The Fairmont Kea Lani is Hawaii’s only all suite and villa oceanfront luxury resort, situated on 22 acres of tropical landscape in Wailea, Maui. I often go to smaller properties because I feel a little lost in a larger resort and have this pre-conceived notion that the swimming pool will be full of kids.
Actually the nice thing about larger properties if they understand the “remote wanting to get away” aspect of travel, is that they have an adults-only pool or something many resorts will refer to as a “quiet pool.” This also means no cell phones too which makes me laugh.
The other thing that a larger resort can give you that a smaller property can’t, is the ability to cater to more details, largely because they have a larger staff. And, the Fairmont in Kea Lani is no exception; their service was outstanding, from the bellman & concierge to the front desk, marketing manager and restaurant staff.
Their four restaurants pride themselves in fresh organic ingredients and if you do have kids, they have a very cool keiki (kids) dining program. Top that with a full-service spa, three swimming pools, two activity pools connected by a 140-foot waterslide, and a couple of hot tubs. And if you are a serious foodie, they have a gourmet bakery and deli on-site as well as a new restaurant Kō, which I wrote about here.
The nice thing about the property is that because each room is a suite, there’s plenty of room to spread your things out, which is what you want to do when you’re on vacation. I also loved some of the finer touches, particularly in the bathrooms.
They nailed all my pet peeves: How many times have you had to have the fan running in a bathroom if you want the light on? How many times are you looking for a towel holder in a place that makes logical sense and its in the opposite direction? How many times do you find that the shower mat is so small that you end up with puddles of water on the floor because its not big enough to absorb the water aftermath? And this is my favorite: how many times is the area to hold your shampoo & other amenities in the shower itself so small that you end up with everything on the floor OR the bottles fall on the floor? Or no light in the closet so you can’t see what you want to wear?
These are simple things but most hotel developers seem to forget what a real person might want when they’re getting ready? Oh yeah, and they left me with a tin of macadamian nuts which I devoured on my first night. (isn’t it always the simple touches that you remember most, as I point out in my review of Lumeria?)
The grounds itself is expansive and sits right on top of the beach. Lit torches line the pathways at night so you can take a walk down to the beach or stop along the way and hang out in one of the hammocks. And of course, there are many pools to choose from and they’re all stunning.
The breakfasts are fabulous, probably the best I experienced on my trip. They have a lot of diverse options, so you can just opt for fruit one morning, sausage and eggs the next, a Japanese breakfast with miso soup and seaweed the next, waffles or a cobbler the next, or a freshly made omelet by one of their chefs.
Another nice touch is a complimentary experience they offer all guests: The Hawaiian Canoe Experience. You can sign up with the front desk for a few different time slots in the morning and they’ll take you out on a canoe run. Participants learn the basics of paddling, the history of the canoe and its importance to Hawaiian heritage, and examples of native chants used when navigating the ocean. The Fairmont has someone responsible for ‘culture’ which is who leads the trip. A cultural leader on Maui, Kapahulehua has inspired others by his passion for canoe culture and dedication to preserving Hawaii’s history.
Canoeing is a favorite of mine having spent so much time in them as a child and teaching it at a summer camp as a teenager. It’s an important part of Hawaiian history and culture as well. Not only an instrument offishing and sustenance gathering, the outrigger became the longdistance means by which Hawaiians and the greater Polynesiansociety projected both settlements and conquests.
Note: The Fairmont hosted my stay however everything expressed here is my personal opinion based on my experience at the resort.
For more posts on Hawaii, check out this section. To experience nature, botanical gardens and rainforest by segway, check out this post. For more on Hawaii and food/wine only, go here. For Hawaii and lodging, here. For more on Hawaii and arts, go here.