You can never go wrong with Maui. There are beaches galore, the seafood is outstanding, sea turtles are almost a guarantee and the temperatures are perfect. What more can you ask for? The former capital of Hawaii is Lahaina and I had the pleasure of staying here for 8 nights to attend a good friend’s wedding.
For my trip, I was looking for an accommodation that would give us the best of everything. It was a big ask because of the group size, our location needs, considerations on price, and overall awesomeness. I made sure I left no stone unturned and made sure I considered all the options but I daresay we found it in the Aina Nalu.
The Perfect Way To Do Maui
Maui is the kind of place where you just want to disconnect and not have to worry about being on someone else’s schedule. That means not having to wake up at a certain time to catch breakfast or having to go through a maze to get to your room. Vacation in Hawaii should be about having your own space and ultimately feeling like you’re at home.
When you’re spending 8 nights on the island like I did, I wanted to be able to do things like use the laundry machine to wash my clothes and stock the fridge with my favourite drinks and snacks. On some days I knew I wanted to be outdoors soaking the sun and on other days, I’d want to just sink into the couch and watch TV.
That’s kind of how life is on Maui – making up your itinerary on the fly, enjoying the company of friends, and doing a whole lot of nothing. Staying at a condominium property like the Aina Nalu Lahaina by Outrigger made all of this possible.
Aina Nalu Lowdown
Understandably, picking a property to stay on the island is not easy as I imagine you’re contemplating several options even as you are reading this. If you’ve decided on an apartment-type rental and are on the fence about whether Aina Nalu is for you, hopefully this’ll give you more information to help make your decision.
Location is always one of the most important factors. The Aina Nalu is in a prime position if you are wanting to spend most of your time in West Maui. Historic Old Lahaina is literally 5 minutes away. This means within walking distance is Front Street where the main drag of restaurants can be found and nearby you can also find The Outlets of Maui for a little shopping therapy, or grab some supplies (and excellent poke) at the local Foodland.
Being in West Maui is a blessing and a curse because you quickly realize once you’re on the island just how long it takes to get from one area to another. Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili, Honokowai, and Kapalua are all incredibly convenient to get to. Getting back to the airport area of Kahului is also not bad but once you start venturing out to Kihei, Maalaea, Makena, and even further out to Hana, you’re talking about at least an hour drive depending on traffic.
For some reason, we always managed to find our way in the South or in Upcountry so we got to know those few highways very very well. We learned the hard way that we had to account for long commute times whenever we planned our day.
The other thing that might be an issue for some is that you’re not getting a beachfront property here. To be honest this isn’t really an issue because guess what, you’re surrounded by beautiful beaches all over the island. In fact, if you’re anything like us, we wanted to explore as many different beaches as possible so the chances of you using your own beach even if you had one would be slim.
From the outside, this residential-style vacation complex is quite modest and low-key. The resort is made up of an array of two-story condo buildings. Some are even interconnected by wooden bridges that make it easy to go from one to another. There is a well-rounded use of light colours and wood that make the foliage and landscaping blend in. You’ll also find a zen-like garden atmosphere in the plantation inspired decor and design here.
While it may not be outspoken with its luxury, the grounds are incredibly well maintained and there’s an air of calmness, tranquility, and homeliness that welcomes guests like you’re coming back home to your favorite uncle’s cottage.
There are a number of room options here depending on your needs. The particular room I stayed in was the 2-bedroom and 2-bath condo. The video walks you through it all but I think the big thing that stood out for me was the fact that it was fully loaded for all your cooking and laundry needs. The amount of space we had meant that you didn’t have to tippy toe your way around or have to be conscious of where you packed your things.
On the second floor, I quite enjoyed having high vaulted ceilings with ceiling fans in each room which meant that there was always great circulation and a ton of light that flood in during the day.
Another thing I was very impressed with is just how fast the wifi is (very important these days). Each room seems to have its own router and so signal strength is never an issue. I did a speed test on the first day and download and upload speeds were upwards of 28.77 mbps and 5.86 mbps respectively. Lets just say Netflix streaming is possible.
Lastly, I’ll say that the room was quite well maintained and you could also tell that the bathrooms were recently redone. I was definitely a big fan of the open showers. After a day at the beach, it was so easy to rinse off in there and wash all of our sand-ridden gear. The stone tiling also made it difficult to track the sand once it was washed away which meant that it never felt dirty in the shower either.
Pools are key for any property in Maui and the Aina Nalu checked off all the boxes for me. Comprised of two pools and one hot tub, each is well maintained and provided guests with a little variety.
The smaller fresh water pool is found near the center of the resort. It is more shaded because of the surrounding trees and is more of an intimate experience because less people end up coming here.
The larger salt water pool is the showcase pool of the property with its tiki lamps, cabanas, and lounging pavilion. The depth of this pool is about shoulder high and is also constant all the way through. Adjacent to the pool you’ll also find the whirlpool spa which sounds ludicrous considering how hot it can get there but surprisingly was quite relaxing when I did try it.
Beyond the pools you’ll find barbecue grills that are available on first-come-first-serve basis and ice machines.
The service from the front desk was always outstanding. From the check-in process to being on hand to answer any questions, the staff is both helpful and friendly. The desk is open from 6AM to 10PM.
The key distinction you have to make with this property is that unlike a hotel, there is no daily cleaning service unless you would like to pay for it in addition to your rate. Also, note that the housekeeping desk only operates from 8AM to 4PM so if you have any specific requests you need to make sure you do it during the day.
To give you an idea of price, I did a quick comparison for reference although I recommend you do your own search.
For a similar two bedroom/two bath garden view suite, prices are around $995 USD for 5 nights + 13.42% tax and $203.12 USD cleaning fee.
Comparably, a similar two bedroom ocean view room with capacity for 6 will cost $1,545 USD for the same 5 nights + 13.42%.
You can decide which one is the better deal!
The big things you want to be aware of are that there is a flat-fee charge for cleaning is tacked on to your reservation here. Parking is also $17.50 a day.
A Whole Lot of Pros and Not So Many Cons
If you’re on the fence and need a little more convincing or trying to weigh whether you want to stay here over another property, I’ve put together a simple list that lays out the good and the bad.
- Incredibly spacious room – There aren’t many places that can fit 6 people to a room and have two bathrooms.
- Location – Walking distance to Lahaina and all that it has to offer (don’t miss Kimo’s Hula Pie and Ululani’s for shaved ice).
- Pools – Your choice of salt or freshwater. They are set to the perfect temperature and a great place to wind down and relax.
- Safe – Completely safe and quiet neighborhood.
- Open shower – I can’t stop raving about the showers here.
- Laundry – We practically were able to do laundry everyday to wash our swimsuits and sand-ridden towels. Laundry powder detergent was free so that was a nice bonus. When you run out, just call housekeeping for more.
- Kitchen – We didn’t cook a whole lot but this was great to keep our tub of ice cream, adult beverages and breakfast supplies.
- Not beachfront property
- No gym
- No housekeeping service included – This is expected though
- Parking is extra
- Cleaning service fee – That being said, this is quite standard for apartment rentals
- Timer on AC – I believe this was specific to our suite but each AC unit had a twist timer that could be set on to a maximum of 4 hours. This means that the AC eventually turns off in the middle of the night.
- Pull out couch a bit too springy
- House cleaning limited hours
- Small TVs – Its hard to use 32″ TVs these days considering all the space you have in the suite.
- Extra towels are at a cost
Inside Look at the Aina Nalu and the 2 Bedroom Garden View Suite
I apologize in advance for my mis-pronunciation of the property name. While I thought it was “āna Nalu”, I was corrected by locals to something close to the effect of “Ina Nalu”.
The room I had the pleasure of staying at was D-207 and if my review above didn’t answer your questions, this walkthrough certainly will.