Ringing in the New Year in Maui…

We wrapped up Christmas in Dallas and headed to Maui, HI to escape freezing rain and cold temperatures.  It had been over 15 years since Jen and I had visited Maui and the first time for the kids (who had previously been in Oahu).  The goal was to get some fresh ocean air, do lots of swimming and eat yummy fresh sea food.  Maui didn’t disappoint for our goals but traffic sure did.  Time to/from the airport from our hotel the Westin Nanea Villas averaged 2 hours in each direction for a whopping 18 miles of travel.  Maui needs to  curtail its growth or figure out a better way to move visitors around.

As an SPG Platinum member @spglife @spg I got an invitation to come and preview the new Villas at Nanea.  So here is the good and the bad about the @WestinNanea:

The good: great family friendly rooms with lots of space and amenities.  Having just opened over the Summer, the rooms were clean, furniture was modern and comfortable, and the lanai was a great place to start your day with coffee and end with a glass of wine. The main restaurant Mauka Makai was delicious and one of the better meals we had on the island (others included the Monkey Pod, Lahiana Fish Market, Hula Grill), but they do have a very limited wine list for those looking for a decent bottle of wine.  Mauka Makai does allow for your to bring your own wine for a modest corkage fee, and I highly recommend you do that when dining at the hotel.

The bad: Service, property maintenance and Service. We knew going in to our stay that the @WestinNanea doesn’t extend benefits to SPG members at the same level as non villa properties, but what we didn’t expect was the lack of service around the resort pool coupled with the lack of cleaning of the pool area.  Garbage, soda cans, empty drink glasses, food containers and other unrecognizable items remained scattered around the resort and pool area for most of our stay.  (And, to be crystal clear, we had the same cabana every day and saw the SAME garbage the entire stay.  This wasn’t new garbage showing up after the old had been cleaned.) They cleaned the area around our cabana only after I complained (and all they cleaned was my immediate area).  The resort was also plagued by a lack of service for food and beverages around the pool with most guests just giving up.  A lost opportunity over the busiest season to differentiate themselves as a resort members want to buy into.

Further complicating matters, the Nanea staff told us at check in that we could use facilities at ALL of the Westin properties up and down Ka’anapali, and specifically mentioned use of all facilities at the Westin Resort and the Sheraton Resort.  A shuttle that ran continuously between all of the properties was also available.  However, when we arrived at the Westin, visiting friends from Phoenix that were also in town, we were denied access to use to the pool, with the pool manager stating that they “call the Nanea once a week to explain the policy.”  After a brief discussion, they let us use the facilities, but not the relaxing start to the morning we had anticipated.  We also had issues using the day room to shower before departure that had been promised, as they do not allow late check out at the Nanea facility.  It took nearly 30 minutes and a discussion with the difficult to find Nanea property manager to get us the room that had been promised only a few hours earlier.

All in all, we would still count this as a successful vacation, and one we enjoyed tremendously.  It is always good to relax on Maui, and ringing in the New Year in Hawaii and missing the Texas tundra was very much appreciated.  The Westin Nanea offers great benefits to those that want a condo stay, but as guests that are used to resort amenities, it wasn’t quite what we were looking for.

Lest you think that we’re going to sit still and let moss grow under our feet now that the new year has begun…up next, Madrid in 8 days…

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