(This story sponsored by Kā‘anapali Beach Resort Association.)
There are still a few weeks of summer left, but when the Pacific Northwest gets a little too grey for your liking, a trip to the tropical beaches and cultural riches of Kā‘anapali Beach Resort on Maui, might be just the pick-me-up you need.
With average temperatures of 18° C to 39° C year-round, Kā‘anapali, located on sunny West Maui, is one of the island’s prime locations. The three-mile crescent of white sand and turquoise water offers spectacular snorkelling, swimming, and sunsets, so it’s no wonder that Kā‘anapali Beach in Hawaii is famed as one of the best in the U.S.
Flights go direct from Vancouver and take about six-and-a-half hours. And getting to the resort from Kahului Airport has never been easier, thanks to a new access road off the Honoapi‘ilani Highway.
Upon arrival at Kā‘anapali Beach Resort, visitors find a little piece of paradise, with 13 resorts woven around two premier golf courses and a beachfront boardwalk, lined with exceptional dining, shopping, and entertainment.
There are places to suit a broad range of budgets, with one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas designed to facilitate a relaxing island escape. Kā‘anapali’s newest accommodations, The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, offers guests all the amenities they need—like private verandas and fully equipped kitchens—to ensure a luxury home away from home. Many Kā‘anapali condominiums also offer professional-quality grills for guests. This option allows visitors to enjoy cooking for themselves using fresh Maui ingredients—a guaranteed way to connect with the island’s spirit.
But for those who prefer to dine out, there is no shortage of fantastic options, because Kā‘anapali chefs are known to steal the spotlight regardless of the season. Eight of the 13 resorts offer their own signature dining under the creative hand of an executive chef, all of whom compete amicably for top cooking honours.
Kā‘anapali showcases the sought-after culinary tradition known as Hawaii regional cuisine, which yields consistently delicious ingredients from mountain to sea during its year-round growing season. This style has evolved out of the islands’ unique resources and brings together Polynesian and Asian techniques and flavours.
Every October and over three weekends on three islands, the “Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival” takes place, featuring a roster of more than 150 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers. Kā‘anapali Beach Resort is the proud venue host on Maui from October 18 to 20. During this time, famous chefs, cooking personalities, and beverage stars captivate the crowd with their culinary skills. Visitors can enjoy wine tastings, cooking events, mixology creations, and magical dining experiences—all of which maximize Hawaii’s natural bounty.
If all the eating has you in the mood for some physical activity, there are plenty of choices at the resort. Visitors can take their pick of learning to surf or standup paddleboard, taking a sail on a catamaran, or cruising to a snorkel tour.
The ocean is home to glorious marine life, including green sea turtles, butterfly fish, parrotfish, tangs, eels, and triggerfish, which thrive along the lava ledge of Pu‘u Keka‘a, commonly referred to as Black Rock.
But the Hawaiian Islands are perhaps most well known for their whales. Hunted almost to extinction during the 19th century, humpback whales have now made a triumphant return. Every year, the whales travel as far as 8,000 kilometres from their feeding grounds in Alaska to breed and give birth in the warm waters of the ‘Au‘au Channel between Maui and Lāna‘i. The ocean off Kā‘anapali comes alive with tail slaps, flukes, and full breaches from December to May, meaning that whale-watching is as easy as stepping out on your lanai. For those who want a closer look, there are boat tours available.
There are also plenty of fun activities to enjoy on land. Kā‘anapali has two championship 18-hole courses, a driving range, and two putting greens for all levels of play. And for those looking to indulge in some retail therapy, Whalers Village, a three-level, open-air mall, has an amazing selection of 90 different stores, including art galleries, local jewellery designers, island-style gift boutiques, bath and body shops, luxury brands, and more. There’s also a long list of free entertainment and activities throughout the day, every day.
Although Kā‘anapali Beach Resort has plenty to offer, the town of Lāhainā is located a five-minute drive away, and there is a free shuttle that runs between the resorts. The former capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, from 1820 to 1845, has lots of colourful shops on seaside Front Street. Visitors can also marvel at the largest banyan tree in Hawaii near Lāhainā Harbor, which is one of 13 historic sites in Lāhainā.
Between the dining, shopping, beach activities, and entertainment, Kā‘anapali Beach is always buzzing. But there’s a moment, right before sundown, when the deep note of the conch shell sounds and a calm settles over the golden curve of sand. That’s when all heads turn toward Pu‘u Keka‘a for the Sheraton’s nightly cliff-diving ceremony.
For Native Hawaiians, the black rock, which formed from lava flow two centuries ago, is a sacred spot where the soul leaps to eternity. Now, years later, a young warrior climbs up Pu‘u Keka‘a, lighting torches as he goes before offering his own torch, his lei, and his prayers to the ancestors. Then he extends his arms to the sky and dives into the sea below.
Just a little piece of the Kā‘anapali magic.
Kā‘anapali Beach Resort has something to offer for everyone, whether you’re looking for a couples retreat or a family trip. To learn more, visit the website at kaanapaliresort.com/.