A previous winner of FTF’s Top 10 Getaways for Family Togetherness award, Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, Maui, Hawaii was honored along with other hospitality, timeshare and eco-tourism businesses that made it possible for families to stay, play, relax, and learn together in a creative and enriching atmosphere. This deserving resort gets a fresh look in 2015:
When you dream about Hawai’i, are volcanic sand, hula skirts and ukulele music drifting in the breeze included? You’ll find all this and more at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, voted “Hawaii’s Most Hawai’ian Hotel” by the Waiaha cultural foundation. This small resort received the honor, undoubtedly, because of its unique approach to welcoming guests as part of its ohana (family). Another example of the hotel’s commitment to preserving the islands’ traditions is having all employees study traditional Hawai’ian language and culture in the Ke Kula O Ka Po’okela (School of Excellence) where staff learn about the Hawai’ian values of hospitality, love, helpfulness, harmony, respect and honesty. In turn, KBH shares these traditions with their guests.
Visiting ohana will enjoy the resort’s surrounding three miles of sandy beach, having been named “America’s Best Beach” by Stephen P. Leatherman (“Dr. Beach”). The hotel wraps around an enormous palm-shaded lawn area, where parents relax on chaises with books, while kids run around or play with coconut game pieces on a giant checker board. Wetter pastimes begin after visiting the beach shack, which rents many water playthings. Ocean lovers can take advantage of nearby opportunities for boogie boarding, surfing, snorkeling and SCUBA (ages 12 and older) operating out of the Beach Activities Center, and there’s always the popular whale-shaped pool.
KBH’s website is up front that its complimentary children’s amenities program, “Aloha Passport for Kids,” is for families, rather than a supervised kids’ camp. In it, kids get passports which lead to different destinations around the hotel, resulting in Hawai’ian stamps and gifts. Kids 4-12 visit up to 12 destinations, while babies 3 and younger enjoy their own passport card and toy-filled beach bucket automatically, just for being cute.
Other free daily activities — poi-making, hula dancing, ukelele playing, lau (leaf) printing and sand image workshops — share Maui’s rich traditions with guests of all ages. At hula-dancing time, parents and children learn by swaying hips and floating arms to the strains of the ukulele. Some of the kids who’ve been there a few days may sport fresh flower leis and ti leaf hula skirts that they’ve sewn themselves. The Director of Po’okela says, “Our program provides fun activities for entire families as well as opportunities to learn Hawai’ian culture.” Add a dose of nightly sunset hula shows, torch-lighting ceremonies and Hawai’ian music and dancing, and you’ve got special elements for a unique family vacation.
The KBH family put guests at ease immediately; upon check-in, besides saying “aloha,” the staff will give you your Passport and a Hawai’ian name, as well as information on beach and evening activities. At the Ohana Welcome Breakfast on your family’s first day, be prepared for simultaneous dining, serenading and a dance presentation. During this introduction, staff answer your questions and help you plan sightseeing excursions such as luaus, horseback riding and helicopter rides.
In hoping to provide the best Hawai’ian home away from home, KBH keeps families in mind. At the on-site restaurant. the open-air Tiki Terrace kids 5 and younger eat free with paying adults. The highrise KBH has 438 comfortable accommodations, many of which have been recently renovated, and a coin-operated laundry on-site. There’s a spa salon for manicures, facials and massages, but generally family togetherness is the focus.
The moderate price of the resort and the complimentary activities help make family togetherness an affordable first-class experience. Kids 17 and under stay free in their parents’ room. Check the website for Family Packages, Internet specials and discounted fares and specials.
Photos Courtesy of Ka’anapali Beach Hotel
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