It was 6:30 a.m. and I was heading out on a sunrise jog on the West Maui coast with Brad Kukral, the running ambassador for the Westin Maui Ka’anapali resort. Our group of early birds included casual runners like me and a few others who were more serious about the sport. Fortunately Kukral, a seasoned marathoner and a resort bartender, set an easy pace on the paved beach path that traces this scenic coastline.

As we ran steadily north from the resort, the morning light caught the mountaintops of neighboring Lanai and Molokai islands across the Pailolo and Au’au channels to the west. Lacy ocean waves gently lapped the shore and a few moored excursion catamarans bobbed placidly in the calm, windless conditions. To the east, the West Maui mountains were draped in mist and low-lying clouds, backlit by a rising sun. It was Maui’s morning magic at its best: quiet, serene and breathtakingly beautiful.

A woman walks along the Ka’anapali Beach Path on a recent morning. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

Reaching the Sheraton Maui Resort, set on the jagged volcanic Pu’u Keka’a (aka Black Rock) promontory, we maneuvered around a few buildings to transition from South Ka’anapali Beach to North Ka’anapali (aka Airport) Beach. Just past the historic Keka’a landing pier, I watched a family of sea turtles surface just offshore, raising their heads above the water as they commuted to their favorite feeding spot.

The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa is a spectacular location on the north end of Ka’anapali Beach. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

The most extraordinary thing about this morning jaunt along the beach was the emptiness of it all. Just a handful of people passed us on the path and the long expanse of Ka’anapali sand was almost devoid of strollers, beach-goers and swimmers. Having visited West Maui post-pandemic and about eight months before the fires, and busy Wailea in South Maui in February, this emptiness was indeed a strange sight: Ka’anapali beaches and pathways are almost always busy with walkers and runners enjoying morning wellness rituals and fresh air. But not today and, most likely, not in the near future, as the impact of the devastating fires that destroyed much of the nearby town of Lahaina last summer continues to affect the West Maui region and the island as a whole.

The fires dealt a serious blow to Maui’s economy and thousands of Lahaina locals lost their homes, businesses and jobs. Almost 100 residents lost their lives. “When is right time to visit Maui again? What is the best way to help?” Hawaii travelers asked themselves as tourism slowed to a crawl.

A sunset torch-lighting ceremony takes place nightly at Pu’u Keka’a (aka Black Rock), Ka’anapali Beach. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

In March, the go-ahead signal came from Hawaii’s state and Maui’s county governments, and from the islanders too. Spread the word, they said: “Makaukau Maui” or “Maui is ready” in the Hawaiian language. And while the physical, economic and emotional recovery of Lahaina and its community will take many years, perhaps decades, there really couldn’t be a better time to visit West Maui, where most resorts and hotels are open again and welcoming visitors with the aloha spirit. Better yet: most Ka’anapali resorts are offering discount pricing and enticing packages — a rarity in the Islands, especially on Maui.

Where to stay

The Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali

View of Ka’anapali beach from a premier ocean view suite, Hokupa’a Tower, Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

My deluxe digs at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali were high up in the fabulous 217-room Hokupa’a tower. The recently remodeled Hokupa’a rooms provide wide ocean views and exclusive access to a club level called “The Lanai”, a great place to enjoy a drink and included breakfast and dinner pupus. The club’s shallow pool with in-water chaise lounges is dreamy place to enjoy a sunset and drinks crafted by their expert mixologists. Complimentary breakfast and dinner pupus, and all-day snack and non-alcoholic drinks are also provided.

The Westin Maui is putting the finishing touches on a property-wide, multi-million-dollar transformation, which also includes the redesigned Kukahi Tower and the debut of Hana Hou by Westin — a 10,000-square-foot social center with a state-of-the-art arcade games, two Topgolf swing suites, and a bar and lounge. It’s the first amenity of its kind at a Hawaii resort and is slated to open to the public at the end of May. The Westin Maui also recently launched Ulu Kitchen — the resort’s signature breakfast, lunch and dinner experience in partnership with acclaimed Hawaii chef Peter Merriman (be sure to check out the Monkeypod mai tai flapjacks with Kula rum butter syrup, honey lilikoi foam and the saimin-style “Cure” for breakfast, the ahi poke bowl for lunch and the delicious grilled macadamia nut mahi mahi for dinner.)

Ka’anapali Beach, located on the west coast of Maui, is known for its amazing sunsets. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

A cliff diver leaps off Pu’u Keka’a (aka Black Rock) on Ka’anapali Beach. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

Lacy waves break on North Ka’anapali Beach. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

A solitary visitor takes in the evening sky at Ka’anapali Beach. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

The waterfall and pool at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

Poolside cabanas at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

Polynesian dancer at at the Wailele luau, Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

View of Ka’anapali beach from a premier ocean view suite, Hokupa’a Tower, Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

A sunset torch-lighting ceremony takes place nightly at Pu’u Keka’a (aka Black Rock), Ka’anapali Beach. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)



The Westin also boasts one the best oceanfront pool complexes in Ka’anapali, with a large kids pool with two open-air slides, and several quieter pools, one with a waterfall and two others for adults only. A small infinity pool has a sandy bottom to wiggle your toes while soaking in the view. Numerous poolside cabanas offer waterside privacy for an extra charge. The resort offers a unique RunWestin program for runners as well as a daily yoga sessions for those who love to stretch and pose. Details:

The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa is offering a Return to Maui package that features a donation to fire recovery efforts with each stay. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

In a spectacular location at the far northern end of Ka’anapali Beach, the Sheraton is committed to supporting its associates and neighbors who are still healing and providing travelers a myriad of ways to support the Maui economy by buying local, participating in volunteer experiences, and donating to those affected. In pursuit of these goals, Sheraton Maui Resort launched three new offerings, including a Return to Maui package with a donation earmarked for each stay, a “Malama at Your LEI-sure” fundraising initiative in collaboration with a local artist, and a Discover More of Maui with enhanced programming to discover local artisans and island destinations. Stroll the Ka’anapali path to the Sheraton around sunset to enjoy the hotels’ Hawaiian music and hula shows and the traditional Lele Kawa cliff-diving ceremony at Pu’u Keka’a every evening. Details:

Outrigger Ka’anapali Beach Resort

A staff member with the Outrigger Ka’anapali Beach Resort’s cultural center demonstrates how to make a nose flute in a workshop. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

With a recently remodeled wing of premium rooms and newly acquired by Outrigger Resorts & Hotels, the property (formerly known as the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel) offers one of the best values in the Ka’anapali resort.

Hotel guests can enjoy complimentary Hawaiian cultural experiences from a team of cultural practitioners, including kukui nut lei-making, hula, and bamboo stamp making workshops, and classes in Olelo, the native Hawaiian language. Class sizes are limited and are held at the Kawenaokeao Cultural Center in the lobby.

Facing the beach and ocean, the breezy space that once housed the resort’s Hui Hui restaurant is now an outlet of the family-friendly Maui Brewing Company, a great place to enjoy a few cold, locally made brews, pub fare like fish tacos and seared ahi tuna salad, and, of course, take in the unforgettable West Maui sunsets. Details:

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

The acclaimed Japanese restaurant Japengo is among the culinary offerings at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa. (Photo by Ben Davidson Photography)

A huge resort with 779 rooms and 31 suites at the far south end of the Ka’anapali Beach path. The resort’s six pool areas and a swim-up grotto bar are currently closed for renovations. The resort has launched Nashville Nights, a songwriters series featuring a stellar lineup of talented artists from the Music City, is being held once a month for the next five months. The inaugural show took place on April 27, with performances by renowned artists Gracee Shriver and Noel Bisesti.

A Tour of the Stars experience for Hyatt guests is led by Astronomy Director, Eddie Mahoney and allows guests to experience Maui’s clear skies with a night of stargazing and a rooftop astronomy program. Programming is offered every night of the week at 8, 9 and 10 p.m. Astrophotography workshops are available by request. Details:


Fire knife performers at the Wailele luau, Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali. (Photo by Ben Davidson)

Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali

The resort’s Wailele Luau brings you on a journey through Hawaiian history as the performers chant and dance hula while you enjoy a traditional island-style dinner with dishes such as lomi lomi salmon, ahi poke and slow-roasted kalua pig, plus unlimited drinks. When the sun sets, the performance culminates in an awe-inspiring fire knife dance. Details:

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

Maui Nui Luau: Discover the remarkable stories, history, and culture of the Valley Isle and Ka’anapali through the songs and dances of Maui and the Pacific. Situated beachfront on award-winning Ka’anapali Beach, the Maui Nui Lu’au shares the music, dance and history of the islands right here at the foot of the famous cliff diving point, Black Rock. Details:

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa

Drums of the Pacific: Experience Polynesian culture at a beautiful oceanside venue as you enjoy traditional song and dance, an authentic imu ceremony, a three-course dinner and open bar featuring island cuisine and local spirits, and a three-man Samoan fire-knife dance finale. Details:

Royal Lahaina Resort

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The Myths of Maui immerses guests in captivating mo’olelo, or legends, of ancient Hawaiian mythology through a colorful array of song, dance, traditions, and cuisine. The experience starts with a buffet of mouthwatering Hawaiian dishes, including the Kalua pua’a slow-roasted pig in an imu, or underground oven. Hula dancers take the stage, sharing the stories of the demigod Maui and his heroic feats. A journey across Polynesia is told through traditional song and chants, concluding with an awe-inspiring fire knife performance. Details:


The Ka’anapali Golf Courses offer 36 holes of golf, including a limited time 9-hole Kai golf course experience in a beautiful setting with views of the Pacific Ocean and the West Maui Mountains. The nine-hole course features holes 1, 4-6 and finishing with holes 14-18. After June 1, the Ka’anapali Kai course will resume operations as an 18-hole course. Details: