We have stayed at Mana Kai five times now and my husband's boss has been there at least that many times. You cannot beat this property--so gorgeous sitting right on the beach. Grandfathered in, Mana Kai is actually the closer to the ocean than any other property.
*Mana Kai has both "A" oceanfront rooms, which are 600 square-foot condos with a wonderful lanai facing the ocean, "B" hotel rooms, which are modest-sized standard hotel rooms facing the parking lot, or you can get both, which gives you two bedrooms and two bathrooms. "A" units have a bedroom/living area, bathroom, small kitchen, and lanai facing the ocean. The "B" rooms have a mini fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. I HIGHLY recommend the A oceanfront condos, which have incredible views, though the B hotel rooms cost considerably less and are very nice hotel rooms.
*"Not all rooms are created the same": Many of Mana Kai's units are individually owned, and even the ones that are owned by the resort vary quite a bit in terms of decor, maintenance, and upkeep. Especially if you go through an individual owner, be careful to ask lots of questions and get current photos of your exact room.
*Generally, the rooms owned by the resort are nicely kept but far from impeccable if you are somewhat OCD like myself, lol. I spend an hour or two the first day unpacking and "nesting," and during that time I like to do a little more thorough clean in the kitchen and bathroom. (Whoever follows me gets a good deal...). The resort-owned rooms seem at least consistent in cleanliness (I'd give them a solid 7 on a zero to ten), whereas the individually-owned rooms depend on the owner or property manager. The resort-owned units offer daily maid-service, and you can buy maid service for the individually-owned units if you want. We did that once, and it was worth it for not having to launder the bath towels alone. They do have a washer/dryer laundry room on each floor. The cleaning staff has always been super friendly and accommodating.
*The kitchen in the condos are well-equipped, with a dishwasher and full refrigerator. Style and quality of cookware, dishware, and glassware varies room to room. Over the years the resort has continued to remodel rooms and move toward unified kitchen equipment and decor, but this is still a work in progress. Some of the rooms are tiled throughout, but most seem to have carpeting. The ones with newer carpeting are fine, but be careful; the first year we got an individually-owned room with a carpet that made me feel like I had to keep my flip flops on the whole time. So as mentioned above, buyer beware and ask lots of questions.
*Dish soap, kitchen towels and cloths, and bath towels are included in the resort-owned rooms, and you can get beach towels for no charge in the lobby. Some of the rooms have beach toys or chairs, so look in the closets! You will need to bring or buy spices, plastic wrap, and foil, if you need them. Anything they didn't have for us, we've made do. The store downstairs is nicely stocked with sandwiches, snack food, beverages, including beer and liquor, and travel supplies you may have forgotten (everything from sunscreen to earplugs to cooking supplies...). We stop at the nearby Safeway early in the trip and stock up. Roadside stands or organic food stores are the best place for produce, but Safeway has a decent and varied selection of fruits and vegetables.
*All A rooms have double glass sliding doors which open to the lanai and ocean. Open the vent over the front door and you have automatic, wind tunnel evaporative cooling. Temperatures stay so consistent that we rarely closed the doors, even at night. Not all A rooms have air conditioning, btw, so do check on that. Most people should be totally okay with this because of the ocean air currents, but I am super temperature sensitive and like the option of A/C, even though we hardly had to use it.
*The Mana Kai has eight floors. Best rooms depend on what you are looking for. All of the A (oceanfront) rooms have incredible ocean views, but the higher rooms may have an advantage because of the height. We tend to like the lower floors because you can zip down the stairwell and be on the beach in three minutes. As others have mentioned, rooms ending in lower numbers (01 thru 05 or so--as, for example, 402, 703, or 804) are a bit closer to the ocean, as the building sits at an angle to the beach. Rooms right over the restaurant (lower floors ending in 03 through 06) are noisy at lunch and dinner, but if you are not in your room during mealtimes, you may never notice, and by 9pm it all dies down. Last room nuance: Rooms ending in odd numbers have the sofa/living area facing the ocean, so your best view is from there. Rooms ending in even numbers have the bed facing the ocean, so the view is amazing laying in bed. Depends on where you might be spending the most time maybe?... All this said about the rooms, unless you book one of the individually-owned condos, the Mana Kai may or may not let you select specific rooms or floors any more. Either way, you can certainly request a lower or higher floor, or change rooms if needed.
*Happy hour at the bar downstairs is great, and they have reasonably-priced appetizers. We have found the restaurant (The Five Palms) to be a hit and miss, though. Beautiful outdoor dining area, though.
The pool is nothing memorable, but it is very nice and spotlessly clean, as others have written, that it has saline rather than chlorine. They keep the grounds beautifully maintained. The Mana Kai property adjoins a several-mile walking trail along the beach, which runs past other homes, resorts, and shopping.
*You can rent paddle boards, snorkeling, and other equipment right onsite at the surf shop downstairs. South Maui waves are small and not conducive to surfing, but is great for swimming, standup paddle boarding, and snorkeling. You can snorkel on the small reef right on the property, though numbers and variety of fish are not incredible there, and you may want to go to the west side for awesome coral; the coral on South Maui is all very young. Still, it is so close that a daily snorkel dip first thing in the morning, before the surf gets up, could become an essential thing, being right outside your door. I have seen right there sea turtles, baby reef sharks (no worries; no great whites here, and they were more afraid of me than vice versa), and last year I followed a pod of probably 200 spinner dolphins putting on a show a few hundred yards offshore. And the whales! If you can afford it, do go during whale season (Dec thru April). You can sit on the lanai with a pair of binocs, or a camera, or your naked eye and see dozens of humpback whales breaching and blowing in a single day.
Anyway, as you can tell, I have been pretty sold on this property. My husband and I just can't see shelling out twice as much for one of the posher properties (you may know, they have a GORGEOUS Grand Wailea and beautiful Four Seasons Resort on Maui...which if you have the money, I say go for it...). But even so they are set far back from the ocean and lack the 24/7 intimacy of the beachfront setting at Mana Kai.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located directly on Keawapaku Beach, one of Maui’s most beautiful swimming beaches. The Mana Kai Maui, home of the on site rental management program, manages 48 two bedroom condominiums. The resort offers one and two bedroom beachfront condos with a private lanai that overlooked the southern end of the island and hotel style units. Daily maid service and pool towel exchange is included in the rate. Free parking, free WIFI, no resort fees. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mana Kai Maui Kihei
- Maui Mana Kai