Wailea is on the sunny side of Maui, protected from rain by the dormant volcano Haleakala. For this reason, it attracts the larger hotels which can promise more days of sunshine as well as large intricate pools and beaches.
For us, this portion of the trip was a time to relax and enjoy the water after biking the volcano and the Road to Hana so we chose the Grand Wailea. Next door is the beautiful Four Seasons, but the Grand Wailea specializes in activities for kids including a massive multi-level pool connected by water slides, tubing, a grotto for adults to have drinks and watch sports and the world’s only water elevator. The water elevator allows kids to continue around the lazy river and down the water slides to the bottom where they can then enter the elevator which will slowly fill with water a few feet high. It then raises back up to the top and releases the riders and water back into the lazy river.
This hotel has the feel of a mega-hotel during check in and when you are trying to find seating by the pool, but also provides a lot of services for kids including snorkeling, scuba lessons, rope swings, long water slides and on the day we visited an endless water slide – which was an inflatable ball filled with water which would spin for several minutes. Of course, all of the extras do come at a charge. But if you want everything in one place, Wailea is a good choice.
One suggestion is to stop just before Wailea in Kihei at the Safeway and stock up on water, breakfast snacks, lunches (for us bologna sandwiches with cheese, mayo, mustard and crushed Doritos chips – you should try it), beer and wine. It is not uncommon to see guests carrying several grocery bags into the hotel to take up to the rooms to save some money on hotel charges.
If you are looking for an offsite option for dining the 808 Bistro ten minutes away in Kihei is rated highly for breakfast and Monkeypond Kitchen is supposed to be owned by the same group as Merriman’s in Kapalua Bay for dinner (see our post there for more details).
There is also shopping right next door at the Shops of Wailea which include local stores and high-end shopping outlets. But for us, this was two days and a chance to relax. We did have lunch at Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (named after the state fish of Hawaii and something you will find yourself mastering how to say after just a few days) and then dinner by the pool from the Volcano Grill which we actually thought was a bit better.
If you do want to explore, Makena beach is nearby and is a favorite with locals and very pretty. There is also a beach walk in front of the hotels heading west or an interesting hike on the Hoapili Trail by La Perouse Bay nearby. However, if you visited Hana or west Maui you may want to spend a few days relaxing.
Upon departing, we were heading west along the coast to Kapalua Bay for the next few days, Along the way is the Maui Ocean Center which is a popular stop if you have some time to spend before heading home or checking into another hotel.