Aloha Luxury at Royal Lahaina Resort, Maui

white sand of Kaanapali BeachThe Aloha spirit of Hawaii lives large at the oceanfront Royal Lahaina Resort. Located on Kaanapali Beach, the luxury resort is perfect for a self-contained vacation; you’ll never need to leave the resort. However, it’s also well situated for driving to nearby Lahaina Town (or hop on the resort shuttle) as well as serving as a home base for day trips around the island of Maui. Nearby are golf courses, museums, restaurants and bars, more beaches, and everything you’d expect when you’re vacationing in paradise.

It had been a couple of decades since I had visited the Royal Lahaina and I was curious to see what had changed (everything in the resort) and what hadn’t (the beach, the ocean, and the aloha spirit).

The 451 room, 12-story Lahaina Kai Tower’s decor gives a nod to island culture with teak furniture, locally-inspired artwork, a subdued tropical color palette. It hits it just right – complementing the glistening white sand beach, lush foliage, and sparkling ocean, rather than competing.

There are two options about where to stay at the Royal Lahaina – The Tower and the Beach Cottages – and you’ll then make your room location from there.

In the Tower, partial ocean views are available from rooms on floors 3-5, with the higher-priced deluxe and ocean view rooms on the higher floors. All suites have ocean views and are located on every floor. Rooms have feather top beds, refrigerators, coffee makers, and upscale bathroom amenities. Wi-fi is free. Spring for the view, if it fits the budget, you will spend time in your room – having morning coffee or a nightcap on the lanai is an integral part of the experience for me.

The one and two-story Beach Cottages are sprawled about it the resort’s tropical gardens and have views of either the gardens or the ocean. The cottages are going through an upgrade, so there is limited availability, but if you’re traveling with a family, the additional privacy makes this an ideal option.

the torch lighting ceremony at royal lahaina resort on maui

Resort amenities are extensive: three pools (two of which are oceanfront), two hot tubs (one of which is oceanfront), tennis courts and pro shop, bocce ball court, shuffleboard, beach activity center offering equipment rentals, fitness center, snorkeling, cabana rentals, and more. A variety of crafts and activities are offered on-site, check with the activities desk for a schedule, and championship golf courses are in the neighborhood. And a stop off for a massage at the Alana Spa eases me right into vacation mode.

A variety of crafts and activities are also offered on-site, check with the activities desk for a schedule.

While sun and ocean breezes can nourish the soul, a girl’s gotta eat! There are five food and beverage options at Royal Lahaina.

  • Royal Ocean Terrace is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers casual, open-air dining. The happy hour menu has great discounts on appetizers and drinks (I liked the sliders). There’s a nightly torch lighting ceremony, along with Hawaiian music and dancing.
  • Myths of Maui Luau is a food, music, and dance extravaganza offered nightly. The all-you-can-eat buffet features a roasted pig, cooked in the ground, and includes cocktails, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages. The luau is an expensive add on, it’s currently priced at $109/adults and $48/kids with a premium upgrade available, but it’s something you should do at least once on your vacation in Hawaii.
  • Beach Bar has a selection of classic and tropical cocktails. You’ll probably want one if you’re spending time by the pool. While I’m not a big mai tai fan, I usually have to have at least one umbrella drink every time I visit Hawaii. Try the pina colada.
  • Royal Scoop offers more than just ice cream, although the ice cream is pretty darned tasty. You can also pick up breakfast pastries, coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, and other snacks.
  • Royal Trading Company is a combination gift shop and marketplace. Pick up a bottle of wine and some gourmet snacks to enjoy on your lanai.

wine and view of the pacific ocean

For many visitors to the islands, it’s a once in a lifetime trip. The Royal Lahaina lets you splash out in luxury, spring for a few nice extras, all without breaking the bank. That’s wonderful aloha.

The Royal Lahaina Resort is located at  2780 Kekaa Drive, about 15 minutes from the Kapalua Airport (JHM) and a little over an hour from the Kahului Airport (OGG). Rates start around $235/night. Some rates include breakfast. Join their Royal Rewards program to get some value-added benefits. Parking is $15/day for self-park and $21/day for valet. You can also comapre rates at Expedia or Hotels.com.

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