Late in 2012, work was keeping me very busy, but thankfully we had planned a trip to Hawaii to relax before the holidays. Hawaii is probably not be best place to go for an affordable beach location, but it holds a special place for my wife and I since that is where we had our honeymoon.
On this trip, we split our time on Maui and Kauai. Maui is probably our favorite island, and we wanted to give Kauai another shot after a rather lukewarm experience on our previous visit.
We booked flights on United, during somewhat of a fare sale to Hawaii. We got a decent deal on the nonstop 777 from O’Hare to Honolulu, and were confirmed in First Class with Regional upgrades. Unfortunately, shortly before we were to leave for the airport, that flight was cancelled. I was able to confirm seats on the Chicago to Kahului flight leaving about 30 minutes earlier, but our first class seats were lost, and we were separated, but fortunately I was able to get both of us seats in economy plus. I even got an aisle. This allowed us to avoid the inter-island flight we had booked, and we ended up in Maui sooner than we would have based on our original schedule.
By the time we arrived, after the long flight in economy with only buy on board available, we were both rather famished, but a plate lunch at Da Kitchen Cafe near the airport quickly reversed that. We then made our way to the Sheraton.
I had tried to use my Suite Night Awards to confirm an upgrade prior to arrival, but this did not clear. There seems to be limited suites at the property, and occupancy was relatively high when I visited. At check in, the agent was friendly, and noted our request for an upgrade. He suggested we check back to see if we could move to an upgraded room later in the stay, which is what we did. This wasn’t ideal, but it was better than the all to common fight to get upgrades that are a stated SPG program benefit.
Our first room was on the top floor of the main building, with nice views of the grounds and beyond. The room itself was a pretty standard offering, but the view was certainly better than I’m used to at Sheraton hotels.
We have been to Maui several times, even on Kaanapali before, but this was our first stay at the Sheraton. The location is great, surrounding black rock. This is was the first resort on the west side of Maui, but the property is in good shape. This isn’t as tall of a tower as most of the other resorts nearby, which makes it seems less crowded.
Most of the rooms are located on the south side of the black rock, but there is also a tower on the other side, building 4 (shown at the top left of the above photo). This building faces the ocean directly, and is where our new room was located. These are slightly larger rooms, and presumably the location of where typical SPG upgrades are located. When we moved, we still were unable to get in a suite, but the view was much improved. It was probably a 10 minute walk to that room from the lobby, with at least 3 elevator rides.
This new room had a nice lanai that overlooks the ocean directly, and was a nice place to relax to and enjoy the view.
Despite my issues with the rooms, service wise, I was pretty happy with the hotel. The staff I encountered was very good. The Platinum breakfast amenity is a little annoying, but still a good value for Hawaii. The ‘free’ breakfast includes a very basic very continental offering. They offer a $10 up charge for the full buffet which is extensive and goes for $35 per person. The resort charge is not waived for SPG Platinums either, which is annoying, but hard to avoid in chain hotels in Hawaii.
The location is great, with excellent views of the sunset. The black rock is a great spot for snorkeling, cliff diving, and I went on a night scuba dive around there which was excellent.
View of the Sheraton grounds with Kaanapali beach and nearby hotels in the distance.
The nightly torch lighting and cliff diving ritual on Black Rock.
I even did some surfing
We enjoyed our time on Maui. I’d certainly return to the Sheraton on future trips. Its not a luxury property, but it was perfectly serviceable for our needs. Maui is getting pretty developed, but its still a nice mix of old and new, with plenty to do, and lots of places to get away.
Our next stop was Kauai, where we spent a few nights at the Grand Hyatt.