Feb. 17th, 2020
No matter when you go to Hawaii, you are almost-always guaranteed a magical time. With picture-perfect landscapes, warm beaches, a never-ending list of outdoor activities and six islands to choose from—Niihau and Kahoolawe are closed to visitors—it’s clear why it tops many travelers’ must-do lists.
This past winter, we headed over to Maui, the archipelago’s prime destination for upscale crowds and modern luxury. Home to a number of high-end resorts, it’s been nicknamed the “Beverly Hills” island and is considered a haven for lovers seeking a romantic escape. Among its many properties is Hotel Wailea, a Relais & Chateaux destination that offers sophisticated luxury among 72 one-bedroom suites.
Pulling up to the adults-only resort feels like you’ve wandered into a secret jungle hideaway; it’s quiet and serene, giving you a sense that you’re the only ones on the property. Perched on a hillside, it rests on 15 acres of land overlooking three islands and multiple volcanoes. In conversations with other guests, we quickly realized that this was how it always felt there, no matter how busy it actually was.
Upon arrival, guests are treated to a lei and Champagne during check-in inside the beautiful open-air lobby. For our visit, we checked out the Celebration Suites, a new premium accommodation category that features an elevated experience for guests.
Within each of the 12 suites, you’ll find 720 square feet of space, top floor panoramic ocean views, timber hardwood flooring, kitchenettes, spacious living rooms opening up to a private lanai, and original artwork from owner Jonathan McManus’ personal collection. These suites also come with a welcome bottle of Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne, daily $60 breakfast credit, a tropical fruit plate and your own personal concierge. With an outdoor love seat and small dining table, the lanai might just be your favorite spot while visiting. Enjoy breakfast outside or pop some bubbly as you watch the sunset in your plush robes.
Inside, a deep soaking tub set on a pedestal sits next to an open, stone-tiled rain shower. The bathroom has both his and her vanities and comes complete with Molton Brown amenities. While the bedrooms all come decorated with natural color schemes and textures, each suite still boasts its own unique aesthetic—so you may get a slightly different theme each time you visit. Overall, the space feels cozy and distinctly Hawaiian, without actually looking like you’ve stepped into a Tommy Bahamas.
On the property, the hotel features four eating and drinking experiences, a small pool area with private cabanas, and a fitness center with yoga studio that is open on one side to let the warm Maui breezes flow through. In the pool area, all cabanas are complimentary to guests (first come, first served) and you can enjoy lunch and cocktails in the afternoon or a daily wine happy hour from 5 to 6 p.m. Because this is Hawaii, don’t skip the fresh poke bowls and sashimi by the pool, you won’t be disappointed.
For dining, there is one main restaurant within the resort as well as a private dining experience in the property’s treehouse serving a seven-course dinner for six. Helmed by Chef Zach Sato, the Restaurant at Hotel Wailea showcases fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced locally from Maui’s farmers and fishermen. Guests can choose from two seating areas within the restaurant, on the upper lanai overlooking the ocean or in the garden area below under twinkle lights surrounded by lush flora and fauna.
To say that we were impressed by the restaurant here would be an understatement. Every dish from start to finish was drenched in flavor, drawing us in bite-by-bite. From fresh oysters to truffle risotto (a must-order!); pan roasted diver scallops; and American Wagyu short ribs with smoked garlic and potato purée, cipollini, haricot vert and pickled mustard jus; we walked away with a better understanding of Hawaiian fare and an admiration for chef Sato’s brilliant flavor combinations.
Although there is no direct beach access from the hotel, complimentary shuttles (as well as a Tesla Model X) are available to take you down to the private beach that shares the sand with Four Seasons and Grand Wailea guests. Chairs, umbrellas and towels are provided gratis. You can also arrange a picnic with your concierge ahead of time and enjoy a curated meal in a special location on the sand.
Because no cocktails are served here, guests are able to head to the Grand Wailea’s bar and put their drinks on their room tab should they wish. You can also do the same at The Spa since Hotel Wailea doesn’t offer its own spa in house (though in-suite massages are available upon request).
Should you wish to explore the area in style, reserve a ‘57 Porsche 356 Speedster reproduction for a full or half day of sightseeing through the hotel’s partnership with Maui Roadsters. Located just five minutes away are also the Shops at Wailea which feature 70 shops and restaurants including luxury brands and local goods.
Whether there for a romantic getaway or just needing a quiet escape from everyday life, Hotel Wailea is the perfect hideaway to soak up the sun, recharge and experience Hawaiian luxury at its best. Plus, this award-winning property is consistently rated among the top hotels in the U.S. and around the globe, so you know you’re in for a treat. No matter when you go to Hawaii, you are almost-always guaranteed a magical time—and that is exactly how we feel about a stay at Hotel Wailea.