Of all the tropical destinations out there, Hawaii is one of my favorites, especially because there are direct flights to all four of the main islands from Seattle. Just last month, I escaped the rainy spring weather and booked a flight to Maui, where I stayed at the absolutely stunning Kaanapali Beach Hotel . It was the perfect relaxing getaway full of sunshine, delicious food, beach time, and Hawaiian cultural activities. Kaanapali is one of the most beautiful areas in Maui, and I cannot recommend this hotel enough!
When visiting the island of Maui, Kaanapali Beach Hotel (“KBH”) is the place to stay. Situated on the world-famous Kaanapali Beach, this stunning beachfront hotel is truly a gem. KBH offers all of the thoughtful amenities that you would want at a resort in Hawaii—ocean views, spacious rooms, an on-site restaurant and open-air bar, a whale-shaped swimming pool, private beach access, and water sports. However, what really sets KBH apart is their dedication to preserving and honoring Hawaiian culture.
Officially recognized as “Hawaii’s Most Hawaiian Hotel”, KBH offers daily cultural classes, including hula, ukulele, Hawaiian language lessons, lei making, beautiful and informative garden walks, and more. KBH embodies the Hawaiian meaning of hospitality, “ho’okipa,” and you can truly feel the aloha spirit during your stay. Weaving together Hawaiian heritage and their local lifestyle, KBH cares for their guests in many thoughtful, personal ways.
During my stay, I encountered many guests who were repeat visitors who choose to come back to KBH again and again. On the last day of my stay at KBH, I had the honor of participating in a lei kukui farewell ceremony, where I received a special lei to keep.
Eat + Drink
For unmatched views of the Pacific Ocean, you’ve got to check out KBH’s on-site restaurant, Huihui. Executive Chef Tom Muromoto has created a menu integrating traditional Hawaiian cuisine with modern flavors and fresh local produce.
Huihui means “star constellation” or ” to join, intermingle, mix” and is the perfect venue for gathering to try innovative, fresh island cuisine and sip on handcrafted tropical cocktails while enjoying panoramic ocean views. The relaxed, open-air atmosphere is designed to honor the Hawaiian tradition of wayfinding. Utilizing local produce, seafood, venison, and flavors is a priority in creating dishes that reflect Hawaiian cuisine and cooking methods.
Huihui is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and also has a bar that is open throughout the day. I had the pleasure of visiting Huihui for breakfast and dinner, both of which were absolutely delicious. For breakfast, I recommend the poi French toast with coconut syrup, the loco moco, or the classic Huihui breakfast, which is the chef’s take on avocado toast with two poached eggs, makawao avocado, arugula, lomi kamano (salted salmon), pickled seaweed, and chili pepper sauce.
For dinner, I suggest starting with a few cocktails and appetizers. You really can’t go wrong, but the island fish carpaccio and steamed lobster dumplings were my favorites. Huihui also offers delights like crispy fried pork belly and a venison poke. Huihui has an excellent selection of salads and entrees, some of my favorites were the Short Rib Luau (slow braised in coconut milk and taro leaf) and the Fish Lawalu (inspired by the traditional lawalu cooking method of wrapping the fish in banana lead and grilling it). For dessert, the banana bread ice cream sandwich is so delicious!
As previously mentioned, one of the things that sets KBH apart from other hotels is their commitment to preserving and celebrating Hawaiian culture. KBH offers daily cultural classes through their Kawenaokeao Cultural Center, and all classes are complimentary for hotel guests. Take a hula dance class, learn about the history of the Hawaiian language, learn a few chords on the ukelele, take a lei making class, or learn how to weave. There are so many cultural classes offered, the possibilities are endless!
Just recently, KBH launched its new Kukui Package, a one-of-a-kind immersive cultural journey. This enlightening experience highlights Hawaii’s rich, natural heritage and cultural legacy, and is available exclusively through the hotel. Guests will experience a one-of-a-kind curated itinerary that provides a true immersion into Hawaiian culture, from cultural classes at KBH, to behind-the-scenes, illuminating experiences with cultural counterparts, Old Lahaina Lūʻau and Maui Ocean Center. Click here for more information and pricing.
KBH also offers ocean activities, including a snorkel tour to Pu’u Keka’a as well as SUP lessons. Guests can rent cabanas, body boards, snorkel gear, and more on site.
Other activities that are must-dos while in Maui are driving the Road to Hana (make sure to book a suitable rental car or do it as a tour), visiting Haleakalā National Park, taking a sunset sail, and attending a luau. It’s also fun to visit the nearby town of Lahaina and explore the shops and restaurants over there.