Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

InsightFor the third straight year, guests staying at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas on Maui are now strapping on ice skates for outdoor sessions on the 26-acre oceanfront property’s hybrid rink.

Open not only to guests of the resort but any Maui visitor or resident willing to part with $15 — and at least 42 inches tall — the 1,800-square-foot rink can accommodate up to 25 people at a time and is made from a synthetic polymer that’s greased regularly in a water-based lubricant.

“You’re not going to glide exactly as smooth as ice,” said Angela Nolan, the general manager at the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas. “But I’ve tried my hand at it on skates, and you can get going pretty quickly if you know what you’re doing, [and] we use real ice hockey skates.” ShaneNelson

Nolan said the rink, open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Jan. 3, was installed by BH Skating International, a company that created similar experiences at the W Westwood in Los Angeles and W Scottsdale in Arizona, and requires no refrigeration units, electricity or generators, making it “sustainable and environmentally friendly.”

She conceded, however, that guests are a little surprised to see the traditionally cold-weather activity is an option on the resort’s tropical south lobby lawn.

“I think people are like, ‘Wait a second. What’s a skating rink doing in Hawaii?’” Nolan said. “And then they come check it out and realize ‘Hey, this is really neat,’ and they get a chance to feel a little of that winter wonderland you typically enjoy if you’re on the mainland, [but] now they’ve got a great view of the ocean and can work on their tan.”

Also overlooking the property’s lagoon-style pool, the rink offers skaters a particularly impressive view of the Pacific, according to Nolan, and since it’s humpback whale season, skaters may also spot whale spouts, flukes or tails, and even full breaches.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the hybrid ice skating experience isn’t the only holiday programming officials at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, which is home to 1,021 residential-style studios and one-bedroom units, have added for the peak vacation period. Families traveling with small children can book a service called the “Elf Tuck In,” which consists of resort staff dressed in elf costumes who bring milk, cookies and stockings stuffed with holiday goodies to a guest’s villa. The costumed resort elves also read children a holiday story before tucking the kids in for the night. The cost is $20 plus tax and is available Dec. 23 and 24.

Families can also greet Santa Claus out on the beach in front of the resort Christmas day as he arrives on a Hawaiian outrigger canoe with a sack full of presents.

“Sometimes children think that when they’re not at home, Santa may not know where to find them,” Nolan explained. “So we really thought, why not bring that magic to them here at the resort, and now it’s become incredibly popular for families and the kids especially.”
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