The Honua Kai Resort and Spa on Maui's Kaanapali North Beach has updated its pools and added a whale-watching package for the winter season.
The resort, first opened in 2009, has developed in phases. They discovered a design flaw in the bottom of the first pool and, with a new phase set to begin construction in 2018, the property managers moved to refresh the existing aquatic features before turning their attention to the larger project.
"The renovations accomplished a few goals," Honua Kai general manager Claudio Andrade said. "First, we wanted to make sure we didn't have the same problem with the pool bottom again, so we fixed that. Also, we needed more deck space, and really never had enough from the start. Now we've added space for 25 more lounges on the pool deck. ... The third major change was we added nice LED lighting to the pool to make it nicer in the evening."
Honua Kai Resort and Spa sits on 38 oceanfront acres and currently offers 628 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites with full kitchens, lanais and washers and dryers.
Five additional cabanas have been installed, three by the quiet pool and two by the family pool. New landscaping has made more of a separation between the quiet pool and other areas, according to Andrade.
"As a family resort we don't brand the quiet pool as an adult pool, but it is not the best place for kids," he said. "Now there is more distinction between to the two areas because of the landscaping."
One of the more significant changes, according to Andrade, has been the improved lighting.
"This time of the year the sun sets around 5-5:30 and the pool would typically empty after that," he said. "Now we notice people are hanging out at the pool much later. There are families out there at 7 having a good time. The new lighting of the pool is so bright and so attractive. Before it was a little too dim."
Additionally, Honua Kai has launched a new winter whale-watching excursion. The Tons of Fun Whale Watching package requires a minimum five-night stay and includes a stay in a one- or two-bedroom suite with daily breakfast for two and the option of either a traditional whale-watching boat tour on a catamaran or more up-close outing in a Zodiac-style inflatable craft. The package includes binoculars, sunscreen, Honua Kai logo cap, beach bag, drinks and snacks and is valid for stays through April 2.
"For people who are more adventurous and want to get closer to the action, I recommend the Zodiac tour. The whales come pretty close, and you can sometimes hear their song. On the catamaran there are more people and you are higher up from the water," Andrade said.
In 2018 the third phase of Honua Kai will break ground, Andrade said. The project includes three additional pools and the construction of 72 three-bedroom units, bringing the total to 700.
"We are breaking ground in the second half of February, and the first set of units should be done in 14 months with more becoming available in phases afterward. It will make a huge difference to the look and feel of the resort."
The new units will be constructed as 18 two-story buildings grouped in enclaves with two units on the ground floor and two on the top floor.
"This is an exciting time for us," Andrade said. "We had a great year in 2017, and we believe it's going to be an unbelievable year in 2018."