The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua: Maui Luxury Hotel for Hawaii Getaways & Golf

Kapalua Bay, West Maui
Robert James DeCamp / Getty Images

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, is a sophisticated, subdued luxury hotel on Maui in Hawaii. The hotel opened in 1992 and was extensively renovated in 2008. It is managed by The Ritz-Carlton, a US-based, uppermost global hotel brand beloved by luxury travelers.

The property has earned the rare Five Diamond designation from AAA, and consistently wins tip-top honors from the likes of Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua is set in Kapalua, an exclusive, private-feeling resort, residential, and golf community on Maui, justifiably one of Hawaii's most popular islands. Unlike other Maui resort areas, Kapalua has just one other hotel besides The Ritz-Carlton.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua perches on a scenic bluff on Maui's north shore. The resort occupies 54 acres of a onetime pineapple plantation and is surrounded by 36 holes of championship golf. It overlooks a breathtaking Hawaiian beach (DT Fleming Beach), and guarantees a pink-and-purple sunset nightly.

The resort is full-service, with everything a luxury traveler expects from a Ritz-Carlton resort, and more:
• Lovely rooms and even lovelier suites; every accommodation has a lanai porch or balcony
• A wonderful Ritz-Carlton Club Level lounge
• Warm, personal service
• Varied, high-end in-house dining
• A perfectionistic spa
• A cabana-laden pool complex with social, playful, and romantic appeals
• 36 holes of superlative golf against a sparkling Pacific backdrop
• From December to April, hanging with an annual tour group: Maui's migratory humpback whales

01 of 07

Who Stays at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui in Hawaii
©The Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua attracts a varied clientele. The resort is kid-friendly, but is also a destination for romantic twosomes. Golfers from everywhere seek out this resort, too.

Many guests are Americans: U.S mainlanders (especially Californians), Hawaiians seeking a weekend escape, Alaskans in search of warmth. The resort attracts Canadians and also Japanese, who have a historic affinity for the Aloha State. 

Will You, Personally, Like The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua?

You will probably love The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua if you:

• Desire a quiet escape in the Hawaiian sun, off the hotel-thronged resort strip
• Are looking for some intense "couple time" • Or you seek a place that will welcome your kids without feeling like a waterpark
• You've been spoiled by, and need, exquisite Ritz-Carlton service
• You need some serious spa time
• To you, a state-of-the-art gym and other fitness options, like running and hiking, are non-negotiable
• Or you're a golfer, and 36 Troon-managed holes will be your green heaven
• You want a resort with a strong commitment to its F&B (food and beverage)
• And that hosts a respected annual culinary event, Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, happening June 8-11, 2017
• You yearn to witness humpback whales in their natural habitat

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua may not be your ideal Maui getaway if you:
• Want the options of a multi-resort vacation hub like Maui's Ka'anapali or Wailea
• Are looking for a thriving nightlife scene in the Hawaiian sun • You'd prefer a rustic Hawaiian inn or a private-feeling boutique hotel (this resort has 463 accoms)
• You're not a golfer and don't like the idea of overlooking the greens
• You want a room right on the sand; this resort's beach is a few minutes' stroll down a pathway

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02 of 07

Guest Rooms & Suites at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Guest suite at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui in Hawaii
©The Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua is a mid-size resort with 323 rooms and 33 suites (other suites are residences). Accommodations occupy two wings that wrap around the resort's pool complex. occupy two wings that wrap around the resort's pool complex.

I admit I have a poor sense of direction, but I battled with the resort layout. The property runs down a hillside, so lower floors dead-end, and I kept getting lost. If you're like me, it's best to request a room relatively closer to the lobby. (However, the suites that are set at the end of corridors are well worth any inconvenience.)

Every accom has a lanai porch or balcony. Basic (Deluxe and Terrace) rooms feel compact but are undeniably handsome. Rooms and suites are done in typical Ritz-Carlton décor: midway between traditional and modern; elegant but not flashy; ultra-comfortable.

Traces of Hawaiian flavor are supplied by kukui floral designs in rugs and vintage Hawaiian prints on the walls

Rooms are technologically up-to-date, with iPod/iPhone docks, plentiful outlets, satellite TV
• Wifi is strong, and is included in the daily resort fee
• Bottled water carries a pricetag
• Rooms have mini fridges
• Toiletries are from the upscale British boutique Asprey

The Suite Life at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Suites are vastly bigger than rooms and offer a very gracious experience of The Ritz-Carlton, • Kapalua. Suites feature:
• Aah, sunshine
• Distinct rooms for privacy
• One or two full bathrooms
• Tons of seating, closet space, drawer space
• Dressing room with a desk
• Two lanais with ocean and golf course views; the larger lanai is like an outdoor living room
• Some suites grant access to the resort's Club Lounge

Housekeeping is twice daily, with chocolates and a Maui keepsake at turndown. Other guest services available include:
• Super-fast laundry and pressing
• 24-hour room service
• Grocery and beverage shopping
• Ample, thorough concierge service
• Valet parking and complimentary self-parking
• A free shuttle around the Kapalua community

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03 of 07

The Exceptional Club Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

VIP Executive Club Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalu
©The Ritz-Carlton

A luxury hotel stay poses the question: is a club-floor upgrade worth it?

In the case of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, the answer is an emphatic yes. This Club Lounge serves as a comfort center and home base in a large resort. The lounge offers:
• Ongoing food and drink: a scrumptious breakfast buffet; hot and cold lunch dishes; teatime with pastries; happy hour with appetizers; and later, chocolates and cordials
• Club breakfast and lunch means added value for guests who pony up for club access
• Attentive club concierge service goes beyond golf reservations and boarding pass printouts
• The Club's outdoor lanai balcony is favored by the iPad and MacBook Air crowd, who get their work done in a scenic spot with cappuccino on demand

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04 of 07

Dining at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
©The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua's dining is a pleasure, offering various venues and menus.

The Banyan Tree, open for dinner, is a modern kitchen for farm-to-table, ocean-to-plate, and garden-to-glass dining. Expect the Aloha State's fresh, seasonal, organic, sustainable bounty. The kitchen's flavor-forward dishes are enhanced by dramatic Pacific views, handmade cocktails, and one of Maui's best wine lists.
• See a Banyan Tree menu

Kai Sushi is known for ultra-fresh Maui sushi and Japanese cuisine by Chef Tadashi Yoshino. Kai's design melds elements of the Aloha State with the Land of the Rising Sun (including a renowned sake list). Kai Sushi is open for dinner only.

The Terrace, the resort's breakfast place, boasts a smashing view. This more casual eatery serves a plantation-style breakfast buffet with hearty and healthy options including succulent Maui fruit, fresh juices, a custom omelet station, and help-yourself Bloody Mary bar. 

Open from noon into the night, Alaloa Lounge is the lobby's social heart, and offers an ocean view. It serves handcrafted cocktails and small plates afternoon and evening. 

Burger Shack, opened in 2016, serves lunch and dinner at the beachfront, shaded by a natural canopy of dozens of coconut palms. Menu highlights: gourmet burgers of Hawaiian beef, signature sandwiches of island pork or fish, and larger-than-life shakes. Guests enjoy tropical cocktails while watching the waves, and, from December to April, the thrilling sight of majestic migratory humpback whales

The Pool Bar & Café serves sunbathers and swimmers frosty cocktails and smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and more

Aina Gourmet is an on-property grab-and-go café

Not in-house but nearby in Kapalua, Merriman's Maui is a superlative restaurant with relaxed Maui atmosphere, stirring ocean views, and perfectly cooked Hawaiian regional cuisine

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05 of 07

Spa, Recreation, & Relaxation at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Pool cabana at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalus
©The Ritz-Carlton

Spa, Pool, Beach, Gym, Whale-Watching

You could spend your time The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua recharging on the links, on the sand, or by the pool. That sounds good. But there's lots of competition for your vacation time here.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Kapalua

The resort's spa is an alluring relaxation station that a majority of guests experience – many more than once. The spa's treatments take their cue from Waihua, healing waters of Hawaiian legend.
• The curvaceous, rock-lined spa entrance resembles a riverbed|
• The spa's 15 hushed treatment rooms are open to a private outdoor shower
• A vast spa menu includes expert facials, massages, body and beauty treatments
• Among the spa's specialties: authentic Hawaiian lomi lomi massage
• Treatments utilize Maui healing ingredients like sea salt, kukui nut, awapuhi Hawaiian ginger

Spa patrons are urged to come early to their treatments and linger afterward, for good reason.
• The spa boasts Hawaii's only indoor-outdoor relaxation area
• Inside: volcanic stone "grottoes" (rock-lined hot tubs); steam; sauna; whirlpool baths; mineral pools

Beach at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

The hotel's D.T. Fleming Beach is well-known on Maui. A few minute's walk down a path from the hotel, this is a picture-postcard beach, with golden sand and gentle surf (and a lifeguard for good measure).
• Beach butlers make sure guests are comfortable and looked after
• December through April, beach-goers become whale-watchers, spotting migrating humpback whales and their newborn calves frolicking in the surf

Pools & Cabanas at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

The hotel's pool complex is inviting, with several deck levels that seem to pour down the hill.
• An adult pool has areas for lap-swimming and for lounging
• The kids' pool contains waterpark elements
• Of course, there are hot tubs, too
• Loungers and umbrellas are ample

Cabanas at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Each of the resort's seven indoor-outdoor cabanas is a luxury oasis. The cabanas are rented by the day.
• Amenities include tropical fruit platter and treats, nonalcoholic drinks, towels, fridge, TV monitor with wireless headsets, wifi, electrical outlets, a safe, and more
• Cabanas are serviced by butlers

Fitness at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

The comfortably air-conditioned fitness center is accessible 24 hours. Patrons have a choice of cutting-edge exercise equipment of every kind.
• Cardio machines have private monitors
• The movement studio, site of varied fitness classes, enjoys sweeping ocean views

Beach, Forest, and Links: Great Walks Around The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Exploring the resort's surroundings, you can witness a pro gold game, a wedding, or a breaching humpback whale.
• The Beach Walk past Kapalua waterfront residences is just that, and a beautiful workout
• The Village Walk has nothing to do with a village; it's a demanding uphill path with mesmerizing ocean vistas, though a Hawaiian pine forest (truly)
• Tip: get a hiking map from the front desk (I admit I always need a map)

Green Program: Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment

Founded by famed diver Jacques Cousteau's son Jean-Michel, Ambassadors of the Environment offers green adventures to kids and adults, for a fee.
• Naturalist-led programs cover land and sea, with particular attention paid to Maui's beloved sea turtles and migratory humpback whales.

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06 of 07

Bucket-List Golf at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Golf course at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui in Hawaii
©The Ritz-Carlton

Golfers consider The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua a bucket list destination. The resort features two famed, impeccably maintained, emerald-carpeted golf courses and a golf academy. They have been managed by Troon Golf since 2011.

The Plantation Course measures 7,411 yards and was designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. Grand in scale, the Plantation Course rolls across natural hills and pineapple plantation fields. Its oceanfront final hole is pure golf fantasy (see photo above)

The course hosts the PGA TOUR Hyundai Tournament of Champions each January. It's an invitational in which only winners of other pro tournaments can compete. You name them, they've teed off here

Bay Course measures 6,600 yards and was designed by Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane.
• The course is known for its gentle fairways and ample greens
• Some of its 18 holes snake along the beachfront

The Kapalua Golf Academy is a state-of-the-art instructional facility that is considered the best in Hawaii. MMany of its instructors are PGA Professionals

Find Out More About gGolf at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

• The resort's packages and promotions
• See the details about Kapalua golf
• And read About's Guide to Golf Travel's rave review

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07 of 07

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua: For More Info & Reservations

Pool at at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui in Hawaii
©The Ritz-Carlton

How to Connect with The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

• The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua website
• On Facebook
• The resort's photo gallery
• Photos on Pinterest
• By phone 808.669.6200

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
One Ritz-Carlton Drive
Kapalua, Maui, HI 96761 USA

As is common in the travel industry, the Luxury Travel Expert was provided with a complimentary visit in order to describe the resort. For details, see our site's Ethics Policy.

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