Hyatt Regency Maui not just for grown-ups

Hawaii bureau chief Katherine Nichols and her children visited the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali recently. Her report follows:

he Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa caters to weddings and honeymoon couples, but families are a third big market.

They account for 44% of all visitors to the island, according to the Maui Visitors Bureau, and the competition to keep pace is increasing.

In 2002, the resort poured $26 million into the refurbishment of its 806 guest rooms, including 31 suites and a Regency Club floor, and built a new children's pool that became the highlight of our visit.

The children's pool, an addition the resort completed in December, is a place to play amidst volcanic rocks and 10-foot water spouts. Only 18 inches deep, it is contained for safety by rocks and a net.

Faux lava rocks separate the children's pool from the nine-foot-deep adult pool and its 150-foot lava-tube slide.

On our way to breakfast and a morning at the Hyatt's day camp for my 8- and 10-year-old children, we strolled past a strip of shops, including the hotel's own Moa Moa, featuring a bamboo bicycle, hotel logo wear and Hawaiian-style gifts in all price ranges.

Camp Hyatt starts at 9 a.m. and finishes at 3 p.m. ($60 per child, including lunch; $35 a half day).

Recreation attendant Dennis Ramos greeted the kids with a rundown of morning activities: swimming in the pool, tennis, fishing and feeding the ducks.

On Mondays, camp participants (ages 5 to 12) leave the property for excursions on the Sugar Cane Train, the Atlantis Submarine, lunch at a Subway and a movie at the Imax Theatre. Thursdays are spent at the Maui Ocean Center aquarium ($75 per child, including lunch). Other days focus on outdoor and Hawaiiana activities at the resort.

There's also an evening session, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. ($12 per hour, per child, including dinner).

Next to the pool sits an arcade that will surely drain a few quarters from every parent's pocket.

In an especially creative move, counselors take digital photos of the children during the activities, then post them on a private Web site (with a password given only to parents) for families to download and share with friends when they get home.

While the children were at camp, I visited the top-of-the-line Spa Moana, which offers a full array of treatments.

Still, the resort plans to add 3,200 square feet to the 3-year-old spa, beauty salon and fitness center, although an exact date to begin construction has not been set.

The oceanfront fitness center is small, but the resort intends to change that and compensates for it now with fitness classes like the beach boot camp, which is a session of high-intensity aerobics in the sand.

More than 150,000 square feet of flexible meetings space is available. Three full-time staffers arrange about 300 weddings per year and can set up for just about any group size in almost any location on the property.

Renovations include new rest room/hospitality facilities near the pool. Large, clean bathroom stalls now have an adjacent dressing room, private showers and lockers large enough to hold a carry-on suitcase.

"We want to accommodate those guests who are flying out at 11 p.m.," said sales manager Melissa Nelson.

Rates range from $345 to $850 per night. Special Aloha rates start at $275.

To book, call (800) 233-1234 or log onto www.maui.hyatt.com; for air-inclusive packages, visit www.hyattvacations.com.

Star Service Review: Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, anchoring the south end of the hotel strip, next to the Marriott, three miles north of Lahaina, remains the Kaanapali kingpin.

Thanks to renovations over the last four years, this property is now much more sophisticated. The improved landscaping and impressive Pacific Rim art collection bolster the new look in and around the public areas, while the subdued style in the accommodations reflect Hyatt's dedication to providing a romantic retreat as well as the utmost in quality.

The new reception area is tucked in a corner of the vast open-air lobby -- small for such a huge hotel, but with a staff that keeps waits to a minimum.

Dining options are generally expensive and include an underground northern Italian room for dinner only, an open-air steak and seafood restaurant and Swan Court, which wins awards for its Continental and Pacific Rim food. A modest, though likewise pricey, food court sits beside the pool.

A library, game room, health club, six tennis courts and water-sports facilities are scattered about. The revamped conference space on the ground floor of one of the accommodations towers has a capacity of 3,000.

After nearly 20 years of neglect, the accommodations are on the road to recovery. They are in three connecting buildings: the nine-story Atrium Tower, seven-story Lahaina Tower, and eight-story Napili Tower, the last preferred by most for its greater quiet and poolside convenience.

Rooms at this Hyatt are also among the largest in the islands. Smart-looking, rattan-strung plantation furniture, local art and low-pile carpeting lend an air of refinement. Gone are the glowing floral fabrics of the past, with muted backdrops now predominating.

The sitting areas provide armchairs and ottomans. Mahogany dressers have replaced bulky armoires, giving the rooms a more spacious feel. Among the nice new additions are plump mattresses topped with traditional Hawaiian quilts.

Baths are larger than average, with dressing areas, vanities cloaked in travertine, good lighting and plenty of mirrors.

Sliding glass doors open to small furnished lanais, and most of the rooms afford at least partial ocean views. Gardenview rooms below the sixth floor often take in only rooflines and parking lots.

This hotel is once again at the top of the heap in Kaanapali.

This review was adapted from Star Service Online, a sister publication of Travel Weekly, located on line at www.starserviceonline.com.

Comments
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI