My wife and I stayed at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua Resort in September 2017. We were celebrating our two year wedding anniversary.
In January 2017, I was approved for the JPMorgan Ritz Carlton credit card. I decided to apply for this card because they were reducing the sign up bonus from 3 free nights to 2 free nights. Anyway, I completed the minimum spend in mid-March and the free nights posted shortly thereafter. They expired one year from the day they were issued.
The main reason we decided to go to Hawaii was to use these free Ritz Carlton nights. For this reason, we only stayed for three nights, but it cost us absolutely nothing. All we ended up paying for was the valet parking.
The hotel was located in an area of Maui called Kapalua. It is north of the main tourist area on the west side of the island, Kaanapali. It is pretty much the only hotel in the area. Because the hotel is so set apart, it feels very private and exclusive. At the same time, it means you end up having to drive at least 15 minutes to get to a bunch of the restaurants.
The moment we stepped on the hotel grounds we were impressed. They greeted us with shell necklaces and a welcome beverage. They unloaded our luggage onto a cart and showed us to the check-in desk.
After getting squared away at check-in, the bellhop showed us to our room. Well… Actually I’d be underselling it if I just called it a room because it was actually the largest suite we’ve ever stayed in, but I’ll get to that later.
The hotel has two separate wings (north and south) that break off from the main lobby. It appeared that all the Ritz Carlton Residences were in the north wing while the south wing consisted of the rest of their hotel rooms.
Between the two wings sat several different swimming pools, two jacuzzis, lounge chairs, a hotel restaurant, and much more.
There was a large grass field between the hotel and a cliff overlooking the water. Along this grass field, there were a couple different paths. One of these paths led down to the tennis courts and the beach.
The gym was located just off the lobby on the way to the south wing. There were plenty of machines, free weights, and ellipticals. The hotel provided a variety activities (nature walks, yoga classes, etc.) throughout the day. Some of these activities were free and others costed $10-20 per person.
Prior to arrival, I had emailed the general manager of the Ritz Carlton Kapalua. I basically explained how my wife and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary and how excited we were to stay at the Ritz. At the end of the email, I asked if we could look forward to a room upgrade if the hotel was not fully occupied by our arrival.
He responded a day or two later and informed us that he had upgraded us to a Residential Garden View Suite. I was shocked! I expected to maybe receive a slightly larger room, but definitely not a suite. Of course I immediately looked up how much this specific suite normally costs per night. It typically runs for over $750 per night!
Fast forward to when the bellhop unlocked the door to our suite. It was everything we expected it to be and more! The suite itself was around 920 square feet. To put this in comparison, it was larger than our 2 bedroom apartment back home. The suite had hardwood floors throughout, which made it feel much more homey than your typical hotel carpet.
There was a full kitchen with a stovetop, dishwasher, and fridge. It was also fully stocked with pots and pans for you to use during your stay. They also provided utensils, plates, bowls, and even one of those cool pineapple corers (because if you’re in Maui, you have to eat some Maui Gold pineapple).
The kitchen also had a large bar area with seating. When we arrived, there was a sweet little surprise waiting for us.
The living room had a sectional, coffee table, and a large flat screen TV. Off the living room was one of the two balconies. One of the cool features was that if the sliding door to the balcony was open the air conditioning would automatically shut off to conserve energy.
There was a door leading to the bedroom, which held a king sized bed, another TV, and a desk. The second balcony off the bedroom was a little bit smaller than the first one, but still featured some patio furniture and a table.
Off of the bedroom was a walk-in closet and the bathroom, which had a tub, shower, and a double vanity.
The service here was absolutely wonderful. Everyone was friendly and helpful, but it really is the little things that make the Ritz Carlton special. For instance, whenever you called the valet from your room phone, they would answer the phone and say “Hello Mr. Garcia”. They didn’t even have to ask for a ticket number and our car was always pulled around by the time we arrived in the lobby.
We used several of the utensils, silverware, and dishes during our stay. Whenever housekeeping came through, they would throw these dishes into the dishwasher. During their evening turndown service, they would then unload the dishwasher for you.
The only blemish on service was an awkward moment we had on the day we were checking out. Our checkout time was 12pm and we planned to enjoy every last minute of that suite. We received a call around 11am asking if we’d be in the room to receive a special delivery. It was my wife’s birthday that day so I thought they might be delivering something for her.
About 15 minutes later, we received a knock on the door. The hotel worker said hi and proceeded to setup a bucket of ice with champagne on the kitchen bar. He then placed a note with it that had someone else’s name on it. I immediately informed him that I didn’t think that was for us. He apologized, but was equally as confused. He ended up taking back the champagne and left. The gift was most likely intended for the next guest staying in the room as a welcome amenity, but the mixup and interaction left me feeling kind of weird.
Our hotel stay at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua was absolutely amazing. My wife and I still look back on our stay and can’t help but smile. The service was wonderful and the resort itself was stunning. It definitely helped that we were upgraded to a suite prior to arrival. I’d say we had pretty high expectations staying at a Ritz Carlton Hotel for the first time and I’d definitely say our stay exceeded our expectations.
The room that we booked typically costs around $400 per night. However, the suite we ended up getting upgraded to runs for about $750-800 per night. Therefore, we got a value of roughly $2,250 from the three free nights, which we earned from the Ritz Carlton credit card.
I’m not sure I would ever pay $400 per night to stay at this hotel (or any hotel for that matter), but if you’re looking for a place to use your free nights I would highly recommend the Ritz Carlton Kapalua.