LAHAINA, Hawaii — As the Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Kaanapali executed a three-year, multiphase, $120 million update, it saved the “crown jewel” of the project for last.

That is what general manager Gregg Lundberg calls the 217-room Hokupaa tower that serves as the culmination of work that began in 2018 and touched on everything from the lobby to the pools, restaurants and guestrooms.

During a hosted stay in December, I had a chance to stay in the new tower as well as check out a new restaurant from a celebrated Hawaii-born chef and various updated features.

Hokupaa — its name comes from the Hawaiian word for the North Star — is a refit of the former Beach Tower; it features the most updated rooms at the property. All guests staying in the beachfront tower enjoy complimentary access to the Lanai, a second-floor lounge with a bar where breakfast is served and exclusive cultural programming is offered. This is the first time the Westin Maui has had a club level. 

T1220WESTINHOKUPAA2_C_HR [Credit: Courtesy of Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Kaanapali]

The Lanai features different sections suitable for sharing a drink with friends, getting some work done, eating a light meal and relaxing. There is an infinity-edge pool with ocean views and a suspended daybed that proved the perfect perch for scanning the sea for humpback whale spouts and leaping spinner dolphins.

Daily cultural activities offered in the Lanai include lessons on crafting a flower crown, playing the ukulele, pounding taro, Hawaiian cooking and making specialty cocktails.

Adjacent to the Lanai, the Heavenly Spa was also remodeled, including a redesigned waiting room, lounges and locker rooms; a new infrared sauna; and an exclusive section for Hokupaa tower guests.

Hokupaa rooms are spacious and thoughtfully designed, outfitted with Westin’s signature Heavenly Beds and Heavenly Baths, private balconies and decor deploying soft blues, beechwood and light, natural tones. 

T0802KAANAPALI_C_HR [credit: HTA/Tor Johnson]

With expansive renovations over the past two years, the multi-property resort has some of the freshest room product, cutting-edge amenities and multifaceted pool complexes in all of the Aloha State.

Hokupaa’s Suite 288 is an amenity-laden accommodation overlooking the beach and pool area that works well for small special events and occasions. The suite features a spacious entertaining area, day beds and a rooftop terrace with a private hot tub, lounge and outdoor dining space. The room is not listed online and can only be booked by calling the property directly. 

New dining option

Also part of the final phase of the renovations was the introduction of Waicoco, a restaurant from Chris Kajioka, who has been nominated for a James Beard award for his work at acclaimed Honolulu restaurant Senia. The oceanfront establishment is currently serving breakfast and dinner, and Kajioka, an Oahu native, is incorporating products from as many local farmers and purveyors as possible, including locally caught seafood, Hawaiian-grown purple cauliflower and sweet potatoes from Molokai.

With the completion of the Hokupaa tower and introduction of the Lanai and Waicoco, every space from the porte-cochere to the pool deck at the Westin Maui Resort and Spa is fresh and updated. Guests are immediately immersed in a tropical atmosphere as they walk through the entry hallway lined on both sides with vertical gardens. Adjacent to the lobby, flamingos stand guard in a section of ponds, gardens and waterfalls.

The 87,000-square-foot pool area was revamped with expanded seating, new cabanas of varying sizes, a redesigned family pool and a new adults-only infinity-edge pool with a dedicated bar and small plates service. All pool visitors, from rambunctious kids to relaxation-focused couples, all have ample space.

One thing that (thankfully) has not changed: The spiraling, 270-foot waterslide at the center of the pool complex that extracts screeches of delight from both children and adults. 

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