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Montage Maui Resort Kapalua Opening Early 2014

Montage Maui Resort Kapalua Opening Early 2014

Old Feb 8, 15, 12:54 pm
  #31  
 
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Ok. I said I'd write a mini review but this is probably too long to really be "mini..." I apologize in advance for both the length and the "stream of consciousness" nature. I've been putting this off for too long, and I don't have much time to write today. I hope it's still helpful to someone.

We recently got back from a trip to Maui that included a stay at Montage Kapalua Bay. We've been to Maui many times and stayed at a number of resorts. For our preferences, Montage is far and away our favorite. It's much quieter than the others, and we thought the service was more personable too. With only 50 hotel rooms (plus the condos), it has a completely different feel from the other resorts. It's not perfect (I've never been to a hotel or resort that is), but we thought it was truly great, and it's where we'll stay next time we go to Maui.

First, the room. We don't stay in condos when we go to Hawaii. We don't want to cook when we're on vacation, and it's usually just the two of us, so we don't have a need for multiple bedrooms or the other benefits that condos offer. But the Montage was built as condos, so that's what the hotel room was like, and it really blew us away. We reserved a 1 bedroom ocean view residence. The elevator has a button for each room (two rooms per floor, with one door on each side of the elevator, each opening to a single room's entrance). So you never hear someone else's door slam, you don't hear kids running down the hall, and you don't get woken up by drunk people meandering their way back to their room in the middle of the night. The room was actually a 3 bedroom unit, with two of the bedrooms closed off. It had 1.5 bath, a HUGE deck with a round daybed and seating for at least ten, a nice big kitchen, a good sized living room with a nice flat screen TV and a (smallish) walk-in closet off the master bedroom. Not only was it spacious, I thought the quality of the finishes and construction felt much more like a high end home than a hotel.

We didn't use the kitchen for cooking, but it was nice to have both a full-sized refrigerator (pre-stocked with bottled water) and a wine fridge. It also had a full selection of pots, pans, plates, and glasses. Which normally wouldn't really matter to us, but having a bunch of wine glasses on hand was nice because sometimes we like to have a glass or two of wine while watching the sunset from our deck. Other hotels tend to require us to call in-room dining to get that, and then they want a tip (sometimes there's even a delivery charge). The view was over the pools with a pretty good view of the ocean. It wasn't an unobstructed panoramic ocean view, but it was very nice and a lot better than the view from the "ocean view" rooms we've had at Four Seasons. Housekeeping did a great job, down to nicely coiling the cords to our phone chargers.

The check-in process was easy. A concierge was waiting for us as we walked in the door, and offered towels, pineapple and some juice. Our room wasn't ready for about 10 minutes, so we waited in some chairs by the little market. Normally we could have gone to the pool or one of the bars, but it was absolutely pouring rain, so we decided against it! A few minutes later, another concierge came over and escorted us to our room. She went over all of the amenities, our spa reservations, and other details in the room as the bellman unloaded our luggage. Both the concierge and the bellman were genuinely warm, friendly, and helpful in helping us get settled and making sure we were well taken care of. And they both continued to say hello and be friendly as we saw them throughout the stay.

We loved the pools. They don't have the "amusement park" feel of something like the Grand Wailea, and the adult pool isn't as separate as the one at the Four Seasons. But the design is really nice. There are a number of different tiers, with various alcoves and small areas, so it's easy to find a place to hang out where you feel almost like you have the pool to yourself. Even during the middle of the day, we had absolutely no problems walking right up and getting a pair of lounge chairs under an umbrella right at the pool. Often with no one else even sitting in the same part of the pool deck. It was amazingly quiet and private feeling for a hotel pool, even when there were several other families there. They do have cabana beds that I believe you can rent, but we didn't look into that since it was so easy to get a great spot without it. There's also another pool and hot tub at the Beach Club, which is tucked away in a corner of the property, closer to the ocean. We had that entire pool and hot tub to ourselves most of the times we were there, and even when others were present, it was extremely quiet. Food and beverage service at the pool was fine, and similar to the Four Seasons they occasionally bring around various treats (no Evian spritz that I noticed). The adult pool at the Four Seasons is impossible to get a chair at, and it kind of feels like a party scene to me (the bartender once said "people seem to think this is Vegas"). The Montage pools are the polar opposite of that.

Every staff person we encountered was amazing. They all seemed like they were happy to be there, and that they really wanted to make sure we have a great vacation. There's a bar tender at the pool bar whose family has lived in the area for generations, and he gave us outstanding tips about things to do and places to go. His sister is the Cultural Ambassador who has an amazing amount of knowledge about the island, and is very happy to share it. One time when the Kapalua shuttle was going to take a few minutes to arrive, the valets immediately offered to drive us instead. We had everyone from restaurant servers to bar tenders to valets to spa staff go above and beyond in various ways to make us feel special. We were celebrating a special occasion, and almost everyone we met congratulated us on it (along with a number of special things being left in our room, a free dessert at the restaurant, and other things). Most luxury hotels will leave amenities in the room for special occasions, but rarely does it feel like the employees genuinely remember and care. At the Montage it really felt that way.

Now, for the downsides. First, if you've ever been to Kapalua, you know it can be windy and rainy. We were very lucky with the weather on our trip, but it was very windy and rainy one day of our stay. Be prepared. Second, while the food was pretty good, it wasn't at the level of something like Four Seasons, and there are fewer options to eat in the immediate area. I think they need to bring the food up a bit to match the level of the rest of the property. I will say that the bartenders excelled, and made us several off-menu drinks that were amazing. Finally, if you like a lot of action, you want a happening scene, you enjoy the "big resort" feel, or you need a bunch of places near by to walk for food, drink, and activities, Montage probably isn't right for you. Montage is QUIET. The Kapalua shuttle can take you to other places within the overall resort area, but Kaanapali (or even Wailea) it ain't. We consider that a good thing, but I know some people may not.

The bottom line is that we think the Montage is in a different class than the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and other resorts on Maui. It has quickly jumped to the top of our list of favorite Maui resorts.

Last edited by Cardboard55; Feb 8, 15 at 12:55 pm Reason: fix error
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Old Feb 9, 15, 7:49 am
  #32  
 
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That is a great review. Thanks. I have one quick question. Does the Montage use the pools at the Ritz Carlton or do they have their own pools?
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Old Feb 9, 15, 8:29 am
  #33  
 
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They have their own pools. It's a little ways away from R-C. You can take the shuttle up there, but I wouldn't really want to walk it.
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Old Feb 9, 15, 9:34 am
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Cardboard55, thanks so much for taking the time to review your stay. Interesting note about the food - we'll definitely make a pit stop at Costco then, just to make sure we have additional options in case we don't feel like eating out.
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Old Feb 9, 15, 12:55 pm
  #35  
 
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To add some color to my thoughts on the food: for dinner, on property there are two options. Cane and Canoe is the main restaurant, and then there’s a bar/lounge next to it. For breakfast, Cane and Canoe is the only option, and for lunch, the Sunset Patio is the only option (you can order food poolside or at the pool bar, but it’s all the same menu). We ate at all of these places multiple times. The food was consistently good, but only a couple of items were really outstanding. Whereas, most of the meals we had on property at the FS were outstanding. There were a few times when I felt that the chefs at Montage were being a little too creative (or, at least, the execution didn’t quite keep up with the creativity). The food was far better than we’ve had at the big resorts around the island, but I know they can do better. And if you’re staying for a long time, you’ll definitely need more variety. We did not try the in-room dining, so I can’t speak to that.

There’s also a small convenience store/market with coffee and a few food items, but the selection isn’t very big. Merriman’s is in easy walking distance (though they drove us over in their golf cart) and was pretty good (though the service was slow). You can also easily get to Sansei and the restaurants at the RC via the Kapalua resort shuttle. Beyond that, Kaanapali and Lahaina aren’t terribly far, and obviously they have tons of food options, but it’s not like you’re going to walk there and the shuttle doesn't go that far, so you're going to have to drive or get a cab/car service.

I remembered one other thing that I appreciated. It’s very standard to get an email from a concierge ahead of your stay. We got the same thing from Montage. But what stood out to me is that, as we corresponded back and forth via email, we were always dealing with the same person. He remembered the context, and gave the feeling that he was personally helping us. And he remembered all of our details when we met him in person. Contrast that with the FS, where we got a reply from a different person every time - it felt like we were dealing with a call center. In the scheme of things, this is pretty minor, but I enjoyed it and felt that it was another nice touch that reinforced the Montage’s feel as a smaller and more personal property.
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Old Apr 1, 15, 11:27 am
  #36  
 
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A couple of questions...

thanks for all the info! Staying at montage beginning Tuesday. No one contacted me in advance...when I contacted the hotel, I got a list if activities and prices.

I was shocked to find out that my family if four needs to spend an additional $80 a day for beach chairs, let alone the costs of snorkel tubes, boogie boards etc.

I asked them about getting water and soda for the fridge and I got a form to fill out that said it would be a $30 charge in addition to the cost of the items.

At 2200 a night plus $30 resort fee and $30 parking, I'm starting to feel nickel and dimed already, did you find this?

Thanks...
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Old Apr 1, 15, 12:24 pm
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by jkallet View Post
thanks for all the info! Staying at montage beginning Tuesday. No one contacted me in advance...when I contacted the hotel, I got a list if activities and prices.

I was shocked to find out that my family if four needs to spend an additional $80 a day for beach chairs, let alone the costs of snorkel tubes, boogie boards etc.

I asked them about getting water and soda for the fridge and I got a form to fill out that said it would be a $30 charge in addition to the cost of the items.

At 2200 a night plus $30 resort fee and $30 parking, I'm starting to feel nickel and dimed already, did you find this?

Thanks...
I think this is totally unacceptable! I would feel exactly as you do.
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Old Apr 1, 15, 1:01 pm
  #38  
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Originally Posted by jkallet View Post
thanks for all the info! Staying at montage beginning Tuesday. No one contacted me in advance...when I contacted the hotel, I got a list if activities and prices.

I was shocked to find out that my family if four needs to spend an additional $80 a day for beach chairs, let alone the costs of snorkel tubes, boogie boards etc.

I asked them about getting water and soda for the fridge and I got a form to fill out that said it would be a $30 charge in addition to the cost of the items.

At 2200 a night plus $30 resort fee and $30 parking, I'm starting to feel nickel and dimed already, did you find this?

Thanks...
Unacceptable and would definitely be a deal breaker for me.
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Old Apr 1, 15, 1:39 pm
  #39  
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Originally Posted by jkallet View Post
thanks for all the info! Staying at montage beginning Tuesday. No one contacted me in advance...when I contacted the hotel, I got a list if activities and prices.

I was shocked to find out that my family if four needs to spend an additional $80 a day for beach chairs, let alone the costs of snorkel tubes, boogie boards etc.

I asked them about getting water and soda for the fridge and I got a form to fill out that said it would be a $30 charge in addition to the cost of the items.

At 2200 a night plus $30 resort fee and $30 parking, I'm starting to feel nickel and dimed already, did you find this?

Thanks...
Unacceptable and shameless - parkng is rediculus but not unusual. A Charge for beach chairs? Snorkel equ really? I donīt find words....
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Old Apr 27, 15, 2:39 pm
  #40  
 
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Just finished 4 nights at the Montage. Cardboard55's review upthread very much captures our experience as well. We had previously stayed at the Ritz Kapalua and the 4S Manele Bay, and this far exceeded both (can't compare to other Hawaii luxury properties) and was on par with our experience at the St. Regis Bora Bora a couple years ago.

We booked the lowest category 1 bedroom through Amex FHR, which gave us breakfast ($60/day credit in Cane & Canoe or in-room dining), a $100 spa credit and the 4th night free. The materials also noted that we received an upgrade, but I'm not really sure that mattered, other than maybe the view. Our room was enormous - we were in a 3 bedroom that had two bedrooms locked up (so 1 bed, 1 1/2 baths for us). Full kitchen with high end appliances, wine fridge, etc. While we didn't use it all that much, it was really nice to be able to buy wine / soft drinks / snacks off property and then enjoy them without hassle in our room / lanai. We made a stop at Walmart near the airport to stock up, but there are plenty of other stops along the way too. Speaking of the lanai, it was huge. It had 2 lounge chairs, a big circular outdoor daybed, a table with four chairs, and another 2 chairs / side table. We were pretty high up with a view out over the pools and to the ocean. Stunning view of the sunset.

The overall facilities in the place are great - the pools are the best I've ever seen in a resort, and are incredibly private. There were a number of cabanas / lounge chairs that were "reserved" and presumably require an upcharge (we didn't bother asking), which I found a bit tacky given how empty the place felt. However, there were always plenty of well located lounge chairs available, no matter when during the day you showed up. There is also a separate infinity pool overlooking Kapalua Bay called the Beach Club, which has a great view and was always pretty empty. The spa / fitness facility was top-notch according to my wife, who got a massage and did yoga a couple of times while I was playing golf.

The beach is public, but Montage has a deal with the beach hut there whereby guests receive complimentary beach chairs / towels. Stand up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkels, etc. cost extra.

We got incredibly lucky with the weather, with no rain and only light to moderate winds. That is a clear downside to the Kapalua area relative to Wailea, but in three trips there, we've never really been impacted by it.

For food, we did breakfast at Cane & Canoe a couple of times, which was good, though expensive. About a mile or so walk up near the Ritz, there is the Honolua Store, which has an espresso bar and a wide selection of breakfast options (as well as groceries, wine, etc.). It was surprisingly affordable given the location, though obviously more expensive than off the resort. We had lunch out by the pool one day, which was quite good (the Kalua pork nachos are fantastic). For dinner, we ate at Cane & Canoe one night, and were a little disappointed - wait staff was only ok and the food was good, not great. Overall, somewhat disappointing given the price point. We also ate at Merriman's (loved it, particularly when compared to C&C), Sansei (disappointing given expectations - more creative license with sushi rolls with a pretty lackluster setting) and Kai Sushi in the Ritz (we love it given the quality of the fish, but it's not for everyone and is expensive for what you get).

To address some of the other random questions / comments: we didn't receive an email from the concierge in advance, but already knew the deal in Kapalua and are the type who makes our own reservations well in advance anyway. You do not have to spend more money on beach chairs, either at the pool or the beach. Plenty of options included complimentary. Yes, they do charge for snorkels and other beach equipment. It's a little tricky for them given that it's a public beach and the "beach hut" is not Montage owned / operated. We have our own snorkels that we always bring with us, so not really an issue for us there, and we didn't mind paying for the stand-up paddleboards (we also weren't paying close to $2200/night). They were in great condition, unlike at the St. Regis Bora Bora where all of them seemed to have at least one hole. While I can't speak to the expense of having them stock up the fridge, we had a couple of bags of groceries in our car that they brought up to the room and put away for us upon arrival.

Overall, it was a wonderful stay, and so long as the price point doesn't creep up too high, the Montage will become one of our go-to vacation spots.
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Old Apr 30, 15, 1:02 pm
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Edited to remove question re "downside". I knew that Kapalua is considered windy; hadn't read the thread thoroughly to see the comment about rain.

Would it likely be raining in August?

We are taking the extended family - kids/grandkids to Kaanapali this summer and thinking about tacking on a few days at the end for my husband and I to recover from the family "vacation". I've been to FS Wailea and liked it although got tired of having to fight for a pool chair - we are used to that at Hyatt/Westin but at FS prices it is unseemly.

So I was thinking about going up to Kapalua, where we have not been. Seeing lots of recommendations for Montage over Ritz Carlton. But if there is a substantial "downside" to Kapalua maybe Wailea is a better option?

Last edited by ejong; Apr 30, 15 at 1:15 pm Reason: idiocy
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Old Jun 18, 15, 1:57 pm
  #42  
 
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Trip Report

I finally got around to writing up my trip report from our stay last month, here's the external link which will direct you to my blog which has all the detail, including pictures and video.

To briefly summarize, our stay was simply amazing and I can't recommend this property highly enough. The biggest highlight was the service, which in my mind was Aman-caliber. And a close 2nd was the pool, which is far and away the nicest pool I have ever seen in my life. It was so hard to take pictures of the entire thing, that I ended up making the video tour below. As you can probably tell, this is basically my first time at the rodeo in terms of making a video, so apologize for the poor production value!


Happy to answer any questions!

Last edited by sfoactuary; Jun 18, 15 at 2:06 pm
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Old Jun 18, 15, 2:55 pm
  #43  
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Originally Posted by sfoactuary View Post
Originally Posted by sfoactuary
opened in Summer 2014 and at less than a year old, still looks virtually new
50 guest rooms, along with 54 residences
new construction
how new the hotel is
great to hear re service, and great photos especially turtle!

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
aug 1 2013 - montage began management (so 10 month soft-opening/etc)
jan 1 2013 - timbers began management (lasted 7 months)
may 31 2009 - opened under ritz carlton management (lasted 3 years and 7 months)
Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
62 fractionals 2/3BR (177 fractions sold / 12 = 14.75 units)
84 condos 3/4BR
"47" fractionals "being used as hotel rooms" (2/3BR)
http://hawaii.gov/dcca_condo/reports/7512B.pdf

buildings 3 and 4 were fractionals (31 per building)
http://hawaii.gov/dcca_condo/reports/5900S.pdf

montage hotel site also lists 4BRs (condos)
all the 4BRs are located in buildings 1 and 2

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/shannon...itz/18/115/400 interesting

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jun 19, 15 at 9:31 am
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Old Jun 18, 15, 4:14 pm
  #44  
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Montage Maui Resort Kapalua Opening Early 2014

Nice review sfoactuary. I saw a list just recently that put the Montsge as one of the top ten most expensive entry level rooms for the summer season. Glad to see that the product both hard and soft seems to match.

Fdw
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Old Jun 18, 15, 5:57 pm
  #45  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyingDoctorwu View Post
Nice review sfoactuary. I saw a list just recently that put the Montsge as one of the top ten most expensive entry level rooms for the summer season. Glad to see that the product both hard and soft seems to match.

Fdw
I saw that list too and remember thinking that the price they quoted was really high at $1,554 per night which just doesn't seem right. I've spent a lot of time searching their website for dates throughout the year and other than a handful of holiday dates, a standard 1BR is typically in the $800-$1,000 range.

We went in May and were able to make use of the hotel's promotions which included 4 nights for the price of 3, and complimentary upgrade at booking which were also stackable with Virtuoso benefits.
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