When your Hawaii vacation budget doesn’t stretch quite so far as to include a full-service luxury resort, but you still want a nice comfortable place to stay, the Maui Coast Hotel in Kihei gives you a great location at an affordable luxury price.
I first stayed in Kihei a couple decades ago, long before the grand development of nearby Wailea. It was a blip of a town, passed by en route to more lavish resorts in Lahaina and Kaanapali. It’s still a small town, now much more than a blip in the road, but it is still overshadowed or overlooked by its neighbors. Kihei has affordable – although not cheap – accommodations. You’ll get more for your money and still be close to the beach.
The 6-story, 265-room Maui Coast is located down the block from Kamaole Beach Park in Kihei. Kamaole is actually three beaches of postcard-perfect soft powdery white sand and clear blue water. It’s great for swimming and snorkeling and also has trees that create a shady picnic area. All three beaches are popular with locals, so they can get crowded, but this location makes the Maui Coast one of the best choices in Kihei.
Rooms at the Maui Coast are spacious and modern, although fairly non-descriptive, and feature flat-screen televisions, microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers with local coffee, and private lanais. Suites have a living area with sink and wet bar. Wifi is free. Complimentary laundry facilities are available on selected floors.
Upgrade to a view room on a higher floor and you can enjoy ocean views from your lanai. My last stay was in a suite, but my lanai came with a view of the parking lot. Still, a greenbelt area on the side made it quiet enough that I didn’t mind sitting out there to enjoy the warm weather and finish up some work. The beach view, though, would have been much better.
The lobby is spacious and open and decorated in rattan and tropical print. The front side of the lobby is open to the outdoors and sitting in the common area almost feels like sitting outside. A water dispenser is replenished frequently, usually infused with fruit. The activity desk can book things for you, although you’ll likely find better prices by booking independently, and a gift shop that has a selection of clothing in addition to the usual snacks and toiletries.
The pool is across the drive-through entry and has loungers and an adjacent pool bar. There is music nightly and a good happy hour with daily food and drink specials. The pool area is fairly small, especially when stacked up against the pool areas at the mega-resorts, but I’ve always been able to snag a lounge chair and there is a lively camaraderie during happy hour.
Maui Coast has bikes available to check out and two tennis courts. A complimentary shuttle will take guests to nearby Kihei and Wailea beaches, shopping, and restaurants, although much is available a short walk away. You can get good advice from the front desk, and the shuttle drivers will also let you know some of their favorites. You’ll want a car for exploring further afield, but I usually just walk to the beach and nearby restaurants.
Ami Ami restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with both indoor and outdoor patio dining. It also provides the food for the pool bar and grill. I’ve only eaten here for breakfast, which had a fairly typical menu. The service was excellent and the staff was helpful in sharing some of their favorite things to do in the area.
Food tip: There are a couple of popular food trucks in the area and I often pick up something and head back to eat on the lanai. Both are within walking distance; ask at the front desk for directions. While you’re out walking during the day, stop by one of the shave ice stands for an afternoon refresher.
The Maui Coast is located at 2259 South Kihei Road, Kihei, on the island of Maui. Rates start about $225/night during off peak season and start at around $450 during peak travel times. There is a $25 resort fee. Parking is free. You can also check rates and book through Priceline or Hotels.com.
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