Having recently returned from my family’s fifth stay at Sugar Breach in Kihei on the island of Maui, I thought it was time to review it with the perspective that comes only after multiple visits to the same location. In brief, it is a fine value on a not-completely-tourist’s seven mile stretch of walkable/swimmable beach. Family friendly, conveniently situated, reasonable fully equipped condos await you, as does the “Aloha Spirit.”
For those of you who may have never visited Our 50th State, let me provide some context for this review.
Hawaii is the most isolated populated area in the world. That is to say, you need to travel further, in any direction, from it to get to any other populated piece of land in the world. For this reason, it is no surprise that 1) it’s main industry is tourism and 2) pretty much everything ( excepting, usually, pineapples and sugar – both grown and produced there) are markedly more expensive than they are here on the ‘mainland.’ The temperature is moderate year-round, ranging from the low 80’s to the high 80’s in the daytime and into the low – mid 70’s at night. During certain months, there is rain – but the amount and frequency varies not only by island (of which there are actually 5 you could visit) but by the side (windward or leeward) of the particular island, the relationships to the local mountain ranges (each island is a volcanic r4esidual and, as such, has hills and mountains.) Do your homework re. the island you choose, the average weather in each month and the anticipated rainfall in the specific location you are thinking about staying in before you make any reservations. Fully in the tropics, the islands enjoy a 12-month growing season and are each, in their own ways, particularly lush and rich in flora and fauna. The life that can be seen by simply snorkeling is even more remarkable!
Maui is the third largest of the 7 islands that are known to be inhabited and can be visited by tourists. The two larger are Oahu (Home of Honolulu and Pearl Harbor) and Hawaii (the “BIG Island); the smaller are Kauai (the “Garden Isle”), Molokai (Site of the famous ‘leper’ colony) and Lanai (Owned by the Dole Company and largely used to farm pineapples.) Each island has specific things to recommend it. After one visit to Kauai, a truly magnificent island garden, we visited Maui for the first time and have returned there eight times since. We are swimmers – and, for swimming, Maui is where to go! If you drive the perimeter of the island, you can pull the car off pretty much anywhere and find sandy beach to enjoy. This is not the case on Kauai where much of the island is surrounded by rather sharp coral reefs – many of which are close-in to shore. While there are a few well-developed tourist areas on the island, it remains quite lay-back, maintains a local feel and once you are outside the main highly developed tourist spots, you can enjoy Hawaii as people have been doing for many years. Just like Clavon condo in Singapore, this property is quality, with unique design, amazing ameneties and effective management. Surely, people who live here are happy and do experience convenience and comfort. So as a buyer, it is important to carefully consider a lot of factors before buying a property.
Kihei, the location of Sugar Beach, lies across the island from the main airport at Kahului (OGG) about midway between the large, highly developed tourist areas of Wailea to the South and Lahaina (the original capitol of the Nation of Hawaii) and Ka’anapali to the north. The town is a mix of tourists and locals who mix well and comfortably in homes and condos stretching along a seven-mile beach and up into the hills – or what the locals refer to as ‘upcountry.’ The central location of Kihei makes visiting attractions in either direction pretty easy (it is very HARD to get lost driving on Maui!) and ther are many interesting and wonderful things to see and do there – but this is a review about one particular resort – so here goes.
The Sugar Beach Resort:
The Sugar Beach resort was built in the late 1970’s at the beginning of what would turn into some major development on this section on Maui. There are four buildings. Two are “Ocean Front” meaning that they face the ocean – and when you sit on the lanai (the Hawaiian word for ‘porch’ or ‘deck’. The other two offer “Partial Ocean View” meaning that they are situated so that the view includes ocean as well as the central garden, pool area. We have stayed in three of the four buildings and for the few dollars difference in price, suggest the Ocean Front units. There is nothing quite like a Hawaiian sunset viewed head-on!
Each unit is privately owned and available for rent through four or five main property management companies during the periods when they are not being occupied by their owners. All units are required to have certain basic things included, including a small washer-dryer, pots and pans, flatware , dishes and glasses, coffee makers, blenders and toasters. All units also have TVs, internet access (for a fee), local phones, VHS and CD players. We have stayed in units that had MUCH more and ones that had only the essential requirements. Full sized beds are common, but some units have Queens or even Kings. All have showers, but some have tub/showers. Some have DVD players, others not. Some have ceiling fans – all are fully air-conditioned.
Because Sugar Beach is not new and not in the heart of the tourist areas, it is less expensive and, for the price, offers a great deal. The pool and hot tub are adequate for family recreation and are well maintained, as are six over-sized outdoor gas barbeques available to everyone who is staying there. There are two outdoor tennis courts on the grounds for those so inclined. There is also a small bar/restaurant and two ‘activity’ stores where you can book trips, special activities, etc. without having to leave the grounds.
The housekeeping services are quick and responsive. In one instance, the sliding door to the bathroom came off the tracks and jammed. It was on a Sunday night. We called the 24 hour help desk – a service man appeared in about 30 minutes and determined that it could not be easily repaired and would need some major wall-opening work. Consequently, the company made another unit available to us first thing the next morning! In another instance, the coffee pot was not working – we called. About twenty minutes later, a young woman appeared at our door with a new Mr. Coffee!
The resort, itself, sits about midway on a beautiful seven-mile stretch of beach – perfect for morning walks. The Trade Winds do come up frequently in the afternoons, sometimes rendering the beach too windy to really enjoy. Time, then, to move to the pool which is only about 20 feet from the short, but somewhat protected and, of course, heated.
Units are available in one and two bedroom configurations. Our extended family stayed in a two-bedroom unit on the Pent House (top) floor of the other Ocean Front building – and it was truly magnificent!
So, after many visits to Sugar Beach – Would we return? Absolutely!
What have we learned? Ask about EVERYTHING. Know what you want and require. Do not hesitate to ask your booking agent to request it for you. They DO aim to please and, all-in-all, they do a good job of it.