Vacation Rentals: One of the things you notice when you first plan a trip to Maui, is that accommodations tend to fall into one of two obvious categories: 1) Hotel rooms, and 2) High-rise, luxury condominiums. That’s not to say that accommodations in either of those categories are bad, at all. Both offer many attractive features. But those venues, due to the large concentrations of people within them, invariably lack a certain intimacy, and they also present some obstacles.
The answer is a refreshing, and resounding, “yes!” At the Outrigger Aina Nalu, located in the heart of Lahaina town, Maui, you will find condominiums that offer luxury and everyday convenience – in other words, champagne surroundings on a sparkling-cider budget. These homes offer all the comforts and convenience of a home, coupled with Outrigger’s legendary customer service. Added to that legendary service, is a $30 million makeover that the property underwent just two years ago, upgrading the property to the best in Hawaiian-inspired design. The nine-acre Aina Nalu property, set in a peaceful garden atmosphere, is also extremely well-located – just a quick 3-minute walk from the heart of Lahaina and Front Street, Lahaina town’s main avenue that is lined with award-winning shopping options including noted jewelry and art stores, and of course, great restaurants like the amazing Lahaina Grill. (See our story about the Lahaina Grill on JustLuxe.com, in our story on “Maui’s Top 10 Restaurants.”)
We have enthusiastically welcomed every opportunity we’ve had, to stay at this lovely resort. The Outrigger Aina Nalu consists of 188 one- and two-bedroom condominium units, designed with a distinct modern elegance – appointed with art and décor elements that depict historic Hawaii. Each unit has a full kitchen, complete with stainless steel appliances, stove, microwave and granite countertops. Gorgeous! Trust us, there isn’t a meal you can’t make in these beautiful kitchens. (And if you prefer to dine al fresco, there are barbecue facilities poolside, where you can grill anything from fresh fish to hot dogs and hamburgers.) The bathrooms feature walk-in showers with natural stone – ruggedly beautiful, and definitely not your average hotel room tub/shower setup. (In fact, there are no tubs in any of the bathrooms at the Outrigger Aina Nalu.) Custom tile flooring adorns all the baths, hair dryers are also provided in each bathroom, all of which are quite spacious. Also, each unit provides full laundry facilities – washer and dryer.
Aside from its central location to the heart of Lahaina town, what’s unique about this property is that the building is in a low-rise (two-story) construction. There are no crowds that unavoidably come with high-rise developments, no elevators, no underground parking, no hassles. Just quite comfort and understated luxury. That is a considerable point to consider when choosing where to stay anywhere, and it brings enormous practical advantages. Which leads us to the swimming pools on property: Talk about an oasis of tranquility. Two separate swimming pools adorn the property’s beautiful garden setting: A “tension edge” pool, which is shaped in a whimsical, serpentine fashion, and a “horizons-edge” pool, which is a stunning, rectangular-shaped pool, located in the property’s open-air pavilion. The “tension-edge” pool is smaller, and, given its whimsical design, appeals more to children and families. While the kids play in this pool, adults can enjoy the nearby whirlpool spa tub, which can ease an aching back if you have one!
The “horizons-edge” pool, the newer of the two, impressed us a great deal. It’s peaceful, quiet, and perfect for the person who just wants to swim laps in fairly long, calm pool, without the usual noise accompanying children at a pool. (In the event there is even one of you who doesn’t know what we refer to, do the words “Marco Polo,” screamed at the top of a child’s lungs as he or she jumps into a pool feet away from you, mean anything?) You’re not likely to suffer that at this tranquil setting at the Aina Nala. Bring a book, or just chill out and nap away. Oh, by the way, if you don’t happen to have anything to read poolside, don’t worry: Complimentary daily copies of Maui newspapers are provided poolside. So, just slather on the sunscreen, and relax! If you need a break from the sun, don’t worry about finding an umbrella (or paying for one, as a lot of hotel properties require): Each pool at the Aina Nalu is adorned with four thatched roof huts, complete with mattresses, where you can retreat if the sun gets a little too strong. We like that amenity a lot.
The good news gets better: There are superior deals to be had at this fine property in 2010. Outrigger Aina Nalu is offering rates this year that are more than 50% off their normal published rack rates. Depending on availability, guests can book a garden view studio for as little as $119/night; or a one-bedroom for just $145/night; or a two-bedroom for $165/night. Another nice perk for families staying at the Outrigger Aina Nalu, is the Island Explorer Kit for kids -- Every child 5 - 10 years of age is given a FREE Island Explorer Kit at check-in when families stay a minimum of three nights or more.
And never let it be said that Outrigger properties aren’t environmentally conscious: any guests staying two nights or more at any Outrigger Condominium Collection property receives a free eco-tote! Not a bad take-home perk: The eco-tote is a completely bio-degradable carry-all that’s lightweight but sturdy, and measuring 16" x 16" x 4", it’s suitable for loading up with pineapples, chips and beverages at the grocer or farmer's market. Or pack it with snorkels, sunscreen and beach towels for a day at the shore, or use it as a sack for a trip to the laundry room. It also qualifies as regulation-sized carry-on for the flight back home. But trust us, when staying at any Outrigger Condominium Collection property, located at the Outrigger Aina Nalu on Maui or elsewhere, the flight home is the last thing you’ll be thinking about.
To make reservations or for more information, visit outriggercondos.com/, or call 1-800-OUTRIGGER. Outrigger’s Condominium Collection is a special product line within the Outrigger Enterprises Group, the parent corporation of Outrigger Hotels and Resorts. The Condominium Collection is comprised of 14 deluxe resort condominium properties offering studios, and one-, two-, and three-bedroom condominium units, located in some of the most desirable and unique spots throughout Hawaii. You won’t go wrong!
By Debbi K. Kickham and William D. Kickham. Esq.