There’s a reason the Wailea Beach station on maui is one of the main properties demanded by Marriott Bonvoy members. It’s not your typical Marriott — with brand name signs everywhere — and it offers oceans of unique experiences to make the most of your vacation. That means singular excursions, inspired dining experiences, diverse spa and wellness programming, authentic Hawaiian cultural offerings, and even a nearby tennis club and golf club. Yes, you could just say that the Wailea Beach Resort is an “all in one”.
Some of the best things to experience in Hawaii are here, under one roof (as well as under a few cabins). And did I mention the wonderful free s’mores served nightly by the fire pit?
“Our claim to fame is our proximity to the oceanfront, with rooms woven into the grounds,” says Laurie Garzon, the property’s sales and marketing manager, who gave me an in-depth tour of the 22 acre resort. “We have two beaches cradling the property and the coral reef in front of the resort provides excellent snorkeling.”
One of the things I discovered, right off the bat, was the distinctive Hospitality Suite, a classy, all-free perk that I rarely see at resorts. This special arrival and departure lounge is open 24 hours a day and can be used as soon as you arrive at the resort – if your room is not ready – and long after you leave. “You can literally stay in a bathing suit until you leave for the airport,” Ms. Garzon told me. There you will find water, snacks and fruit, as well as a swimsuit dryer, a mini spa and separate changing rooms for men and women.
The swimming pools alone will impress you. The Ohi Pools are for all ages on two levels, while the NALU Adventure Pool offers Maui’s longest waterslide (325 feet). In fact, the sprawling NALU pool features four waterslides, splash zones, a swimming grotto, and spacious family cabanas. Then there’s the to-die-for Maluhia infinity pool with sweeping views of the Pacific and coveted floating cabanas. If you were looking in an encyclopedia for the perfect, dreamy Hawaiian pool, Maluhia Pool is what you would find. Park your posterior here and remember how blessed and lucky you are to experience this.
The resort is also known for its Keiki Kids Club for kids ages 5 to 12 and GameSpace, which offers foosball, billiards, shuffleboard, and vintage arcade games. Here kids can experience a special movie theater (with popcorn), as well as crafts, bracelet-making, painting with a cultural twist, and daily scavenger hunts.
Now, if you’re an adult (and chances are you’re reading this article you are), the resort also offers plenty of aristocratic experiences for adults. I recommend staying in the oceanfront terrace suites which start at $2,000 per night. These gorgeous rooms offer an expansive private outdoor living space of 150 square feet – where you can even enjoy a private, luxurious picnic. Picnics are complete with romantic lighting, rugs/blankets, pillow shams, fresh flowers and gourmet pasture trays, perfect for proposals, birthdays, anniversaries and more.
The restoration is equally distinctive. Options featuring locally sourced ingredients range from signature Humble Market Kitchen by celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi for Mo’Bettah, a fun poolside food truck offering Hawaiian classics like tuna poke and fish tacos. Menus throughout the resort feature thoughtful treats like Kiyo Miller’s famous banana bread. Kiyo is a longtime Maui local team member at the Wailea Beach Resort.
One of the most memorable things I did at the resort was to participate in its “Malama Maui” experience. Malama means “giving back,” and it’s how the resort provides Hawaiian cultural experiences for guests — and you even get a discount if you donate your time or volunteer. (Guests must book the Malama Quilting package in order to get the discount and unfortunately you cannot already be a guest on site and then do the activity and claim a discount).
At the time of my visit, the only option available was quilting – if you don’t already know, Hawaiian quilts can cost thousands of dollars and are usually framed to show off the distinctive stitching that goes into them. I met two lovely Hawaiian ladies – Lyndra and Jan – who showed me how to sew echo pineapples and breadfruit onto the fabric. (Missionaries introduced cotton cloth to Hawaii in the late 1800s.)
Also on-site is Mandara Spa, a 9,000+ square foot facility featuring 12 treatment rooms, a makeup and nail salon, four couples rooms, a relaxation area and more. It can offer up to 80 massages per day. A lomilomi massage costs $195 for 60 minutes.
There are also free daily wellness classes, including sunrise yoga, mat Pilates, beach boot camp, and pool aerobics. And then there’s Coco Yoga, a 50-minute class that bases its workout around the coconut — with the fruit used as a weight, a stretching prop, and possibly, even a nourishing treat at the end of the session.
I absolutely loved my and my husband Bill’s stay here – the only caveat I can offer is that the resort is indeed sprawling, and it took me a few days to work out the lay of the land and figure out how getting around to places including the fitness center (he’s a gym dandy) and the various pools. An easy solution to this? Book a long stay! Otherwise, I found that by the time I was acclaimed, it was time to go.
So why are you hesitating? In this luxurious complex, the water awaits you. (#waterwaits)
For more on my Wanderlust trips, please follow me on Instagram at @DebbiKickham.