96753 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!
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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:
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:
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You may not be able to tell from this laid-back photo, but chef Masaharu Morimoto really is hard at work preparing for the opening of his second Hawaiian restaurant Morimoto Maui, now scheduled for October at the Andaz Maui at Wailea.
When we visited the resort for its grand opening on September 1st, we'd hoped to get a sneak peak at the restaurant too, but we were shut down on all fronts. In fact, the teak wood and black-stone tile restaurant is currently hidden behind a huge tent that's been lovingly called "Cirque du Sushi".
Morimoto did allow for a candid shot and we gotta say, he looks super cool outside the chefs whites, right?
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..this little guy! We've never seen such a cool looking kid decked out in the finest resort wear. The boy was one of the Andaz Maui at Wailea first guests (with his family, of course) when the hip hotel opened on September 1st. Check out our first look here.
Although the Andaz isn't your typical family resort--you won't find water slides, game rooms or a kid's club, they do support the area's local youth and have adopted the nearby Kihei Elementary School.
Part of the corporation's responsibility program, Hyatt Thrive, the hotel has already started volunteer work at the school, developed a monthly rewards program, and even installed a new refrigerator in the school’s faculty lounge.
The hotel's goal is to help strengthen education at the school and personal advancement within the local community. That's part of the Hawaii's ohana (family) spirit, and one of the reasons we love the islands so much.
[Photo: Trevor Durham/Andaz Maui at Wailea]
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It finally happened. At 2pm on September 1st, the highly anticipated Andaz Maui at Wailea finally opened for business, after being delayed from their original August 15th debut date.
We were front and center for the emotional blessing ceremony led by the respected Kahuna Nui, Kapono'ai Molitau. The kahuna told us he's particular about the places he'll perform his chants, and felt the Andaz's space was very special.
Indeed, there's history here. The hotel was once a Renaissance Hotel that was beloved by long-time vacationers. After sitting empty for many years, the Hyatt group came in and decided to turn it into one of the hottest hotel brands today.
The Andaz Maui is the 10th of its kind to open, and there are more on the way. But right now let's focus on this gallery of first looks at this resort that's made a huge effort to embody the spirit of Hawaiian aloha.
Plus, we'll tell you which is the Best Room to Book, after the jump.
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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]
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The 297-room paradisiacal hotel, which will debut in late Summer, is well on its way to becoming our most anticipated hotel opening of the year (literally), for its private beach, free WiFi, and signature restaurant, Morimoto Maui. Sure, that's a big statement. But we dare you to disagree after taking a look at these images, straight from the offices of the property's designer, David Rockwell:
The Iron Chef star will take advantage of the island’s direct access to fresh produce and pay homage to Hawaii by incorporating local ingredients to his traditional Japanese menu.
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