WHERE TO STAY
The Lahaina-Kaanapali area is full of hotels and condos. I dodged the priciest, most luxurious properties (including the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua and the Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali) and wasn't impressed by a few of the low-end properties (including Lahaina's Best Western Pioneer Inn and the Aston Kaanapali Shores condos). Between those extremes, here are four hotels I checked out and liked.
Plantation Inn, 174 Lahainaluna Road, Lahaina; (800) 433-6815, http://www.theplantationinn.com. It looks historic, but this two-story inn behind Gerard's restaurant went up in 1987. Nineteen rooms and suites, with a small pool and free breakfasts, within easy walking distance of downtown Lahaina, driving distance to the nearest swimming beach. Affiliated with the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. Rates $159-$259 through Dec. 22.
Lahaina Inn, 127 Lahainaluna Road, Lahaina; (808) 661-0577 or (800) 222-5642, http://www.lahainainn.net. Twelve rooms and suites, with stylish new furniture and wallpaper. The property, reopened in September after renovation, is just upstairs from the upscale Lahaina Grill and one of the busiest streets in town. It has no pool or beach frontage, but guests get access to amenities at the Royal Lahaina Resort and free shuttle rides. Rates $89-$175 through Dec. 21.
Kaanapali Sheraton Maui Resort, 2605 Kaanapali Parkway, Kaanapali; (866) 500-8313, http://www.sheraton-maui.com. Prime location, part on beach, part perched on rocks; 508 rooms and suites. Rates $259-$755 for most rooms, more for suites, plus $25 daily resort charge.
Kaanapali Beach Hotel, 2525 Kaanapali Parkway; (808) 661-0011 or (800) 262-8450, http://www.kbhmaui.com. Its buildings have a spare, square '60s look, but staffers pride themselves on family-friendliness and old-school Hawaiian hospitality; 430 rooms and suites, whale-shaped pool, 11 acres of grounds.
Room rates usually $159-$262, suites $277-$457.
WHERE TO EAT
Hula Grill, 2435 Kaanapali Parkway, Building P (in Whalers Village mall), Kaanapali; (808) 667-6636, http://www.hulagrillkaanapali.com. Hawaiian surf and turf in an enormous dining room and patio fronting the beach. Chef-owner Peter Merriman is a local favorite. Dinner entrees: $21.95-$31.95.
Lahaina Grill, 127 Lahainaluna Road, Lahaina; (808) 667-5117, http://www.lahainagrill.com. Great contemporary bistro food in a grown-up setting. Dinner entrees: $29-$85.
Old Lahaina Luau, 1251 Front St., Lahaina; (800) 248-5828, http://www.oldlahainaluau.com. Dinner alfresco nightly, extensive buffet including Hawaiian favorites. Live music and hula performances nightly; Price: $92 plus tax for adults; reservations a must.
TO LEARN MORE
Maui Visitors Bureau, http://www.visitmaui.comCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times