Review: Hyatt Residence Club Maui – Kanapali Beach (PANDEMIC EDITION)

After 10 nights at the Westin Nanea Ocean Villas at Kaanapali Beach, we had two nights remaining on our trip and the Westin was no longer available. After searching for accommodations, I noticed that the Hyatt Residence Club down the road had 2 Bedroom Ocean View Rooms available for 48,000 points per night. This seems like a lot of points, but when you break it down it’s actually 24,000 points per room since you are getting two rooms in one and the view is ridiculously beautiful. Nightly rates were north of $1600+tax for these rooms and they rarely are below $1000 per night even for the one bedroom. So if you value Hyatt points at 2 cents per point I was essentially redeeming $960 worth in points for a $1600+ per night room. It was an absolute no brainer in my book so I transferred 96,000 Ultimate Rewards points from each of our Chase accounts to make the two bookings. If you are interested, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has the best ever sign on bonus out there right now.

Check In: 

The standard check in time nowadays for these properties with COVID cleaning protocols is 4 pm, while the standard check out time is 10am. So that’s about 6 hours to just hang around in the lobby or outside somewhere. This is absolutely fine for most people, but if you travel around with elderly folks or kids, it can be a challenge just driving around or just spending the day outdoors.

About 24 hours before arrival, I checked into the room on the Hyatt App on my phone. Noticing that the hotel had decent availability for the next few nights, I called the front desk to ask if I could do an early check in at 12 or 1. The receptionist, of course played hardball and said that their hotel was absolutely packed with every room taken and that they could only do 3 pm at the earliest.

Fast forward 24 hours, I show up at the hotel to drop off the luggage and I was surprised to find that our rooms were ready already (it was only 11 am). I was actually planning on spending the day just enjoying the view in the lobby as it was rather empty.

 

Our rooms were located on the 5th floor of the hotel. The hotel’s elevator had a 1 person policy, but no one seemed to be abiding by the policy at this particular hotel.

2 Bedroom Ocean View Suite:

The hotel’s rooms are open to the exterior environment on both ends so as you walk up to the room, you have some nice views of the West Maui Mountains.

You are almost guaranteed to see a rainbow here in the afternoon during the rainy season. Do be careful though because it can get really windy, really fast. I’ve seen hats and other stuff fly off.

My parents and grandparents stayed in one of the two bedroom suites while my uncle, my sister and I stayed in the other two bedroom. Upon entry into the room, there was an interesting piece of ceramic art which was designed to look something like the Hyatt Regency logo?

On the left hand side of the suite as soon as you enter are the washer dryer unit and the first of the two restrooms. It was all pretty standard, but I do have to note that the washer/dryer units were unusually louder than similar units we had at the Westin.

Further along the corridor on the left was the first bedroom. It features a queen size bed, TV, a lounge chair, and an almost dungeon like feel because of the way the windows are relegated at the top of the wall. The size of this room in comparison to the Westin was no doubt smaller and the lighting was definitely better.

Walking further into the room, the kitchen is located on the left hand side and features all your standard appliances and counter space.

The room also had a rice cooker, tea kettle, and blender which were located in the closet adjacent to the kitchen.

Adjacent to the kitchen is a dining table and living area and attached to that is the “master” bedroom and a spacious bathroom featuring a soaking tub, double vanity, and a separate shower.

From both the master bedroom and the living area you have access to the balcony with expansive views of the ocean and the hotel resort pools. One thing to be very aware of is if you open the front door while the balcony door is open, there can be a strong cross wind that carries through the room and it seriously knocks stuff over and can cause damage to the door.

The room was facing west so we had some epic views out west during sunset and the stars (including the milky way) were clearly visible at night.

The Second Two Bedroom Suite: 

The other two bedroom suite had a slightly different design due to it being on the bend part of the U-shaped hotel. The kitchen and living space were noticeably bigger, but everything else remained the same.

Pools at the Hyatt:

Neither the pools nor property really impressed me that much at the Hyatt for two reasons: there seemed to be way more people per square inch of pool at the hotel and there weren’t any tikki torches that give the hotels their island vibe. Instead I found the hotel to have the most annoying orange lights illuminating the beach, which gave it a more commercialized feel and not to mention the fact it created a lot of light pollution when trying to look out at the sea at night.

 

Comparing the Westin Nanea Ocean Villas and the Hyatt Residence Club:

As a point of comparison to the Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, this property had superior views, but I found the Westin to be better furnished and cleaner overall despite being the older of the two hotels. It’s also important to mention that during moderately high tide, the beach in front of the Hyatt Residence Club is virtually nonexistent. Not that this completely hinders your ability to enjoy the area further down the coast, but it’s not ideal to just drag a chair and enjoy the sunset a lot of times.

As far as COVID-19 protocols go, I found that the Westin was better equipped overall and the staff were more adherent to wearing masks everywhere they went. It’s not as big of an issue now with the proven efficacy of vaccines, but it’s always something good to know. The Hyatt missed out on simple things like refilling their hand sanitizing stations. Even if they had sanitizer, the stuff felt like vodka whereas the Westin’s was more soapy and smelled a lot better. I know I’m getting into the weeds here, but I’m a sucker for a good scent.

Where the Hyatt truly stands out: 

Perhaps the highlight of the trip was my spending the time in the wee hours of the morning, just sitting on the empty beach and enjoying the milky way core come up over the ocean. The cabanas are truly unique to this property and certainly are a great way to enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean. If I were this hotel, I would turn off the lights during the time the Milky Way is up and offer the guests the chance to see a dazzling display of stars. I spilled a good business idea for free here, so I wouldn’t mind Hyatt buying my image or sponsoring one of my posts 😉 

I have to admit, sitting there in the darkness really put me on edge. The waves at times really felt like they would reach me in my cocoon.

The Milky Way core as seen from Kaanapali Beach on an early spring morning.

Oh yeah, I’m not really one for the sun and beach but I can see how these cabanas would be desirable during the daytime as well. Please make sure to make your reservations ahead of time. The cabanas are only available from 9 am to 6 pm as far as I could tell, though no one complained with my sitting there in the morning.

Bottom Line:

The Hyatt Residence Club at Kanapali Beach was a great redemption of Hyatt points, especially with the Ocean View Villa we reserved. It’s well worth every point you spend and the bright side is almost every room appears to have at least a partial ocean view if not a full ocean view. It being my grandparents’ first time on paradise and all, they thoroughly enjoyed this experience way more than the Westin because of the ocean view. Just sitting here writing about it makes me reminisce about the times we spent on the lounge chairs just listening to the waves or watching the stars. Anyway that’s a wrap on my reviewing my hotel stays in Hawaii this past March.

 

 

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A post shared by Teja Pamganamamula (@pvtejasvi)

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