Hawaii has always been on my travel bucket list. But with a family of five and the long distance from the DC area, there were many reasons to put off the trip. Several months ago, I realized that time for our family vacations together was dwindling, so my husband and I made the decision that this was going to be the summer of Hawaii! As I began searching for accommodations in late March, I quickly realized how popular Maui is during the summer, particularly near the 4th of July. To make it more difficult, many of the more affordable, larger accommodations were already booked. So I was excited when I came across Kihei Sands Condominiums, and now that we have returned from our trip, I have to say that it made for the perfect first vacation to Maui.
The location right on Sugar Beach in the middle of Maui couldn’t have been better, and we found out quickly that being centrally located made our daily activities much easier. Our family travel style tends to be on the active side, so while we did spend lazy time hanging by the beach and pool, we also spent a good portion of our time away from the condo exploring Maui. Located just 20 minutes from the airport, it was an easy drive to our new favorite town of Paia, convenient to Maalaea Harbor for our snorkeling trip, and close to a wide range of restaurants. I would describe Kihei as a laid back beach town, home to low rise condos along with shopping areas and beaches mixed in. It is not a high end resort town, like Wailea to the south. It’s about a 45 minute drive north to Lahaina, but the one evening we tried to drive there, we quickly turned around when we hit bumper to bumper traffic. Instead we made the easy drive to Paia to have a casual dinner and watch the sunset. The location on Maalaea Bay was tranquil, the sand was super soft, and the calm water perfect for swimming. The other plus was you could walk on Sugar Beach for miles in either direction, a nice bonus in the early mornings when we were still on east coast time.
With 3 teenagers, it’s often difficult to find spacious accommodations at big resorts, without breaking the bank. While we love all the amenities that large resorts offer, we have found that having space (and extra bathrooms!) is a bigger priority for our family. The difficulty is that unless you book far in advance, finding larger resort properties such as a villa with 3 bedrooms is often difficult. And purchasing two rooms a night at a Hawaiian resort was not really an affordable option for us. Our unit was one of two 3 bedroom units, with a downstairs bedroom and bath, a King bed in one of the upstairs loft areas, and 2 twin beds in the 2nd upstairs loft area. The loft style worked out really well for the kids, with enough privacy for everyone, along with a separate bathroom. The unit was comfortably furnished, with a small balcony, along with a dining table perfect for card games. We had the ability to spread out, access a full kitchen, and quickly and easily walk out to the pool or beach area. One of the features I really liked was the key less entry, which made it easy for all of us to come and go without having to worry about carrying or losing keys.
Amenities We Loved
I can’t say enough about all the amenities that came with our rental, especially since there were no daily fees or extra charges other than for the washer and dryer. Here’s a few things that we really loved:
→ First and most helpful, about a month before our trip, we received an email from our personal concierge, Mona, who was available by phone or email to help us plan activities. It was nice to have a point of contact, especially since I learned that several activities needed to be booked in advance. Each email contained helpful tips and a suggestion for a fun activity, and we did chat by phone several times. The office staff was also friendly and helpful during our stay.
→We found plenty of restaurants close by, along with several grocery stores. Some of our favorites were Kihei Caffe for breakfast and Coconuts Fish Cafe for fish tacos. But our best discovery was that Ululani’s, world famous for it’s Hawaiian Shave Ice, was just a short walk down the beach. Stand in line no matter how long it is, it’s definitely worth the wait.
→Having access to grills and outdoor tables for the one or two nights we didn’t go out to eat was perfect! Our place had two grills, and it seemed like one was always available. As we strolled down the beach, we noticed that many of the rentals in this area had outdoor grilling areas.
→Did I mention the miles of soft, sandy beach & beachside pool? One of the best parts was that the pool and lounge area were never really crowded.
→The big, fluffy beach towels that were in our unit. These are provided by each owner, so can vary from unit to unit. There was a also a centrally located bin near the pool that contained items like boogie boards and beach chairs that you could borrow at any time (or contribute extras to when you were leaving). And no matter what time of day, we never had a problem in finding open lounge chairs.
→Watching the sky turn pink behind the swaying palm trees was also a favorite. It was so relaxing at night to sit outside and watch the clouds change colors.
→And finally, the fact that parking was free was an added bonus. Although we were visiting the last week in June, we never had difficulty finding a parking spot no matter the time of day. I will add that the parking lot was small, and the spaces somewhat tight.
If you are looking for a big resort with fancy pools, daily maid service, and on-site restaurants and bars, then this is probably not the place for you. But if you want a great location to explore Maui, easy beach and pool access, and clean, comfortable, affordable family-friendly accommodations, check out Kihei Sands. I also think it would be an awesome place for a multi-generational gathering. We certainly hope to get back there in the future.
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