Where to Stay on Maui with Kids – Kaanapali Alii

So you’re trying to figure out where to stay on Maui with kids. You want a place that has lots of space to spread out, incredible views, pools for swimming, a beach for water activities, a fully equipped kitchen and a separate bedroom for privacy…is that asking too much? Kaanapali Alii in Lahaina doesn’t think so!

Kaanapali Alii and Kaanapali Beach
View of Kaanapali Alii pools and Kaanapali Beach from my rental condominium’s balcony

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Resort-like condominiums

This condominium-style resort offers 1- and 2-bedroom accommodations, some with a bonus third sleeping area with queen sofa bed. Although these are privately owned condos, the property feels like a luxurious resort. And you can book your stay just as you would book a hotel, with a few clicks online or by calling the front desk so you don’t have to worry about haggling with private owners. Condos are clean, comfortable and furnished with tropical decor.

Spacious living room area
Spacious living room area

Pool area

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for a great hotel pool. Kaanapali Alii boasts two freshwater swimming pools with a lovely waterfall, two whirlpool spas and a children’s pool. There are plenty of cushy lounge chairs on which to laze while thumbing through a magazine or watching your kids splash about.

Kaanapali Beach with Molokai in the distance
Kaanapali Beach with Molokai in the distance

Kaanapali Beach

If you love the beach and ocean activities, you will not be disappointed by Kaanapali Beach! Take a family surf lesson or learn to stand-up paddle board. Embark on a catamaran adventure with snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, dinner cruise or whale watching. Or, just swim in the warm ocean waves and build sandcastles with your kids on the shore.

Kaanapali Alii kitchen
In-suite kitchen at Kaanapali Alii

Fully-equipped kitchen

When traveling with kids, I always recommend booking a suite with a kitchen for easy eat-in dining. Even if you plan to eat lunch and dinner out every day, having a kitchen means you can start your day off right with a home-cooked meal of eggs and bacon, or just simple bowls of cereal or toast with coffee. Kitchens come with all you need to prepare meals: full-sized fridge, silverware, pots, pans, dishes, and even a toaster, coffee maker and blender.

Maui Morning package breakfast goodies and snacks
Maui Morning package breakfast goodies and snacks

Swing on by the grocery store or Costco upon arrival in Maui to pick up snacks and meal items or let Kaanapali Alii do the work for you. For an extra charge you can request a Maui Morning package complete with milk, juice, bread, a dozen eggs, choice of breakfast meat, Maui potato chips and more.  There’s also a Royal Treatment Cooler option complete with fruits, a cheese platter and other snacks.

Grills at Kaanapali Alii
Grills at Kaanapali Alii

Cheeseburger in paradise (or steak or chicken or fish)

Save money during your stay in Maui by grilling out at Kaanapali Alii a night or two. Cook your dinner on a gas grill while sipping a beer or glass of wine and staring out at Kaanapalii Beach and Molokai in the distance. Families often gather around the grills to watch the sunset and prepare dinner together while the kids run around with newly made friends. Kaanapalii Alii even provides paper plates, utensils and foil to make barbecuing easy. If you don’t want to interrupt your vacation with a trip to the store, order the Maui Sunset Grill basket with your choice of meat or fish, salad, rolls, butter, vegetables, dessert and non-alcoholic beverages.

Bedroom with a view at Kaanapali Alii
Bedroom with a view at Kaanapali Alii

In-suite laundry

Let’s face it: kids are messy. No one wants to spend precious vacation time at the laundromat. At Kaanapali Alii, you don’t need to put your holiday on hold just because your children are running low on clean socks. Each unit comes equipped with an in-suite washer and dryer to make fluffing and folding easy while away from home.

Kaanapali Alii Fitness Center
Kaanapali Alii Fitness Center

Stay healthy while away

If you’re like me, when on vacation you tend to indulge in more dessert and drinks than you do at home. (Pina colada, anyone?) Rather than fretting over squeezing into your bathing suit, take advantage of Kaanapali Alii’s fitness options. Get your cardio fix at the 3,000-square-foot fitness center. Or, do as I did and sign up for an oceanfront yoga class (extra fee).

Tennis on three (clay!) courts is complimentary to Kaanapali Alii guests. You can even take part in a free tennis clinic or book a private lesson with a tennis pro during your stay.

If you get a kink in your neck from lugging baggage and children through the airport, or you just want a little pampering (it is a vacation, after all!), book an on-site massage at the Alii Spa, located within the fitness center.

Yoga on the front lawn
Yoga on the ocean-facing front lawn

Kaanapali Alii Kids Club

Of course you want to bond with your children during your Hawaiian vacation but sometimes parents (and kids!) need a break from too much together time. The complimentary Alii Kids Club entertains guests ages 6-12 with ukulele and hula lessons, flower lei making, coconut weaving, tennis and more.

Kaanapali Alii, Maui
Stroll along the oceanfront walkway from Kaanapali Alii to Whaler’s Village

Nearby shopping and restaurants

One of the best things about Kaanapali Alii is its location, location, location! Not only do you get the view of Kaanapali Beach, but also the condominiums are easily within walking distance of Whaler’s Village. This outdoor shopping center is home to more than 90 stores, a small food court with casual fare, and three sit-down restaurants. There’s even a small Whale Museum at this mall, where you can learn about Maui’s whaling history. For kids, check out Blue Ginger Kids for darling island-inspired clothing and Maui Toy Works to pick up a fun diversion or two. For mamas, I recommend Karamel and Cinnamon Girl for flirty, feminine fashion. At home I rarely get time to myself to do anything so frivolous as shopping so wandering through these shops was a highlight of my solo trip to Maui.

Hula Grill and Leilani’s are two well-known Maui restaurants located at Whaler’s Village. These sister properties each offer a more formal (for Hawaii, anyway) dining room as well as a casual beach bar. At Leilani’s, be sure to save room for a slice of Hula Pie, made with a generous slab of macadamia nut ice cream atop a chocolate cookie crust and topped with hot fudge, whipped cream and more macadamia nuts.

Sunset over Kaanapali Beach
Sunset over Kaanapali Beach

Why choose Kaanapali Alii

Kaanapali Alii made such an impression on me that I have been dreaming of returning to this slice of heaven with my family ever since my visit. This would be an ideal place for a multigenerational vacation, where everyone could book their own suite, enjoy a variety of activities during the day, and come together to swap stories of Maui each evening over barbecue, an in-suite family dinner, or a meal at a local restaurant. Rooms are four times as big as the standard Maui hotel room and the location is superb. What more could a family ask for?

What’s most important to you when booking beachfront accommodations: space to spread out, pools, location, or something else? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: I received complimentary accommodations at Kaanapali Alii as part of a press trip. All opinions are mine, as always.

All photos by Colleen Lanin.

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  1. Thanks for featuring this great family-friendly location on Maui. Someday I dream of taking my 5 children there, and this is just the type of place that would work well for us. Great photos too! Makes me wish we were going this year!

    1. Katie – Kaanapali Alii would be perfect for a large family like yours. And you will LOVE Maui! I hope you can plan a visit sometime soon!

  2. We’ve stayed at the Alii probably a dozen times over the years. The pool area isn’t as fancy as the neighboring resorts but I could never imagine staying in a teensy hotel room as a trade-off.
    And don’t forget Costco is on the way from the airport to Lahaina!

    1. Hildie – It seemed all of the passengers on the plane to Maui was talking about stopping at Costco the minute we arrived. Quite the popular place for vacationers in Maui, I guess!

  3. Looks fantastic! That kitchen is lovely, though I would hope not to spend too much time there. Kitchens in vacation condos are not often so new and nice.

    1. So true, Allison! The kitchens at Kaanapali Alii actually made me WANT to cook while on vacation!

    1. I hope you can get to Maui sometime soon…and Kaanapali Alii in particular. You’ll love it!

  4. I can just imagine people east of the Mississippi are looking at booking a trip to Hawaii soon. This has been a winter in the 10 rating as far as cold, snow, and wind – even Florida has been hit by the extreme cold.

    1. So true! Any reason is a good reason to visit Hawaii, if you ask me, and escaping the cold provides a perfect excuse to soak up some of that aloha spirit!