by Lissa Poirot
The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua is, as the name implies, a luxurious resort on Maui’s Kapalua Coast. Tucked away from the resort-heavy area of Wailea, Kapalua is an hour from the airport, along a typically two-lane road that offers beautiful beach views. The resort sits at the farthest end of the resorts along this highway, nestled into a mountainside with lush vegetation (and 100 more days of rain each year than the resorts just 20 minutes down the road at Kaanapali).
The resort was originally constructed in 1992 and received a full renovation in 2008. Shaped like a U, it overlooks the ocean with floors and a pool descending gracefully down the slope. The resort is not located right on a beach, as during construction, a Hawaiian burial ground was discovered and the resort decided to redo its plans and preserve the area, which now appears as a great lawn behind a row of manicured hedges. A winding path takes guests down to Fleming Beach, where guests enjoy Ritz-Carlton’s renowned Ambassadors of the Environment Program.
Additionally, the hotel sits next to a golf resort with two courses, plus shops and other vacation rentals, and guests of the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua can enjoy them all.
To learn more about Ritz-Carlton, please visit Ritz-Carlton.
Our Editor Loves
- Ambassadors of the Environment program
- Quiet Kapalua coast
- Suites with large living spaces
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Guests of the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua have a choice of residences, located in the northern building, and guestrooms and suites, located in the southern building, totaling 463 rooms. Cribs are available upon request in each accommodation style, and guestrooms offer connecting capabilities.
Residences are privately owned, but managed by the Ritz with Garden View, Ocean View and Oceanfront, One-Bedroom Residences. Each has a partial kitchen with a dining room and separate bedroom, plus a living room with a sofa bed to accommodate four.
Terrace, Deluxe and Deluxe Ocean View rooms are 440 square feet in size and are studios with private lanais and large marble bathrooms with tubs. Suites, Garden, Ocean View and Ocean Front are 900 to 1,200 square feet in size, and provide separate bedrooms and living areas with sofa beds, private lanais and large bathrooms with tubs. Standard rooms feature one flat-screen TV, while suites and residences offer two TV's. One king or two double or queen beds are available, and rooms sleep up to five with the addition of a crib for infants.
Ritz-Carlton Club Level rooms and suites are located on the private eighth floor and include access to a Club Lounge with private concierge. The lounge provides ocean views and features a computer, free Internet access, games, newspapers, magazines, and DVD's to borrow and watch in-room. The lounge also provides light breakfast, lunch, snacks and appetizers throughout the day, at no additional charge.
Excellent location, absolutely wonderful staff, great access to beaches and activities. All the food was excellent (pricey, but in line with other tourist areas on the island). Only critical feedback was most of the food options on the resort close early, and the showers were small.
Beautiful location elevated above the shoreline. Terraced from the lobby to pools to the beach. Expansive pool area with great views of the water. Breakfast in the main restaurant also has water views. The rooms are large and comfortable. I liked the bar near the pool which had a nice happy hour promotion. Walking along the cliff in the morning was fantastic as it wraps over to Kapalua Bay. The only caution is that food is quite pricey with only one restaurant option on site for dinner. There are several nearby in the area which you can walk or take a shuttle to. The beach is nice, but you have to pay a steep price for chairs and umbrellas. Should be all included for the price. Overall a nice place to stay for a few days.
Ambassadors of the Environment
Unlike other Ritz-Carlton resorts, this location does not offer a Ritz Kids children's program. Instead, the resort is one of four properties that offer the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment Program. The program provides kids and youth programs, as well as adult and family programs that allow guests to get closer to the nature of Maui and its wildlife. Programs are for children 5 and older and include activities, such as introductions to snorkeling, stargazing, cooking lessons, survivor games, and our favorite -- outrigger canoeing. Programs start at $39 and run up to three hours.
Pools and Beach
The resort features a collection of connected heated pools that are nestled into a hill, just a short walk from the beach, where ocean activities, such as outrigger canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling are available, via Ambassadors of the Environment. Poolside cabanas and beach casabellas are available for an additional cost and include bottled water and drink service. Rentals are available from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and start at $50. Suites include a refrigerator, ceiling fan, electrical outlet, robes, magazines, and snacks, and can accommodate up to eight guests.
The resort also provides rainforest and coastal hiking options. A croquet lawn and shuffleboard are located near the pools, and a small playground is located on the property, though it's really best suited to toddlers.
The resort often features special and complimentary activities throughout the week, including poolside, dive-in movies (summer only), kite flying, hula lessons and the unique Sense of Place tour of the property, guided by the resort's cultural advisor, who discusses Maui's culture and your place in it.
The Terrace Restaurant
Overlooking the resort's pools and the ocean from its terrace level, the Terrace provides breakfast daily from 6:30 to 11 a.m. In the evening, Tuesday through Saturday, the restaurant becomes a dining hot spot for chef-crafted meals that use sustainable, organic and seasonal ingredients (5:30 to 9:30 p.m.). Specials like a Surf & Turf and Lobster Night are offered during the summer and change themes, offering special meals at prix-fixe prices.
Off of the lobby with views of the ocean and the pool, grab a comfortable lounge chair and enjoy light lunch, dinner and appetizers daily from noon to 10 p.m. Live entertainment is offered Thursdays through Sundays.
Pool Bar & Cafe
With the heated pools centrally located, it's the place to be. Don't worry about leaving the pool and swimsuits for lunch with the Pool Bar & CafÃ© serving up casual fare from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Appetizers, sandwiches, salads and smoothies round out the menu.
For evening dining, more than 20 varieties of sushi and sashimi can be enjoyed with more ocean views, Thursdays through Mondays, 5:30 to 9 p.m.
The Beach House Restaurant
Located near the beach, this casual open-air restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and provides the best ocean views for dining in the resort. Sunset dining is offered on Tuesdays throughout the summer, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with traditional Hawaiian music and food.
For grab-and-go breakfast items and sandwiches, salads and wraps for lunch, Aina is located off of the lobby and is open from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The hotel is located on the Kapalua Resort, which features dining at Merriman's Kapalua, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar, the Wine Palette for tapas and wine, the Honolua Store for grab-and-go sandwiches and lunch plates to enjoy on picnic tables, and the golf course restaurants, Pineapple Grill and the Plantation House.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The resort, like most on the island, charges a resort fee to each room per night. The Ritz's resort fee is $30, plus tax, and provides guests with Wi-Fi, fitness center access and classes, shuttle service, bottled water and in-room coffee, phone calls and discounted golf.
The resort offers a Club Level, with special concierge service, and a lounge serving light bites and drinks throughout the day. Children 12 and younger are allowed to stay free in a room with their parents, but children 13 and older will be charged a $100 Third Person Charge.
To save money on beverages, purchase the refillable Mau Loa Mug ($39.95) for unlimited coffee, tea, iced tea and dispensable soda. Bottled water is free at the resort for guests, with rooms always stocked. A small refrigerator in the rooms can be filled with sodas and drinks purchased down the street at the grocery store, if you want to save and stock.
Families can order a breakfast package that includes a daily breakfast in the room price.
The Art of Smart Timing
Maui is a tropical island with warm weather year-round, making it an ideal destination for any time of the year. As a family-friendly resort, however, the Ritz experiences higher occupancy during the holidays, spring breaks and summer months. Its location in Kapalua may bring on daily rain showers, which are typically brief and pass through in the morning or late afternoon. Evenings also get a bit cooler than other parts of the island, so pack light sweaters for the family.
Kapalua is roughly 45 minutes to an hour away from Kahului Airport (along a scenic coastal road). Taxis to the resort will cost around $150. A shuttle is offered between the smaller Kapalua airport and the resort, but guests need to make arrangements through the resort before arrival and there will be a fee. If renting a car, the resort offers both valet and self-parking at an additional cost.
For Mom and Dad
A luxurious spa is located on the fourth floor of the resort, providing full body and facial treatments. The spa also features a hair and nail salon. The resort is located within the Kapalua Resort, which offers two golf courses, the Plantation Course and the Bay Course. Guests of the Ritz receive preferred tee times and discounted golf for the courses.