HI Travel Guide
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
Kea Lani means "white heaven" and the all-suite and villa Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui certainly is divine now that it's completed its extensive three-year, $70 million renovation. Improvements have touched nearly every aspect of the 22-acre Wailea property.
Above is how a one-bedroom suite at the property used to look. Just a bit too dated for our tastes. But keep reading to see how the place looks now!
While visiting Maui in May, we often looked across the beach from Wailea where we were staying, over towards the island of Lana'i.
One time, while staring at Lana'i, a passerby told us, "Do you know who bought that island? Larry Ellison of Oracle." Wow, we thought. That's how rich he is. He can buy an island in Hawaii. An island that contains two Four Seasons Resorts. Turns out it's not that simple.
Technically, Ellison owns 97 percent of the island, not the whole thing but as the New York Times pointed out, that's still a lot. The cost to buy the island in 2012 was $300 million and Ellison, who stepped down as CEO of the Silicon Valley company last year, wants to turn the Lana'i into the "first economically viable, 100 percent green community." Ellison, under the guise of his management company, Pulama Lanai, expressed interest earlier in the year to build a fourth resort (Ellison also bought the Hotel Lanai, the other resort on the island) and hoped to extend the island's airport, along with other modern modifications to the island.
However, not all the plans that Ellison has for the island are working out, like the extended airport and the desalination plant. Also, a renovation of the Four Seasons Manele Bay was apparently downsized. Not that it has mattered to guests. The TripAdvisor reviews are still off the charts. The hotel did renovate all of its rooms and they do look rather incredible on the website. Here's how the general manager explained the renovations to the NY Times:
They say opposites attract, although isn’t internet dating saying the opposite these days? Anyway, here’s an interesting combination: laidback Hawaii meets stiff-and-proper Paris as the head barman from the Ritz Paris is heading to the Halekulani hotel in Waikiki to present an “interactive cocktail pairing experience”.
Colin Field, from the Ritz’s Bar Hemingway (and the “best barman in the world”, according to Forbes), will be in Hawaii from 22-26 September, propping up the bar at L’Aperitif. On his final evening (6-8pm) he’ll lead a “tasting experience”, demonstrating the art of cocktail making and then (the crucial part) doling them out, along with posh amuse bouches created by the hotel’s exec chef.
Maui Hotels / Hotel Juices / Juicing / Drinks / Hotel Wellness / → All Tags
Maui Week has come to an end but before we get off the island (figuratively), here's one last way to make the most of your time there. In the meantime, don't forget to revisit our list of Must-Stay Hotels in Wailea, what to order at MiGRANT and MALA at The Marriott, what to stop in and see at the Andaz and where to get away from it all at the Hotel Wailea.
If you're a fan of juicing, then you've come to the right spot. Maui is all about the juicing. And it goes way beyond POG juice.
We picked up an interesting concoction at the Down to Earth organic supermarket when we left the airport called the Maui Cold Buster, made with pineapple and onion by Joy's Place (see below.) Yet while there are a ton of great local juice spots to hit up in Maui, you can also find fresh juices in crazy combinations inside the resorts in Wailea.
Maui Hotels / Hawaii Hotels / Maui Week 2014 / Hotel Renovations / Quiet Hotels / Resort Alternatives / → All Tags
Maui Week continues! On Monday, we gave you a list of Must-Stay Hotels for Wailea in Maui. Today, we're heading up the mountains for a different side of Maui. Don't worry, it's not too far from the ocean. Mahalo!
Your dream vacation to Maui probably involves lounging on a beach and sipping on a Mai Tai. What your dream vacation probably doesn't involve is getting up early to wait in line to reserve a beach lounge chair. Or dealing with screaming kids by the pool. Or waiting for an elevator in a sopping wet bathing suit.
While the resorts along the beach in Wailea offer easy access to the ocean and beach activities, along with several different pools to try, they aren't exactly the most tranquil spots in town. Enter The Hotel Wailea, a Small Luxury Hotel of the World.
Located in the hillside, about a mile from the beach resorts, the Hotel Wailea features 72 suites spread across a 15-acre property. Each one-bedroom suite has generous bedrooms, and living areas with sectional couches, along with outdoor lanais. All of them are extremely private and quiet and most have full ocean views. None of them require elevators to reach. Rather, you meander along winding pathways, admiring the waterfalls and koi ponds along the way.
Now, beach bums, don't fret. The hotel has complimentary shuttles to the beach along with a dedicated beach attendant, ready with complimentary water bottles, chairs and umbrellas. It's the best of both worlds.
Maui Week continues! On Monday, we gave you the Must-Stay Hotels for Wailea in Maui. Today, we're going inside one of them--The Andaz. Mahalo!
It’s no secret that HotelChatter loves the Andaz brand so when we rolled up to the Andaz Maui in Wailea we were not surprised at how much we wished we were actually staying there, instead of just visiting.
Fortunately, there are so many ways to enjoy the Andaz Maui without actually being a guest. So whether you’re staying in a different resort or renting a villa, here’s what you should pop in and try:
Yesterday, we gave you the Must-Stay Hotels for Wailea in Maui. Today, we're giving you a Must-Eat spot. Conveniently, it's in a hotel. Mahalo!
Chef Sheldon Simeon has done pretty well for himself after finishing in the top three of Season 10 of "Top Chef" and winning the "Fan Favorite" award. The Hawaiian native, who previously helmed Star Noodle in Maui not only opened his own restaurant, MiGRANT, at the Wailea Beach Marriott, he's also taken over the kitchen at the hotel's Mala restaurant.
So with the same chef overseeing both restaurants, what's the different? The Mala restaurant has a more formal restaurant set-up with a somewhat traditional menu while MiGRANT has a casual setting with a more creative menu. Ok. So which one should you choose? Allow us....
We stayed at the Marriott in May while celebrating a family member's big milestone, and when a dinner at Mala ended up being fraught with service issues, we were invited back to try it again, this time with Chef Simeon himself guiding us along his excellent culinary adventure.
The dishes that we had were a mixture of Mala and MiGRANT items but all were Simeon's creations, heavily influenced by local traditions and his own Filipino heritage. Here's what we sampled, and ultimately fell in love with:
Introducing our newest hotel guide--HotelChatter's Must Stay Hotels--where we pick four hotels for four different types of travelers in a particular neighborhood of one major city. We started with New York, then switched it up to Palm Springs and now we're doing Maui. This is also a seasonal guide so the options may change depending on when you're going. Got a question about where to stay and when? Email us.
Looking for a hotel in Wailea, on the island of Maui? You can troll online review sites, crowdsource on Facebook and comb through endless Best Hotels” lists but why do all that when we’ve done all the work for you already?
Here are four different hotels to try in the resort nabe of Wailea, located on Maui's southwest coast. Since most of you are visiting for leisure purposes, the categories have changed ever so slightly to include families and kick out biz travelers. We've also made a note of the resort fees. Another note: It's high season for Maui right now so if the rates look a little too high, try again later in the fall but before the holiday madness.
Stay tuned this week as we'll be profiling these hotels below and more!
There is no shortage of great places to eat in the Wailea resort zone of Maui, especially not with a Fairmont, a Four Seasons, and a Waldorf-Astoria lined up next to each other.
But skip a little further down past these resorts to the Andaz Maui and one of the best meals of your vacation will await you at Morimoto, the eponymous sushi restaurant from Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.
The Andaz resort is pretty spectacular in itself, with about four different levels of public spaces, the first two which are pools and the second two which are restaurants, bars and lounge spaces. We'll have more on the Andaz and its rooms and spa shortly but today it's all about Morimoto.
The restaurant is located at the bottom of Andaz Maui, overlooking the main pool and the beach. This means it's easy to access from Wailea's Coastal Walk, which runs along the water and which everyone staying in Wailea uses everyday. There is both indoor and outdoor seating at the Morimoto but this is Maui, of course, you are going to sit outside. (That said, the inside is a lovely modern take on island decor.)
Now here's what we ordered when we popped in for lunch during our own vacation the other month:
Exactly what you want to see after a long flight to Hawaii.
In today's extremely competitive luxury hotel market, high-thread counts, personal assistants, and in-room dining menus from Michelin-starred chefs simply won't cut it anymore. Airport Lounges, however, will set you apart from the other five-stars out there. And that's just what the Four Seasons Resorts Lania (which includes Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele) has done at the Honolulu International Airport.
Located in the commuter terminal, the 1,000-sq.ft. luxury lounge allows guests special treats and amenities while waiting for their quick flight to Lanai (it's about 25 minutes.) That includes food, beverages, iPads, Wi-Fi access, charging stations, luggage holding areas, magazines, newspapers, and HDTVs. There will also be a lounge concierge on hand to assist with check-in, activity arrangements and restaurant reservations.
And since guests will be arriving at various terminals in the Honolulu airport, the Four Season Lounge can arrange a "Concierge Transfer" from Island Air which will pick guests up at their arriving terminal and either walk or drive them over to the Four Seasons Lounge.
Yesterday, Montage Hotels officially announced their plans to take over The Residences at Kapalua Bay in Maui. We had heard that Montage would be taking over the residential property but we weren't quite sure what the plans were for the hotel side of things. Well, now we know. Here's what they are planning:
The expansive resort, set atop the world-class, picturesque Kapalua Bay, will undergo a multi-million dollar improvement program beginning this fall, with plans including 56 Montage branded residences offered for sale and the introduction of a 50 room all-suite Montage hotel.
Those hotel suites will feature spacious living rooms, large private lanais, fully equipped kitchens, elegant master suites and luxurious bathrooms. Sounds like heaven.
Montage Hotels has already assumed management of the property yet it will continue to be known as The Residences at Kapalua Bay on an interim basis. As the spot gets closer to unveiling their 50 hotel suites, that's probably when a name change will happen. In the meantime, you can keep up with their hotel's new website here.
Andaz Hotels / Maui Hotels / Hawaii Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel NEws / → All Tags
In our sneak peek of the Andaz Maui in May, we were given plenty of details about the eagerly anticipated Andaz resort, from the high-end Rockwell Group Design to the private beach, the Hawaiian apothecary spa, a new restaurant from Chef Morimoto, two outdoor bars and the seriously chic guest rooms. Except there was no confirmed opening date. Well, now we finally have one.
The Andaz Maui will open on August 15. Aloha! However, right now, we can't actually seem to make a reservation for that day. We tried various dates in August on the website (as well as over on Expedia) but everything was coming up as Sold Out. We hope that it's just a minor issue with the reservations system and that we can start reserving rooms soon.
However, we were able to find a room on September 9 for $509 a night for an Andaz Garden King. Ocean views were not available but will presumably cost more. Also the Morimoto restaurant is expected to open later in the fall. But at least the WiFi is free!
[Photo: Rockwell Group]