I had spent many an afternoon day tripping on Napili Bay indulging in (dare I say) one of the best beachfront happy hours at the SeaHouse Restaurant. But every time the sun set, I became increasingly envious of the folks with the signature blue and white stripped towels and Mai Tai smiles who were staying at the Napili Kai Resort.
As I traded sand for concrete and drove away in my rental car, I always longed to be one of the lucky ones who lingered past sunset. Which made the decision about where to stay on my next trip to Maui a slam dunk.
Truth be told, not much beats mornings at “The Kai”. I enjoyed a Kona coffee that (and don’t tell my Italian grandmother) rivals the best espresso on an ocean front balcony that made me feel like I could walk on turquoise water to Lanai, a neighboring Hawaiian island. Then I grabbed my snorkel, mask, and yes, a blue and white stripped towel and strolled along a black lava path arriving at the next cove to swim with Hawaiian sea turtles. My beach-to-beach “commute” was the right prescription for heavenly relaxation.
Yet, if swimming with turtles isn’t your thing, simply head in the opposite direction. Take the “beach trail” that leads you past more pristine crescent beaches ripe with sunset weddings and afternoon rainbows. Or just stay where you are. Become a part of the Napili Kai ‘ohana and join a variety of popular events like their putting green party with thirst quenching 50-cent cocktails.
At “The Kai”, it’s also 100% okay to go solo. Bury your toes in the sand and your nose in a book. Either way, guests who can stay anywhere on the Maui choose to stay at the Napili Kai. A longtime treasured getaway, the bay hasn’t changed much since the 1960’s due to visionary restrictions on building codes and a genius ban on noisy motorized water sports. This keeps the magical stretch of light soft sand and brilliant clear swimming waters seemingly as pristine as they ever were.
A few tips to enjoy the Aloha of The Napili Kai:
*Feel free to daytrip. Come for an early breakfast at The SeaHouse Restaurant, voted best in Maui in 2011. Then lounge on the beach until happy hour, which begins at 2 P.M.. Order the poke nachos and flash Rick a smile. He’s been pouring the perfect Mai Tai at the SeaHouse since 1974.
*Give stand up paddling a whirl. Touring the bay from a board is a completely unique experience. Generally, the bay is quite forgiving for beginners with gentle rolling waves.
*Wednesday nights, if you find the tropical air filled with music, follow the notes to The Master’s of Hawaiian Music Slack Key Show where George Kahumoku Jr. “talks story” and serenades guests. Or pop over (complimentary for guests) to the Napili Kai Keiki Hula Show every Tuesday.
There are a variety of rooms available on Napili Kai’s beachfront ten acres. A mix of beautifully appointed studios, hotel rooms, and one-and two-bedroom suites are situated in classic low plantation-style buildings. Most suites have kitchens. But most importantly nearly every room (96%) offers an ocean view.
It’s the Aloha spirit and heart of “The Kai” not to nickel-and-dime guests. The resort’s grounds, pools, and beach is exceptionally maintained but there are no resort fees. Also, parking and wi-fi are always free.
For me, the most important feature of any resort is how I feel after my vacation is over. After just three nights at the “Kai”, I drove away feeling a connection to a down-to-earth heavenly paradise that will draw me back to it again and again.
*Photos are courtesy of Napili Kai Resort.
*I was sponsored by the Maui Visitors Bureau.