Maui's Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa - Aloha, E Komo Mai 'Ohana (Welcome, Family)
by Bryan Outram
When you arrive at the entrance to Maui's historic Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa, a guest is prone to that feeling that everyone likes to experience with their first impression of a holiday destination.
That feeling, in a word, is, 'Wow'.
Not trying to sound ridiculously simplistic here, but that was indeed the honest, simultaneously audible reaction from each member of our family as we pulled up to this classic, tropical resort.
My wife, 13-year old daughter and myself, were afforded the opportunity to first see the entrance to the Hyatt Regency Resort in a night setting due to our evening arrival time.
It may have helped that we were just over 10 days shy of Christmas, but the elegant, yet brilliantly lit palm trees that bordered the driveway up to the resort's open air lobby immediately had us all feeling we were in store for a special experience at this property.
After undergoing the ordeal that is international travel these days, it is particularly comforting to arrive at your destination and instantly feel that you've landed in paradise.
Whatever tension may have preceded one's arrival vanishes almost immediately with the sights, sounds and smells that accompany your initial introduction to the newly renovated lobby of the Maui Hyatt Regency.
The open air design is extremely welcoming in that it is both elegant and calming at the same time.
A $20 million renovation on the property was completed in early 2012 and the most appealing upgrade would appear to be the unique, splendid lobby and hotel entrance area.
After you've had a chance to stroll around the beautiful gardens and ponds throughout the lobby area be sure to gaze down from the balcony surrounding the floors above when you reach your level so you can see how the gardens are designed in the shape of each of the Hawaiian Islands. Very cool.
The guest rooms also received attention and some updating but the real star here is the property itself.
Encompassing some 40 acres of beach coastline in Ka'anapali, the venerable Maui Hyatt Regency is the benefactor of being built back in 1980 when space wasn't at such a premium for accommodations in paradise.
Comprised of 3 Towers - the main Atrium building, the Lahaina Tower (located toward the direction of Lahaina) and the Napili (located toward the direction, of course, of Napili), the Hyatt Regency offers fabulous amenities spread across its property which very quickly feels like one's own private estate.
All the amenities are accessible and can be enjoyed by virtually any age or group, be it couples, families or retreat-style business conventions.
Visiting as a family, we found a vast array of activities to choose from that could be enjoyed either individually or together.
When dad gleefully headed out the door for his tee time at the adjoining Ka'anapali Golf Course, mom and daughter were more than content to wander down to the hotel's famous Spa Moana - (Moana means 'ocean', so this is indeed a spa inspired by its proximity to the ocean) - for their chosen treatments.
Manicures, pedicures, facials and full body massages using varying techniques are available. Our daughter chose a Teen Manicure and Pedicure specifically targeted for the 13-17 year old age group. Also offered is a Child (Keki) manicure or pedicure aimed at the 6-12 age group.
There is an 'Enzyme Anti-aging Facial' on the extensive treatment menu as well. Strictly FYI.
Included in the multitude of activities to be found here as well is a wildlife tour of the property's own exotic denizens that is conducted from the hotel's lobby beginning at 10:00AM Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Among the many creatures to be viewed are parrots, koi (fish), swans, flamingoes, cranes and one of the more popular attractions on site, penguins. Yes, that's right, penguins.
If you're into stargazing in a tropical setting then the Maui Hyatt Regency offers something truly out of this world.
Hosted by Director of Astronomy Edward 'Eddie' Mahoney, the whole family can marvel at heavenly bodies millions of light years away through some of the most powerful telescopes on earth perched atop the roof of the Hyatt Regency.
It is as much a riveting learning experience as it is a visually stunning one.
Of course no top flight property of this stature would be complete without offering the best in cuisine options and the Hyatt is no exception.
Choose between the delightful, Asian-inspired menu of Japengo, featuring patio seating with romantic and inspiring views overlooking the resort's waterfalls and adjoining Ka'anapali Beach or the poolside and more casual oriented venue, 'Umalu.
Or the innovative Son'z Maui At Swan Court adjacent to the hotel lobby where they offer, among a variety of dishes, Grilled American Kobe Meatloaf and coming soon apparently - make your own 'Bloody Marys'.
The hotel also has the Swan Court Breakfast open-air restaurant, catering specifically to inspiring breakfasts that range from made to order omelettes to macadamia nut muffins and fresh Hawaiian pineapple and fruits.
At some point in everyone's Hawaiian vacation experience it is as necessary as it is inevitable that you attend an authentic luau. The Drums of the Pacific Lu'au at the Hyatt Regency offers one of those tremendous family experiences not to be missed.
While experiencing the pulse quickening drums and ritual dance routines reflective of Hawaiian and Polynesian culture, the family can dine on numerous choices from an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The main dish, Kalua Pork, is presented in what is known as an 'imu' ceremony, essentially the unveiling of a whole roasted pig done in an underground pit in authentic traditional Hawaiian style.
Last and certainly not least on this list of culinary options is access to a hotel amenity that accompanies room reservations made for either the Regency Club Oceanfront or Regency Club/Partial Ocean View.
Having access to the Regency Club lounge is a beautiful thing. Just ask my wife. Located on the upper floors of the Atrium Tower, Regency Club rooms offer a number of other amenities such as admission to the Moana Athletic Club and daily tennis court time.
But the crowning jewel according to my better half, and I'd have a hard time disagreeing, is the unlimited access to the Lounge which features continental breakfasts and evening hors d'oeuvres and desserts.
But it's not as simple as that. The quality of the food available including the fresh pastries, omelette ingredients, Hawaiian coffee, fruit, juices and cereals helps make this oasis stand literally and figuratively above expectations.
Being able to grab as much bottled water or non-alcoholic beverages as you feel you may require for a day's outing is a convenience one truly comes to appreciate.
visit www.hyattregencymaui.com for the latest information and pricing on everything from accommodation to activities to restaurants on the property.