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Are Maui Hotels' 'Free' Amenities a Real Value?

August 21, 2012 at 5:58 PM | by | ()

A Hawaiian vacation is notoriously expensive, especially at the tony resort town of Wailea in Maui. So when we heard about all the free amenities at the five-star Four Seasons Maui, we were impressed, but skeptical. Had they just built the cost of all their freebies into the hotel rate? And how do other Maui hotels rate in comparison? We broke down the amenities to analyze the savings, if any.

First, the Four Seasons Resort, which costs around $465 per night, doesn't charge a resort fee and tells their guests to “put away your wallet” and enjoy their extensive complimentary services and amenities.

Here's a sample of what they're giving away gratis:
· Fitness classes including Pilates mat class and yoga
·Internet access throughout resort
·Kids for All Seasons Club (5-12 years) 9am - 5 pm daily (nominal fee charged for lunch)
·One-hour use of snorkel equipment
·Cabanas at Fountain Pool and Waterfall Pool (limited inventory)
·Introductory scuba clinic twice daily

We then took a look at neighbor Grand Wailea Resort, which costs $399 a night, to compare. They charge a resort fee of $25 per room per night, as well as a mandatory valet fee of $30 per night (no self-parking available).

The resort fee entitles you to:
· Unlimited use of Spa Grande's fitness center
· Complimentary yoga classes
· Twice-daily scuba clinics at dive pool
· Daily use of mountain bikes
· Beach umbrellas with chair(a $50 value subject to inventory)
· In-room high speed internet access (up to 2MB)

The Grand Wailea charges $125 a day for its Children's Program, with discounts for multiple kids enrolled.

The nearby Fairmont Kea Lani, which comes in at $347 a night (rooms are all suites oe villas), doesn't charge a resort fee, but does bill for WiFi at $14.50 per night. However, if you sign up for the free Fairmont President's Club, that charge is waived.

The freebies here include:
· Access to the 24-hour fitness center
· Self-parking
· Umbrellas and chairs at pool and beach
· Kids under 5-years old eat free with parents
· Free admission to cultural activities and celebrations

The Fairmont charges $85 a day for the Keiki Lani Kids Club with a discount for multiple children.

So, who wins? The winner appears to be the Four Seasons, when all is said and done, even when looking at the initial heavier price tag. But we say any Hawaii resort that's giving away this many freebies is definitely worth considering.

[Photo: Four Seasons Maui]

Archived Comments:

I dunno....

The Ritz up in Kapalua is less like a summer camp, and the Ritz Residences in Kapalua have the BEST pool in history.  But it's not that I am into the Ritz - it's that Maui is littered with entitled families and poorly behaved kids.  We VRBO'd last time we went for the first half of our trip, and headed to Hana for the rest of it.  But we are in the biz, and had heard great things about the Four Seasons.... and it just seemed awful.  The pool and fountain looked more like kids playing in a fire hydrant on the street.  It really put us off.  I guess that's why we end up off season, and in places like Hana.

But it's disappointing to see what these luxury brands have done to their image during the recession, as well as the takeovers, buyouts, and regime changes.  They are no longer what they once were.... Four Seasons used to denote exclusive and class.  I would NEVER bemoan a brand like FS in public, but on a hotel specific board, maybe we can all say that hospitality has changed drastically from what it once was.  So much of the guest experience and brand identity has been whittled away by wall street types who only look at the bottom line, and forget that hospitality is not the business to go into for the money.

So much of this... opaque rates, nebulous charges, confusing value adds... it's all because there's a troubling lack of hospitality in the hotel business, and business seems to be all it is about, while the guest has to take a back seat.

Reply from glamtravel

Thanks for your point of view. We focused on the Wailea area for the  comparison article and I agree that beautiful Hana is  "no ka oi" for peace and true Hawaiian hospitality.  I am born and raised in Hawaii and finding the real Hawaii gets harder every day. Mahalo for your comments- 'glamtravel'