Hotel Review: The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa (Part 2)
In December I was fortunate enough to spend roughly 24 hours in Maui. Clearly that is not anywhere remotely near enough time to really experience the island, but I made the most of the time that I had. In Part 1 of my review, I covered the room, Regency Club, and basics of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. In this post I am going to cover the on-site spa, the beautiful pools, the on-site Japengo restaurant, another nearby restaurant where I ate, and some snorkeling that is within walking distance of the hotel. This is a part of Maui that hosts many different resorts, and is a popular spot for miles and points junkies. Feel free to chime in the comments sections with your own impressions and recommendations for the Kaanapali Beach portion of Maui.
A highlight of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa has to be the pools. They are all located just feet from the ocean, and they are breathtaking. In December I had no trouble getting a seat, and they were pretty proactive about clearing off seats that weren't were left with just a towel or something in them for a prolonged period of time. Apologies for the slight photo overload with the pools, but I just loved them.
While kids could go anywhere in the pool complex, there was a section that was intended for kids that had tons of fun things to do and a little water slide. The water features weren't on when I took these photos pretty early in the morning, but did get turned on later in the day.
While the water temperature in the pools was pretty comfortable, I had a strong preference for just crawling into the hot tub!
Who doesn't want a "Swiss Family Robinson" style bridge going over their pool?
Here's another shot of the kid play area before all of the feature were turned on.
So peaceful just looking at the photos!
There was a "grotto bar" that offers a good way to have some drinks without getting sunburned. There was also a restroom pretty close by in the grotto.
I think the pool complex at the nearby Westin Maui Resort and Spa might be even a touch more amazing than the Hyatt pools, but this was still incredible. Be aware if you want to get away from kids at the Hyatt, that there is not an actual adult pool.
Here is a pretty good overview of the resort as you look out toward the ocean. Off to the right is the grotto, Japengo, and then (off screen) to the right of that is the children's pool area.
The night I got to the Hyatt I was a little hungry, but not hungry enough to warrant another full blown meal. Luckily the on-site restaurant Japengo had available tables and had sushi rolls that were the perfect amount of food. Japengo has a sushi bar, real tables, a cocktail bar, and then some casual small tables near the bar area that were available on a walk-up basis.
I sat at a small table near the bar and ordered a Honolulu Roll that was made up of tuna, avocado, cucumber, sweet chili sauce, and "crunchies". It wasn't cheap as it came to $17 pre-tax and tip, but it did taste pretty good and the restaurant was an easy walk from my room. There was even a guitarist performing, so you got beautiful weather, entertainment, and the sounds of the ocean in the background.
If I had another night in Maui, I wouldn't have hesitated to eat a real meal here if I didn't want to venture far from the resort. As an added bonus, you can earn Hyatt Gold Passport points for the meal, so that's always an extra plus that makes everything taste that much better. ;)
I planned my spa visit for after I had to check out of my room so that I could keep enjoying the pools, ocean, etc. and still have a place to take a shower before heading to the airport for my overnight flight home. I also scheduled an oceanside massage for right before I needed to get ready to head to the airport. It was the perfect way to end my short visit to Maui. Why in the world would I want a massage in a room when I can get it next to the ocean?! The cabana is located between the pool and the ocean and was semi-private due to having the cabana. They do suggest wearing your swimsuit for this massage, and they just untied the back while working on your back.
The massage therapist lived up to the "artful" description of the massage as it felt like she was dancing with my back via her hands and arms. Not sure if that makes sense, but it was absolutely different than your standard swedish massage. I highly recommend both the artful massage and the oceanside setting. It didn't cost any more to have the massage outdoors; it makes sense to take advantage of the location.
The spa itself was smaller than many I have visited, and wasn't overly impressive by itself, but the view from this sitting room was worth the price of admission.
It was also very nice to have a place to shower before heading to the airport, though I certainly wouldn't get a massage just for that reason.
Nearby Restaurant -
The hotel is about a 15-20 minute walk to Whaler's Village shopping area which is where Leilani's is located. I did the very minimal amount of research on where to eat on Maui before the trip, and I ended up here to have some fish tacos after reading a few decent reviews. This isn't the same quality as Mama's Fish House (which is in another part of Maui and I must visit there next time), but it was totally decent. They have a dining room and a beachside seating area where I sat. They also have Aloha Hour from 3-5 daily where they offer $4 drinks and sliders.
The fish tacos were $15 and came with chips and salsa. Food in Hawaii is not cheap, but this was more than enough food for me. I loved that the restaurant was casual and laid back - the perfect spot if I would have had my kiddo with me.
Snorkeling at Black Rock:
My favorite thing I did in Maui was walk the 30 or so minutes to Black Rock to do some snorkeling. This wasn't an organized class or tour - it was just a situation where you rent a snorkel and fins and dive in. The walk was pretty long if you have any mobility issues or have small children with you, but it was otherwise a very nice walk near the beach. The last portion required you to either walk on the beach or through the Sheraton grounds.
You can see Black Rock at the end of the walkway jetting off into the ocean. I didn't actually bring my camera with me when I went snorkeling as I wasn't going to have anywhere to store it.
It was $8 to rent a mask and fins at the Sheraton (where Black Rock is located). I think the $8 was good for two hours, but I don't remember for sure. I know it was more than enough time for me to snorkel. It was really a neat feeling to just hop in and start seeing beautiful fish swimming all around you. The waters were pretty calm near the rock, but if you started to get out toward the point it did get a bit rougher. I was told it is better to go pretty early in the morning before it gets more crowded later on. I went at around 9:30AM and there were maybe a dozen others snorkeling, so there was no issue with overcrowding. The water was not too cold in December, but it did give a slight jolt right when you went under. I highly recommend snorkeling at Black Rock and it really was the highlight of my trip....all for just $8.
You Can Do it Too:
The Hyatt Regency Maui is a Category 6 hotel which means it requires 22,000 Hyatt points per night. You can transfer those in from the Ultimate Rewards program via cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Plus Business Card. This is a hotel that would be worth using your two free nights that come with the Hyatt Credit Card (make a reservation on Hyatt.com and you may get an offer for a $100 statement credit on top of the two free nights). Some other folks have had good luck booking via a Costco travel package. Be aware that those packages may not technically be eligible for earning Hyatt points or stay credits. You can also just look for a good rate like the one I found for $175 a night. That is probably not as likely during peak times like summer, but always check the rate before deciding to just use points for the whole stay.
I very much liked the Hyatt Regency Maui and Kaanapali Beach. I didn't get a chance to see the luau at the Hyatt, but I have heard that is a good time as well. I think I would have been happy staying a few more days at this hotel, but for sure would have wanted to explore more of Maui and not just stay in that one portion. Be aware that the beach right in front of the Hyatt is not ideal for playing as there isn't much sand, but if you head just a tad toward Black Rock you will get the large sandy beaches like the ones in the pictures above. I saw many kids and young families everywhere, and they all seemed to be having a great time. The pools at the Hyatt are great, and the Regency Club was also above average, so I do recommend this property - just be aware you are a decent walk from anything else along the beach.
If you want a few seconds of peace, here is what sunrise looks like from the resort.