My wife and I just got through with a 7 night stay in Maui and absolutely loved this resort. Prior to our trip, we were going back and forth between the Ritz, Four Seasons, and the Fairmont. We decided to settle on the Ritz since they were offering us "Club Level" access to their lounge for free drinks, snacks, etc throughout our trip. A few weeks before we left, the Ritz notified us that they were eliminating the club level since the resort goes through a slow period during the months of October and November. This almost caused us to change hotels but the Ritz came through by upgrading us to a 900 SF room with a kitchen (refrigerator, garbage disposal, microwave, sink, dishwasher), family room (Plasma tvs with DVD players), two balconies, full bedroom and bathroom (shower, tub, and seperate toilet). They also reduced our hotel rate by $1,500 and gave us a $500 resort credit.
The hotel is located in Kapalua which is roughly 20 minutes away from Lahaina (main downtown area), 15 minutes from Ka'anapali (shopping, restaurants, hotels), and an hour from the Wailea and airport area. The location is somewhat a plus and a minus. You are nice and close to Lahaina and Ka'anapali which is where we spent a majority of our time. However, it is really far from Wailea (we never even made it there) and ways from the start of the road to Hana, Haleakala National Park, and airport. We had a car and managed to get place to place with no problem.
What the hotel lacks in location, they pick up in being a beautiful secluded resort. The resort is absolutely huge! You enter by driving in through a private drive to the hotel and pass by their exclusive golf academy/training center, and one of their golf courses. The hotel is extremely clean and very modern. The hotel staff is great and the pool and restaurants are amazing.
After reading the reviews, it appears most people complain about two things: the cost of Maui and the location of the beach at the Ritz. To be honest, my wife and I did not find Maui to be all that unreasonable. If you are from a major city (NYC, Chicago, LA) you will find the resort and dinner prices to be similar to a nice evening in the city. We stopped at a store and packed our room with some snacks, beer, and wine and that saved us a few bucks. You can also use the "Corner Store" which is located on the grounds to pick up some items. The store has a full grocery area, coffee bar and snack shop. The prices were the most reasonable of anything we encountered.
As for the beach, it is set away from the pool and a short walk down a hill. However, once you arrive it is essentially private and remote from everything. It's not crowded and is almost like your own private beach.
Overall, we loved the Ritz and would stay again. On a return visit we might visit Wailea since we never visited that area of the island and it is home to some nice resorts.
As for Maui, the food is unbelievable on the entire island. We are from Chicago and were blown away by how good everything was. We loved the burgers, fish, and fresh vegetables. Must stops are as follows:
- Mama's Fish House
- Lahaina Grill
... and some other good places we hit included:
- Basil Tomato
- Hula Grill
As for activities, the road to Hana is not as great as we envisioned. It's essentially a long drive on winding roads with some stops along the way. I highly suggest renting a Jeep Wrangler. Not the type of trip you want to do in a Mustang or rag top.
We enjoyed the ride down the Volcano, surf lessons in Ka'anapali (I suggest a private lesson), and the Old Lahaina Luau. I didn't get to play any golf due to two stress fractures in my foot.
P.S. If you choose to do the sunrise Volcano bike road I highly suggest bringing ample clothes to watch the sun come up. It was like a Chicago winter on top of the mountain. It was 40 degrees with a 40 MPH wind. It was freezing!!!