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Mahana vs. Papakea

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Raleigh, North...
posts: 20
Mahana vs. Papakea

Hi there everyone,

My husband and I are planning our first trip to Hawaii this April and will be staying a week in Maui. I have read a ton of reviews and discussions here on TA (Thank you sooo much to everyone who posts here...the information is amazing!). I have narrowed our choices down to:

a 1 Bedroom at the Papakea Ocean Front (Not sure which building it's in or which floor - but based on the photos it is not a ground floor for sure)


a Ground floor studio at the Mahana

Both are direct owner rentals, both are beautifully updated, have AC, free parking, full kitchens, pool, BBQ's, and same price.

I'm sure there probably isn't a wrong choice between the two, but I'm having a hard time deciding. Any advice would be great. We are in our 30's, no kids, not looking for a party, but not looking for a retirement community either. Just a nice relaxing place to call home base on our trip.

Thanks in advance for the input!


posts: 1,056
reviews: 10
1. Re: Mahana vs. Papakea

Papakea has beautiful manicured grounds. We have not stayed there, but have walked the grounds a couple of times. No beach. Mahana when we stayed there in 1990 was not much to talk about. The studio we had was great, there was hardly any landscaping to speak of, although I think that's been updated since then. The pictures I have seen indicate this.

ON, Canada
posts: 10,027
reviews: 34
2. Re: Mahana vs. Papakea

We're heading to the Mahana in April, for our 3rd stay since '09, so I'm familiar with it but not Papakea.

Not sure if you've had a chance to look at the aerial views and info here:



Per the info in those links, it appears that the one bedroom at the Mahana is quite a bit larger than at Papakea. It is a spacious one bedroom (at the Mahana) ... and nice having the bedroom and LR look out over the ocean.

The beach walk starts next to the Mahana, so if you like walking, access to the beach walk is much more convenient from the Mahana vs. Papakea.

Dukes restaurant at Honua Kai is right next door.

Mahana doesn't have any additional fees when you rent through VRBO (or an agency) ... not sure if Papakea is the same?

Mahana seems to attract more couples than families with children, but there's usually a range of ages from 20's and up.

On our last trip we were there with our adult children and their spouses (they are in their 20's & 30's) .... they loved the Mahana. We rented 3 units ... I wrote a review which you can find by clicking on my screen name below my photo.

p.s. forgot to mention... the beach directly in front of the Mahana is good for swimming (although there's excellent snorkelling) due to rocks close to shore. We go in at either end of the complex, where there's a break in the shoreline rocks. Also, from the Mahana you can walk all the way south to Black Rock and beyond along the beach (or beach walk) and there are some amazing places to swim along the way. It's one continuous beach.

Edited: 3:33 pm, January 28, 2013
ON, Canada
posts: 10,027
reviews: 34
3. Re: Mahana vs. Papakea

.... a correction to my p.s. ... meant to say "the beach directly in front of the Mahana isn't good for swimming".

Raleigh, North...
posts: 20
4. Re: Mahana vs. Papakea

Susan, would you have any concerns about ground floor at Mahana? Like lack of privacy? And the Mahana unit is a studio, so it is smaller than the oapakea unit.

Philadelphia, PA
posts: 1,950
reviews: 8
5. Re: Mahana vs. Papakea

We have stayed at Papakea for years. We love that it's a low-rise, and that the grounds are beautiful -- like to walk around by the koi ponds. In fact, we think one of the koi wants to be a humpback whale because he breaches.

We are usually in E Bldg (ocean view), but did stay once in F Bldg (ocean front, 2nd floor). Loved it. Two pools, one heated. We have found the people to be friendly and the management attentive to any needs. Every evening, we would sit on the grass by the sea wall to watch the sunset, but with an "ocean front" you wouldn't need to leave your lanai.

We also like that you can walk to so many places: Okazuya, Fish Market, Farmers Market, Times Market, Dukes Restaurant, and more.

It has always felt like home away from home, even though we are not owners. Hope that helps.

ON, Canada
posts: 10,027
reviews: 34
6. Re: Mahana vs. Papakea

Vanessa, sorry, I should have read your first post more thoroughly ... missed that it's a studio at the Mahana.

Is it in the Lanai or Molokai bldg? I think the shuffleboard is a little too close to the studios in the Lanai building. I don't think many people play it (although we did once or twice) - the stones can get a bit noisy clacking together ... plus the noise of people playing the game...but that's daytime only, and with sunset around 7, you wouldn't need to worry about noise from it after that.

We like to use the screen doors on the lanai at night to enjoy the breeze and ocean sounds, but I don't think I'd do that on the ground floor at any complex, for security reasons. The A/C works well so locking the unit at night won't make it stuffy ... plus if the ocean is noisy, you you'd probably prefer to have the A/C on at night. There aren't a lot of people using the lawn chairs that you see in on the grass in front of the units ... most will use the chairs at the pools ... although you might see someone using one in front of your unit. It's been really quiet when we've been there (April/May) ... and never feels like there are a lot of people anywhere on the grounds, including the pool.

Here's a diagram of the units at Mahana ... studios end in 02, 03 (Molokai bldg) and 12, 13 (Lanai bldg.) http://www.themahana.com/mahana7.htm

If you do decide on Papakea, I would ask the owner which building and which unit. There is repair work currently in progress that could affect your stay, depending on which building is scheduled for work while you're there....here's the details: chasenrainbows.com/properties/papakea-resort…

Edited: 4:48 pm, January 28, 2013
posts: 61
7. Re: Mahana vs. Papakea

My husband and I recently stayed in a studio at the Mahana and we absolutely loved it. The whole property was clean and well maintained, and the staff was great. We loved the location...it was quiet and uncrowded, but an easy walk down to other resorts. I would happily stay there again. Enjoy your trip. :)

Raleigh, North...
posts: 20
8. Re: Mahana vs. Papakea

How long is the walk to a swimmable beach from each of these properties? I'd rather not HAVE to get in the car and drive to the beach if I want to take a quick dip.

Has anyone been there while the construction is going on? I was assured it was mostly "painting" and that the noise would be minimal if any while I am there.

Eugene, Oregon
posts: 225
reviews: 16
9. Re: Mahana vs. Papakea

One reason we're partial to Papakea is the beautiful grounds. We really enjoying walking around with our coffee in the morning and our wine in the evenings. It's very pretty and peaceful.

Checking out the properties via Google Earth (street view) can be helpful for providing perspectives from afar.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,518
reviews: 52
10. Re: Mahana vs. Papakea

We have stayed at Papakea numerous times. It is a great property! I'd absolutely recommend it. There is a sandy beach in front of the adjacent property...the Kaanapali Shores. You just cross over a little footbridge. Super easy...