The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas consists of two different properties – “North” and “South” — adjacent to one another.
They sit on a strip of the Kaanapali Beach north of Black Rock. Between the two properties, there are 1021 villas sitting on 26 acres of beautiful beach with great snorkeling right out the door.
These two properties are commonly called Westin Timeshare North (and South), KOR North (and South), or simply Westin Villas North (and South).
Which Is Newer – North Or South Kaanapali?
The south property was built in 2003, while the north property was built in 2007. In those four years, it seems that the Westin came up with ideas for functional improvements that they then applied when building the North property.
Some of these changes make the North property more desirable, but there are also some changes that didn’t pan out.
With ongoing renovations and regular upgrades to furnishings and décor throughout both properties over the years, the properties are fairly equal when it comes to aesthetics inside the villas.
Which Villas Have the Best Kitchens? North Or South?
In the South, the 1-bedroom villas have ovens, whereas in the North, you only have microwave/convection ovens.
Whether this matters to you or not depends on whether you really want to use an oven on your vacation.
Are The Villas Bigger In One Property Vs The Other?
The south villas are slightly larger than those in the north, however in the south side, they have a very strange entrance configuration.
There is a shared foyer between the 1BR and the studio.
If you’re using an entire double lockoff, then this is fine because you’re sharing with your family or friends. But if you’re only using one side and another party is using the other side, it’s a bit strange sharing a foyer.
Which Has Better Pools? North Or South?
The main pool on the south side is much larger than that on the north. Additionally, the southside pool has a large water slide that is quite popular with children of all ages.
When they built the North property, they decided to build three different pools: the main pool, a children’s pool with a pirate ship motif, and an adult pool.
This may have sounded like a good idea at the time, but it seems to have been only partially successful.
Children’s Pool in KOR North
The small kiddie pool is in an area by itself, and seems quite popular with the little ones, and with their parents who seem to enjoy having their toddlers in a more contained area with shallower waters.
Main Pool in KOR North
Perhaps because they built three pools, the main pool in the north is much smaller than the main pool in the South, making it less enjoyable.
There are many fewer lounge chairs and as people are greedy about grabbing them at 5am and reserving them all day, you might be unable to find one.
And because the pool and surrounding area is smaller in the North, there is a feeling of being too close to other guests. It’s just less comfortable, even if you can find a lounge chair.
Adult Pool in KOR North
Worse, though, is the adult pool. It’s off by itself in an area with little sun. Just looking at it makes you feel cold.
And in 15+ trips to that property, I’ve only seen someone in that pool once. The adult-only pool seems to have been a big waste.
One thing that is better arranged in the North pool area, however, is the location of the towel shack / water equipment rentals. They are on your way to the beach. The South side, by comparison, has the towel shack behind the slide—inconveniently located.
Barbeque Grills: North Vs South
Grills at North KOR
The barbecue grills for the North Villas are in two separate areas—one near the adult pool, and one near the kiddie pool.
The grills near the adult pool are in an area that is quite windy, especially late in the day, making them a bit irritating to use.
The grills near the kiddie pool are pleasant enough in that they are more sheltered from the wind.
Grills at South KOR
The grills for the south property are at the western edge of the property overlooking the beach.
This is a much more public area to grill, but if you don’t mind being on display, the views are great.
What About Restaurants at North vs. South?
The North has two restaurants versus the one on the South.
North KOR Restaurants
There is an outdoor sports bar called Pailolo Bar & Grill on the North property. It’s set off from the pool next to a large lawn area adjacent to the beach. It’s a great outdoor setting.
During football season, it’s packed and cheers can be heard throughout the resort.
The other restaurant in the North is Puˉ lehu, an Italian Grill featuring an extensive wine list.
This restaurant is just off the lobby and far from the beach. Because of this, it’s a quieter experience, even though it still has an open air vibe.
South KOR Restaurant
The restaurant on the south property is Auntie’s Kitchen, serving comfort food dishes inspired by local favorites.
It is also an indoor/outdoor environment and set back from the water.
It is closer to the pool, however, so expect to hear some noise.
What Is Better at KOR North Over South?
In the North property, all units have balconies. Many just assume this is a Westin KOR feature.
Unfortunately, only some of the studio units in the South Villas have balconies.
This is a very disappointing discovery for folks who have stayed in studios in the north and took that balcony feature for granted.
Also, because of the property configuration in the North, there are more ocean view rooms.
What Is Better at KOR South Over North?
Perhaps because property was cheaper when the South property was built, the outside areas are more spacious on the south side. The pool and common grounds in the South are much larger than the North.
Also, the open areas between the buildings on the south side are larger. This means that you’re less likely to have another building blocking your ocean view on the south side.
Additionally, the kitchens in the south are slightly bigger and the dining configuration can seat more people.
So if you have a large party, you might find food prep and meal time a bit more comfortable in the south property.
Overall, Which Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas Property Is Better? North Or South?
If you talk to timeshare owners, most of them side with the property they bought in.
Having owned in the North since it was built, I have to admit that I like staying in the North (guaranteed to have that balcony for both my 1 Bedroom week and my Studio week and I don’t have to deal with the awkward foyers in the South), but I do prefer the pool area in the South KOR because there is just more room and I don’t have to fight for a lounge chair.
Check out our Westin Kaanapali vs Marriott Ocean Club for more information on planning your Maui trip.
Other Places To Stay In Maui
We’ve written quite a bit about all of Maui’s available lodging, and continue to do so, but we wanted to share a few more places to stay from our friends at Booking.com.
A Resort Stay: The Four Seasons Resort in Wailea is the cream of the crop of resort stays, with restaurants, ocean views, an on-site spa, and the Shops at Wailea are just down the road. Couples particularly love The Four Seasons!
Bed and Breakfast: Sometimes, it’s all in a name, and Adventure in Paradise is exactly what it sounds like, located in Haiku on Maui’s north shore. Wake up to a 180 degree view of Haleakala summit every morning from your private patio.
Hotel: The highly rated Maui Sunset hotel combines laid-back atmosphere and the beach of Waipuilani Park. Also, it’s only 1.7 miles from the Elleair Maui Gold Club!
Vacation Home: Find your home away from home at Puu Koa Palms, six minutes from Hookipa Beach, and near the Hana Highway. Also particularly great for couples!
Villas: If you’re looking to vacation in style with your own villa try the Andaz Maui, which include all the expected amenities along with grills and plunge pools.