on January 26, 2007
Perhaps it was the less-than-stellar experience on Oahu, but the Sheraton Maui blew me away with the property design, customer service and all-around relaxed feeling that emanated from the resort. It could be the best hotel I’ve stayed in.When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted and presented with the ‘easy-check-in’ attitude and a beautiful orchid lei. Valet parking for our rental car was complimentary on the first day (amen!) so we could easily pull up in front of the open-air lobby and unload our bags. Since I was there celebrating my birthday, I asked if the Sheraton would be willing to upgrade my room. They were very accommodating, and set us up in an oceanfront room which also looked out on the pool and the well-manicured lawns. The bellman gathered our bags and escorted us to our room, all the while pointing out some of the hotel features and where they were located (the fitness center, which is included in your resort fee of $18 a day, as is self parking; the guest laundry, the spa, etc.) I’d never had such a detailed instruction to a hotel – it would’ve taken us our whole stay to figure some of this out on our own, if ever. The pool was uniquely designed, with a keiki (kid’s) pool on one side and the adult pool on the other, connected through "rivers", one of which had a small waterslide and waterfall. They’re quite stringent about hotel guests having identifier bands, and check often to make sure non-guests aren’t using the pool and lounge chairs. As with most resorts, get there early to get a prime spot, but if you’re not picky about where you sit, you’ll find a chaise. Since it’s uniquely situated on Black Rock it’s a prime beach snorkeling spot, and there’s a convenient rental stand for all your snorkel needs (albeit pricier than you could get elsewhere in close-by Lahaina). Additionally, the Sheraton has a nightly cliff-diving/torch lighting ceremony, with fire dancers on Friday nights.The Sheraton really promotes the activities it features, from special speakers and ukulele lessons (which were really fun). The concierge desk was a lifesaver in helping me unclutter my excursion schedule and booking us on a great whale watching/snorkeling cruise.The Sheraton is also a 10-minute walk from Whaler’s Village, a shopping center with a few restaurants and many shops. I will note that the food at the resort is pricy, so either head here or drive 5 minutes into Lahaina for more options.When I researched my Maui stay, the biggest debate was which Starwood resort to stay in, the Westin Maui or the Sheraton (the Web was split 50/50). Having seen the Westin, I can say that the Sheraton has a prettier design and more of a laid back attitude. The two properties allow you to use each other’s amenities, but I never saw the need to leave the Sheraton. It would be my choice and recommendation to anyone.
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