My fiancee and I stayed here for 8 nights in late June and got out at the beginning of Fourth of July week. And boy, were we glad we did, because as an adult couple without children, we enjoyed a pretty peaceful week before bedlam descended on the Sunday leading up to the Fourth. But I digress…
If you're looking for quiet and intimacy, this is not the hotel for you. It's a big, sprawling, mini-city of a hotel, with first-rate amenities, courteous and well-informed concierges, attentive servers (though likely not on par with the adjacent Four Seasons) and a beautiful property.
Rooms are a bit worn and dated, but you're not coming here for that; you're here for the grounds, the activities, the sunsets. There are a multitude of pools, fab water slides for all ages, and a lazy river. There are waterfalls raining down, a swim-up bar, and a Jacuzzi inside a cave. The adult pool (for those over 18) is a soothing balm for those looking to lounge about in relative calm and quiet, and there's poolside massages available by the half hour ($90-100) and hour ($150, but I could be wrong).
The beach, while not as long as the more famous Kaanapali, is still beautiful, and it's pretty easy to get set up with a chair, umbrella, and various water sports- snorkel, kayak, stand-up paddle board, etc. (No parasailing here; only on the west side). Water is most calm and lovely in the early am. By 11 or 12, it's as if a switch is flicked, the winds pick up, and so does the tide. Sunsets are dependably fabulous.
FYI: The horror stories you've heard about getting a poolside chair are true. It's easier to get a reservation at Tour L'Argent in Paris than it is to score a decent lounge chair by the pool. If you wander down to the adult pool past 8:00 or so- after you get your mandatory wristband and towel - you will likely be relegated to chairs on the grass between the pool and beach. You will gaze longingly and resentfully at the shaded private cabanas that someone has paid $500 a day for, just so they can wander away for hours without their chairs getting claimed.
If you are one of the privileged few who's planning on taking a cabana, then skip the next part of this review.
Here's how the racket works: starting shortly after 7am, a pool guard walks around and lays all "claimed" but unoccupied chairs flat. This starts the clock ticking. If the chair is still unoccupied after an hour, the pool guard has the right to "release" the chair to someone else. But if you nab your chair and stay in it until the guard has swept through your row, you will buy yourself extra time till the guard returns. Then you can go off, get breakfast, and saunter back down to the pool, smirking at the desperate fools who arrived too late.
Food tip: enjoy the more casual fare at Bistro Molokini, but skip the pricey restaurants. Amasia was a major disappointment. Humuhumunukunukuapua'a is better, with a more Hawaiian setting, but the food is pedestrian. The best dinner we had on Wailea was at Matteo's, a casual Italian place up the hill about 7 minutes away.
Beach tip: take the beach walkway to the Andaz Hotel (walking opposite from the Four Seasons) and spend a day on the glorious beach that stretches from the Andaz all the way down to the Days Inn. Or, take the car (or bicycle) the opposite direction and visit Big Beach, in McKenna State Park. Just a short distance away, don't miss the lava coastline at La Perouse Bay.
Spa tip: The spa is top-notch. If you get a treatment, be sure to arrive 45-60 mins. prior to take advantage of the spa amenities. It's all programmed to provide maximum relaxation, and you will be happy you took advantage.
Summary: If you're planning a trip before the kids go back to school in September, expect big crowds and families everywhere. The hotel is big and inclusive enough to have something for everyone, and even with the crowds, there are enough hidden nooks and tiki-lit paths to satisfy the die-hard romantics.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is the ultimate destination for a fabulous Hawaii vacation, perfect for families, spa goers, honeymooners, golfers and active vacationers. Situated on 40 acres of lush, tropical Hawaiian gardens, Grand Wailea opens onto Maui's beautiful Wailea Beach, voted one of the best beaches in America, with elegant and newly-renovated accommodations, indulgent spa treatments, fine dining and thrilling recreational options. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Wailea - a Waldorf Astoria Hotel Wailea
- Grand Wailea Maui
- Grand Wailea Resort Maui
- Grand Wailea Hawaii
- Grand Hotel Wailea
- Grand Resort Wailea
- Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort Maui