** 4/30/03 UPDATE! ** Here's my original report with some updates:
The EVR is an excellent choice for accommodations on Maui, serving both the timeshare crowd and people looking for the services of a hotel. The rooms are huge, with a 35" TV, foldout sofa, eating area, and kitchenette in the living area, king bed in the bedroom, and large bath with two vanities, separate shower and tub, and toilet with it's own door for additional privacy. The closet between the bathroom and bedroom has mirrored doors on both sides.
There's a small balcony accessible from both the bedroom and living area. The kitchenette has a small frig, microwave, sink and dishwasher. There's no range, but hey, you're on vacation on Maui, you're not cooking! ** UPDATE! ** The large TVs, stereo, and dishwashers have been updated in the timeshare rooms.
The pool area is definitely the highlight of the outdoor facilities. We found ourselves spending quite a bit of time here. The kids love the water slide which empties into the shallow kiddie pool, and there's a spa as well. Can't think of a better way to spend the day than reading a book in a lounge chair by the pool and having one of the pleasant servers from the bar bring me a club sandwich and a pina colada! ** UPDATE! ** No more club sandwich on the menu. Had to switch to chicken caesar salad.
Another neat thing for kids is the mini-golf course on the roof just off the second floor. It costs a couple of bucks to play and as courses go, it's not too challenging (unless the wind is blowing!), but it's a great after-dinner diversion. ** UPDATE! ** Golf now costs $5/hr for adults, $2.50/hour for kids.
The EVR also features the "free" breakfast and happy hour that Embassy Suites in known for. I say "free" because it is indeed included in the price if you're a hotel guest. Timeshare guests pay $70/week for your whole group, which is still a good deal. Both the breakfast and the happy hour have an "assembly line" feel to them but the food is good (although not "cooked to order" like at the regular Embassy hotels) and while the drink selection is limited pretty much to beer, wine, or mai tai, there is no limit, either. Someone commented that the bartenders aren't friendly but in this setup, they don't really have time to chit-chat. Go down to the poolside bar if you need some sympathy and advice. We usually grab a couple of mai-tais each and a bowl of munchies and head back to the pool. ** UPDATE! ** Maui liquor laws no longer let you take cocktails from the lounge area to the pool (can't go through the lobby with booze, I guess). Also, no bacon at breakfast!
The restaurants at the EVR are OK but not great. Stick with the sandwiches at the poolside grill and you won't be disappointed. The restaurant features a different buffet menu every night -- if you're really hungry, it's not a bad deal but we felt like we didn't want to eat that much to justify the cost (guests can get a discount card that helps). ** UPDATE! ** There is a new chef at the North Beach Grille so they no longer have a nightly buffet but now serve the standard restaurant fare. We didn't eat there but we heard several folks say the quality has improved. The nachos from the bar menu still suck, but the burgers, sandwiches, and salad are all decent. The drinks and smoothies (for the kids) are excellent! Try a Molokai Monkey!
During the morning, the lobby is crawling with timeshare salespersons, and while they'd be glad to try to sell you a timeshare, I've found them to be fairly low-key compared to other places. ** UPDATE! ** We received $100 credit for activities just for "checking in" with the sales rep who sold us our timeshare 4 years ago. He was still very low-key with no attempt to pressure us into any additional buying.