The verdant and tropical islands of Hawaii are blessed with many alluring coastlines, but the western coast of Maui is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful.

The second largest of the islands, Maui actually has a much smaller population than you’d expect – around the 150,000 mark, according to the latest U.S. census figures – making it an ideal choice for ocean home owners looking for sophisticated amenities in small and intimate beachfront communities.

The much envied laid-back lifestyle is a cornerstone of Maui, and more specifically Honua Kai, a stylish resort and luxury vacation homeretreat which is offering the first whole-ownership opportunity on Ka’anapali Beach in more than 25 years.

Featuring 628 deluxe condominium homes, set on 38 acres on Ka’anapali’s pristine North Beach, the resort comes with ocean and mountain views and its prime location, just minutes from the lively enclave of West Maui, is one of its primary selling points. And buyers are responding, with both Maui and Honua Kai reporting a surge in interest in the island’s renowned luxury condominium lifestyle.

“We closed $65 million in Maui real estate sales in 2013, an increase of more than 20 percent over 2012 numbers,” says Erika Alm, principal at PowerPlay Destination Properties Inc., which also oversees sales and marketing for Honua Kai.

“The property also saw an 81 percent increase in the average unit sold price, a 33 percent increase in dollar per square foot, and a 12-fold increase in three- bedroom units this year.”

So what’s changed? According to “The Wall Street Journal,” a new generation of home buyers is skipping the ‘starter home’ and betting heavily on high-end real estate.

There is a growing trend of people investing in luxury real estate in place of keeping their retirement funds in bonds or money-market accounts that yield lower returns than in previous decades.

Of course, some things never change. Families continue to look for enriching experiences and ways to travel together comfortably – ideally surrounded by lots of space – a luxury that Honua Kai offers in abundance.

The resort’s stylish accommodations arranged in studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations offer expansive living spaces, full kitchens, open decks, myriad relaxation amenities, and deliver a seamless vacation experience for the whole family.

If you want the savings that come with renting an apartment or vacation home, Honua Kai’s stylish suites and residences are also available for rent by the owners, which allows the property to function like any luxury resort. Honua Kai also offers a try-before-you-buy program called “Stay and Play,” which allows potential buyers to visit the resort on vacation and experience the property, including its amenities, as if they were living as an owner.

If you choose to move forward with a purchase, the sales team credits the amount of your stay to the purchase price. In 2013, approximately 25 percent of buyers took advantage of the “Stay and Play” program, which will continue to be offered in 2015.

Leisure activities abound at Honua Kai. A thriving reef with iridescent fish and sea turtles lies just beyond the resort. Stroll the beachside boardwalk and explore nearby Whaler’s Village shops and restaurants, or opt for more adventurous pursuits with local zip lines, volcano bike tours and catamaran cruises. Be aware, as of late summer, Honua Kai was almost 90 percent sold out with only two- and three-bedroom homes remaining, priced from $985,000 to $3.8 million. Two-bedrooms come furnished and three- bedrooms offer an optional furniture package