I'm in the process of planning a trip to Maui with the family. My wife, my 16 year-old daughter, my 8 year-old son and myself will be traveling.
This is my first attempt to utilize my Marriott rewards for a vacation of this size. I do a great deal of traveling, as part of my job, so I also have a significant amount of airline miles available for use so I'm wondering if anyone can help with providing some direction or assistance in finding the best, most economical way to either use my Marriott Rewards solely or by combining rewards (airline & hotel) to cover a trip to HI, preferably Maui.
Secondly, if you have any recommendations for specific resorts in Maui, that would be great too.
Thanks in advance!
Sounds like a great vacation! I LOVE Maui (I live on Oahu), but it is a rather pricey place to visit. I'm not familiar with redeeming Marriott Rewards for complete vacation packages, so I cannot comment there. As far as Marriott properties on-island, they have the Residence Inn Wailea, the Wailea Beach Marriott, the Courtyard Kahului Airport, the MVC in Kaanapali, and the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua.
Wailea is a luxury resort, and while I'm not a fan of the Wailea Beach Marriott, they did recently complete a top-to-bottom renovation. The Residence Inn is a brand new hotel that opened in late 2016. Wailea itself is fairly far from much of the tourist sights in the Lahaina Kaanapali region, but is much closer to Haleakala National Park, Up Country (Makawao/Kula), and the Road to Hana. The Courtyard Kahului is smack dab in the middle of the island, making it the perfect base of operations for exploring, but it is just a Courtyard located across from a Costco. The Courtyard and the Wailea properties, I should note, are not beach front. The Wailea Beach Marriott is near a beach, but it does not have a beach immediately in front of it.
If a beach Marriott is what you want, then the Marriott Vacation Club in Kaanapali is your best bet, and puts you in the middle of it all really. The Ritz-Carlton is in the luxurious Kapalua Resort, but it's kind of out in the boonies and isn't exactly beachfront either.
On the Starwood end of things, theres a couple of Westins in Kaanapali, as well as a Sheraton. My family used to stay at the Sheraton a lot, and I love snorkeling at Black Rock, which is right in front of the Sheraton. Great beach location. My parents really liked the Westin Kaanapali when they stayed a couple of years ago.
That being said, (if you don't mind me asking) how many points do you have to play with, what airline(s) do you have points with, what other hotel program do you have points with. I ask because the best family hotels, in my opinion, on Maui are the Grand Wailea (Hilton) and the Hyatt Regency Kaanapali. The Grand Wailea has a CRAZY pool system with tons of unique features for kids, a swim up bar for the adults, and the largest spa in Hawaii. The Hyatt Regency has a nice pool with a slide and swinging bridge. It is beachfront too, but the beach isn't quite a big as it is by the Sheraton Maui.
Ultimately where you stay depends on what you want to do, too. Let us know what you want to do when on island (relax by the pool all day, go out and explore, sunrise, etc.) and we can give more specific details.
Not a lot of starting data to go off here OP. Your starting location? Budget? Island preference? Style of trip - lay on beach, activities, snorkeling, hiking, etc? Some go to HI to sit in the sand, some go to explore the million adventures out there. Thus, difference between Maui and Oahu and Kauai. Hard to make true complete recommendations knowing almost nothing about these data sets beforehand. Huge variance in options with Hawaii.
FWIW: Wife and I did the Ritz in Kapalua this fall, and it was amazing. But it is $$$$$ and a bit north from the action. Not sure I recommend it based on the price with kids if you'd need 3-4 beds. But the resort is insane and short walk down the property to beach, very private. You need a car in Maui anyway so being 10m north of other areas is not really a big deal. You are close enough to Napili and Kaanapali Beaches. Worth the money, but perhaps more so as a couple and not family.
If it's definitely Maui, you best options are probably the Maui Ocean Club and the Sheraton. The latter may require transferring MR points to SPG. Of the two, I'd pick the Sheraton as it has a slightly better location and much better beach. The beach at the Ocean Club is not much more than small strip of sand. You'll also probably need to reserve a villa at the Ocean Club which can be difficult, though not impossible, to do using points.
kharada46's information on the other options on Maui are outstanding.
If you're not firmly fixed on Maui, I'd suggest my favorite hotel in Hawaii, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island. I'll share what I posted about it previously in case you are interested.
You'll have no problem getting great advice about Hawaii from quite a few folks on this site. Keep us posted as you plan your trip and be sure to share some pictures once you get back.
Now come on bejacob don't be a "B Downer". Ka'anapali Beach is awesome and not simply a "small strip of sand", it's pretty good sized or at least was on our last visit to Maui some five years ago.
Have a friend who stays every year at the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas and loves them.
Yes the Ritz is wonderful and if you can find a way to get into the Marriott Ocean Club Lahaina/Napili Towers using points they are very nice.
Keep us updated please rewardsrookie17 and welcome to Insiders. Hope you'll share some of your travel experiences as well.
The Sheraton has a great luau as well. You can even opt for a "Cocktails Only Package" if you just want to enjoy the show and a drink (or five ). http://www.sheraton-maui.com/dining/sunsetluau.
It's an easy walk back to the MVC along the shore even after enjoying the show.
The Sheraton has a nice poolside bar as well. If the luau and pool bar don't convince you IAHFLYR nothing will.
That is sad to read AZDesertRat, but thanks for the info. Reminds me of Cancun after a hurricane took most of the beach away years back. Why the most beautiful beaches though?
I stayed at the new Residence in Wailea for 5 nights for only 120K points. Was upgraded to a 2 bedroom suite overlooking the pool and ocean with a balcony. They have a free shuttle that takes you to the local beaches/places within like 5 miles. Although you can easily walk to the Shops, and beach. They have a very good complimentary hot breakfast, everything is new. Only thing i had to pay for was parking. Also if you want to rent a car the concierge recommended a local car rental called Kihei rent-a-car. The cars are older models like 2010 but look new and was a fraction of what we had paid with hertz and all those larger companies. They also have a shuttle that can pick you up from the airport and take you back once you return it. This was a budget trip so the free breakfast, no resort fees and the low amount of points allowed us to save some cash and use it towards other activities.
I just came back from a rewards trip to Wailea as well but it was 120k for 3 nights there. They gave us a ocean front suite which was great. But then the surcharges start coming $30.00 a day resort fee $25.00 a day parking fee. And I am a platinum member. In my opinion nothing beats this hotel though two pools that look right over the ocean. But i would be curious what are the facilities like at the residence inn and does the shuttle take you down to the marriot and do you get charge privlages down at the marriot. If that was the case I will just stay at the residence inn next time I am in Wailea.
The facility is brand new and by far the best residence inn ive stayed at. The shuttle is able to take you to any part like beaches, the shops, restaurants and other hotels as well at no charge. Only drawback is that shuttle is first come first serve so you might have to wait a couple minutes for it to get back. The most we waited was about 15 minutes since everything is so close.
Maui would be our (my) pick. Using Rewards points is somewhat easy. However, while I'm partial to timeshare locations-especially with family a/k/a kids- it might be a hard "catch" as timeshare owners at Maui Ocean Club get priority over "points". And cash gets priority over "points". So I agree that the next best option would be the new Residence Inn In the town of Wailea. We were in Maui at MOC over Thanksgiving. We did drive by the RI location one day. Looks really nice. Not sure if this is a first trip to Hawaii for the family or how long you're staying, so please be sure to do as much research as you can...remembering you're not going to be able to see/do everything on this trip. Where ever you stay in Maui...you will need a car.
If your thinking of using MR points for air and "hotel" make sure you utilize the travel package. Both United and American have been offering a 10% bonus to the points deposited. (120,000 becomes 132,000.) It may help with one or two tickets round trip in coach-depending on where you're flying from and when you're planning travel. Those seats book up fast. Personally, for a group of 4, if you can afford it buy the tickets (on your Marriott card) and collect MR points and airline points too (for the trip) Hope this helps.
You might even try calling the Marriott Rewards customer service phone number (on the back of your credit card) just to get some "expert" assistance with the planning using points. I've always found the reps very helpful.
Rewardsrookie, my family is in the process of planning the exact same trip. We traded in 290,000 points for a 7 night travel package that can be used at any Category 8 hotel, plus some extra points go toward your airline rewards program. Maui Ocean Club is a category 8, but it is very rare to for that to be available to book on points. We have booked the Marriott Wailea, but there are several other category 8 hotels on Maui. Not sure where you are with your points, but you may want to research Marriott's travel package options.