Hotel Review: Aston Ka'anapali Villas

Our first stay in Maui was at the Aston Ka’anapali Villas, just a little bit north of the main drag in Lahaina.  We arrived after full day of travel from the mainland and were quite exhausted.  Anthony, our efficient front desk associate, checked us in, gave us our parking pass and instructed us on how to get to our one-bedroom condo.  Our initial impression walking into the condo was one of shock and awe.  Why?  Well, we realized that the picture on our room keycards was the same view we were looking out our windows too.
Our Key Card!
The view from our room...I think the palm trees grew a bit.
Aston Ka’anapali Villas is one of many resorts in the area with a combination of owner-occupied units, as well as vacation rentals.  Our condo included a kitchen, a bathroom, a small living room/dining room area, and a bedroom with a very comfortable queen-sized bed.  Each morning, we could wake up and roll over to the right and see the ocean from our room.  It was stunning!
The bedroom, notice the large sliding glass doors.

Kitchen and living room area.
The property features a pool area with plenty of lounge chairs to lay out and catch some rays.  There is a pool-side bar, called the Castaway Cafe where one can purchase light snacks and meals.  The beachfront area was beautiful, with plenty of space to put down your bamboo mat and beach towel to lay out after taking a dip in the ocean.
Looking to the northern part of the beach.
Hawaiian music while sipping on free mai tais.

Free mai tais and kettle corn!
Our initial impression was very positive. Anthony, our front desk associate was very patient with our questions and made sure to tell us about the General Manager’s Mai Tai party while we were staying there.  As our stay progressed, we started to notice a few things.  Our budget was pretty tight for this trip, so we were looking for other dining options and it was hard to get a clear answer out of anyone for local places to eat.  It seemed like they were instructed to only direct patrons to the Castaway Cafe, which was more than we wanted to spend for dinner on the night of our arrival.  I am sure their prices are reasonable for the resorts in the area, but it was quite spendy for us.  After a full day of travel, all we really wanted to do was find a place to sit and eat a quick meal before heading to bed.  This proved to be a challenge, which I will expand on in a later post.
We noticed the other guests and our interactions with them to be quite odd.  We are from the Pacific Northwest where people tend to be a little more relaxed, and it’s not uncommon to say hello when you are passing someone on the sidewalk.  We are friendly people.  This was not to be the case here.  Other guests seemed shocked when we acknowledged them, or offered to press the button for their floor in the elevator.  I can’t tell you how many blank stares we got.  It was weird.  We tried not to let it distract us from our stay, but it was something we would notice more and more, and not just at this resort. 
So, all of that being said, would I recommend this place to stay?  Sure.  It is conveniently located near many other resorts, there are lots of options in the area for food and drink, and they have free Mai Tais on Thursdays!  Be prepared for families with kids and for the guests to be a little uptight, though.  The staff is friendly, the rooms are clean and the views are stunning.
Our first Maui sunset.
Resort Information:  Aston Maui Kaanapali Villas, 45 Kai Ala Drive, Lahaina, HI, 1-808-667-7791

This trip was won by me from the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau.  This was NOT a press trip.  There was no expectation or requirement for me to write about my experiences, but I am.  Accommodations, car rental, airfare and snorkeling trip for two were all a part of the package.  I brought along a good friend of mine who shares a similar travel philosophy.  The original trip was for six nights, but we paid out of pocket for two extra nights accommodations and car rental.  We were responsible for all of our food, gas and other expenses while on the island.  All opinions are mine and you will find me to be quite honest about my experiences.