Monday, August 30, 2010
THE NAPILI KAI BEACH RESORT...
Nestled safely off of Highway 30 (and just a bit north of the only McDonalds I remember seeing on this side of the island) is a tropical paradise known as the Napili Kai Beach Resort. When seeing this place for the first time, don't let it's relaxed atmosphere and seemingly simple decor fool you. This well kept secret houses activities for all tastes, including the beautiful white sand beach of Napili Bay. Here you will find some of the island's best swimming and snorkeling in waters that are protected from the strong winds and currents. I do feel it's necessary to pass along another one of my warnings: don't let yourself grow complacent when going for a swim in these sparkling clear waters. The waves are bigger than they look from shore; the water gets deep relatively quickly and the undertow is well capable of pulling even the strongest of individuals down into the water (I know this because I decided to take a swim and think I ended up falling down more than I was able to stand up, thanks to the unseen underwater current). That being said, go for it! If you didn't bring your own snorkeling gear, I believe you can rent some at the hotel or even at the nearby Maui Dive Shop. For those who desire a more peaceful way to enjoy the great Maui outdoors, there's a golf course nearby and the hotel offers 2 18 hole putting greens. There's always a trip to the spa for the ladies, planned activities for the kids, and plenty of great food! The Napili Kai boasts one of Maui's few true ocean front dining experiences at the open air Sea House Restaurant. I can personally attest to their delicious breakfast menu and it's as close to actually dining on the beach as you can get short of a picnic basket and cooler. Oh...and don't forget the hula lessons. Back in 1985, Hawaiian educator, George Kanahele began the integration of Hawaiian values into the hotels and such commonplace things as hula lessons were taken seriously. Each resort now employees a kuma hula, a hula teacher, to instruct the hotel guests. This push to incorporate the Hawaiian value of unconditional love, also known as aloha, is what I feel has made the level of service you receive at resorts such as the Napili Kai something you will remember long after you return home.
I contacted the Napili Kai and requested that I be allowed to include a photo or two from their website in this blog to give the readers a better idea of what to expect. Since I have not heard back from their sales department yet, I will only be including some of my own pictures of the grounds and the view from my private patio. I think I should add this bit of humor before the pictures, however. After a very long day of traveling from Tampa, Florida, when my sister and I were shown to our room, as we stood in the foyer, trying to let the fact that we were actually in Maui sink in, the first words out of my sister's mouth were "how are we going to do this without air conditioning?" It was then that I realized that the room was equipped with a ceiling fan, two very large glass doors with wooden blinds that could be pulled for privacy but designed to let air flow through, and the same kind of wood structure on the room door. Turns out, ac was never needed nor missed. At night, the trade winds blew through the room and we actually had to sleep with a thin blanket. So..don't panic if you discover your room has no air conditioning. I seriously doubt you'll even miss it. Now...on to a few pictures of the grounds:
And here are a few of the view from our private patio. We use to sit out there every morning and have our Kona coffee and try to watch the sun come up. It gets light very, very early on Maui and dark just as early each evening, so plan accordingly. We were usually up by 5:30am and in bed by 8pm.
Molakai at sunrise, across the ocean
As I've said, don't let the "simpleness" of these grounds fool you. The Napili Kai Beach Resort has everything the bigger hotels have to offer and then some, in my humble opinion. If you prefer monster hotels with crowds and the typical "Maui" scene, head south a few miles to the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. I do suggest a trip to this property just to walk the 40 acre grounds. My sister and I attended our first luau there and it was certainly beautiful. I personally prefer the "homey" feel of the smaller resorts such as the Napili Kai, complete with it's kitchenette, coffee maker and refrigerator. As for the service, it was outstanding...just enough to take care of you during your stay without being intrusive. The staff was welcoming and friendly. The beds felt wonderful after a full day of being outside. It has been said that a trip to Maui is like a vacation for all your senses. It's like nothing you've ever experienced and it will be remembered for many years to come. One of my favorite such memories is of how each night, the rain would finally make it over the West Maui Mountains and I'd lay in bed, feeling the warm trade winds caress my body as I listened to the soft rain falling outside my door, greeting the tropical foliage that waited patiently for those drops each day. I can say without a doubt that if I'm given the chance, I will stay at the Napili Kai again, gladly. Aloha!