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Family-Friendly Hawaiian Resorts

Words by Jennifer Stein

This past May, I officially became a traveling parent of a nine-month old. We’ve traveled with our son before, but most of the destinations were family homes and not really far from home. When we decided on our Hawaiian family sojourn, I was a little skeptical on how it would play out since we wouldn’t have the “comforts of home” on our side.

Boy was I wrong.

Our first stop was at The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas. I knew they had a full kitchen in each villa, but beyond that, I wasn’t aware of how “family-friendly” this place really was. First of all, when you check in, it feels like a vacation resort, not the typical “timeshare condo” I was expecting. The signature Westin scent greets you as you enter the open-air lobby and the entire atmosphere feels like “Hawaii.”

When we made our way to the luxury appointed villa, we were pleased by the hotel feel with the homey amenities. The kitchen was larger than ours at home, it had a full size refrigerator (which when you stay a week with a little one, you need every inch of) and the usual Westin trademarks such as the over-sized jaccuzi tub, heavenly bed (and crib) and modern elegant furniture. Our lanai overlooked both the ocean and one of the several pools on property which gave us a perfectly stunning view.

We decided to take a little tour of the 26-acre beach-front property with their Director of Public Relations, Sumithra Balraj. She pointed out the many perks families can take advantage of including the award-winning restaurant (Pulehu), the dedicated children’s pool and $5 grocery stocking option. For the small fee, a Westin staff member will shop for you so when you arrive, you have a fully stocked kitchen! They also offer short-cut meals that are pre-made and available for purchase or in-room dining which most vacation rentals don’t offer.

The on-site spa is nothing short of indulgent. Spa Helani offers a seductively relaxing atmosphere with couple’s treatment rooms and even a “tree-house” treatment room that rivals most I’ve visited in other parts of the world. The massage I experienced was long overdue (schlepping a nine-month old across the Pacific makes ones shoulders a little tight) and deserves mention.

Sumithra pointed out that the Westin does their best to, “customize their offerings to meet people’s needs.” This couldn’t be truer. The only reason I wasn’t heartbroken to leave Maui and the Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas was because we were headed to another Westin Villa property in Princeville, Kauai.

The Kauai property was different in a few ways. It still had the signature “Westin” stamp in the décor, scent and luxury details, but because of the way it’s laid out the rooms feel more like villas than hotel rooms. There are still several pools, but the vibe is a little more laid back and relaxed (like Kauai in general).

The property lies about 200 above the ocean, on the north shore of Kaua’i, so if you’re looking for beach time, you’ll have to head over via shuttle (which is still very convenient) to the sister property – the St. Regis Princeville. We didn’t miss having the beach one bit and actually enjoyed the lush garden setting the property offered.

Their on-site market, bars and restaurant met every need we had and Nanea had, “the best Loco Moco” my husband has ever eaten. We decided to grill one night and shopped at their market where they offer a plethora of marinated meats and poultry, vegetables and anything you’d need to whip up your own barbeque.

Staying at either of these Westin properties is a must – children in tow or not. Both offer weddings and romantic honeymoon options. Both are ideal to have all your wedding party stay because the feeling is intimate and mimics home in more ways than one. It’s a perfect marriage of home and vacation in one, set in paradise. What else could you ask for?


Photos courtesy of: The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villa and The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort
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