriott loyalists and while they did eventually do something nice to acknowledge it, every staff member we interacted with from check-in to departure was generally unenthusiastic. The rooms are lovely, beautifully decorated with HUGE TVs, I could barely peel my husband away :). The valet guys are also extremely prompt which we appreciated. Maui is definitely a driving island and while the proximity to Lahaina is good, Kapalua is rly far from tourist activities such as the starting point of the drive to Hana. The resort just feels extremely remote, empty and commercial, I wouldn’t recommend it for the price. For comparison, I’ve stayed at the Hyatt Regency on Maui which is one less star but recall getting much more personal service and ample entertainment onsite.
We visited the Ritz Carlton Kapalua from Nov 30 to Dec 7 and stayed in an Oceanfront Suite One Bedroom.
The Good: The hotel itself is beautiful and well-maintained. We spent a lot of time poolside and found it very comfortable and clean. The views from the hotel restaurants were gorgeous and overall the property is spectacular. Our oceanfront suite had a large lanai overlooking Makaluapuna Point and DT Fleming beach, which was a great place to watch the sunrise and sunset.
By far, the best part of the stay was the staff at the hotel. Every person we encountered was so friendly and helpful, we could not ask for better service. If you are planning activities on your trip, take advantage of the wonderful concierge staff -- Sara and Jules helped me plan an amazing trip and gave me some great tips on where to eat and what to do. The poolside attendants were also a big highlight of the stay -- we always had all the drinks and snacks we wanted.
The Bad: The beds were so uncomfortable that we hated going to sleep at night! The mattress was extremely hard and the pillows were extra flat. No love for side sleepers at the Ritz. The other disappointment was the food. We visited the breakfast buffet several times because it was convenient, but the food was always cold, even in the chafing dishes or under the heat lamps. Room service food was also a bust. (The food exception was dinner at Hook & Knife, which was excellent.) Not a huge deal for us, but something to consider, the beach near this hotel is a long walk down a steep path, and not very popular. There is a shuttle available, but we didn’t see much activity there.
I’m not sure if we’d stay here again because sleeping comfort is a huge part of hotel selection for us. Also, paying $42 per person for a buffet only to get cold scrambled eggs and waffles is not a great start to a day. I really wish that was not the case, because otherwise, everything was perfect.
TIPS: We didn’t realize this until the end of our stay, but the nearby Honolua Store had literally all the supplies we needed, from groceries to toiletries to souvenirs. Definitely check them out if you stay at the Kapalua Resort. There’s also a shuttle that will take you to any part of the resort for free. Ask for it at the valet.
This Ritz is extremely mediocre in my opinion...having stayed at other Ritz Carlton in San Francisco and OUS..this property is extremely dated.
First being platinum elite here doesn’t get you anything...no breakfast or any perks../we didn’t even get passes to the club lounge.
Valet parking which is mandatory is $30 a night...I mean it’s a bit ridiculous not to have that included at the property. They nickel and dime you for everything at this property...frankly the rooms are old and there are many other newer properties in Maui that are better to stay at..
Lastly, the staff is a bit snooty and rude here and doesn’t go above and beyond..
Overall our experience at the St. Regis in Kauai and the Westin Hapuna on the Big Island was significantly better...
My wife, brother and his fiancé stayed at the Kapalua property during a work trip, and let’s just say I was glad to have something else taking up my daytime hours. First off I never expect much from resorts in regards to status benefits, but here they might as well not exist at all even as a Platinum Premiere. They had oversold the club rooms and “upgraded” us to a room on a different level but couldn’t give us passes to the club. That room had a nice partial ocean view but felt out dated like the property itself, and quite inconvenient to anything you wanted to walk to.
The pool was nothing to write home about nor were the restaurants anything to remember. After the first two nights we ended up venturing outside of the hotel for dinner down the road. Overall this Ritz property just did not live up to expectations from other Ritz resorts we have visited in the past and was more relegated to the “large Hawaiian albatross hotel” status we’ve come to avoid.