Saturday, October 24, 2015

Some Maui Photos

A few photos that aren't just about the hotels.

The view from the highway
Ululani's Shave Ice- totally delicious!

Black sand beach.
Cabana at Kea Lani
Kea Lani Pool Bar


Road to Hana waterfalls

The last day

This was a sad wake up- it was our last day in this paradise. And we ended it at the most lovely place- the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea.

We had booked a few spa treatments as a treat. It's been awhile, so I can't give you much detail- other than the massages were good and the facility even better. The changeroom was so lovely and well equipped. This was our checkout day, so before we went to the spa, we packed up and stored our luggage. Since most flights leave in the evening to go to the mainland, the hotel welcomes you to use the pool all day and provides a hospitality suite to freshen up before you depart. Wonderful perk that gave us a glorious bonus day in Maui.

 We spent the whole day by the pool. We were able to score a cabana (free but must get early in the day) and my partner enjoyed a foot massage (around $30 for 20ish minutes).

We used the hospitality room to change and prepare to head to the airport. It was equipped with couches, a big TV, free Nespresso drinks, showers, bottled water and towels.  A truly high end, valuable and appreciated perk.

This hotel was my favourite, though for the length of time we were on Maui, I appreciated the space at the Kea Lani.

Overall thoughts....
  • gorgeous, posh hotel with a high end clientele (I felt a bit....not high end...but that's my issue, not the hotels'). 
  • Restaurants with beautiful and delicious food, but very expensive (better value that Grand Wailea restaurants though)
  •  A good value because of the freebies- free cabana (we paid over $150 for the cabana at the Kea Lani), free snorkeling, free water toys and other things that make this hotel a good value among the three
  • Lovely hula and guitar in lobby
  • Big, spacious, elegantly furnished rooms
  • nice staff, attentive service
  • Beautiful pool area and incredible beach. 
An episode of Modern Family was filmed at the hotel- I highly recommend watching! It gives you an excellent idea of the hotel. 

On to the Four Seasons Wailea!

Again, this is now two years late. I am writing this from memory, with the assistance of some notes and reviews that I wrote.

To recap, we had spent 6 nights at the Fairmont Kea Lani, and two nights at the Grand Wailea. This was our 9th and final night in Maui on a well-researched and long anticipated trip.

I really wanted to stay at the Four Seasons because I love hotels, especially nice hotels. I was excited to check this one out, but also sad because it meant we were on the home stretch of this trip.

We checked out of the GW fairly early (around 11) because we kind of wanted to get out of there. We were early to check in the the FS, but hadn't had breakfast/lunch yet, so decided to get lunch before we checked in.

We went to Ferraro's, the restaurant off the pool area and overlooking the beach. The food was completely delicious, and the service lovely and competent.

What a beautiful cocktail- oh I could go for one of those right now!

After our wonderful lunch (and with a wee buzz on) we went to the lobby to check in.

The lobby is stunning, huge with massive slabs of marble and an open air view of the ocean. Some large art pieces are a focal point.

On the way, I stopped for this money shot. Writing this now, 2 and a half year later, is really hard- because I'd like to go back right now!

We had a smooth and pleasant check in. Again, I had booked this hotel through and it came with an upgrade (if available), breakfast, and resort credit.

Although the hotel was not full (it was obvious), we were walked to out room and found that, though lovely and spacious and luxurious, it faced the parking garage (cleverly but not completely disguised by slats of wood). So, the view was of nothing really- a wall of tasteful wooden slats. We were terribly disappointed and decided to call the front desk. We explained that it was our last night of a dream vacation, that we would soon be returning to cold and snow, and that we desperately wanted to be able to see a sliver of ocean from our room. Graciously, they immediately arranged to give us an ocean view room (I booked standard view). It was tucked away at the far end of the resort, but again was a lovely, big, luxurious room with a walk out patio.

 This was the view from the room, which was sold as an ocean view room. If you like a better view, I think anything higher than the first floor would be desirable.

We went to the pool area, which was large and simple but tasteful. Our daughter and her friend spent a few hours playing around the massive fountain in the middle of the pool- seriously, we had just come from the GW, which is basically a water park, and they can't get enough of this fountain. We sunned, and checked out the adult pool, which was beautiful but seemed a bit....I don't know....snotty? I didn't feel super comfortable there, I am not sure why.

The beach at the Four Seasons is perfect. We went down to watch the sunset and there was a very small wedding (about 6 people) happening. Wow, it was beautiful! Earlier in the day, I had snorkeled for first time (free 1 hour use of equipment) and fell in love with that (though I have done it since, in
other places, and realize that snorkeling for the first time in Maui has probably ruined me for snorkeling many other places!).

We set our girls up with room service for dinner and headed to the lobby, where there was a slack guitar player with a hula dancer. Ah, that was heaven. A few strong (super expensive) cocktails and hula, with the soft scented ocean air surrounding us (the lobby has few walls)... a beautiful memory that I will never forget.

We must have had dinner! I can't remember...might have been those drinks!

A few years later, overall feeling about the Grand Wailea.

These are the things I remember about the Grand Wailea, a few years on (a benefit, I guess, of waiting a few years to finish a review/blog):

  • Huge, just huge. Distances from room to pool, room to lobby, room to restaurants are long! Really far. 
  • Impersonal. So big it's more like a Disney or Vegas property- those aren't usually warm and fuzzy either. In fact, the Grand Wailea reminds a lot of a Disney property, especially a luxury one- lovely on the surface, but incomparable to a true five star. 
  • A truly stunning pool area, which I think of frequently and fondly. Grateful that we experienced it. But..
  • Intense pool chair rules!  And wristband rules! By nature, I am a rule follower, but I was feeling a little chastised here. 
  • EXPENSIVE. $5.99 cappucino, $20 sandwiches.
  • My overall memory is that this hotel was frosty. Cold, robotic, without any care or concern for the guest beyond a very scripted welcome and goodbye. 
I'm glad we spent some time at the GW, but I wish it was one night, so we could have had two nights at the Four Seasons Wailea. 

The Grand Luau at Honua'ula

We had purchased tickets to this luau before we left Canada. I am now writing this a few years after this vacation (Ooops! Forgot about this project!) but I believe the tickets were in the high $80s with a small discount for the kids. We chose this Luau even after hearing that it was not the best on Maui because it was close and we wanted to drink- not drive.

The food was really quite good, and the setting spectacular.

Room at Grand Wailea

I picked up our keys and went to the room while the rest of the family dried off and gathered up from the pool. We were on the 7th floor of the Molokini wing- very far from the lobby- facing south. The room was pretty standard- two queen beds, a desk and a chair. There were sliding doors out to the lanai, which had a table and two nice chairs with pads. The balcony juts out from the building a bit and is not very private. The view (no upgrade- I was disappointed) was of the Four Seasons next door, the loading dock area, the well-disguised parking garage, the ocean to the right and Haleakala to the left. Since we were up so high, we actually had a nice view. The room was ok- it seemed small after the Kea Lani, but was still quite luxurious and nicely furnished.

I am sorry- I didn't take any photos of the room. This is a courtyard between two wings of the building. There are little paths and streams and so many flowers. Stunning.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Grand Wailea #2 (lots of pictures)

Without a doubt, the lobby and common areas of the Grand Wailea are beautiful. 

The lounge in the lobby.

Indoor/outdoor lobby with lots of water and art.

The lobby is all interconnected walkways around fountains and pools (reflecting, not swimming.)

 We walked a LOOOOOONNNNGGGG way to the pool area. In order to sit on the pool deck area, you must have a wristband. You get the wristbands from the activity centre in the middle of the the pool complex, which involves going up and down, over bridges and under caverns. The pool complex is extremely elaborate- much more themed and extravagant than most Disney resorts I have visited. We lined up for our wristbands and getting one require a computer check and a phone call. We all needed to give our names and they were matched with the code on the wristband and entered into the computer. I get that they are trying to protect against pool usage by non-guests, but this was some high security stuff! At the activity centre, they had some craft tables that looked a little worse for wear (I think it was tie dye t-shirts one day- for $25) and they also sold shave ice ($7.00!). We decided to have lunch at the poolside cafe. Our server was actually quite amazing- she had been there for 17 years, and seemed to totally love her job. She was good at her job, too, because we were all talked into refillable plastic pineapples to hold our cocktails and smoothies ($22, refills of boozy drink- $15).  The food at this restaurant is served in plastic and is all pre-made. I had sushi, it was fine. For four lunch dishes (one sushi and 3 sandwiches) and four refillable cocktail glasses (2 non-alcoholic) plus two cocktail refills, the bill was $220.00. Yeehaw! Thank goodness those cocktails were boozy. 

After our lunch, we sat on some loungers around the pool while the kids swam. The loungers are packed very tightly around the pool- touching, with no space at all in between. We had to climb up from the bottom to sit on them. We waited, and waited, as the lunch buzz wore off and the clock ticked. I went and checked on our room again at 3:00, explaining again that we had (very expensive) luau tickets on the property and wanted to change before it began. I was reminded by another robot (oops, I mean front desk clerk!) that check in is not guaranteed until 4:30. I expressed my disappointment and went back to our seat around the pool. Finally, around four, our cell phone rang and we were told we could come get our room keys.