Hotel Review of the Grand Wailea in Maui, Hawaii
We thought that it was about time that we did a review for our favourite hotel – the Grand Wailea in Maui, Hawaii, USA as it is by far the best family hotel we have ever stayed in. We came here in September 2013 to celebrate a very special milestone and it was such a fantastic experience that we will never forget. This 40 acre beachfront resort in the south of Maui is true luxury on a grand scale and is also a water park paradise for kids.
The Grand Wailea definitely has the wow factor when you walk into the open lobby, with a beautiful grand entrance and surrounding water features. We received a Lei greeting on arrival, and check in was nice and easy. As we were Hilton Honors Gold members back then, we received an upgrade from a garden view to an ocean view room on the top (ninth) floor. Being Gold members we also received a $40 food voucher and a voucher for 2 free drinks. We were there to celebrate a 40th birthday and for this we also received a voucher for a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate along with a box of Big Island Candies (delivered to the room).
The rooms at the Grand Wailea are large and spacious, but were starting to show age (renovations are currently underway however updating the guest rooms due to be finished mid 2015). Bathroom was a good size and loved the Spa Grande Honey Mango amenities. Would highly recommend getting an ocean view room as we loved just sitting out on the balcony/lanai with a few drinks and nibbles and just relaxing and enjoying the view. The house keeping staff were fantastic, rooms were serviced twice a day and we loved the little quote cards left on the bed each night.
Pools & Water Activities
It’s hard to know just where to start with this water oasis. The main highlights are:
Hibiscus Pool is reserved strictly for those aged 18 and over so if it is peace and quiet you prefer this is your pool of choice. It features two jacuzzis and is surrounded by a mix of lounge chairs, cabanas and casabellas.
Wailea Canyon Activity Pool is a truly awesome pool area for kids. This 25,700 total square foot area consists of nine pools on six different levels. It is all connected by a river that carries swimmers through a series of four jungle pools, four intertwining slides, a whitewater rapids slide, a Tarzan pool with rope swing, a sand beach, six waterfalls, caves, three jacuzzis, an infant pool, the lava slide, the Anu Puka slide and the worlds first water elevator which takes you from the bottom up to the top level. Definitely worth buying an inflatable ring from the pool shop and just float around the pools to take it all in.
Grotto Pool Bar is nestled away in part of the Canyon area but is one of the best swim up bars we have ever encountered. Recommend getting the souvenir Pineapple or Tiki Cups as the refills work out to be much better value and they can also be used as money boxes for the kids when you get home. Open for cocktails and lunch daily from 12.00pm to 5.00pm
Fishpipe is the world’s first rotating barrel ride and is available at an extra cost. It is a unique type of water ride, 90 seconds of the Fishpipe is like going down a mile long rotating water slide and our boys loved it!! Suitable for ages 4+ and open daily from 10.00am – 4.00pm
Scuba Diving training pool which offers complimentary lessons to first time divers.
Wailea Beach is simply beautiful and if you are not into pools that much, this is the place for you. The hotel has a beach club where you have access to stand up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkel gear and boogie boards for a one time rate (four and seven day rates available). Complimentary beach umbrellas are available upon request.
The pool areas are open from 7.00am – 10.00pm. Slides are open daily from 10.00am – 5.00pm. Water elevator is open from 11.00am – 4.00pm Guests must meet minimum height requirements to ride the Lava and Ana Puka slides. The pool cabanas and lawn casabellas are available by reservation (at a premium price) and can be reserved up to a year in advance.
The hotel uses a wristband system for the pool area where you get a different coloured wristband each day. This stops non guests taking advantage of all the facilities. We had read many negative reviews about the pool area and how people have to be up at 7.00am to get lounges around the pool but we stayed in the off-peak season and didn’t get down to the pool until about 8.30-9.00am and were able to easily get lounges in the shaded areas.
The Spa Grande here is also not to be missed. It is the largest day spa in all of Hawaii (40 treatment rooms) and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a treatment or two.
Would advise to arrive an hour before an appointment to take full advantage of the Terme Hydrotherapy Baths. These baths have a spa bath, cold baths, different Hawaiian salted spas, a Japanese Spa and steam rooms to relax in for an hour before your treatment. Thoroughly enjoyed using these baths as it was something we had not experienced anywhere else and they were wonderful. The treatments there were fantastic (also pricey!) but as a once off indulgence for a special occasion, it was definitely worth it.
You can access the full spa menu here
Other facilities available are:
Grand Salon where you can get waxing, make-up, nail treatments and hair care services.
Fitness Center which is open 24 hours and has weight training and cardiovascular rooms, fitness classes and a challenge court (half court for racquetball, squash, basketball or handball).
Wailea Tennis Club is less than a mile away and features 11 courts for hire and has instructors available for clinics and lessons.
Golf Courses are only minutes away from the resort and by all reports are world-class.
The Grand Wailea caters very well for kids of all ages. If you have teenagers there is a teen lounge called The Spot aimed at guests aged 13 – 17 years. It includes a snack bar, pool table, ping pong table, air hockey, foosball table as well as a game room with Kinnect, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and Wii U. Open daily from 9.00am – 10.00pm.
There is also the Ohana Hale which is a family friendly lounge (under 13’s must be accompanied by an adult) which features Xbox 360 with Kinect, Nintendo Wii, Wii U and Playstation 3. It also caters for the younger kids with Lego, soft toys, doll houses and play houses.
Then there is the kids club called Camp Grande which has three sessions and is not cheap, especially when you have more than one child. Morning session is from 9.00am – 12.30pm with activities and lunch. (cost $75). The afternoon session is from 12.30pm – 4.00pm includes activities and snack (cost $65). Night camp is from 5.00pm-10.00pm and includes activities and dinner and a snack (cost $95.00). You can also put the kids in for a full day session which is from 9.00am-4.00pm and includes activities, lunch and snack (cost $125). We only put the boys into Camp Grande one night (due to the cost!) so we could head out and at least have one romantic dinner together and they had good time there and the staff were lovely.
The Grand Wailea also runs daily workshops by the pool which the kids enjoyed, such as shell necklace making, Lei making, wood creations and t-shirt tye dye.
There are a few different eating options available on site if you are like us and didn’t have a car to get around the Island.
We tried Humuhumunukunukupua’a one night when the kids were in the kids club and it was amazing. This place has a wonderful ambience along with a nice romantic atmosphere and if you like fine dining you must come and try. We tried the Poke and the Scallops for Pupus – delicious! For mains it was the Filet Mignon with garlic mashed potato and it was excellent. Then it was time for dessert, a must try is the Huma Hula Pie, cant rave about it enough. Also tried the cheesecake (deconstructed) and both were was amazing. Definitely a restaurant for a nice romantic dinner rather than a family venue. Can’t complain about anything, the service was great, the food was great. We also took advantage of cheaper prices by arriving there before 5.30pm which is actually good because you get to watch the sunset while finishing off a fantastic dinner.
Alang Wong’s Amasia
We didn’t get to eat at Amasia, but have heard it is very good. Alan Wong is one of Hawaii’s most renowned chef so we will definitely try this Asian inspired restaurant on our next visit.
This is where you can sit back and enjoy the panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean while enjoying a buffet breakfast. We tried it one morning and it was quite nice with a good selection of foods. On Sundays they have a special Sunday Champagne Brunch with live Hawaiian music.
Bistro Molokini was undergoing renovations while we were there so didn’t try it out but it is more of a casual dining restaurant near the pool.
For those looking for an intimidate dining option under the starts, this is definitely for you. If you are on a honeymoon, this is a unique and once in a lifetime dinner experience to do.
This was our choice to grab lights snacks for breakfast or to take back and have in the room. It is open from 6.00am – 8.00pm and you can get light breakfast selections such as pastries, cereals, pancakes, smoothies, as well as cooked eggs selections. For lunch and dinner options there are salads, sandwiches, paninis, pizzas and various dessert options. This was a good way for us to cut costs on this trip.
As well as these eating options there is the usual in-room dining facilities as well as the different bar choices – the Grotto swim-up bar, the lobby Botero bar and the Volcano bar by the pool. If you plan to hire a car there are also plenty of nearby off site choices available to choose from in Wailea as well – definitely no shortage of food options.
While we were at the Grand Wailea we decided to try the Grand Luau at Honua’ula which is on the Grand Wailea grounds (it is not part of the Grand Wailea though). This was our first and only Luau so I can’t compare to any others but we thoroughly enjoyed it.
The price of the ticket included dinner, dessert, soft drinks, beer, wine, mai tais, pina coladas, coffee and tea. You can buy VIP tickets to get better seating, but we did not bother and could still see the stage fine (although it was not fully booked when we went and had empty tables in the back row). They recommend to go over and check in at 4.00pm for better seating, which we did. You then head back over at 5.00 start your Luau experience. This time you are greeted by a couple of the dancers and get your photo taken (not obliged to buy, it was around $20 if you did want it). You then head to your table (10 per table) and you are free to go and get drinks or you can go have a look at a few stalls that are selling souvenirs and gifts. They also did some Hawaiian lawn games which our boys aged 6 + 8 loved. You also get to witness the raising of the pig, which the kids were fascinated by.
They start the buffet by tables and the VIP ticketed tables go first. It is all done in an orderly manner and they just call up a table at a time so no real queues when getting the food. We loved the food, it was great quality for a buffet and a there was a good selection. It’s in a great location and you get a spectacular beach sunset over dinner. They start the show by getting people who want to go up on stage and do some Hula Dancing. All the kids on our table got up on the stage and had a ball. Then the dancers begin the show which was great and the storyline was easy enough for the kids to follow. They especially loved the fire dancer at the end. There are photo opportunities with the dancers after the show. Would definitely recommend anyone staying at the Grand Wailea to go and experience the Luau. You can check out the website for the Grand Luau at Honua’ula here
The last feature of the Grand Wailea that we want to mention is the beautiful Wedding Chapel that they have so be sure to go and have a look, it is simply stunning. This truly is an ultimate luxury Maui resort that is perfect for families.
The only thing we didn’t really like at the Grand Wailea is the daily resort fee ($30 per day) but it applies to most resorts in the United States (be aware that this will be applied on top of your room rate). We don’t really see the point of it when you are already paying pretty high room rates.
Before we stayed here at the Grand Wailea we had all intentions of getting out and exploring the beautiful island of Maui but to be honest we didn’t end up leaving this resort! It just has everything you need and we would happily stay here again. Our big tip would definitely be to try to go during off-peak season as the prices are much more reasonable. They can get quite pricey during the busy peak season.
For more information go to www.grandwailea.com