Lahaina Shores Beach Resort review: The best way to use a Hyatt free night certificate in Hawaii??

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I’ve tried working outdoors in a lot of picturesque destinations around the world. It’s one of the idealized aspects of being a digital nomad. Work with your toes in the sand, they said. Work on your tan while sipping daiquiris from a furiously perspiring cocktail glass, they said.

Here’s what actually happens: By mid-morning the sun has begun to cook your laptop; your keyboard sears your fingertips; forehead sweat cascades between frown lines onto a glossy screen illegible from glare; your computer shuts itself off to prevent hardware damage from overheating.

To date, Lahaina Shores Beach Resort is my favorite hotel to work from. You don’t have to leave the hotel to feel like you’re lounging at the beach. It’s so close to the ocean. I’ve literally never stayed at a property this near the shoreline — period. It feels very secluded, and it’s quiet during the day, apart from the lapping waves. And you can reserve it with the annual free night certificate that comes with the World of Hyatt Credit Card!

However, there are a number of things to note about this resort before booking. In fact, it doesn’t feel like a resort at all. Don’t let that word influence your expectations. It’s a three-star extended stay hotel in a fantastic location. Here’s what you need to know.

Oceanfront room in the morning on the oversized balcony. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Lightning review: Lahaina Shores Beach Resort

Price

Lahaina Shores Beach Resort is not cheap. Very often the price exceeds $300 per night for a base room facing the West Maui Mountains (and significantly more than that after taxes).

However, the property is a Category 4 hotel on the Hyatt award chart. That means you can reserve it for just 15,000 points per night!

Many of you might remember that the World of Hyatt Credit Card comes with a free night at a Category 1-4 hotel every year after your cardmember anniversary. In other words, cardholders could stay here every year and potentially get $300 in value from this perk alone.

One minor snag: Hyatt’s a real ninny sometimes when it comes to award night availability. They claim to have no blackout dates, but they skirt their own rules sometimes to take availability away.

Long story short, Lahaina Shores plays these games, and I’m currently not seeing any availability until I search for seven consecutive nights. But there’s a way around this, as I outlined in this post.

If you use the “Pay My Way” feature (you’ll find it under the “Standard Rate” tab on the hotel’s website when you’re signed into your account), you can mix your payment methods between cash, points, or a free night. Here’s what you do:

  • Search for a seven-night stay during your desired night(s)
  • Use your free night (or points, or whatever) for your desired night(s), and book the remainder of the nights with cash
  • Direct Message @HyattConcierge on Twitter and ask them to cancel all the paid nights

Voila! You can get around Hyatt’s customer-unfriendly rules this way.

An important note: This isn’t necessarily unique to Lahaina Shores, but when you combine more than one Free Night Certificate in this way, you’ll be checked out every single morning, as the Hyatt website is essentially booking multiple stays for you. You’ll have to tell the front desk your checkout date or your key card will keep expiring mid day. Also, you’ll need to tell them that you need a validated parking ticket for your entire stay, so you don’t have to keep replacing them each day.

Location

Lahaina is an old whaling village on the west coast of Maui. It’s not a luxury destination, but actually more of a party town. It’s perfectly civil during the day, but it can certainly get noisy at night.

From Lahaina Shores Beach Resort, you can clearly hear the luau festivities from a couple doors down, usually around 8 p.m.

In my opinion, Lahaina isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The stores are 90% souvenir shops/art galleries, and the rest are ice cream parlors. There are a few restaurants that look pretty good, but my wife and I only visited one for breakfast — Sunrise Cafe. For what it’s worth, it was one of my wife’s favorite breakfasts of all time. She got the Loco Moco, which is basically hamburger meat, fried eggs, and rice smothered in gravy. I tried it and thought it was fine, but she brought it up almost every day for the rest of our Hawaii trip.

The buildings are old and quaint in Lahaina. You won’t find any impressive skylines in Maui. Culturally, the style is a two-story maximum (though Lahaina Shores Beach Resort is six stories, I believe).

The town also has an absolutely massive banyan tree. It’s the biggest tree in Hawaii, and it’s the biggest tree in the U.S. It’s 60 feet high, but it takes up a city block. You can’t miss it heading into Lahaina, and it’s worth a stop to ogle.

Property

Lahaina Shores is a true three-star hotel. Seriously, it’s not fancy. In hindsight I should have taken video of the lobby, but I’m telling you there’s nothing remarkable about the grounds. There’s no bar or restaurant on the premises, though you can find food just next door.

The front desk closes at 10 p.m. considering the hotel is located 35 minutes from Kahului airport, that means anyone with a flight arriving after 8:30 will probably arrive after the doors are locked. This was the case with us. When you arrive, you’ll need to call the night security guard (phone number on the door), and he will let you in and provide your room key.

The draw of this hotel is its unbelievable location near the beach. Again, I’ve never stayed this close to the ocean except for an overwater villa in the Maldives. Here’s a quick 360 view of the beach in front of the hotel. The white catamarans add to the beauty of the view, and the mountains in the distance are a nice touch.

It’s a relaxing atmosphere, great for reading a book on the beach (and many guests did just that), but it just didn’t seem ideal for swimming. I can’t even tell you why. Maybe the water is just a bit dark. I didn’t see a single person swimming out there during our four-night stay.

A hedged gate separates the resort from the beach. You’ll need a key card to open the gate.

On the other side of the hedge is a beautiful garden with lots of pool chairs. The yard spans the entire rear of the hotel, and there’s a modest pool and a small circular hot tub flanking the back entrance. I didn’t take a picture of those.

Rooms

This is a Hyatt hotel. Hyatt has never, ever let me down in terms of quality and cleanliness. And I’m not saying this resort let me down, either, but I do think it fell short of Hyatt quality. There’s a reason for this.

The front desk explained to me that rooms at this resort are owned by individuals. The quality of your room will differ wildly depending on how fastidiously the owner of your room tends to the property. You may have an outdated kitchen or an inferior bed quality. Your closet may be stocked with nonperishable goods, cleaning supplies, etc.

Note that Destination Hotels DO accept Suite Upgrade Certificates, and they offer complimentary suite upgrades to those with Hyatt Globalist elite status.

We stayed in two different rooms — one with a mountain view and one with an ocean view.

Mountain-facing room

The base room at this resort is a mountain-facing studio looking toward the east. If you’re booking with points or free night certificates, this is the room you’ll receive.

It seems like such a shame to be this close to the ocean and not have an ocean view. But the West Maui Mountains are very beautiful, and I didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything. The mountain silhouettes glow with a halo as the sun rises.

I was surprised and a bit disappointed that I couldn’t hear the ocean at all from the mountain-facing room.

Here’s our studio. It’s spacious, has a solid bed, and a full kitchen. The vent on the right side of the room near the ceiling was very loud. Not just the air, but the fan sounded squeaky and rusted. It would wake me up at night when it kicked on.

Ocean-facing room

We spent one night in the mountain-facing room, and the next day the front desk informed us that we’re eligible for an upgrade to an ocean-facing room due to elite status. They didn’t realize this before, presumably because they weren’t around when we arrived at the hotel the night before.

There were many benefits to this room, best of all the ambient sounds of the water. The waves are very small, but they’re loud.

This room faces southwest, and it’s great for sunsets. Here’s a timelapse.

All the rooms have great balconies, and are perfect for working half the day — depending on the direction you’re facing. When I go to Hawaii I try to keep somewhat of the same schedule I have at home, so I was waking up around 3 a.m. I’d finish work by noon, just when it’s starting to get hot on the lanai.

This room had much more updated appliances, a better AC system (which automatically turned off when the balcony doors were open), but had no dishwasher! The bed was also lower quality than the previous room.

How to earn Hyatt points

There are tons of ways to earn Hyatt points in a hurry. Currently, your hands-down best option is to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. That’s because Chase Ultimate Rewards cards are offering some of the best bonuses of all time:

Also, if you’ve got one of the above cards, you can convert the welcome bonuses of cards like the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and Chase Freedom Flex℠ to Hyatt, as well.

And if you’d rather to earn Hyatt points directly, the World of Hyatt Credit Card offers up to 60,000 Hyatt points after meeting tiered spending requirements:

  • 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2 bonus points total per dollar spent on purchases that normally earn 1 bonus point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening

Bottom line

Lahaina Shores Beach Resort is a really great use for a Hyatt Category 1-4 free night certificate that comes with the World of Hyatt Credit Card. The rooms can be hit-or-miss, but the location in charming Lahaina just a few feet from the beach is the reason you’re staying here in the first place.

Rooms can breach $300 per night after taxes, so you’re definitely getting a good deal for your points/certificates! Let me know if you’ve stayed at this resort, and tell me if there’s something important I forgot to mention!

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Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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