I rely heavily on Tripadvisor to help select my choice of resort. I will admit that I was limited to this resort as I am a HH diamond member and there are no other Hilton properties on Maui. After reading the reviews, I was prepared for a clean but dated property with a great pool and amazing beach. This was consistent with the reviews but felt the property was really well maintained and not so dated as some of the reviews stated. Beds were really comfy and we had a beautiful balcony with very comfortable chaise loungers. We no problems with the rooms (and I am very picky). We compared the resort to the neighboring resorts and they don't come close if you are traveling with kids. We have a 11 and 14 yr old and was pleased with the amenities that the resort has to offer. If you are not traveling with kids and can afford to spend extra for the hotel, stay at the 4-Seasons next door and do not read further. Also, we appreciated the exclusivity of Wailea over Lahania resorts (Hyatt ..etc). The beach was never crowded as were the beaches in Lahania.
If you are traveling with kids, here are a few suggestions that worked out well for us.
1. Rent a car. You can get really good deals through priceline or Costco. We booked through Costco and received a really good rate at Alamo. You will need a car for several reasons which I will talk about below. It is unfortunate that you MUST valet your car and I would prefer to self park but it was not an option.
2. Stop at Costco when you get into Maui. It is very close to the airport and a quick stop on your way to the resort. They have good prices on Boogie Boards which is a must at this resort. The waves are so fun and for $50, you get two Boogied Boards for the week to keep your kids entertained! Also, we had a good sized refrigerator in the room where we kept fruit and beverages. These were great alternatives to the costly snacks and beverages at the pool. They also have inexpensive touristy gifts to bring back to your jealous coworkers. Also, grab a few bottles of wine and order a cheese plate from the bar in the lobby. It is the only well priced item at the hotel. For $15 and you get a good sampling of cheese with bread and crackers. We enjoyed the sunset one evening with our cheese and Costco purchased wine :o)
3. Go off the resort when dining. We ventured to the Shops at Wailea as well as the local town of Kihei for lunch and dinner. The price of the rental car certainly offset by eating off of the resort. But if you do choose to eat at the resort, the food is good. We received a $40 dining credit and ate at the resort one night and found the dining to be excellent quality. Several of the restaurants have a BOGO dining offer from 5 to 6pm but make reservations when you get to your resort as reservations are required to be seated during these times. We found the resort dining to be very expensive and preferred a few local restaurants mentioned below.
- Monkeypod. Sounds weird, but as other reviewers mentioned, it is good quality food for reasonable prices. We ate there several times. For those without a car, it is a short walk up the hill and worth the effort. They have an early and late night happy hour which we appreciated. Great glutten free pizza! There are a few other restaurants and counter service food places. All are good, reasonably priced and worth trying.
- Cheeseburger in Paradise. This is at the Shops at Waliea. Good prices but TGI Friday quality food. They serve a good breakfast and is really well priced at $6.99. We had gone to the Kihei Cafe in Kihei for breakfast and would strongly recommend skipping it. We wish we would have gone to Cheese burger in Paradise instead.
- Fat Boy Burger. This is located in Kihie, right next to Starbucks. They have counter service burgers that are made fresh to order and worth the wait. It can be easily missed, so just look for the Starbucks.
5. Check the location of your excursion departures. We intentionally booked dive and fishing charter operators that launched their boat from Kihei or Maalaea Bay rather than Lahaina. This saved on travel time in the water and on land. The Kihei boat ramp was less than 5 minutes via car from the hotel. This allows you to get extra sleep as most operators require you to check in around 6am!
6. Go to Lahania for a few hours and check it out. It is cute and very touristy. But make sure to park your car in a lot as those parked along the street seemed to ticketed frequently. Start on Prison Street (yes, I said Prison Street) and worked you way west.
7. Take the road to Hana and drive the complete loop. A good internet guide will give you all of the tips and tricks, so I won't bother. But I would have hated taking a tour bus for this day long adventure. We went at our own speed and avoided the waterfall stops where the buses congregated (with the exception of Three Bears Falls and Waimoku Falls). Also, continue past Hana and complete the loop tour as most of the road is newly paved and fun to drive. I will admit, I saw a few newlyweds fighting while traversing this road and had to laugh. While is is newly paved, it is still a very narrow road that requires skillful driving. We found it fun and were in awe of the vistas.
8. Checkout the coupon websites for deals at the neighboring Spas. The hotel spa was a bit overpriced and enjoyed the neighboring spa at 50% off. It was a 5 minute walk down the beach to get pampered at an amazing value!
9. The workout area is a huge plus and very well maintained. We would run the great trails along the beach and return to the weight room to complete our workout.
A few other quick items. If you travel to during peak season, make sure you claim your chair at the pool when it opens. There is no availability until after 5pm when the waterslides close for the day. And book your cabanas over a day in advance to get the prime location.
Finally, the hotel doesn't do a good job letting you know the amenities it has to offer and when they are available. We came during the peak of the tourist season and found the staff to be overwhelmed but always polite and helpful when available. Take time to stop by the concierge and find out this information. We would have missed several items has we not taken the time to stop by the desk.
All in all, a great stay. It was the perfect atmosphere for our kids and would return again without hesitation. Enjoy your stay, we miss it already!
- 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