Ritz-Carlton Kapalua

(800) 262-8440 or (808) 669-6200
1 Ritz-Carlton Dr.

463 rooms (including 107 1- or 2-bedroom residential suites), pool and 2 spas, keiki pool and playground, day spa, 6 restaurants, 4 shops, an awesome 24-hour fitness center (with trainers), valet parking, 37- or 42-inch HDTVs, 24-hour business center, resort-wide Wi-Fi, 13 conference rooms, 4 tennis courts, basketball court, environmental and cultural programs, 24-hour room service, laundry is valet only, maid service is twice daily, coffee makers with free daily coffee daily, wedding coordinator. The overall feeling of the resort is very Hawaiian and calming with rich wood tones and warm color schemes. The resort is expensively furnished with lots of artwork spread about the grounds. The buildings and the hotel itself are handsome. The staff is eager to please and will get you anything you need. They show a lot of aloha to each and every guest—even children.

They have an on-site program called “Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment” for guests 3 years old and up where you learn about sea creatures, take underwater pictures, go on hikes, etc. Prices start at $69 and go up depending on activity. They also offer a “kids’ night out” where they’ll help your keiki make pizzas and gaze at the stars or do other activities for $70. There is a cultural adviser who offers tours and programs—many of which are included with the resort fee. Their new 17,500 sq. ft. day spa is very nice with co-ed areas available and showers off the treatment rooms.

The rooms are 440 sq. ft. (plus lanai), a full 160 sq. ft. smaller than a Four Seasons room (their biggest competitor), but all are nicely furnished. There are separate showers and tubs in the bathrooms. There’s a mandatory $25 per day resort fee that mostly covers things other expensive resorts give away free, such as charging privileges (gee, thanks), use of fitness center, ground shuttle services, Wi-Fi access, local and toll-free telephone calls, discounted golf fees and preferred tee times and a few other things. Self-parking is an additional $10, valet parking is $18 per day. The swimming pool is 3-tiered and shallow (3.5–4 feet deep) but open 24 hours with the center section for adults only. They have covered cabanas next to the pool for $100 per day and luxury cabanas, which are $300 per day and include a HDTV, sofa, private attendant, fruit, water, etc. These are very large and can easily fit a family of 8. (You can get a room at some places for that much!) Their Club floor rooms have their own private lounge with free goodies, like top-shelf liquor and breakfast. Their residential suites are one or two hotel-type rooms joined by a main living area with complete kitchen (except an oven).

The resort is as far north as you can get in West Maui. Allow extra time when planning off-site activities. Due to the Hawaiian sacred site adjacent to its grounds, it is set farther back from the ocean than many other large resorts. However, there is a shuttle that will take you to and from the beach and its lunch restaurant, called The Beach House. Their beach doesn’t stack up well against other island hotels, and they erect a BEACH CLOSED sign often, especially in the winter since it’s more susceptible to high surf here. The weather is not as good in Kapalua as the other resort areas on the island. Very strong winds are common (we often see people by the pool covered with towels to ward off a chill), as are passing drizzly showers.

However, the remoteness of this resort may also be its charm, and the Ritz works for us. Rooms (440 sq. ft.) are $409–$879, club rooms (440 sq. ft.) are $729–$1,450, residential suites (900–1,510 sq. ft.) are $649–$1,550, suites (900–2,560 sq. ft.) are $599–$10,509.

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