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Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

Orange County, CA
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931 posts
12 reviews
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Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

I know this is a big topic as both properties are highly regarded on TA. I am sitting in my living room at Kaanapali Alii as my husband is taking our suitcases down. Very sad day. We have been here for 11 days. We stayed at Honua Kai 3 years ago. We also have my 21 year old daughter with us. We all agreed that Kaanapali Alii wins hands down. Unit is spacious. We got one that had been upgraded with granite. MB was huge with lots of room and a sitting area. We got two full bathrooms. We rented a 2 bedroom2 bath at KA. The second bedroom is a converted den with own bathroom and sliding doors. Same set up at HK but no second bathroom. The grounds are lovely at HK. Nice at KA as well. KA is a smaller property which I loved. 4 buildings, 11 floors and 6 units per floor. That is about 260 total units. The location for KA is perfect. We could walk to Whalers Village on the beach walk. Less than 1/4 mile away. In the other direction another beautiful self and 1/4 mile to a Starbucks. I walked 3-4 miles each morning. Beautiful. My husband and daughter could surf right in front if the resort. Could not do that at HK. The went out 3-4 times per day. We rented surfboards for a week from a little rental spot near PApakea and it was 70.00 for the entire week per board. Everyone on the beach walk wanted 70.00 per day! The BBQ area at KA is great with a grill master that will help you or even do it all for you. Another perk is we could bring down our own food and drinks by the pool. We were there 11 days and didn't but one cocktail during the day. Saved a lot of money. HK would not allow that dye to Dukes on site. Whalers Village so close you could walk up for Happy Hour whenever you wanted. Had great bellman service at KA. Nine at HK since we went through an owner. We rented directly from an owner at KA as well. Our bellman brought up all out bags AND all our Costco stuff which was a lot. Would have taken us tons of trips to do they.

Lastly, I found the winds terrible at HK. Seems to be built in a wind tunnel! We would be getting blown out there and leave resort on beach walk and walk a little south and winds were gone. We stayed set both properties the exact same time of year, late May. I won't ever return to HK due to the wind issue alone.

Having stayed at both I can now give an honest comparison. Feel free to ask me any questions. Re: price I got a great deal at both. Per night rate at HK was a little less but I got a free night at KA.

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Los Gatos...
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1. Re: Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

Thank you for this review. We're booked at Honua Kai, but we'll defintely mosey over and check out KA for our next trip.

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1,235 posts
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2. Re: Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

We are big fans of KA. Loved the location, unit, grounds....everything! (well, except the price)

Saint Louis...
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3. Re: Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

I thought the consensus at HK was if you bring drinks and food down to the pool it's fine as long as there is no glass? I'd skip the poolside drinks before I had to pay resort prices for weak cocktails.

I'm curious to check out KA even though we're booked at HK. Those were my last two contenders and I liked the view at the KA unit better, but HK ended up being over $100/night cheaper.

Destination Expert
for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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4. Re: Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

Kellsma, you wrote "Lastly, I found the winds terrible at HK. Seems to be built in a wind tunnel! We would be getting blown out there and leave resort on beach walk and walk a little south and winds were gone. We stayed set both properties the exact same time of year, late May. I won't ever return to HK due to the wind issue alone."

While HK does sometimes (late afternoons, mostly) get more wind than the Ali'i---last May/early June we had high winds warnings for several weeks, island wide. Same time of year often doesn't matter much here.

Glad you have enjoyed the Ali'i-I rec it pretty often.

vancouver, b.c.
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5. Re: Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

Michael 884: We spent 2 weeks at Honua Kai and had no problems bringing drinks etc to pool. Husband used the little foamie thing(to keep cold) on his beer can. The rest of us (5 more adults) used tall plastic drink cups with lid & straw with our blenderized creations inside. Also brought our coolers with snacks and food, no one told us that we were not allowed to do this. There was alot of other people doing the same thing, and we were there off-season. Dukes would need to have another 10 employees to serve everyone!

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6. Re: Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

Honua Kai was much cheaper when we researched but we are a family of 5. I'm glad you enjoyed your stay.

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7. Re: Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

We are at Honua Kai now an no windy days yet this week! We have a two bedroom, two bath at HK. There are a few with one bath - which must be what you got. We also had no problem with taking drinks down by the pool, but we haven't taken glass down there. We also rented via VRBO and the bellmen took everything out of our car, boxed up our multiple bags of groceries from Safeway and brought them all to the room along with our luggage. We looked at Kaanapali Alii and it was more expensive than Honua Kai for the time of our stay. I do like that it is very quiet, peaceful up here. We met friends for drinks and dinner at Whaler Village and walked around a few of the resorts down there and we found it more crowded and noisy than our area at HK. We aren't surfers, so can't relate to that. But the snorkeling is great right in front of the resort - I've seen squid, eel and an octopus along with dozens of other fish, urchin, and colorful coral. But....we want to try Kaanapali Alii as well and plan on a return trip soon.

Houston, Texas
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8. Re: Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

Thanks for posting this! I went back and forth between the two and got a great deal through Costco for the Alii so booked it! We leave on the 13th of June and now couldn't be more excited!

S.F. Bay Area
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9. Re: Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

Kauai, Oahu or Maui?! Same type of question with no "correct" answer. I first stayed at the Ali'i MANY years ago, when I loved being on Ka'anapali-proper & when the Westin was still the Maui Surf with one cheesy building that the lanai rails were all detaching from (still prefer that unsafe historical slice of Hawaiiania to Mr. Hemmeter's debaucherous nightmare, but I'll save that topic for another thread..)

The Honua Kai is shiny, new and very consistently maintained -- it is a MAJOR rarity when a guest finds something inordinately awry with their pre-booked (VRBO/HK/KBR etc..) accommodations, while the Ali'i can be a bit of a hit or miss -- unless one actually has stayed in the particular unit they've booked previously, which was the case with many of my stays long ago. Lots of units at the Ali'i are in dire need of updating &/or repairs -- sorry, but it's simply a fact. I have heard several recent stories from folks that had very valid complaints about booking misrepresentation -- again, something that can be avoided if one knows the specific unit or books through "Classic Resorts," the onsite management company, but this also comes with a premium, as does booking directly through IHM (Interwest/Honua Kai management.)

I am off site more than on, these days ... irrespective of where my hat and ukulele lie, so I much prefer the ingress/egress and more centralized location to my areas of preference at the Honua Kai -- I like & appreciate the breathing room! If I need anything at Whalers or on the central beachwalk, I'm just a short hop away at the HK..

I've never had anything but smiles and aloha from any staff member -- resort &/or Duke's -- at the Honua Kai, and have never experienced any negativity for bringing my beverage of choice, ETOH inclusion notwithstanding, down to the pool or grilling stations when my unit didn't provide it's own Viking Grill. Glass is a no-no, but the house rules specifically state that alcohol is allowed -- I suppose they could throw the "appropriate licensure" language at you if they wanted, but unless someone is setting up a poolside mini-bar, I can't see anyone attempting to enforce this stickling point.. Here are house rules - not page 11 for alcoholic beverages criteria (sometimes the server takes a few page reloads..)


The entire island is a natural wind tunnel, so with the exception of Ma'alaea being the toupee/wig stealing capital of the globe ... if the trades are blasting in Honokowai, they're likely hitting canoe beach as well - 'course there are no guarantees in the tropics, right!? ;)

Anyhow, one can't really go very far south (e.g. - in a negative direction) with either property -- what works best for some will be the opposite for others. I know, with the caveats mentioned above, that I would enjoy the heck out of a stay at either property if I was experiencing my inaugural tour of the Valley Isle, so all is good in either direction..

Alo)(a, NKO

Cleveland, Ohio
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194 posts
90 reviews
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10. Re: Honua Kai vs Kaanapali Alii

Do you wear reef shoes to get in at the beach? Staying here at the end of the month. Where do people get coolers at?