Which Island and Hotel Should I Choose in Hawaii?
TPG reader Matthew emailed me to ask about hotel options in Hawaii:
“I'm thinking of taking my wife to Hawaii, and wanted to know which you think is better: The Andaz Maui or the St. Regis Princeville?”
I've had good experiences at both the Andaz Maui and the St. Regis Princeville, and I'm sure you'll enjoy a stay at either one. If I were spending a week in Hawaii and had to pick one of the two, I'd take the Andaz, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should. There's no shortage of excellent resort properties in the Hawaiian Islands, and I think choosing between them depends more on the kind of experience you're looking for than on the relative quality of each hotel.
The St. Regis Princeville could use some renovation, but the location and scenery are absolutely stunning. The area is tranquil, and it's a great setting for a romantic getaway even though weather on the north shore of Kauai is hit or miss. It feels a little remote, but not totally isolated since there's a lot to explore nearby.
The Andaz Maui is definitely more modern: The rooms and amenities are impeccable, and the property is well designed. Like Maui (and especially Wailea) in general, this hotel has a bit more of a family vibe. However, it's still intimate, and doesn't feel overwhelming or crowded like the Grand Wailea down the road.
If you're weighing your award options, neither property is a no-brainer. The St. Regis Princeville is a Category 7 SPG property, with rooms from around $500 or 30,000 points per night. That's an okay award redemption if you're getting the fifth night free; otherwise I'd say it's below average, but not terrible. The Category 6 Andaz offers better value in theory, with rooms starting from around $500 or 25,000 points per night. However, the property uses inventory tricks that limit award space, so finding availability can be frustratingly difficult.
Again, those aren't your only good hotel options in Hawaii. For example, the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua is another exquisite property and a relative bargain for award stays. Rooms go for 60,000 points per night, which equates to just 20,000 Starpoints per night now that you can transfer freely between the two programs.
For more on hotel options and award travel in Hawaii, check out these posts:
- 6 Incredible Days in Kauai on Points & Miles
- A Trip to Maui and the Big Island on Points and Miles
- Hawaii's Most Amazing Hotel Pools