Editor’s note: this article is the first in a two-part series on Maui family travel. Please also see my article on Maui experiences for families.
As winter sets in, are you looking for the ideal family destination? If so, Maui should be at the top of your list. As a dad who likes to have a wide variety of options for our clan when we venture out, Maui certainly fits the bill.
We’ve visited Maui with our oldest daughter before, but she was only 8 weeks old and slept the entire time. This time, we took our two daughters who are aged 4 and 7 with intentions of relaxing, swimming leisurely and taking it easy. We also wanted our girls to experience Maui’s natural beauty and strong agricultural roots.
Finding the perfect home base
As veteran Maui tourists, we enjoy staying in West Maui as it offers the best weather (it’s always sunny and temperate) and we usually stay in the Kaanapalli Beach area in a typical resort. This time though, we stayed just 5 minutes north of Kaanapali in the area called Napili.
Our home base was the Napili Kai Beach Resort, located on the shores of Napili Bay. Upon our arrival, the Napili Kai staff instantly made us feel like we were one of the family by greeting us with, “Welcome home”.
Then we saw our immaculate two-bedroom suite which had a wonderful view of Napili Bay, a full kitchen, two full bedrooms and two bathrooms. Napili Kai suites are large enough to let every family member spread out and have their own space. The bedrooms are separated by the living area. The lanai (porch) has an amazing view of the bay and is about 30 feet wide with a sitting area and a separate outside dining area.
Napili Kai Beach Resort – a luxury “Old Hawaii” experience
As for the resort itself – Napili Kai stands out because it has every amenity one would expect at a Maui resort, but it’s not large and ‘corporate’ feeling. The buildings are only two stories by design and the resort is situated on Napili Bay which is perfect for swimming, snorkeling and stand up paddle boarding. The white sandy beach stretches for a quarter of a mile and the bay is protected by a reef so no large waves.
The property is home to three pools, including a brand-new pool that’s under construction and will be ready in January 2015.
Next to the main pool is the beach hut where you can check out towels, snorkels and even surf boards. And guess what – there are no fees for these items! In fact, there’s no resort fee at all at Napili Kai. Diane Farnsworth, the events and PR manager at Napili Kai, told me that unlike other resorts that charge resort fees for amenities you may not even make use of, Napili Kai is a resort that believes in no hidden fees or extra charges. Even in-room WiFi and parking are included in your nightly rate.
Also, while eating at the on-property restaurant called the Sea House, kids eat free for the length of your stay from the ample and yummy keiki (the Hawaiian word for kids) menu.
Farnsworth also told us of that when Napili Kai was built in the 60’s, the founders petitioned Maui County to keep all buildings surrounding the resort at 2 stories to preserve the homey feeling of the resort and to prevent large high-rises resorts from taking away the “Old Hawaii” atmosphere enjoyed by visitors.
Speaking of the Sea House Restaurant, it was outstanding! Most resorts have on-property restaurants that offer decent food without having to leave the resort. The Sea House restaurant though, is a place you’ll want to dine at multiple times throughout your stay. It’s apparent in each dish that the chef and staff has put time into crafting an exquisite meal even a foodie would cherish.
Throughout our stay, my wife and I enjoyed lunching on the fish and chips, the island style taco (made with local fish or pork). For dinner, we sampled the paniolo rib eye and the spice crusted ahi. Our kids enjoyed the planko crusted fish, hamburgers and of course desert. 🙂
On-property entertainment, including a slack key concert!
Not only is Napili Kai the perfect resort for relaxing by the beach, but there are plenty of activities to enjoy as well. Every morning at 10:00 AM there’s a coffee hour where locals give cultural presentations. The week we were there, the discussions included: basket making from tea leaves, making and appreciating poi and ancient fishing techniques. On Tuesday evenings, the Napili Kai Foundation hosts a keiki hula and cultural show.
The highlight of our week was Napili Kai’s slack key concert show. Slack key is a style of guitar music that originated in Hawaii and has characteristic open tuning. For the show, there were two performers including the host George Kahumoki and the rotating guest Jeff Peterson. The concert was entertaining, lively and fun – especially for our 4 and 7 year old daughters!
As you can see, Maui and the Napili Kai Beach Resort offer the perfect getaway for families. The resort has activities for all members of the family to be entertained and is the perfect set up for crafting memories your family will remember for a lifetime.
Disclosure: Napili Kai Beach Resort provided discounted accommodation rates during our visit to the Resort. However, the opinions expressed in this article are mine and can never be bought. 🙂