Hotel Review: The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa (Part 2)

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In December I was fortunate enough to spend roughly 24 hours in Maui. Clearly that is not anywhere remotely near enough time to really experience the island, but I made the most of the time that I had. In Part 1 of my review, I covered the room, Regency Club, and basics of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. In this post I am going to cover the on-site spa, the beautiful pools, the on-site Japengo restaurant, another nearby restaurant where I ate, and some snorkeling that is within walking distance of the hotel. This is a part of Maui that hosts many different resorts, and is a popular spot for miles and points junkies. Feel free to chime in the comments sections with your own impressions and recommendations for the Kaanapali Beach portion of Maui.

Pools:

A highlight of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa has to be the pools. They are all located just feet from the ocean, and they are breathtaking. In December I had no trouble getting a seat, and they were pretty proactive about clearing off seats that weren’t were left with just a towel or something in them for a prolonged period of time. Apologies for the slight photo overload with the pools, but I just loved them.

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While kids could go anywhere in the pool complex, there was a section that was intended for kids that had tons of fun things to do and a little water slide. The water features weren’t on when I took these photos pretty early in the morning, but did get turned on later in the day.

20130108-134347.jpgWhile the water temperature in the pools was pretty comfortable, I had a strong preference for just crawling into the hot tub!

20130108-134358.jpgWho doesn’t want a “Swiss Family Robinson” style bridge going over their pool?

20130108-134407.jpgHere’s another shot of the kid play area before all of the feature were turned on.

20130108-134419.jpgSo peaceful just looking at the photos!

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20130108-134448.jpgThere was a “grotto bar” that offers a good way to have some drinks without getting sunburned. There was also a restroom pretty close by in the grotto.

20130108-134455.jpgI think the pool complex at the nearby Westin Maui Resort and Spa might be even a touch more amazing than the Hyatt pools, but this was still incredible. Be aware if you want to get away from kids at the Hyatt, that there is not an actual adult pool.

Here is a pretty good overview of the resort as you look out toward the ocean.  Off to the right is the grotto, Japengo, and then (off screen) to the right of that is the children’s pool area.

 

Japengo Restaurant:

The night I got to the Hyatt I was a little hungry, but not hungry enough to warrant another full blown meal. Luckily the on-site restaurant Japengo had available tables and had sushi rolls that were the perfect amount of food. Japengo has a sushi bar, real tables, a cocktail bar, and then some casual small tables near the bar area that were available on a walk-up basis.

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I sat at a small table near the bar and ordered a Honolulu Roll that was made up of tuna, avocado, cucumber, sweet chili sauce, and “crunchies”. It wasn’t cheap as it came to $17 pre-tax and tip, but it did taste pretty good and the restaurant was an easy walk from my room. There was even a guitarist performing, so you got beautiful weather, entertainment, and the sounds of the ocean in the background.

If I had another night in Maui, I wouldn’t have hesitated to eat a real meal here if I didn’t want to venture far from the resort. As an added bonus, you can earn Hyatt Gold Passport points for the meal, so that’s always an extra plus that makes everything taste that much better. 😉

Spa Moana:

I planned my spa visit for after I had to check out of my room so that I could keep enjoying the pools, ocean, etc. and still have a place to take a shower before heading to the airport for my overnight flight home. I also scheduled an oceanside massage for right before I needed to get ready to head to the airport. It was the perfect way to end my short visit to Maui. Why in the world would I want a massage in a room when I can get it next to the ocean?! The cabana is located between the pool and the ocean and was semi-private due to having the cabana. They do suggest wearing your swimsuit for this massage, and they just untied the back while working on your back.

The massage therapist lived up to the “artful” description of the massage as it felt like she was dancing with my back via her hands and arms. Not sure if that makes sense, but it was absolutely different than your standard swedish massage. I highly recommend both the artful massage and the oceanside setting. It didn’t cost any more to have the massage outdoors; it makes sense to take advantage of the location.

The spa itself was smaller than many I have visited, and wasn’t overly impressive by itself, but the view from this sitting room was worth the price of admission.


It was also very nice to have a place to shower before heading to the airport, though I certainly wouldn’t get a massage just for that reason.

Nearby Restaurant –

The hotel is about a 15-20 minute walk to Whaler’s Village shopping area which is where Leilani’s is located.  I did the very minimal amount of research on where to eat on Maui before the trip, and I ended up here to have some fish tacos after reading a few decent reviews.  This isn’t the same quality as Mama’s Fish House (which is in another part of Maui and I must visit there next time), but it was totally decent.  They have a dining room and a beachside seating area where I sat.  They also have Aloha Hour from 3-5 daily where they offer $4 drinks and sliders.

20130108-180028.jpgThe fish tacos were $15 and came with chips and salsa.  Food in Hawaii is not cheap, but this was more than enough food for me.  I loved that the restaurant was casual and laid back – the perfect spot if I would have had my kiddo with me.

20130108-180036.jpgSnorkeling at Black Rock:

My favorite thing I did in Maui was walk the 30 or so minutes to Black Rock to do some snorkeling.  This wasn’t an organized class or tour – it was just a situation where you rent a snorkel and fins and dive in.  The walk was pretty long if you have any mobility issues or have small children with you, but it was otherwise a very nice walk near the beach.  The last portion required you to either walk on the beach or through the Sheraton grounds.

You can see Black Rock at the end of the walkway jetting off into the ocean.  I didn’t actually bring my camera with me when I went snorkeling as I wasn’t going to have anywhere to store it.

It was $8 to rent a mask and fins at the Sheraton (where Black Rock is located).  I think the $8 was good for two hours, but I don’t remember for sure.  I know it was more than enough time for me to snorkel.  It was really a neat feeling to just hop in and start seeing beautiful fish swimming all around you.  The waters were pretty calm near the rock, but if you started to get out toward the point it did get a bit rougher.  I was told it is better to go pretty early in the morning before it gets more crowded later on.  I went at around 9:30AM and there were maybe a dozen others snorkeling, so there was no issue with overcrowding.  The water was not too cold in December, but it did give a slight jolt right when you went under.  I highly recommend snorkeling at Black Rock and it really was the highlight of my trip….all for just $8.

You Can Do it Too:

The Hyatt Regency Maui is a Category 6 hotel which means it requires 22,000 Hyatt points per night.  You can transfer those in from the Ultimate Rewards program via cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Plus Business Card.  This is a hotel that would be worth using your two free nights that come with the Hyatt Credit Card (make a reservation on Hyatt.com and you may get an offer for a $100 statement credit on top of the two free nights).  Some other folks have had good luck booking via a Costco travel package.  Be aware that those packages may not technically be eligible for earning Hyatt points or stay credits.  You can also just look for a good rate like the one I found for $175 a night.  That is probably not as likely during peak times like summer, but always check the rate before deciding to just use points for the whole stay.

Overall Impressions:

I very much liked the Hyatt Regency Maui and Kaanapali Beach.  I didn’t get a chance to see the luau at the Hyatt, but I have heard that is a good time as well.  I think I would have been happy staying a few more days at this hotel, but for sure would have wanted to explore more of Maui and not just stay in that one portion.  Be aware that the beach right in front of the Hyatt is not ideal for playing as there isn’t much sand, but if you head just a tad toward Black Rock you will get the large sandy beaches like the ones in the pictures above.  I saw many kids and young families everywhere, and they all seemed to be having a great time.  The pools at the Hyatt are great, and the Regency Club was also above average, so I do recommend this property – just be aware you are a decent walk from anything else along the beach.

If you want a few seconds of peace, here is what sunrise looks like from the resort.

 

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Comments

  1. Nice review of a beautiful place. I was in Maui myself in November.

    We weren’t staying at the Hyatt, but my wife and I walked over from the Sheraton. We ate outside at Japengo. When I got the bill, I noticed the line to put on my Gold Passport number to earn points for dining. I asked the waitress if she could enter that information, and she had no idea what I was talking about. She sent me to the front desk, who also were clueless. Unfortunately, despite the fact that this points for dining program prints on restaurant receipts, I later confirmed with Gold Passport that this property is not up and running with the program. That was a little annoying…

    I’m not positive if that is what you were referring to when you mentioned earning points for the meal, but just FYI.

  2. FYI-Construction will begin this year on a Hyatt time share building and facilities in the area between the Napili wing of the resort and the Marriott. Construction activity likely will affect views and peace from a number of rooms in that wing.

  3. My wife and I have been talking about heading back to Maui this year, I swear every time I turn around there is something about Maui, either one TV, the internet, or a friend talking about it, this is just further proof. Thanks. I love Maui.

    If you go back with the family I highly recommend staying in a condo in South Maui. I’ve never thought hotels were worth it on Hawaii because you have to spend sooo much money dining out three times a day. Especially if you are dining at the hotel restaurants.

  4. Great review. You did a lot in your short time there. We definitely want to visit Maui again. Hell, I’ll go to Hawaii for whatever reason!

  5. Hyatt has a small pool bar and restaurant that also serves excellent fish tacos. I’ve often seen families go there with their kids since it’s less busy in the evenings and has more child-friendly food. I think it’s called Umalu.

    Personally, the best part of the pools for me is the area next to the kids’ play area, with the flowers along the rock wall and the mosaic tile floor.

  6. I have to admit, the pictures of the fish tacos at Lelani’s made me a little jealous – that’s been one of my favorites for a quick meal when I’ve stayed at the Sheraton or Westin.

  7. Great post. I’m going in April! I’m staying at Maui eldorado timeshare. 22K hyatt points was not worth it. I paid $180 per night including a car rental. I will def check out the hotels…

  8. Checking with the hotel, the construction mentioned above is scheduled to begin in March, 2013.

    Thanks Summer for the report. Looking forward to being there in 12 days.

  9. The hotel also has a much bigger slide for bigger kids (like me). You can rent snorkel gear at several places on the island like Snorkel Bob’s for about $30 for the week! Bargain entertainment for the whole family.

  10. You can also rent paddle boards which are a lot of fun . Black rock is a great cliff jumping/diving spot as well. I lost my glasses jumping into the seven sacred pools on the east coast (google Road to Hana), and was able to rent prescription snorkel goggles which really helped see the fish. In the evening the tiger shark come in to feed out near the tip of black rock.

  11. My family stayed 4 nights at the Maui Hyatt this past March, and we loved it (much better than the Waikiki Hilton we rounded out the week in). The lanai-style common area between the hotel proper and the resort’s shopping area is beautiful, as is the tropical garden with all of the exotic birds and fish.

    A tip for tennis players that go here: You get a free hour on the resort courts, and I recommend you do that if only to get a picture of yourself playing with the palm trees and the Maui Hyatt logo in the background. But if you want to play longer, it’s really expensive there. But there are free courts in Lahaina you can use, and it’s only about a 10 minute drive. We rented racquets at West Maui Sports and Fishing Supply for just a few bucks a day. This is a great little shop in Lahaina (1287 Front Street) with cheap rentals for just about anything you’d want to have in Lahaina but can’t fit in your luggage).

  12. Brad, I meant as a guest who charged it to their room I earned points…however many hotels do now have systems in place to allow you to earn points on dining even when you aren’t a guest. Though sadly this property doesn’t seem to be one quite yet (though they are in the spa).
    http://www.hyatt.com/gp/en/offers/pon-promo.jsp
    Jetaway, very good point. Hope they manage the impact on guests as much as possible.
    Scott, I would like to try something like that in the future when there with the family. Thanks!
    InACents, you didn’t know that as a Diamond guest the resort is emptied merely because of your presence? 😉 Ha ha- waking up early was the trick.
    Mike, I try to maximize these short trips as much as I can. Paid off this time!
    Scottrick, thanks for the tip!
    Kira, it is pretty amazing.
    PointsCashMiles, sounds like time to plan another trip then. 😉
    Jamison, thank you!
    Rom, sounds like you got a good deal.
    gregorygrady, maybe we need a group trip back to Maui?!
    John, good to know and very much hope you enjoy your trip!
    Raul, I am betting we see one pop up by late Feb, but that is just a guess.
    Iain, I should have mentioned that other slide – it was closed while I was there or I would have used it myself. 😉
    Rodney, very cool!

  13. We stayed next door at the Marriott timeshare but loved Japengo so much that we ate there twice. The sushi is awesome and no so expensive if you stick to the rolls which are humongous. We always visit Leilani’s outdoor bar area (2d floor restaurant is overpriced) which has much better food than the Mama’s tourist trap (about 4x cheaper and more convenient too). $175 for the Hyatt is a steal – I’m envious. One of the best properties on Maui.

  14. Last November We stayed next door at the Marriott timeshare but loved Japengo so much that we ate there twice. The sushi is awesome and no so expensive if you stick to the rolls which are humongous. We always visit Leilani’s outdoor bar area (2d floor restaurant is overpriced) which has much better food than the Mama’s tourist trap (about 4x cheaper and more convenient too). $175 for the Hyatt is a steal – I’m envious. One of the best properties on Maui.

  15. Wonderful hotel. I visit Maui once or twice a year, each time for a week to 2 weeks, and split time in the Hyatt area along with time in Wailea. If you visit Maui again check out Wailea too. I will be at the Hyatt in February. Unlike the Westin and the one other hotel with a wonderful pool waterfall, past the Black Rock, there is no fighting for poolside chairs at the Hyatt as so many chairs (I hate getting up at 8 am and finding that the few good chairs at pool already have towels on them). You did not mention all the pretty exotic birds on location at the Hyatt. I adore the warm water penguins…Maui at a resort…paradise

    • Mike, shame on me for forgetting to include the birds. They were spectacular. I have a great video of the penguins making their noise at sunrise!

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