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Maui Prince Hotel & Makena (Secret/Wedding Cove)


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#1 calyxxa

calyxxa
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    Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:03 PM

    Hello Everyone:

    Someone asked me to post a review of Maui Prince Hotel. I hope this is where I am supposed to share it. I'll also comment on our wedding site, Makena Cove (also called Secret Cove and Wedding Cove), which is a short drive south of Maui Prince Hotel.

    To give you some background on me so you know whether to take this review with a grain of salt: My now-husband and I are in our late 30s, this is my 2nd marriage, and his first. It was our first trip to Hawaii. We have traveled extensively across the US and overseas. We've stayed at everything from a 5-star to a no-star (LOL -- think tent). I think we are most comfortable at the all-inclusive, adults only resorts in Mexico. I did not spend a lot of time wedding planning (we hired a coordinator) because I did not have any time, and I really don't care what color the flowers are or what time of day we should get hitched.

    MAUI PRINCE HOTEL:
    Intro: We didn't expect the Four Seasons or the Fairmont; we got what we thought was a deal on Expedia (although it turned out that if we had waited longer or used Hotels.com, we would have gotten a cheaper rate). I thought the hotel overall was charming in that it maintained its Hawaiian style and appeal, but in retrospect, for an event like a wedding, I wish I would have chosen either a nicer hotel or rented a private villa/condo.

    Rooms: They were pretty clean and small, but you can't beat the ocean view! We reserved an oceanview prime room, and while it is not as good as oceanfront, it gives you a pretty darn good ocean view. I'll try to post pictures later of what the oceanview prime room looks like. I requested and was very, very disappointed that they did not upgrade us to an oceanfront room. The hotel was not crowded the week we went, so not sure why our request was denied. I felt slighted because I read on Tripadvisor the multitudes of people who were upgraded for anniversaries or birthdays or no reason at all, and I couldn't think of why they wouldn't upgrade us to oceanfront. The next step up isn't a suite, it's just an oceanfront room. Anyway, that kind of set the tone for the whole week -- barebones, nothing special or over the top, just enough to get by.

    Bathrooms were clean but outdated. There was a slight "public bathroom" odor in our room the first couple of days, but it went away. They provide one Aveda facial bar and the rest of the bathroom products are Neutrogena. They have a hairdryer as well as a lighted makeup mirror. There is a small bar area outside the bathroom for the coffee maker and a small fridge. There were two bottles of water in there when we arrived. We made 3 requests for more water, and never got them, so I guess the first 2 bottles you get are complimentary and that's all you get.

    It was pretty quiet - we didn't have any problem with noise in the hallway. There is a "foyer" area of the room - you've got the outside door, a few steps, and then an interior door. If you wanted to sleep with the sliding glass door open and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean with a breeze coming through the room, you could just leave your exterior door open (which hooks onto a latch to stay open), shut and lock the interior door (which is vented but privacy protective so no one can see in) and open your sliding glass door for a good breeze. However, a sign in the room tells you that in order to keep bugs out, you should keep the sliding glass door shut. So we never took advantage of this feature.

    Bed is super comfy! Really! We were impressed and happy about that. Linens were clean and cool. Bed was definitely A+ in my book.

    All furniture, including the TV, are pretty outdated. Not dirty or broken, just outdated. The lanai/balcony was pretty standard - it has a little table and a little drying stand for your swimsuits. View is outstanding, as I mentioned before. We were on the north side of the building, so we couldn't see Molokini crater, but it was still a lovely sight. In the distance, you could occasionally see whales jumping, but it was pretty far out.

    Restaurants: OK but overpriced (to be expected in Maui). Molokini Lounge was good for dinner, and we ate at the breakfast buffet in Cafe Kiowai ($18 for buffet that was not very extensive). Although very pricey, we highly recommend the Sunday champagne brunch at Prince Court (also part of Molokini Lounge). Unbelievably brunch though pricey at $38 a pop. But hands down, one of the best buffets I've ever dined at --- everything ranging from prime rib,fresh fish, a huge assortment of salads, fruits, sides, omelet stations, and a gigantic dessert table. It was fabulous...but again....$38 a pop. For quality of food and more reasonable prices, we found it best to go into Kihei and Wailea to eat. We didn't have time to try Hakone, but I hear it's OK, but expensive.

    Parking: Easy as pie and doesn't cost you a thing. Never found it difficult to find parking, and they had free valet if you didn't want to park it yourself (kinda silly because the parking lot is so close). They also have a shuttle that goes into Shops of Wailea but you don't really need it if you have a car.

    Beach: The beach outside Maui Prince is very nice. It is not private, as there is a public entrance on the south side of the beach, but it doesn't get a lot of non-hotel folks visiting. Never hard to find chairs (no towel reserving games in the AM). There is an area where they provide beach/pool towels and you can rent out water recreation equipment. One cool thing is that there is a boat you can take (for a fee) to go straight out to Molokini crater to do some snorkeling or to go whalewatching and it departs right from the beach in front of Maui Prince. Very convenient. Snorkeling on the south side of the beach is excellent.

    Pool: Probably the biggest disappointment of the hotel is its pool scene. The pool is SO tiny. For the number of rooms this hotel has, the size of the pool is outrageously small. You can't do a lap. All you can do is dip in this pool. It's like an oversized hot tub. Really, really disappointed. We should have looked closer at the hotel pics to really understand the tininess of the pool (we really like pools). There is a smaller kids pool, but it is not that much smaller! There are two hot tubs, too. There is an area where they provide beach/pool towels and you can rent out water recreation equipment.

    OTHER: Pretty nice front door staff. Super nice and friendly valet, bellhops, doormen. There is an activity concierge near the front desk, but prices are cheaper if you go online yourself and make reservations before you come to Maui. They offer the same stuff as Maui Dive Shop, which is in Shops of Wailea. No celeb sightings, primarily because Maui Prince is not that level of a hotel. The hotel did have drycleaning and pressing services, but I did not need to use them for my dress. I just hung up the dress in the bathroom while I showered and the steam took out the wrinkles from the plane ride. Also, unless you like walking, it is kind of a hike to walk north to Wailea and there is no boardwalk between Makena and Wailea. However, I love the remoteness of Maui Prince. Not too crowded like Wailea, Kihei, Kaanaapali or Lahaina...it had the perfect feeling of remoteness. Plus, it is a much quicker drive to Makena Cove, La Perouse Bay, Fishbowl/Aquarium.

    MAKENA COVE: Very, very small. If you were in a car, you would probably drive right by the opening to the beach. There is a little stone wall, and a really narrow little opening to get into the cove. It is not marked, I don't think, but it is a lovely little spot on the beach to get married. There are beautiful black rocks all about, and a mini-cliff that I think would be great to have your ceremony if the waves are not high. It is, however, renowned as the Wedding Cove, so if you're there, there likely will be 4-6 weddings ongoing the same time. But I think the same is true for almost any beach in Maui since so many people get married in Maui. Your photographer and coordinator, however, can figure out a way to make it seem like you are the only ones there. It is a public beach so you can't force anyone to leave, but most of the time, people are respectful of weddings and try not to ruin shots. I did, however, have a few people show up in a few pictures. No biggie.

    SEASON: We went in early March. This is such an iffy time in Maui. It is technically winter. The cool thing is that the whales are migrating so lots of whale sightings. However, weather is unpredictable. While we were there, it rained a lot...we're talking torrential downpours...and the sun rarely came out. I think we only had 2 real full days of sun. The rest of the time it rained a lot and was very cloudy where the sun did not even peek out. Even the locals expressed surprised at the amount of rain and cloudiness they've had. So, be careful about picking March to get married in Maui. We were even staying in the driest part of Maui and still got tons of rain and cloudy days. We had reservations at the Old Lahaina Luau, and within 15 minutes of it starting, a torrential downpour canceled the entire luau. We also went on a hiking trip, and our tourguide had to improvise because the rains caused the trails to be muddy, the waterfalls to become dangerous, and you could barely see anything. Then again, you could get lucky. I know some people who went to Maui in March and had the most perfect weather ever. Luckily, my husband and I have a good sense of humor, so we were prepared to do some hilarious poses and moves in case we got a downpour during our wedding. Btw, we got married at sunset 5:30pm. Rain quit right before our ceremony and started back up again about an hour after we were done, so we got a cool sunset for our photos.

    Hope that helps! If you have any Qs, let me know.

    #2 PaddleAddict

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      Posted 24 March 2009 - 06:12 PM

      Thank you so much for your review! Unless someone else requested it, it was me who asked for a report when you got back. Congratulations on your wedding!

      We were deciding between the Maui Prince and the Fairmont, and just yesterday decided on the Fairmont. Reading your review made me feel even more comfortable with our choice. I think the Maui Prince sounds great for a get away, but the Fairmont will probably be more appropriate for the wedding, as well as being more central for our guests, who will be staying in Kihei and Wailea.

      Thank you again!
      Jackie




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