The Hyatt Regency Maui is one of two Hyatt properties on Maui — the Andaz Maui at Wailea opened a few years ago. But I’ve always had a soft spot for the Hyatt. My family visited Maui several times while I was growing up, staying in the Ka’anapali area where the Hyatt is located. I first reviewed it after taking Megan there for my proposal (and her first trip to Maui).
However, this is my first review of a suite. We were lucky to make a second trip two years ago and stayed in one before their recent renovation; I actually liked the older rooms quite a lot. The rattan furniture felt very kitschy, which is my favorite kind of Hawaii. But the newer rooms are definitely more comfortable, and I’m glad to say that all the construction at the next door Hyatt Vacation Club is finally complete. I’ll post some pictures of that on the blog tomorrow.
I also recommend going back to that first review for an overview of the entire property and the standard rooms. While the suites have all been renovated, renovation of the rest of the hotel is a work in progress.
Booking a Stay
The Hyatt Regency is a relatively good value on Maui as the resorts in Ka’anapali are cheaper than most of those in Wailea or Kapalua. I can usually find a rate for around $250 a night — compared to $600+ at the Andaz — and it’s not too difficult to apply a Diamond Suite Upgrade if you have elite status with Hyatt. To find suite upgrade availability, just look for the “Napili Suite.” Two of these are located on each floor at the end of the Napili Tower and are about as close as you can get to the ocean at this hotel.
More good news if you want to book an award stay: Last year the hotel went down from Category 6 to Category 5, so you can now book a night for only 20,000 points or a combination of $125 and 10,000 points. Remember that Points + Cash awards can still be upgraded.
We pulled up to the hotel about an hour after landing, and I immediately noticed some changes. One of my favorite features before the new vacation club was the long driveway shaded by huge monkeypod trees. Now several have been removed, and the entrance to the vacation club abuts the drive, diluting the scenery.
But once inside the hotel things improved immediately. The desk clerk asked us about our journey and offered some water and leis before asking us about our familiarity with the property. We knew it pretty well, but they did have new amenities for Diamond members, similar to those that are provided at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki.
- $10 discount on nightly resort fee.
- Regency Club access (decent breakfast spread with pastries, fruit, yogurt, and daily egg dish).
- Complimentary spa upgrade if you purchase a 50-minute massage.
- Prioritized valet service (I didn’t notice).
- 20% discount on general admission at Drums of the Pacific Luau (I prefer the premium seats).
- Complimentary Ka’anapali Pie at Japengo with purchase of an entree.
- $5 discount on Tour of the Stars rooftop astronomy program.
- $50 discount on 60-minute Maui helicopter tour.
- Complimentary rental clubs at the golf course and rental racquet at the tennis center.
- 20% discount on equipment rentals at the beach activities center.
- Happy hour pricing ALL DAY at the Umalu pool bar.
That last one was clearly important to me! As for the helicopter tour, I think we probably got a cheaper deal through Costco, but if you charter the entire helicopter they can arrange for pickup at the hotel.
One drawback of booking a suite is that they are, as I said, about as close to the beach as you can get. The reception desk is not close to the beach. I think it’s worth it, but try to plan ahead so you aren’t making lots of trips back to the room. (If it helps, there is an emergency stairwell right next to the suites. But it’s a one-way to the beach.)
In any case, we were very pleased by the appearance of the new room as we walked in. Everything was the same, but different. A new sofa, media stand, chair, and table were arranged on a stone floor. Some brightly colored pillows added some cheer to the room, and there was a whole collection of information on the resort and nearby activities.
Megan and I like to wake up early each morning when in Hawaii so we can watch the sunrise over a cup of coffee. I was glad to see a well-stocked Keurig machine. It definitely made a better brew than some of the in-room coffee I’d had before.
The bedroom is separated by a sliding door and has a series of hooks on the other side that are convenient for hanging towels or a damp bathing suit. Opposite the door is a second balcony, though it doesn’t have enough room for chairs. The closet and television face the bed, as does the door to the bathroom.
One of my favorite features of the renovated bedroom was the power outlets on each side. They’re above the nightstands but still camouflaged so they don’t stand out too much. It made it much easier to recharge our phones at night while keeping them close by to use as an alarm clock or to read.
I always left the windows open at night to listen to the surf. Just remember to turn off the A/C. 😉
These suites have only one bathroom, and you should be aware that there is only a frosted glass partition between the toilet and sink. That might not be enough privacy for some couples. However, the door to the entire bathroom does close. The new floor-to-ceiling tiles are less controversial.
I loved the big walk-in shower (efficient!), while Megan enjoyed the separate tub (relaxing!). We both liked that the hotel still had its old bath amenities, branded with the old “Spa Moana” name even though it’s being rebranded as part of the Marilyn Monroe chain. Megan always takes them home, and the coconut reminds us of Hawaii long after we’ve left.
There are only two major warnings I have about staying at the Hyatt Regency. Some people might classify them as “complaints.” I say they’re warnings as I think these problems can be easily avoided if you’re aware of them in advance.
First, don’t self-park. The lot is a 5-10 minute walk, parking spaces are narrow, and the rental cars most people have (convertibles, SUVs, and minivans) are not small vehicles. Last time I was here I swore I would never self-park again. The added aggravation is not worth a small difference in cost ($16 vs. $20 for valet).
Second, don’t request your welcome amenity to be delivered on the day you arrive. There was some miscommunication at the front desk about when the kitchen opens, and it turns out the kitchen doesn’t receive new orders for welcome amenities until 5 PM, for delivery sometime closer to 6 PM. Meanwhile, my stomach was still on Pacific Time. We should have gone to an early dinner or visited the Regency Club. Amenities ordered the day before can be delivered as early as 5 PM, so enjoy it during happy hour on the second or third day of your stay.
Where to Eat
The Regency Club was plenty sufficient for our breakfast needs, but if your rate includes it or you want to pay more, the buffet at Swan Court is a nice setting. For dinner, Japengo and Umalu are both good restaurants and offer a chance to stop at the bar for a quick snack or sit down at a table for something more relaxing (get the dumplings at Japengo and the fish tacos at Umalu). Service was good all around. For example, our keys weren’t coded for access to the club on our first day, but the manager let us in anyway and even went downstairs to exchange them for us while we enjoyed our food.
At Whaler’s Village, a 10- to 15-minute walk, I usually go to the Hula Grill and Leilani’s. Owned by the same company, Leilani’s is a little more upscale and offers a great sunset view. Hula Grill has tables in a sand pit and live music; it’s a great spot to eat the first night.
Several restaurants can also be found in Lahaina. I’ve been to most of them, and my favorite is Kimo’s, but on this trip I also made my first visit to the famous Star Noodle. It wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t impressed enough to go back. There’s no view. It’s indoors. It’s not why I go to Hawaii. Kimo’s is why I go to Hawaii.
The Hyatt Regency doesn’t have the best beach right out front — it’s far too rocky, with a narrow shore — but it becomes much more hospitable as you walk north toward Black Rock, a 20- to 30-minute walk. (If you don’t want to walk, there’s a free shuttle, or you can pay $6-8 for a taxi.) I recommend snorkeling there and usually see a turtle or two.
You’ll probably find more fish in quieter waters at Honolua Bay further north, Makena Beach in Wailea, or on a charter out to Molokini. But if you want action, then Ka’anapali has more activities than you’ll find anywhere else since there are so many more tourists. Maui Jim was sponsoring some boat races during our weekend there.
We went parasailing for the first time on this trip (UFO Parasailing, right in front of Whaler’s Village). I had to bribe Megan with jewelry, but she ended up loving it in the end. You just float up and float down. I recommend you wear a swimsuit so they can dunk you in the water, but it’s entirely possible to do the whole thing without getting wet.
For all the trips we’ve made to Maui, it was also the first time we drove the Road to Hana and went on a helicopter tour. Those were amazing experiences. I’ll have more in separate posts.