Monday, October 1, 2018

Hotel Review: The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas (Maui)

The Rewards Canada / iFlyCalgary family has been hitting up Maui for the past 10 years and each time we've gone we have always stayed at the same resort - The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas (read our reviews of that resort here and here) however in April of 2017 Westin opened up a sister resort just north of the KOR Villas and we had to try it out for what would possibly be our last trip to Maui for some time.

As you may have read in my other reviews about this trip, it was booked somewhat late and also for Easter Break which meant it would be busy and many good offers would be gone. One of those deals is that we normally book stays through Naomi at Maui Hawaii Vacations and she does have exclusive up to 50% off rates for the Nanea as she does for KOR. However Maui Hawaii Vacations books up quick, especially for all the popular breaks and of course they were already sold out for Easter Break. So what did I do to book a stay at the new Nanea Ocean Villas? I went to a trusted offer that is always out there for Starwood stays in Hawaii and French Polynesia - the Double Starpoints, 5th night free and up to 35% off offer. You'll have found it on our Starwood Bonus Points page for many years now but here it is just in case you aren't aware of it:
Double Starpoints, Up to 35% Off and 5th night free for stays in Hawaii, Tahiti or Bora Bora. 
We used this offer last year as well and when you add up the 5th night free, the 35% off and the value of the double Starpoints it comes in slightly higher than the rate we could have received from Maui Hawaii Vacations (something like $30-$40 per night for this trip). On top of this the trip also gave additional bonus points thanks to other SPG promotions.

We booked ourselves a two bedroom resort view villa as that was all that was available at time of booking on Starwood's site. The difference between the Nanea and the older KOR villas is that the Nanea's two and three bedroom villas are true to that. They are not multiple connecting rooms (Studio + 1 bedroom) brought together to make up the two bedroom configuration.

Flying a different route to Maui this time brought us to the island around lunch time instead of the late evening arrival we were accustomed to with Air Canada. Even with picking up our rental car, getting lunch and making the ~40 minute drive to the new villas we were ahead of the regular check-in time of 4pm. We crossed our fingers our villa would be ready at check-in.  The check-in area of the new resort is vast and spacious and seeing that we were early there was no one else checking in. The good news was that our room was ready and the check-in process was smooth with the lady working the desk being super nice and pleasant. The best part was she advised us that thanks to my wife being SPG Platinum that we had been upgraded to a three bedroom ocean front villa! Thank you Platinum status!

The new resort is as nice as the older KOR villas and has a lot of the same feeling as the sister resort albeit newer.  The villa we were assigned was on the fourth floor of the Hula building and was near some stairs for easy access to the grounds and wasn't too far from the elevators. We were at the hotel just a week before it celebrated its first anniversary and for the most it still feels very new! Sure there's some wear and tear already but nothing disgusting or out of the ordinary for a site of this age and our room was in very good condition. 

The space in the rooms are ample and they are all nicely appointed. Each villa has a kitchen, one or two bathrooms, washer & dryer and more. Really they have everything you would expect from booking a condo in Maui but the great addition of being a major hotel resort. That's one of the main things that has kept us coming back to these locations is that you get the best of both worlds. The kitchens are full sized in all the villas (versus Kitchenettes and Kitchens in the KOR Villas) and they have a great ensuite bathroom with separate tub and shower and dual vanity sinks.

The beds are Westin Heavenly beds (such nice beds!) and are all king size. All the villas also include a queen size pull out sofa which means you can sleep 4 in a one bedroom, 6 in a two bedroom and 8 in the three bedroom.

All villas have lanai's with furniture on them, typically two chairs and a table however the bigger the unit you get the more you get on your lanai. As we had the three bedroom our lanai was huge and had a full size table and chairs along with two more chairs with a side table! The lanai extended about 2/3 the length of the full three bedroom villa with access via sliding doors from the living room, the master bedroom smaller of the two additional bedrooms. The farthest additional bedroom had a window with the ocean view but the lanai stops short of it.

Living Room and Kitchen

Master bedroom and ensuite

Bedroom 1:

Bathroom #2 which houses the washer/dryer


Views from this villa:
Early Morning Moon set

Floor plans (Although our ocean front villa has a larger lanai than pictured)

The resort grounds are beautiful and reminded us of the KOR Villas with ponds filled with Koi, lots of vegetation and pathways throughout. The pool area is not as spread out as you would find at the KOR Villas and we found this to make for a very crowded feel. Granted it was Easter Break but even outside of the break I think you would be hard pressed to find loungers around the pool or enjoy some space to yourself in the pool after 10am. On some days, to ensure privacy and full enjoyment we did rent some of the covered loungers that faced the ocean. Here is the view from those loungers:
There are also two plunge pools that are set back further to the North side of the resort, those were definitely quieter than the main pool.

The resort also rents out loungers for use on the beach however they do not rent umbrellas and if you have ever been to Maui it's hard to spend a whole day on the beach without any shade! Knowing that, on the days we did want to spend on the beach we actually went down to the KOR Villas since they do offer umbrellas for rent on the beach.

As to food options at the resort there are three. You have Kauhale Market which is resort store that sells a variety of food, has some Starbucks drink options and gifts. Then you have Inu Pool Bar serving all the drinks for around the pool along with a varied menu of appetizers, mains, and desserts. For the most part the drinks from Inu were awesome and a lot of the food was good as well, we did end up ordering food from here on several occasions to enjoy around the pool. Finally the 'fancier' restaurant on site is Mauka Makai. We ate breakfast here one morning to try it out since the rate we booked included a voucher for 35% off all food at Mauka Makai. I have to be completely honest here - it was our worst breakfast on the whole trip.  The hashbrowns had a really funky (not a good funky) taste to them - almost as if the oil being used was really old. The buffet items weren't much better. Suffice to say this breakfast turned us off the restaurant so we did not give it a try for dinner, especially with so many good options in Maui!

The villas are beautiful and roomy, super comfortable and great to unwind in after a full day in the sun. The resort is nice and gives you the best of all worlds with all the features of a condo but being in a resort setting. The service was outstanding from pretty much everyone we interacted with during our trip. What I also loved about this resort is how many towels they give you in the rooms! As you may know from my other hotel reviews a pet peeve of mine is not having enough towels for the number of people in the room. That's not the case here! There are always more than enough towels for everyone.

There aren't too many for the Nanea Ocean Villas and are more of my personal opinion with others thinking otherwise. The central pool location is tight and creates a very crowded feel. Some of you may like this and while it looks great and serves its purpose, when you are used to the KOR Villas it it just doesn't seem as enjoyable as the latter. The lack of having umbrellas for rent to use on the beach with the loungers and finally the main restaurant, Mauka Makai, I know we didn't enjoy it and if you look up reviews of it it gets pretty average ratings. That's it for cons!

Final thoughts
I think we were lucky to be upgraded to three bedroom ocean front villa and it really may be hit and miss for most elites to get one but you should know that most villas, whether they are 2 or 3 bedroom, all look the same and have the same amenities. The 1 bedrooms don't have as fancy of ensuite bathroom but should feel similar otherwise.  What you may not get is the huge lanai and the view we got. That of course will all depend on what you book and the actual location of the villa you get. No matter though  you shouldn't be disappointed with this resort. Overall the rooms are fantastic and the service is top notch. It is a great resort for families, couples, and really anyone else! This resort is most definitely an iFlyCalgary recommended hotel!

The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas
Marriott Category: 7
Points required for a free night: 50,000 - 27,000 points
Cash+Points Requirement: 30,000 Starpoints + $250 per night

The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas
Maui Hawaii Vacations

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