This is a guest post by my very good friend, FlyingDetective.
I arrived at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa mid-week in September. The resort is situated on prime beach front real estate and the views are fabulous. 8,000 SPG points were offered for attending a promotional review of their time-share options, so that was nice as well.
I could have done a separate review on United’s first class product but it wasn’t all that spectacular. Sure the seats are wider and there was food service in first that presumably coach did not get, but the seats were not lie-flat. United did have 120V electricity outlets on each seat, which was nice. The first flight from Denver to San Francisco had WiFi, but there was no entertainment system. The flight from San Francisco to Honolulu did not have WiFi and the DirectTV entertainment system went offline soon after leaving the airport, but movies were still available. Despite this being a fairly long First Class flight, one doesn’t get United Club lounge access unless you have a membership or StarAlliance Gold status from any carrier but United.
Going from Honolulu to Maui on Island Air was an adventure. The first hurdle is the Island Air terminal is on the opposite side of the airport from the United terminal, not a big deal but when you get to the Island Air desk there is a number to call. When you call, an agent walks to you from another building and proceeds to charge you for any luggage that is over 16 pounds and escorts you out on the tarmac to the other Island Air terminal. Kind of fun, kind of annoying,
The room was nice but dated. You can tell it had not been updated in a while. The tub was not the newer wide tub the shower curtain bar was the old straight bar, not the modern curved bar like in most hotels, and the typical lack of 120 volt plugs was evident. In Sheraton’s defense there was a built in power strip on the desk by the TV, just not anything near the bed. These things are just observations, and none of them are show stoppers. While I say that, if I had paid full price for the room I would have had second thoughts as the room had not been updated in a long time and the view was not an ocean front room.
The Elusive Hot Water
Some tropical resorts I have been to in Asia or above water bungalows some times do not offer hot water, although with instant hot water heaters being popular in Asia; hot water is available almost everywhere on demand now. When I am at a SPG property I expect hot water is a basic amenity that is non-negotiable. I mention this as the water in the bathroom was not hot even if you just run hot water only. At one point I was told “the boiler had to be reset” and to run the water for 3 minutes to see if it would be hot. It wasn’t, and I don’t know what ever happened to the boiler.
Let’s not be koi about the on-site hot tub
There is a hot tub on site, hidden in a large rock formation, which is very nice, as is all the landscape at the resort. Unfortunately the hot tub appeared to be more of a soupy experiment out of a horror movie than something you would want to relax in. With the changing mood lights illuminating the stew red, green, etc you could clearly see the debris and oil floating on top of the water. It appeared as if the filtering system was malfunctioning and the water temperature was not hot, although it was warmer than the nearby pool. The nearby koi pond was much more like a crystal clear body of water you would want to be in, I would say the koi have it better than the guests in this case.
I checked the hot tub two days later and the water was clear. Also a waterfall feature was working which was not running the night I tried to use the hot tub. This would lead me to believe the hot tub had experienced some kind of failure that evening and that was not the normal operation for the unit.
The fish tacos were recommended by several staff members and one restaurant that was mentioned was Leilani’s which is a short walk down the beach. The recommendation was perfect and the tacos were very tasty. The Sheraton also has several restaurants on site as well. One serves fish tacos. Since the fish tacos the previous night were delicious I decided to try them at the resort. That was a mistake. The tacos had very little flavor and the chips were very stale. The beer on tap was good but served in 14 ounce plastic cups, yes plastic.
Sheraton’s advanced computer systems
The resort seems to think they can charge your card each day for different amounts which are not what you spent on site. A piece of paper was provided which states the system will charge based on “predictive spending habits”. This is annoying as you are constantly seeing different amounts charged to your credit card.
The $6 Americano & $20 parking space
If you want to get a Starbucks on site you will pay $6 at Sheraton or $3.40 down the street at a stand alone Starbucks. If you want to park your car on site, which is the only option, you will pay an additional $20 per day for the privilege. There is no option to park off-site, as the streets and all the surrounding property is owned by the resorts in the area, and they control the parking exclusively.
Room Two – The upgraded room
After the previously mentioned problems Sheraton upgraded the room. The new room was in a newer part of the hotel but had similar furnishings; the room itself was more spacious and comfortable. Overall the new room felt more like a resort experience. In addition to the new room Sheraton agreed to credit back all charges for on site food which was incurred prior to the room change; this was very gracious of Sheraton.
Bugs & Hair
After a night in the upgraded room I found hair on my bed sheets, the same length of hair on the bathroom door, and a bug on the bed as well. There were also small ants in the bathroom. After killing many of them and they kept coming back, it was time to call Sheraton management. Management was responsive and sprayed for the ants and cleaned the room.
Overall the stay at the Sheraton Maui was pleasant and staff really did respond quickly. I have to say the staff on-site and on Twitter including SPG reached out very fast and passed the information on to the local staff as well. I would recommend the Sheraton Maui to anyone who has wanted to visit Maui, and if you have time to go to a time-share presentation you can even leave with extra SPG, Hyatt, or even Marriott points in your account!
The cost for the 5 night stay was $698. This does not include parking fees of $20 per day and $25 per day for resort fees. After landing at San Francisco on a connection a new email from the Sheraton indicates all charges have been credited which included the parking and resort fees, as well as a few drinks that were charged to the room. As I previously mentioned the Sheraton also had credited the bill after the room switch as well. There were small costs for the rental car as well and daily food items. The rental car was paid for mostly as a part of the room promotion as well, final costs not paid for by the Sheraton were $75 for the 6 days. To make things better they credited 10,000 SPG points for the inconvenience; late on the day of departure the food and beverage manager also emailed to say he was crediting additional SPG points as well. This is very generous and I am grateful to Sheraton for their hospitality and generosity.
– TFD (The FlyingDetective)
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