Best Pools in Maui, Hawaii

Maui is the most commercialized and expensive of the Hawaiian islands. It also has the best beaches, the best resorts and the best swimming pools. If you are a swimming pool aficionado, The Valley Isle is your splashdown point. Culling the many great pools to a short list is tough, but somebody has to do it: Greatest Dips Grand Wailea: This is the legendary resort pool of all the islands, which is appropriately over-the-top for the most over-the-top hotel on the island. Everything here is epically sized. From the lobby, you can look out — that's the main point — at the Hibiscus Pool, the 4,850-square-foot liquid artwork stretching from lobby to sea. The huge mosaic of a hibiscus flower is created by a quarter of the 2.2 million tiles making up the pool. Kids, avert your eyes. It's adults only. Who cares when the real deal is The Wailea Canyon Activity Pool. It's really nine pools spread across six levels, descending 40 feet. Slides, ropes, swim-up bars and a water-powered elevator to take you back to the top to start over. Only drawback: It's sharp elbows time for the prime poolside spots when the place is crowded. Grand Hyatt Maui: The Hyatt is one of the oldest and biggest hotels in Kaanapali and its pool is the same. Unlike later pools, the Hyatt's was built with a few deep-end spots, where the water is up to 9 feet deep. As an adult, this is a great spot to jump into the water and for older kids to go diving down for sticks. But parents need to remember that this isn't one of those modern no-point-less-than-three-feet-deep pools now so popular at resorts. Officially, there are two pools separated by the caves, waterfalls and grotto — but you can swim from one to the other (and stop for a drink along the way). The Lahaina Pool, with the deep end, is where most of the adults hang out. But the action is on the far side of the falls in the Napili Pool, with its 150-foot Lava Tube waterslide. The slide is a wild ride, but like some of the older models, it is all enclosed – though there are some psychedelic lights on the way through. It's a lot of flopping around in a tube before being unceremoniously dumped into the pool just under a swinging bridge where onlookers can see if you get water up your nose. Parents with very little ones can hang out in the Keiki Lagoon, with a sand-covered bottom. For adults, the best attraction is the Grotto Bar, where you swim through a waterfall to get to a Flintstone-like setting with a small counter of seats with a full range of beers, wines and hard stuff for tropical concoctions. Westin Maui: With an 85,000-square-foot water park, the Westin is a major player in the Maui water park wars. The biggest draw of the aquatic playground is a 120-foot slide constructed into a man-made hill that twists riders 270 degrees and drops them 23 feet into a pool below. In all, there are five pools, with plenty of hidden nooks for kids to play hide and seek, or for adults to have a kiss amid the thundering waters. The hotel sells inflatable flotation rings, which children are encouraged to embellish with magic marker art. Honorable Mention: It's not the Grand Wailea, but my daughter loved the lower-key Fairmont Kea Lani, with lots of room to swim and explore but enough whoop-it-up fun that it doesn't feel like other beautiful but sedate pools on the island. After a long drive around to the far side of the island, the hillside pool at the Hotel Hana Maui is the perfect place to gaze up at the stars at night, the pool area illuminated by flame-topped stone columns that serve as dramatic substitute for the traditional tiki torches of other hotels. --- PICTURED TOP LEFT: The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in the Kaanapali district of Maui features a lazy river surrounding the free-form pool which overlooks Black Rock, a site ancient Hawaiians believed their spirits "jumped off" or left this world. Today locals and tourists launch into the ocean from the 25-foot high rock. (Mindy Schauer/Orange County Register/MCT) TOP RIGHT: The Westin Maui in Maui, Hawaii. (Michael Goulding/Orange County Register/MCT) BOTTOM LEFT: The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa pool offers a unique swimming experience with waterfalls spilling over a cave leading to a children's water play area in Maui, Hawaii. (Mindy Schauer/Orange County Register/MCT) BOTTOM RIGHT: The Lava Tube slide winds thrill-seekers 150-feet through a tunnel before dumping them into the pool at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Maui, Hawaii. (Mindy Schauer/Orange County Register/MCT)  
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