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Andaz Maui At Wailea Resort
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Reviewed 6 January 2014

Andaz Maui is a huge game changer for the whole Hawaii resort scene, in a very good way. We just rounded off a 9 night stay from Christmas through New Year’s. We are a family with children, though, my wife and I certainly appreciate a hotel that caters to couples and Andaz Maui really can fit the bill for both situations (more below). To us, this is the very clear best resort at Wailea: a straight vault to #1 in a few short months. I’m a strong believer that you have to analyze a Hawaii resort from the standpoint of what you want to get out of it. If you want the Grand Wailea waterslides, you have to go there, and maybe you are fine with a level of hustle and bustle commensurate with crowded a Las Vegas casino. That’s not what we go to Hawaii for. We want solitude, luxury, a good swimming beach, a decent pool, great service and healthy, good, innovative food that makes us feel good. The Andaz delivers hand down in every category.

I would say the other contenders in terms of Wailea resorts are the Fairmont (plenty of solitude and great beach but the food isn’t nearly as good as Andaz); and the Four Seasons (terrific food, but just too crowded overall and especially around the pool). Let’s start with space, solitude and beach. The Andaz is not a very large resort, certainly compared to the others above. Yet, the grounds are spacious. If you’ve been to say Grand Hyatt Maui and know how the large lawns meander into the Marriott next door, affording a huge grassy play area – its very similar at Andaz. There’s a huge, huge lawn fronting the hotel right across the pedestrian beach path with great views. My wife and I managed to sneak down there and grab a couple chaises for sunset champagne a few times during our stay – positioning by the property’s end, we were consistently the only people there (even though the hotel was sold out…). During the main part of the day, this area was still only sparsely occupied and so if you want privacy and space, easily done. The beach like most at Wailea is simply amazing. Its perhaps a little more sloped going into the ocean than the beaches in front of Fairmont or FS/Grand Wailea, but still very manageable even for young kids (our 5 year old had no problems playing in the surf). I was particularly very, very impressed with the pool scene. When we arrived, the last part of the hotel’s guest rooms to be finished out (Akau wing) had just recently opened and this was to be the first time at 100% capacity. Other than a negligible additional guest load from a handful of yet unfinished villas, this was the resort’s first “big test” of pool space. Very good news here: the chair/space to guest ratio is totally reasonable. There was no problem really at any time of day getting space even for a family by the pool. It’s not a “5 a.m. hustle to get a pool spot” resort (go to Four Seasons Maui or Westin Maui for that…). Rather, it’s a “take a deep breath, enjoy your breakfast and take your time to wander to the pool – there will be space for you” type of place. On top of that, the pool staff was amazingly helpful. Not only do they very cordially set up your chairs for you, but they really go out of their way – like managing to remember your preferences and simply set you up on subsequent days; remembering your name; and helping with so many little things.

Turning to food, this is where Andaz really shines. It’s almost impossible to describe how great the food is at the resort. Ka’ana Kitchen is basically a healthy, creative, farm-to-table restaurant. They call the morning breakfast an “experience” instead of a buffet as you wander amongst chefs working right there and preparing many delicacies. It was quite akin to an upscale farmer’s market in many ways, for example a juicing station making green juice etc.; a huge fruit station with local whole fruit (several varietals of lilikoi; papaya; Asian pears; star fruit – all cut to order right in front of you). At dinner you watch them cook and there’s no wandering, it’s all seated, but still farm to table and very innovative. Morimoto speaks for itself – super fresh sashimi and creative cooked food. To sum up, I’ll put it this way: we intended to do all our regular stops and had the reservations – Spago, Duo, Nick’s, etc. – and had planned to eat at the Andaz once at Ka’ana and once at Morimoto. We ended up cancelling everything except one night at Duo and ate at the resort 6 dinners including 4 at Ka’ana. There was just that much great stuff we thought we simply had to try and it was just too good to pass up. If you look at the Open Table reviews for Wailea, you’ll see that Ka’ana and Morimoto are #1 and #2 – this is totally well deserved. These are the best restaurants in Wailea and you should plan multiple dinners here if you have a week or longer stay on property to get to try everything.

Management seemed very proactive while we were there which I think bodes very well for the hotel. The GM and the food and beverage manager were regularly around and joined in with evening drinks with guests a few nights. They seemed to be 24/7 involved in making sure everything goes smoothly here, which likely accounts for why overall the service is so terrific. I could try to nit pick just a few things from our stay, but they would be so petty and minor, they just aren’t worth mentioning. This is a resort operating at about 99.5% perfection (especially an amazing feat since they only recently opened and this was their first sell out period).

The last thing I’ll add is a little thought on whether this is a family hotel or a couples hotel. I was surprised to see a thread on FT where a father was asking Hyatt Maui or Andaz with kids and mostly people were chiming in Hyatt Maui. Look, Hyatt Maui is great and I’ve stayed there tons of times. Nothing against it and it is a great place with kids, but it would be a big mistake to choose it over Andaz on some assumption that Andaz isn’t kid friendly enough. That is just not true. We were traveling with a 7 year old, a 5 year old and a 3 month old, and everyone went well out of their way to be helpful with our Keiki. They are actually hugely set up for kids: our older girls enjoyed the (free) kids camp with various activities every day; and for small children they have a supply of port a cribs to set up poolside (I honestly have never, ever seen any hotel with a stack of port a cribs allocated to the pool – Manele Bay will bring us one, but it comes from housekeeping’s central stock you can tell for them to bring it is a hassle…). So, I would totally go here with kids, without hesitating. Which leads to couples. There were lots of couples here during our stay, I would probably say a 50/50 mix leaning more towards 80/20 on the couples side by later in our stay. I think the hotel is set up very well to accommodate couples even in the midst of a contingent of families on site. For example, there’s a tranquility pool which is totally separate, and then the main pool (a 4 level cascading infinity pool) sort of inherently encourages families to go to the lowest couple of levels, leaving the upper couple of levels pretty clear for couples. Just like I wouldn’t advise a family to stay away, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this place as a romantic couples spot (especially with all the fine dining…). I think the hotel from a couples perspective will invariably be compared with say St. Regis Princeville, and with the better Wailea weather and way, way better food – it’s going to compare favorably.

This hotel somehow seems to pull off everything for everyone at once. Full on 5 stars and many mahalos to the Andaz staff for their hard work and really moving the dial big time on Hawaii resorts generally.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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6  Thank Jordan_Silber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2014

Morimoto restaurant does not have their act together AT ALL. Food took 90 - 120 minutes to arrive at lunch, Bkfst is great, pools are lovely, but the food is way overpriced. Rooms are small. The design of the bathrooms is a little crazy. It took bellman about a half hour to arrive. We had to call several times. The breakfast was incredible but at $45 a person, it had better be. The first day we went to Morimoto's, we arrived at 2:04PM. They said they were already closed. That was a crazy comment because we waited for nearly two hours for our lunch.
When one arrives at the hotel, you are greeted by at least a dozen different staff people. Overkill. I do hope that they will get their act together eventually. If they don't get rid of Morimoto, their reputation will seriously suffer,

When I tried to get in they were saying that they were totally booked and said that because I am a good customer of Hyatt, they could get me a room for $1094 a day!!! What a rip. The next day I saw DOZENS of flight attendants staying there, so I know that they were clearly not telling the truth when they said that they were totally full.

Snooty place but I do not think that they have done anything to get top marks yet.

Room Tip: Four Seasons and Kei Alani are better properties. Andaz is still a work in progress. I think they need to get rid of Morimoto. Everytime we heard someone complain, they said "we lease this to a third party" in an effort to avoid blame and responsibility. Don't expect too much from Andaz. I even think that the Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali has a much warmer feeling and ambiance. Andaz is just too stuffy. No Regency Club floor. You have to pay big bucks for food. At their rates, they are not even remotely competitive when compared with Longhi's, Tommy Bahamas, Joes, etc.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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6  Thank M D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AndazMaui, Manager at Andaz Maui At Wailea Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 February 2014

MD - We appreciate your thoughts on your visit with us. We will certainly follow up with the valet hosts in regard to the delay you experienced. Please accept our apologies for the delay in your bags being delivered. We will also share your comments about Morimoto Maui with their management team. We know they will be just as appreciative of your feedback. We are pleased to hear you enjoyed our breakfast options and pools. Your feedback has been very valuable to our team. Mahalo!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

Spent five nights at Andaz and had a great experience but probably wouldn't choose to stay again unless there was some kind of promotion or we were using points. We paid full price and felt the staff and grounds were wonderful (someone did an excellent job hiring a very upbeat, friendly staff) but room was just not up to snuff for the price point. Additionally, at other properties in the same price category pool service typically includes a lot of extras and there weren't any here. We went to Morimoto twice for dinner and felt the execution was a bit inconsistent. We were also disappointed to learn there was only one local fish option on the menu. The food at the hotel restaurant and pool were excellent and the cocktails were on par with the best bars in San Francisco.

Overall a good experience but not quite worth the price.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank bdaniels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AndazMaui, Manager at Andaz Maui At Wailea Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 February 2014

bdaniels, we thank you for choosing to stay with us on your recent trip to Wailea. We were so glad to hear you enjoyed the food at our Ka'ana Kitchen and from our Bumbye Beach Bar. Mahalo for your comments on our cocktails as well! With regard to your suggestion on including some extras, we would be appreciative to hear how we could provide better amenities. Please feel free to reach out to us at andazmauireservations@andaz.com and we will be happy to follow up. We hope to welcome you again soon, and look forward to the opportunity to have you as a guest again.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

I had been scouring the reviews prior to our seven-night stay over New Year's and was pretty skeptical, especially because of the many glowing reviews from folks who hadn't submitted any prior reviews. They spoke the truth -- this place is great.

If you're expecting a Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton experience, you may be disappointed. The prices are as high, but the Andaz doesn't have the same air of opulence.

Room: We stayed in a suite in the Akau wing. Great space. Good views, although somewhat blocked by the villas. We could see the view from everywhere in the suite. The wing has no view of the main pool area, which probably made it quieter from the other wings. We paid with points; the cash prices are far too high for the property and space.

Bed was low to the ground and not as comfortable as I remembered beds being in other Andaz hotels or Hyatts. Lots of outlets and USB chargers, but oddly, only one side of the king bed had outlets. Pack light -- the closet was a decent size, but there are few drawers.

Motion sensor night lights in the bathroom were great at first, but we had a few nights in which they wouldn't shut off. The rainshower was nice. I agree with prior reviewers that the shower design may not have been tested for practical use. There is a high risk of soaking the bed and any electronic devices that may be charging on the headboard. I wouldn't be surprised if it started to get musty after a few more months of use. Our bathroom had trays and placemats to prevent items from falling through the slats on the counter.

Housekeeping did a great job.

The lanais were pretty much rendered unusable because of the uncomfortable furniture. Ten minutes was about the longest I could handle the chairs. Some enterprising guests moved furniture from the room to the lanai. Overall, I saw very few guests using the lanais.

Pools: The Andaz was at capacity during our stay, so the pool areas were crowded. So crowded that we couldn't sit by the main pool for our first four days unless we were in full sun. I didn't see anything to show that the pool staff enforced their two-hour time limit on vacant seats or ensured that guests didn't claim extra seats. As other reviewers mentioned, the children were loud and out of control. We went to the Tranquil Pool, which was fine (and more tranquil than the main pool), but views of the beach were blocked by the villas; essentially three sides of the pool were bounded by buildings.

Restaurants: As Diamond, our breakfast was complimentary. Really good, but not worth $45. Highlights of the "kitchen experience" were the smoothie/juice station, the french toast/pancakes/waffles station and the person who cut fresh fruit as needed and requested. Breakfast staff worked hard and was truly outstanding. The only disappointment at breakfast was the lack of variety in the items on the tables. When there were changes, they were variations of the same item, so pineapple pancakes instead of banana or fish fried rice instead of chicken fried rice. We didn't have dinner at the Ka'ana Kitchen -- the menu didn't appeal to us. We had one dinner and one lunch at Morimoto's. So great. We even got to say hi to Iron Chef Morimoto!

Staff: Breakfast staff, valet staff, beach staff, check-in staff were fantastic. Lobby staff was hit or miss -- gave inconsistent or inaccurate information -- it seemed like there was no one in charge. The casual uniforms and lack of name tags sometimes made it difficult to identify staff; look for the brown pin. A dedicated and identifiable concierge would have been helpful. We asked about this, but were told that anyone in the lobby could help, but when we later had questions, it didn't seem like we received informed responses. For example, we asked what time we should leave to drive to Haleakala and were advised to leave at 2:30 am for a 7 am sunrise. (We were doubtful and left at 4:15 am and arrived in plenty of time.) Our last day was riddled with a few problems with check out and the Ohana room.

It was a really great and relaxing stay. The issues I mention truly are just little nits. I can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: If using the Ohana room, make sure toiletries are available or BYO.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank lilac11wine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2014

Scanning the existing reviews, everything seems pretty spot on and fair, so I'll just try to add my share of the experiences.

- The hotel staff have all been wonderful, from the beginning they make you feel welcome. The only grip is that the service has been spotty at times but it didn't seem to be from lack of enthusiasm but rather kinks in a new hotel's routines.

- Morimoto is a great deal at lunch with ~$17-20 sandwiches and is a terrific dinner experience if you order correctly. The sushi and sashimi were first class but being from NYC it wasn't anything special. We went there on NYE and had 4 appetizers and then split an 'entree'. They coarse-ed it perfectly and we never felt rushed.

- There were way too many kids. The Andaz should really find some way to corral those little guys as they were running around wild. At the very least they shouldn't be able to monopolize the only hot tub. The last straw was when they were doing jumps from the hot tub to the regular pool, some parents just don't seen to understand how to control their children. Granted this was during winter break so here's assuming the experience is different the rest of the year.

- It's true, whoever designed the bathroom apparently doesn't have any firsthand showering experience. The glass that covers the shower should enclose it all the way, a HUGE HUGE fail. There's no way to shower without spraying water all over the slates into the bedroom area or wake up a sleeping companion. The sink is also 1" deep and there is a serious lack of drawer space.

- The entrance from the street is kind of blah, but it's very covert, like the Andazes in NYC, so maybe that was the desired affect. It's also really really dimly lit. I like it but my grandpa would break his hip out there.

Beyond those comments, it's a great hotel staffed by wonderful people. We did a lot of walks and jogs and checked out the other properties in Wailea and we never found wanting.

Here's a few kudos:

- It's also really nice how inviting they are to the local community, it never felt like non-guests were not welcome.
- Free SPF30
- Great filtered water concept instead of 100 million bottled waters
- Comfortable beds and great linens
- Love the high-tech rooms

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank RonzoniNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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