The older I get the more I appreciate small boutique hotels, but that experience is hard to come by in Hawaii, short of getting your own condo, villa, or Airbnb rental. America loves to create grand beachside hotels with numerous pools, restaurants and a sense that you don’t ever have to leave the resort. Some of these lavish properties live up to their value proposition and prove that even large properties can feel special. The Fairmont Kea Lani boasts three pools (with an adults-only pool and 2 activity pools connected by a 140-foot waterslide), 4 restaurants and lounges, 24-hour fitness with daily fitness and wellness classes, Kid’s Club, a gourmet bakery and deli, chic boutiques, and award-winning Willow Stream Spa. Championship golf and tennis, as well as high-end shopping, are all close by too. Situated on a creamy sand beach on the sunny southwestern coastline of Maui in luxurious Wailea, the hotel is ideal for families due to the service, convenience, and on-site amenities. Here are 12 reasons to stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui
1. All rooms are suites. Villas are huge.
All rooms are family-friendly and come with large lanais offering ocean and sunset views. Admire views of Kaho’olawe, Lana‘i islands, Molokini Crater, and West Maui Mountains from your room. Rooms are super spacious (860 – 1100 square feet) with a hideaway bed in the foyer, so your kids can basically have their own room for the price of one. Although the rugs and couches could use a refresh, your grand room comes with a mini-fridge, microwave, and all the coffee, tea, and water you want.
Ultra-posh newly decorated villas with two levels are available right near the beach with 2 -3 bedrooms, full gourmet kitchen, and privately furnished courtyards with plunge pools and BBQ grills. These mini homes are ideal for multi-couple or extended family vacations.
2. The service is top notch.
We experienced excellent friendly service, from the front desk, concierge, housekeeping, drivers, wait staff and bartenders, to the beach crew who set up chairs. People working there actually seemed to care and it shows. We arrived to guava mango juice and a fresh lei and kolu nut necklace. The hotel’s texting service checks up on you to make sure your needs are met. You can text them anytime if you need help. When our key wouldn’t work for our room, I texted and someone came immediately to let us in. I text them questions about fitness classes and how late Maui Brewing Company stayed open, to receive a prompt response. The texting service also checked up on us to see how our stay was going with a rating system. If you prefer, you can opt out of this service.
3. Huge oversized marble bathrooms include personalized toiletries from La Labo.
The spacious bathroom with roomy shower and oversized tub comes with dual sinks and high-end customized personalized Le Labo toiletries with your name on them. The luxury soaps and lotions smelled like roses. The high-quality bath mats and towels were sumptuous and thick.
4. Water activities can be easily experienced right from the beach.
The warm crystal-clear water with creamy tan sand is a nice slice of famous Polo beach on a small piece of land. Since the reef system was right offshore, I would snorkel daily before the afternoon right off the beach. The waters were teeming with tropical fish and sea turtles. You can reserve a chair and umbrella early in the morning or enjoy a breathtaking sunset on a beach lounger or one of the nearby benches that hug the property’s sandy shore. Early morning outrigger canoe rides are offered too and many people rent paddle boards to get up close and personal with the sea turtles.
5. Snorkeling equipment is part of the resort fee.
It’s annoying to have a resort charge for snorkeling equipment on top of the daily resort fee. The Fairmont lets you check out complimentary snorkeling gear and explore the nearby reef system filled with graceful sea turtles and vividly colored fish everywhere you turn. Paddleboard out to see turtles before noon before the waves pick up too.
6. Fitness and wellness classes are complimentary.
As part of the daily resort fee, many fitness classes are offered like morning and sunset yoga (more stretching vinyasa style), pilates, aqua fitness, and meditation and breathing classes outside. Since my body was on California time and my husband was working early, I enjoyed these 7 AM inspirational classes where I also met other hotel guests.
7. Wake up to a cacophony of birdsong from your lanai.
Every morning all I could hear was the squawking of a multitude of birds from our top floor balcony. It was a beautiful way to start each day with this chorus of song and the occasional colorful bird making a visit on our balcony. They stick around near the breakfast area though, so don’t leave your food unattended!
8. The adult pool was not crowded.
You can escape the kid mayhem and find peace at the adult pool. Friendly attendants serve your every need and lunch can be served poolside from any of the resort’s restaurants. Rent your own cabana for around $200 with all day personal service including complimentary beverages and snacks. To feel like a kid again, try out the 140-foot water slide in the all-ages pool.
9. The award-winning Willow Stream Spa offers unique treatments.
Book an early morning appointment and enjoy the whole spa to yourself for the ultimate relaxation and solitude. Arrive early or stay longer after your treatment to try out some of their neat spa offerings, like various healing volcanic mud and taro clays that you can smooth on your body. Relax on the heated stone bench or in the steam room before trying out one of their tech-friendly showers where you push a button like “Rainforest” to experience various mists plus hot and cold sprays with different pressures from all angles. You may not want to get out of this blissful shower. The spa offers unique services like the Hawaiian Pa’akai where you lay inside a state of the art wave table that feels like a heated water bed. The Vichy shower includes various sprays that shoot down on you as your therapist scrubs you with sea salt gathered from dry pools along the island’s coastline and coconut oil blended with locally grown green papaya and lemongrass. The treatment table moves with rhythmic motions to create a sense of weightlessness while the infra-red light therapy from above helps firm and tighten skin. The best is you can use the spa at any time all day when you book a spa treatment.
10. Ko Restaurant showcases plantation traditions and Hawaii’s freshest ingredients.
Although there are many restaurant options at the Fairmont Kea Lani along with a coffee shop and bakery, you can’t miss the signature well-known restaurant Ko that showcases plantation-style cuisine with Hawaii’s freshest ingredients. Ko means sugarcane. Each dish is reflective of Maui’s history and culture through recipes and cooking techniques brought from plantation workers and passed down for generations. This cultural blending of past and present is modern Hawaiian cuisine. Sear tuna on a rock at your table and watch as your server unwraps a banana leaf to reveal the steamed catch of the day soaking in coconut broth, sweet potato, and mango salsa. Coconut macadamia nut shrimp with lavender honey sauce and lobster tempura with pineapple sweet chili garlic were our favorite dishes. Save room for dessert options such as brown butter banana bread and friend Portuguese sweet bread stuffed with coconut gelato and kula black raspberry jam.
For an extra-special celebration, share an enchanted dinner with the Hoku Lani experience, which means “dining under the stars.” For $650 per couple, share a special oceanfront meal served by private wait staff, surrounded by tiki torches and away from everyone else.
While you can indulge in the $40 breakfast buffet (not including tip), you can also stock up on your snacks at the resort’s general store or Wailea Shops a short walk away. Take the free Escalade shuttle service to anywhere your heart desires within 5 miles of the hotel.
11. A waterfront trail begins at the hotel.
The beautiful Wailea Coastal Walk, a paved walking or running trail starts at the Fairmont and continues 1.5 miles up the coast, past other properties like the Grand Wailea, Four Seasons, and Andaz Maui. The enchanting picturesque waterfront hanging on the ocean careens by lava and green lawns with birds and lizards. This makes it easy to exercise, take a morning or sunset walk, or eat lunch at a different hotel.
12. Happy Hours rotate through all of the restaurants.
From 3:00 – 10:00 pm you can bounce around the various restaurants and bars to sample all the venues and maximize the value of your food and drinks. Beer, wine, cocktails, and pupus (appetizers) can be enjoyed all afternoon – a la carte or in a bar crawl without leaving the resort.
Start the afternoon at Ko’s Bar Pau Hana from 3-5 and enjoy a drink and small sample from their delicious menu. From 5-7, belly up to the bar at Nick’s Fish Market for seafood-themed pupus and a Mai Tai, or swim up to the Ama Bar off the upper pool for beer and a bite. From 8-10, enjoy a sunset vista or end the day at the lux Luana bar, and take in the scenery with an expertly crafted cocktail and light fare.
Stay at this spacious property offseason for better prices and to avoid a crowded property. We heard package deals may exist with Costco Travel and AAA.