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Where to Stay: Kaanapali

According to its boosters, Kaanapali was the world's first master planned resort. It opened in the 1960s and is still going strong. Kaanapali beach was rated #1 in 2003 by Dr. Beach (nice gig there, Doc, do you need an assistant?). I wouldn't go quite that far, but it is pretty nice. All of the big boys are here: Westin, Sheraton, Hyatt and Mariott amongst others.

There's even a mall, Whaler's Village that has pretty much everything you'd expect. There's your standard ABC Store to buy inflatable rafts that your kids will either lose or break in two days, a bunch of over-priced restaurants with nice views (it is Hawaii after all) and your art stores selling expensive paintings of every-day dolphins frolicking in the moonlight

Personally, I find the area a little corporate and sanitized, but frequently, that's not a bad thing for families. Especially if road-warrior parents have some frequent guest points to burn, consider some of these resorts. The resorts are close together and there's a path you can walk along, so you may be able to avoid getting into a car. Also, most of these larger resorts have special kids programs where you can dump the kid for the day so you can lounge on the beach and drink cocktails your children can make new friends and have the time of their life.

I've never actually stayed at any of these places, but someone that looks like me may have once tried to sneak into some of the pools here so the reviews here may be skewed by the friendliness of the security professionals at these resorts:

Hyatt Regency Maui

Let's review some of the aquatic features Hyatt pitches:

  • Half acre in size.
  • Children's pool with sand bottom, slide and tide pools that "fill and drain to simulate ocean currents."
  • Two free-form swimming pools with a secret (HELLO, secret, how cool is that) swim-up underwater cave and bar underneath two waterfalls.
  • 150-foot, enclosed, lava tube water slide
  • Rope bridge

I don't know about you, but I'd sleep in a burlap sack if I could spend the day playing in these pools.

Westin Maui

Here's the description from Westin's website about their pool area: "87,000 square-foot pool area featuring five swimming pools, two water slides, a swim-through grotto with twin waterfalls and a hidden Whirlpool." You might be noticing a theme here by now. You know that dad that's always a little more excited than his kids to be going down the waterslide? Uh, yeah, that's me. Please try not to make too much fun of me.

Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas

Not to get too heavy into the Westins, but this is a brand-new suite/condo development. We looked to stay there last time we were on the island, but it's pretty pricey. The advantage, however, is that you have an actual bedroom that the kids can sleep in so that you can stay up past 8 PM. I'll have to get you an update on the pool situation a little later. :-)