Unique Sleeps: Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, Hawaii
Unique Sleeps: Amazing hotels hand picked by Expedia Experts. The Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, Hawaii.
Know this: you’ll never regret the decision to holiday at Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. When it comes to unaffected luxury travel, this resort is the new Hawaii.
Sprawling across fifteen acres on Maui’s beautiful south shore, the resort is the second coastal property from the uber-cool Andaz brand. In Maui they’ve elegantly translated their signature urban design into beautifully curated island chic.
The Andaz experience starts the second you arrive, greeted by a team of impeccably dressed staff (the uniforms include vintage prints and custom Nikes). They took our bags, our car, and before we could mumble Aloha, we were on an over-sized lounge, sipping house-made lavender lemonade while looking out at an impossibly blue ocean.
Check-in on the couch via iPad, room keys appear on wooden trays…it’s these very un-hotel touches that make this place different and special.
And from here, everything at the resort is just as effortless. Service is at the corner stone of this brand’s success. All the staff at Andaz Maui, without exception, were exceptional. Polite, low-key, educated and friendly, they work hard to make you feel good about being on holiday – and that’s an art.
The architecture is modern meets island, mixing wood, stone and soft, neutral furnishes to great effect. Nothing is too loud, nothing gets in the way, all the spaces flow effortlessly together making everything on the vast property easy to navigate. From the giant sand pit in the lobby to fire-dotted terraces, quirks personalise the resort’s décor.
There are 297 rooms and suites, small by Maui standards. As is the case in all hotels of size, the key to a good room is as much about its location as its space. At Andaz, you want to be on fifth floor or above. Otherwise, ask for a room near the adult pool for extra solitude.
The rooms are generous with small balconies and a considered lay-out. As in the resort, everything has a purpose and flows. Particularly in the bathrooms, which are fitted with rain showers, deep stand-alone tubs, (not all rooms have baths, so make sure you ask if it’s a deal breaker) walk in closets and separate toilets.
All the important things are there: cloud-soft beds, high-thread count cotton sheets, cold, quiet air-conditioning, coffee and tea making facilities and a full service entertainment system. If the outdoor spaces weren’t so incredible, you wouldn’t leave your room.
But incredible they are and go outside you must.
Andaz offers six (yes, that’s right) swimming pools. Three cascading infinity pools anchor the resort to the ocean and offer deep swimming until 10pm each day. The centre pool, which also has a huge spa, is open 24 hours and the hot tub, after an early morning ocean swim, is a lovely way to watch the sun rise.
At the base of the property is a huge wade-in lagoon pool ringed with luxe cabanas, Bumbye Beach Bar and Morimoto restaurant. At the other side of the resort – below the gym and spa – there’s an adults-only pool and a small moat, which laps several of the ground floor suites.
Despite all the amazing splash space, one of the great things about this resort is the ocean. The beach is beautiful and very swimmable so you can choose a chaise on the sand if saltwater is more your speed.
The Andaz boasts a sun chaise for every guest. This means no getting up at 8am to stake out chairs. Instead, a staff member will appear like a genie, hand you fresh towels and position your chair wherever you’d like to lie. The luxe cabanas can be hired for $US200 a day. We did this on our first day and it was a great way to recover from the flight ¬– particularly if you have kids that need to be out of the sun. We turned it into our home, putting in a good six-hour session hopping between the pools, the ocean and eating up a storm. Enjoying world class Ahi Poke – sashimi grade tuna on rice and seaweed – in my swimsuit, in the comfort of an elephant grey cabana was an absolute holiday highlight.
The food at the Andaz was a complete surprise. I had not anticipated such innovative cuisine. We planned to try restaurants outside the hotel but didn’t leave once. Yes, it is that good. The hotel’s primary restaurant, the Ka’ana Kitchen, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Styled around an open kitchen, the chef has designed a menu with no appetisers or entrees (unheard of in America), instead favouring a seasonal share vibe that allows guests to graze or eat as much as they want.
At $US45pp, the breakfast buffet isn’t cheap but it’s the best buffet I’ve experienced. Anywhere in the world. It runs to 11am daily and has everything you’ve ever wanted for breakfast and a whole host of things that you never knew you wanted and now can’t stop dreaming about, including freshly baked sugar coated Malasadas (Hawaiian Donuts).
The Andaz is also home to its own Morimoto, a mecca for lovers of Japanese food. One of an elite group of restaurants from world famous chef Masaharu Morimoto, the kitchen’s developed, elegant dishes utilise spanking fresh fish and local ingredients.
The resort also offers a 24-hour market stocked with everything from California Pinot to Advill. It’s got a small eat-in and take-out menu and is a handy place to grab a light lunch or dinner.
Andaz definitely encourages guests to set their own pace – there is no agenda pushing – and offers a host of activities and water sports. You can paddle board straight off the beach, train in the brand new gym or hike the island (which I highly recommend) but inevitably you’ll find yourself wanting to do not much of anything.
Andaz Maui is a destination resort on a destination island and you’ll find it as delightful as their coconut cream pie.
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