Whilst these Pacific Islands give everything and more, accommodation options are dominated by enormous resorts.
If adult only boutique hotels are your thing, pickings are slim, but the best of the lot by far is Hotel Wailea. All rooms are giant suites and having breakfast on the private terrace, sitting on the enormous sofa overlooking the lake was a wonderfully reflective way to start the day.
Maui is a very balanced island, it has a bit of everything but South Maui, where Wailea is located definitely serves as the more upscale neighbourhood. I suspect many visitors overlook Hotel Wailea as it is not on the beach, it is in the hills. This is a mistake, the views are incredible and you can see the sea and multiple volcanos from anywhere in the resort. More importantly, the hotel will drive you to the beach a mere ten minutes away anytime and it’s complimentary.
Hotel Wailea has a glorious strip of beach in between the Four Seasons and the Grand Wailea. The most helpful beach attendants get you set up when you arrive and call the car back when you want to leave. Best of all, any cocktails and food you order at Grand Wailea can be charged to your room.
Hotel Wailea is a Relais and Chateaux Resort so I won’t spend ages describing why it is so great because everyone knows Relais standards are the highest. Instead I’m going to tell you the lesser known nuggets about the property I wish someone told me.
1. Make friends with John at reception, apart from being the nicest man on the island, he will tell you where to eat, hike, chill and generally make sure everything is fabulous.
2. The suites are huge housing a living room, kitchen, office area, bedroom, dressing room and bathroom with double sinks and massive tub. Pack some candles and Lush bath bombs to treat yourself even though ample Molton Brown products are included. The décor is minimal but chic with marble floors keeping everything cool. Tucking away the endless products and accessories beach holidays require was very easy with tons of storage space.
3. The wine list is the best we found across the islands including some old world goodies. Take the sommelier’s recommendations or if in doubt order the Albariño. Perfect for afternoons by the pool.
4. Breakfast served at the hotel is good, but since you have a mini kitchen in your suite, act like a Hawaiian and serve up your own super fresh and funky breakfast. It’s a fifteen minute walk to The Shops at Wailea where you will find Island Groceries and their mega organic just picked offerings. Stock up on pineapple, papaya and avocado and a loaf of bread and that’s the best breakfast you’ll ever have. You’re welcome.
5. After breakfast you’ll need coffee and you could use the Nespresso machine in your room. But I recommend going to the pool bar and asking resident bartender Chelsea to hook you up with her “tropical coffee”. This is an iced coffee made with coconut milk and honey. This will certainly set you up for the day.
6. Lunch – keep it light, see number 8 below. I recommend the sushi at the pool bar. Do make a point of trying the lemonade of the day and this is the spot where I was introduced to Kombucha for the first time. They have it on tap and it is made locally.
7. Cocktails cocktails cocktails! This is where the bar comes into its own, every juice, garnish and recipe is bespoke for the bar and made fresh from scratch. These cocktails will get you to whoop, holler and bunny hop across the bar since they are so zingy so don’t let me catch you ordering a beer.
8. The hotel’s fine dining restaurant has a soufflé of the day and you will need it in your life every day of your stay. It is completely acceptable to sit at the bar and just order wine and a soufflé so don’t force yourself to sit through a whole mea,l but you absolutely must make space for the soufflé of soufflés. We loved the gingerbread one particularly and there was even a maple and bacon one.
9. Taco Tuesdays- this really is a thing. It’s $10 in an Uber to Fred’s Mexican for $5 tacos. We highly recommend the vegetarian, fish and carne asada tacos.
10. For relaxed dining with Hawaiian hospitality, it’s a fifteen minute walk to Monkey Pod kitchen. We loved sitting by the bar and devouring the 36 strong craft beer selection whilst watching pro-surfer competitions on the TVs. Go here to hang with the locals. If you want some quiet romantic dining, stay in the hotel!
11. If you make one trip out of the hotel, go snorkelling with Redline Rafting! Between December and April this will include a free whale watching tour. i.e. whales are everywhere as they migrate down from Alaska for warmer water.
12. 5pm to 6pm means complimentary wine at the pool bar. The wine is a bit lacking, truth be told, but it’s fun to make new friends, you never know who you will meet!
13. The yoga studio has an open side to capture the breeze and view the beautiful sunsets. Aerial yoga is a rarity at home and I was introduced to it here by the wonderful teacher Adrienne. This super supportive yoga will help you to get much more out of your stretches and inversions. It’s worth setting the alarm for in the mornings but there are also evening classes. Book ahead at reception.
14. One more for luck! For a relaxed vacation, don’t feel you need to rent a car. Uber has pretty much got you covered. Just don’t get an Uber from the airport to the hotel as there is a hefty tax, grab a normal taxi and it should be $40-50. On the way back, uber is better.
Citizen Femme stamp of approval? Absolutely!!! With a big dose of Aloha and then some.