Maui's Kula Lodge – A Hotel Review

Kula Lodge sign

Destination: Kula, Hawai'i on Maui Island
Date: February 2017
Hotel: Kula Lodge
Address: 15200 Haleakalā Hwy, Kula, HI 96790
Brand: none
Elite Status: none
# of travelers: 2
nights: 1

Making the Decision

This particular hotel was a last minute decision. Delta called to say that had changed our flight to Hawai'i and we would be arriving later than we had originally booked. Rather than simply accept the change and deal with less time in Hawai'i, we opted to call Delta, complain, AND get rebooked for an earlier flight. Woot! The earlier flight meant we would have one more day in Hawai'i.

Knowing that our first morning on Maui would be spent driving up a mountain to see sunrise on Haleakalā and that our arrival time on Maui Island would be around midnight, rather than getting another day at the Hilton, where we stayed next, we sought out rest at Kula Lodge, buying us an extra hour of sleep before our drive to the summit of Haleakalā National Park for sunrise the following morning.

Getting There

We flew in via Delta arriving at the Kahului Airport just before midnight. In the dark, we picked up our rental car from Enterprise and were on our way. The drive to Kula Lodge took us about 30 minutes.

Aside from taking a taxi from the airport or having a friend drop you off, I know of no other way to access this hotel. And, even if you did take a taxi or had a friend drop you off, there would be no way to get around without a rental car. So, do yourself a favor. Get a rental car. Or, alternatively, fly somewhere else. Honolulu is one of the few places I know of in Hawai'i where a rental car isn't really needed if you are staying in the city.

Maui's Kula Lodge Room

Checking-In & Parking

Along with our flight plan being changed between booking and flying, our flight was also delayed in Los Angeles. Knowing Kula Lodge was a small hotel, I called from LAX to confirm that we would be able to get into our hotel room. The man who answered was incredibly nice and easy-going. He let me know that if I got there before he left, I could come get the key from the restaurant. Knock and he would answer. If he left before I got to the hotel, he would place my key on the door and I could let myself in.

And you know what? Everybody in Hawai'i is like that. They are so absolutely trusting. It's quite beautiful and makes me so happy.

So, what happened?

We arrived late, the front desk clerk had already left for the night, the key was on our door in an envelope with our names on it, and we let ourselves in. Our main complaint was figuring out where to park.

Kula Lodge has two parking lots. If you arrive late enough, like we did, one of those parking lots will be closed off with a gate. None of this matters because the parking lot you need to park in is the front parking lot, the one right off of the main street. The back parking lot is more for guests of the restaurant or gift shop. If you park back there overnight, you are likely to be locked in. (Great for security purposes but bad if you have any intention of leaving early in the morning!)

After we figured out parking, it was down to finding our room number. The clerk had given me detailed directions over the phone, so I was semi-aware of where we were going. With so few rooms though, you probably won't have a hard time figuring out where you are going.

Maui's Kula Lodge bedroom

Room, View, Bathroom

Kula Lodge rooms aren't normal hotel rooms. I would think of it more like a cabin. Each building has two rooms. And no, they don't have kitchens or sitting rooms, but they do give off a secluded "in the woods" feel. In fact, while we were at Kula Lodge, we opened our windows (they also don't have air conditioning) and listened to the rain as we went to sleep our first night on Maui. It was incredibly peaceful, something I will always remember as my first great moment in Hawai'i.

Kula Lodge amenities and view
View + amenities

As for the room itself, when you first walk in, there is a sign saying to "please leave your shoes at the door". This is a Hawai'ian thing and apart from large, fancy hotels most smaller lodges and hotels will discourage footwear inside the rooms.

Maui's Kula Lodge bathroom

Our particular room was moderately sized. We had plenty of space to walk around and position our luggage. Even the bathroom was a decent size.

However, we did not have a view from our room. The most we could see, as we looked out, were trees.

Kula Lodge restaurant

Food Options & Amenities

One area where Kula Lodge shined was the food. While they did not offer any free food or water, they did have a restaurant and gift shop on the premises.

The Kula Lodge Restaurant is where everyone goes after viewing the beautiful sunrise at Haleakalā. Despite the small number of rooms available on the property, the restaurant can become packed shortly after sunrise as everyone heads down the mountain. The delicious Mauimosa (a mimosa made with sparkling pineapple wine) was the true shining star in this breakfast. My husband and I shared corned beef hash with toast Portuguese sausage and sunnyside up eggs. Even though we didn't get seated next to a window, we found ourselves and others in the restaurant getting up often during the meal to go take a look outside on their back porch where the view should be quite good on a beautiful day. Although it was rainy during our visit, the back porch still afforded us with a gorgeous view of a rainbow.

breakfast at Maui's Kula Lodge

Later, we made our way to the gift shop where we bought pineapple sparkling wine. Other trinkets sold there include groceries, t-shirts, and small souvenirs.

Pro-tip: If you like the pineapple sparkling wine served in your Mauimosa, definitely visit the gift shop! My husband and I had the hardest time finding this wine elsewhere in Hawai'i!

Kula Lodge gift shop


Check-out was pretty unmemorable. We loaded our car and dropped off the key at the restaurant. And just like that, we were ready to move on with our day!

Kula Lodge in Maui, Hawai'i
Kula Lodge restaurant and check-in

Overall Review
★★★ (average)

The Kula Lodge is amazing because of the fantastic service, the cheap price, the ease of getting to Haleakalā in the morning, and how enjoyable and unique I found the lodge to be. Kula Lodge is not like the fancy resorts you find elsewhere in Hawai'i, and that's what makes it a great place to visit. There is a restaurant and gift shop, for sure, but the hotel itself is very low key. This is the kind of place you visit when you are in the middle of nowhere. Kula Lodge's aim is to provide a place to sleep and if you are going for a night or two to be close to Haleakalā, the Lavender farm, or the tropical gardens, this is a great place to be. If you are looking for a beach, turndown service, and a jacuzzi tub, you should probably look elsewhere.

Your Turn

Do you hold all hotels to the same standards? … Have you ever had sparkling pineapple wine?


It's day three in the A-Z blog challenge! This month I'll be sharing all about my five year anniversary in Hawai'i – providing insight into the places I went, reviewing the hotels I stayed at, and telling my story. Today's letter was C for the Coolest, Cutest hotel in Kula, Hawai'i on Maui Island!


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