Saturday, July 14, 2007


Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes With Maui Hotels

Our recent Oahu guests reminded us of the Big Change in the Islands by remarking on how many hotels are being turned into time-shares on Oahu. On top of this, many more time-shares are being built--further threatening the hotel business. Will this happen to Maui too?

Consider this: two new 'wings' of the Ritz-Carlton are being renovated as I write this. The main Marriott in Kaanapali turned to time-shares. The fairly new Wailea Beach Villas--time shares. Renaissance Wailea Resort will be closed down Sept. 6 and turned into time shares.

This weekend there is a massive sale happening at the Ritz, a "really big garage sale", so says the Maui News. The Ritz renovation will be finished in December, a $95 million rebuilding project. I may go over there to check it out, even though I'll feel sad.

All of these changes are very depressing to us, and my partner and I grieve the earlier Maui of beautiful, glamorous resorts. We talk about moving away to a less-expensive, less over-built environment, and we've been scouting-out other locations in recent years.

Many of our friends have already moved away from Maui and become expatriates in various countries. They share stories of their lifestyles which sound extremely appealing, especially the health care, prices of real estate, and much lower living expenses. When they return to visit Maui, they regale us with stories of what money will buy where they live.

As I've mentioned before in this blog, it's hard to find employees these days because so many workers have moved away to where the cost of living is more affordable. If the changes keep happening, Maui may soon only be an island for the wealthy, and maybe the newly developed Japanese robots will perform the labor.

****UPDATE--Sunday July 15th****

I received an email from Wailea Beach Villas, and I was misinformed about them being time-shares. Below is a snippet of the email to me. I stand corrected, and I apologize to WBV.

"I recently noticed your post about what’s new in Maui and all of the hotel changes. I wanted to reach out to let you know that Wailea Beach Villas is not a timeshare complex. There are 98 residential units some of which are in a rental pool through Destination Resorts Hawaii which manages the property. Most of the units, if they are for rent, are available through DRH. There are a few – very few – units available through other management companies however they are not timeshares."

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Changes do continue on Maui, I know. It's funny you mention the Renaissance Wailea turning into time-shares. Guess that's the end of our honeymoon hotel! We stayed there on our honeymoon when it the Westin. Then it was Stouffer's Wailea Beach Hotel and we stayed there several times as well. Later it changed to the Renaissance and I don't think we stayed there. We miss Raffles restaurant (which was there when it was both the Westin and Stouffer's). They had the most fantastic Sunday brunch you could ever imagine, in such a beautiful location looking out over the gardens.
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