Hotel Wailea, Relais & Chateaux
What We Love
- Serene hillside location with a genuinely relaxing vibe
- Graceful Japanese-inspired gardens and ponds
- The free beach shuttle and beach concierge service that offers free water, towels, chairs and umbrellas at Wailea Beach
What To Know
- Japanese umbrellas inspired the conical, high-ceilinged lobby
- A free selection of Illy coffee and tea is included in the rate; a full breakfast is served in the restaurant (for an extra fee)
- The hotel's tranquil atmosphere is more suitable for adults (children 15 and under are not permitted)
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
The property was once a private club for Japanese investors—it’s that unusual history that explains the zen-like beauty of the grounds, filled with mango trees, bamboo stands, koi ponds, cascading waterfalls and timber footbridges. The 72 suites, grouped in sets of four, feature a kitchenette and separate living and sleeping quarters. Guest room bathrooms are built for a king: cue a deep, angular soaking tub set on a pedestal, next to an enormous rain shower, with the stone-tiled bathroom completely separate from vanity and toilet. Bedrooms feature natural textures and tones from polished timber floorboards through to marine-themed artwork. The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea offers romantic dining with a view from the balcony or more intimate low-walled garden. Hawaiian ingredients—think Kona lobster and Kauai shrimp—are highlighted throughout the Italian menu. The pool area features private cabanas and a full bar service, along with evening fire pits.
In the Area
It would be easy to vacation entirely within Wailea – a ritzy resort community with five crescent-shaped golden beaches and outstanding golf courses within its perfectly manicured 607 hectares. Yet Maui offers much more. Rise early to catch sunrise from the top of Mt. Haleakala, sign up for the full-day Road to Hana scenic tour, or head out from Lahaina for a day’s sport fishing. Lahaina is also home to celebrity restaurant Fleetwood’s on Front Street (Mick Fleetwood occasionally makes a cameo) while Willie Nelson frequents Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon at Paia, a former sugar-plantation town.
How to Get There
On an island which is truly a paradise, the Hotel Wailea offer a boutique experience which is very unique. Although there are many luxury hotels to choose from on Maui, Hotel Wailea is a secluded retreat with a spectacular view of the ocean and sunsets. Plus as a Relais & Chateau the food is off the charts!! Might be off the beach but the on command Teslas make the quick trip amazing. Highly recommend.
When booking our hotel in Maui, I was choosing between The Four Seasons and Hotel Wailea. I chose Hotel Wailea because it's a boutique property, adults only and the rooms are suites. It was the perfect hotel for us! We loved everything about this hotel. We were in Room 063, overlooking the koi ponds with an amazing panoramic view of the ocean and Molokini. We sat on our balcony in the evening with our wine and watched the sunset. I had read a review complaining about the noise from the road in front of the ocean view suites. While we could hear an occasional car on the road, it was not an issue for us. The grounds were exceptional: waterfalls, koi ponds and lush vegetation everywhere. We ate at the restaurant a couple of times and the food and service were exceptional. The pool/cabanas/bar area was very nice too, but we didn't spend any time there. We preferred the beach and beach hopping. The hotel's beach area was beautiful with great snorkeling and adjacent to the Four Seasons beach. It was really, really hard to leave this property.
I’m going to start out positive, because I actually don’t like to write negative reviews. The Hotel Wailea seems to employ a friendly, attentive staff; the rooms and the lanai are large, modern and clean; and the front of the property (i.e. the lobby) is gorgeous, with waterfalls, creeks and stunning views of the entire bay.
However, this is not a 5-star hotel. After you get past the lobby, the grounds look more like a golf course than a lush, tropical oasis. For example, our partial ocean view room looked down on this poorly maintained fountain, which looks like it was plucked from a low grade golf course and also appeared to be a drain for the water features on the property. It was so gross, I actually thought about asking for a different room, but as I looked around the property, I was even less impressed with many of the other rooms. For example, if you’re in the row of rooms closer to the lobby, you really have no privacy, as the entire back of your room and lanai look into a yard with entrances to the other suites below you. At least with our room, I didn’t have to worry about whether the blinds were open when I got out of the shower.
Also, in terms of the room, the lighting in the living room is modern, but very dark, except for lamps that shine a light similar to the one on the back of your iPhone. Then there is the bathroom, which is very large, but the tub is surprisingly short, and the water pressure from the shower is on the light side and non-adjustable.
The worst part about the property is the pool. The pools is small, many of the loungers get poor sunlight and it’s set up so that none of the loungers actually face the sun. Also, the pool is set down in the property so there is no view of the ocean and you’ll lose the sun an hour or two before other properties located closer to the beach.
The pool is also confused as to whether it wants to be a relaxing oasis or a watering hole for the daytime drinking crowd. This is obvious by the music selection which change from Louis Armstrong to John Mayer to Kid Rock, yes KID ROCK, Lady Gaga and Flo Rida within the span of 30 minutes. The bar at the pool is often crowded in the afternoon with day drinkers who carry on in loud and lively conversation moderated by the bar tender, which can be heard from anywhere around the pool. On a related note, while there are no children, that doesn’t mean you won’t see grown adults floating around on large flotation devices in the shapes of unicorns and dolphins.
Furthermore, I’m not even joking about this- if a woman drinks one of each specialty drink on the menu, they provide her with a very small, form fitting t-shirt. Is this a high end hotel or a Senor Frog’s in Cancun on spring break?
After two visits to the pool, we avoided it the rest of our stay, except if we wanted to jump in real quick before getting ready for dinner or something.
The public beach, where they offer lounge chairs, umbrellas and bottled water is nice, and the staff down there is awesome. Those guys really go above and beyond. In fact, on Wednesday mornings they offer an amazing 1-hour outrigger canoe experience, and you can also rent paddle boards, which was terrific. That said, you have to drive or have them drive you to the beach, which sets it apart from other hotels in the area, where you could walk to the beach, and honestly, in terms of beaches, the 10-minute drive to Big Beach and Little Beach blows Wailea Beach out of the water.
Moreover, while the hotel offers free chauffeured rides around Wailea in a Tesla, unless you’re planning to get smashed at dinner, it’s usually just easier to drive.
All and all, I think that a lot of the positive reviews come from young couples on their honeymoon, who are easily distracted by smoke and mirrors (e.g. Tesla rides, free t-shirts, rose buckets, and avocado toast) that distract from the fact that this hotel is not on par with others in the area. Hotel Wailea definitely serves a certain audience and does it well, but I’d suggest looking closely at their social media before you go, and ask yourself, “Is this me?” We’re a mid-thirties, athletic-minded, beach and sun-loving, married gay couple from Chicago, and if we had asked ourselves that question beforehand, we probably would have stayed someplace else.
We stayed 5 nights (or will have stayed after we wake up tomorrow and sadly head home to Pennsylvania) at Hotel Wailea.
This place is top notch, across the board. From the moment you get there, the staff is just as pleasant as can be all the way around. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and as far as I can tell, no matter where you are, there is a great view from your suite.
The downside to Hotel Wailea is that it's not beachfront. But that affords quiet that I don't think you get at even some of the other exclusive Wailea hotels. Plus, you walk down to the front, one of the incredibly pleasant guys up front, runs over and drives up in a Tesla to take you 5 minutes down to the beach, and pick you up at a moment's notice.
This place is high luxury, and beautiful beyond description. But it's the service and attention to detail that in my opinion makes it so great beyond anyplace I have stayed. It's not stuffy service like having a Butler at a Ritz. It's just super friendly service. I will be back here many more times before I die, I hope.
If you get a chance, do the culinary experience. It's only offered once a week or so in high season, other times less frequently, but it's set in a private kitchen below the restaurant. Krista Garcia, a veteran of the French Laundry ran our class, and featured something that was a hybrid of a cooking demonstration, a wine tasting, a hands on food adventure, and a social event. It was one of the more fun things I have done in travel, and a highlight of our trip. Book early!
Amazing vacation for couples looking for a relaxing and boutique experience. Food is over the top delicious. Staff was experienced and very friendly and the valet cars are Tesla which is cool. We would definitely go back!