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The Resort Lifestyle – Kaanapali Maui

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Fifteenth in a series

The Kaanapali Resort, which opened officially in 1962, is Hawaii’s first master-planned resort destination and, reputedly, the fi rst resort/residential community of its kind in the U. S. However, the 1,200-acre development, undertaken by AMFAC, the landowner, began taking shape on the shores of three-mile Kaanapali Beach in the late 1950s, as the “Big Five” corporation phased out its sugar plantation operation.

Major national hotel operators and developers were attracted to the project due to the natural amenities of the area, which include dry, sunny weather, open, buildable acreage extending from the coast to the lower slopes of the West Maui Mounains, and one of Hawaii’s best golden sand beaches with clear, reef-protected waters. Once a favored retreat of Hawaiian royalty, Kaanapali was being positioned as the “Polynesian Riviera.” Eventually nearly every major brand would be represented along the oceanfront strip. Internationally acclaimed golf course designer Robert Trent Jones, Sr. created one of the resort’s two public/private courses, the Royal Course, followed by the Kai Course designed by Jack Snyder.

The first hotel to open, the Royal Lahaina, was followed in 1963 by the Sheraton, uniquely built into the promontory known as Black Rock that juts into the ocean between the two sections of Kaanapali Beach. These and other early hotel developments have been renovated over the years and joined by numerous condominium properties sited along the beach and the golf courses.

Whalers Village was added to the resort by AMFAC in 1970, later acquired by General Growth Corp., and now consists of approximately 90 stores and restaurants, as well as a museum focused on the history of whaling and its impact on Hawaii. The Whalers Village is currently undergoing major renovations and upgrades. In 1976 Whalers Realty opened its fi rst offi ce there and has since become a leader in sales of resort and residential properties in Kaanapali. Principal Broker Robert Cartwright, who joined the brokerage in 1983 and acquired it in 1993, is co-owner with his wife, Tess Cartwright, Principal Broker of the firm’s property management division.

Robert Cartwright noted that Kaanapali’s total acreage is about half built out based on the original AMFAC masterplan, and a new second masterplan overlay around the existing resort, called Kaanapali 2020, is working through the entitlement process.

The fi rm brokered the majority of the residential subdivisions in 188-acre Kaanapali Golf Estates in the heart of the resort, where development continues. “The gated community of Kaanapali Golf Estates consists of several unique neighborhoods, both condominium and single family homes,” Cartwright said. “At Lanikeha, the most recent to be developed, a few home sites are still available, including some estate-size lots with ocean and mountain views and golf course frontage. Its private recreational park on over oneand-a-half acres of landscaped grounds includes a club house with a large lounge, game room, kitchen facilities, fitness and pool pavilions, and one of the largest infinity-edge swimming pools on Maui.

“Of the 132 home sites initially offered, we have closed 113 and the remaining 19 are quarter, half, and full acre in size priced from $429,000 to $1.2 million. The large lots front the golf course and Hahakea Gulch. Twenty-nine homes have been completed and we are now listing a custom-designed single family home at 577 Anapuni Loop for $2,650,000. This home provides sweeping ocean and coastal views as well as cool trade wind breezes. The home is 2,802 square feet with more than 500 square feet of outdoor lanai. The tropical landscaping and gardens create the ambiance of a private oasis. The interior spaces open up to the lanai, swimming pool, grounds, and the views with glass walls and disappearing sliding doors. The construction and interior fi xtures and fi nishes are of the highest quality.

“I consider Lanikeha one of the preeminent residential communties on Maui. It offers a new opportunity to share in the Kaanapali resort lifestyle. Virtually everything anyone might want is available here. The private clubhouse with its excellent facilities is a great venue for entertaining. And, of course, one of Hawaii’s best sandy beaches, shopping, and restaurants are a few minutes away. This three-mile sandy beach is what originally attracted developers, then the visitors and residents, to Kaanapali and remains one of its primary assets. Today the resort continues to evolve with new enhancements and maintains its position as one of Hawaii’s most successful resort/residential communities,” Cartwright said.

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