Situated on a rock between two beaches, the 22-acre, 546-room Wailea Marriott has panoramic ocean views and a serene vibe missing from some of the more crowded, neighboring resorts. Renovated in 2008, the Marriott's spiffy rooms, gorgeous adult-only infinity pool, reputable spa, and a popular restaurant make it the best midrange option in ritzy Wailea.
After a 2008 renovation, this 546-room Marriott has become one of the best values in expensive Wailea -- beautiful grounds, modern rooms, and a spectacular adult-only infinity pool.
Built in 1967, the massive, 22-acre Wailea Beach Marriott Resort, or the Wailea Marriott as most people call it, is the oldest resort on Maui's south side. After a major, $60-million overhaul in 2008, all 546 of its guest rooms were redesigned, the lobby was renovated -- becoming an impressive, open-air terrace with an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean -- and the Mandara Spa was added to the long list of amenities. But the adult-only infinity pool is no doubt the best addition. It boasts floating cabanas, piped-in chill-out music and best of all, a watery edge that blends seamlessly with the ocean. The hotel also has the luxury of space -- its eight towers are spread out, allowing for wide, manicured lawns and plenty of open-air public terraces. By contrast, most of its more expensive neighboring resorts tend to feel dense and compact.
While the Marriott is known to be a midrange chain, this resort definitely raises the bar for the brand. It has to, when its neighbors are the Four Seasons and the even more opulent Grand Wailea. The Marriott was built on a rock flanking two beaches, before area developers ruled that succeeding resorts had to be built farther away from the water. There might not be a beach directly in front of it, but the craggy rockface makes for a much more dramatic view. And in either direction, it's just a pleasant five-minute stroll to adjacent Wailea and Ulua Beaches.
Overall, it's a great value for low-key families, couples, and travelers who want to experience upscale Wailea without breaking the bank. The big-name hotels a few doors down -- like the Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons definitely have more frills but these resorts can also cost upwards of twice as much.
All the essentials: concierge, room service, bellmen, as well as full business services
Service is comparable to other midrange hotels in the area like the Maui Prince and the Hotel Wailea. At the Marriott, staff members are friendly and efficient, but it sometimes takes a while to get their attention.
Poolside drink service is limited to the tables on the deck of Kumu Bar & Grill and Wailele Snack Bar.
Room service available, but not 24 hours
Turndown service (by request)
Business center attendants to help with photocopying, faxing, and shipping (during regular business hours)
In resort-rich Wailea -- great golf, gorgeous beaches, luxury shopping, and near-perfect weather
Wailea is a manicured, planned resort development that lines two spectacular beach-dotted miles of Maui's southwestern shore. Besides the beaches and the almost perfect weather -- rain rarely falls in this arid microclimate, and the temperature hovers around 85 degrees year round -- golf and shopping are the area's big draws.
Across from the Shops at Wailea, an open-air mall with high-end shopping and dining options, as well as grocery stores.
Four highly regarded golf courses nearby.
A long beachfront jogging or walking path spans several of the resorts.
Four-lane Wailea Alanui Drive is frequently crowded with slow-moving traffic.
The Marriott's rocky oceanfront straddles two small, but lovely, beaches: Ulua Beach to the north, and Wailea Beach to the south. Getting to either beach involves a scenic, five-minute stroll along an oceanfront boardwalk. The Marriott doesn't have beach chairs or drinks service at either beach.
Ulua Beach has soft, brown sand and calm surf. During high tide, the shoreline becomes very narrow and leaves little space for sunbathers (the better option is to stay on the lawns above the Marriott's rocky shoreline).
On the far north side of Ulua Beach, there's a rocky outcropping that extends into a vibrant coral reef. On a good day, you can spot stingrays and turtles around this popular snorkel spot. It's also great for shore dives.
Wailea Beach is twice as wide as Ulua, but it's also twice as crowded.
The sand on Wailea Beach is just as soft and brown as Ulua's, but the wide shoreline is more suitable for a range of activities, including skimboarding, bodysurfing, paddleboarding, and Hobie Cat sailing. The southern edge of the bay is good for snorkeling.
Spacious, spiffy, and simply designed with plush beds, roomy marble bathrooms, and balconies that can host tea for two
It's easy to go overboard with tropical accoutrements, but the Wailea Marriott succeeds in keeping the rooms classy, but still giving them just a hint of Hawaiian flavor. After its 2008 renovation, the hotel used pastel colors to accent its clean, bright white design; not a dominating theme.
Starting at 437 square feet (an average size for Maui, but big by most hotel standards) there's lots of space to walk around the standard room.
Marriott's signature "Revive" beds: 300-thread-count sheets; a down comforter; six fluffly pillows; a pastel-striped accent pillow; pillow-top mattress. It's very, very comfortable -- enough to rival the much-touted "Heavenly bed" over at the Westin Maui.
27-inch flat-screenTV (with 44 channels, including HBO plus movies-on-demand)
Hard-wired Internet charged daily (no Wi-Fi)
Immaculate bathroom -- no mold in the grout between the marble tiles and stainless steel fixtures
The good thing about being located on a rock instead of a beach is that all of the hotel's pools have amazing views of the ocean. The children's pool can't compete with the nearby Grand Wailea's complex pool system and myriad water features, but the Marriott's adult-only infinity pool is one of the best pools in Maui.
The two main pools are large enough for short laps, and are located on two tiered levels about 100 feet away from the ocean. Activity here is subdued, so kids and adults mingle without a problem.
The gorgeous adult-only infinity pool (for guests over 18) includes floating cabanas and chill-out music to keep the vibe laid-back (cabanas and casabella daybeds available for rent).
The kids' pool is actually composed of two small, shallow pools on the south side of the property. The upper-level pool has a fun tube slide, while the lower-level pool has a sandy edge and a playground set in ankle-deep water.
Like many other facets of this resort, it's got quality features unexpected of a midprice chain.
Mandara Spa, from the Balinese spa chain, includes a eucalyptus steam room, relaxation lounge, and Vichy showers -- all free for guests to use (rare among Maui's best spas). Treatments range from salon services to the Hawaiian lomi lomi massage ($145 for 50 minutes) or a Balinese massage.
24-hour fitness center (free to access) with a good mix of cardio machines and weight-training equipment; though, because the cardio machines don't have private TV monitors, gym users will have to share the two flat-screen TVs.
24-hour business center, staffed by an attendant during regular business hours, includes four computers, five photocopier/printers, a work desk, cell phone rentals, and shipping supplies; fees apply.
Wi-Fi is available in the lobby for a daily fee (rooms have wired Internet for the same price).
34 meeting rooms that cover 45,000 square feet and three ballrooms
For outdoor activities, check with the Island Activities desk in the lobby. The concierge can arrange island tours, luau reservations, and tee times at the nearby golf courses.
In addition, the hotel has its own gift shop and convenience shop as well as Grande Gems, which sells fashionable pearl necklaces.
An extensive, $60 million renovation in 2008 brought not only clean, modern interiors, but also perfectly landscaped lawns and gardens. Bathrooms are well-kept, and the marble tiles and stainless steel fixtures are impeccable.
Three good but pricey restaurants and two bars onsite, plus local restaurants at nearby Shops at Wailea
Food is expensive anywhere in Wailea, and the Marriott's restaurants are no exception. On-site dining is limited to three restaurants, with only one of them open for every meal time. Luckily, the hotel is directly in front of the Shops at Wailea, where food isn't much cheaper but at least there are a few more options, including Tommy Bahama's, which serves delicious local food.
Mala is the only breakfast and dinner option onsite. It's a celebrity-owned, popular-with-the-locals restaurant featuring good Pacific Rim cuisine. Dinner entrees are expensive, as is the breakfast buffet which includes a spread of fresh fruit, made-to-order omelets, and American breakfast staples like cereal and bacon. Click here for Mala's full menu.
For lunch, there are two poolside restaurants, Kumu and Wailele Snack Bar, where you can get a decent mahi-mahi sandwich for about as good a price as you'd find anywhere in Wailea.
Room service is available throughout the day and the menu includes entrees culled from Mala and Kumu, plus a special spa-inspired breakfast menu. Take note that there is a delivery fee and 20 percent service charge -- meaning that a room service order of huli-huli chicken and a soda can cost a lot more than expected.
Gourmet picnic baskets are available for guests planning an excursion around the island. Options range from a "Survival Kit" for hiking to Six Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with a bottle of Dom Perignon.
The Honua'ula luau, held on the Marriott's oceanfront lawn is the best in Wailea. This three-hour extravaganza has all the essential luau elements, including traditional food like poi and kalua pork, and some Cirque-du-Soleil-style spectacles including Spanish web acrobatics and a riveting performance by the three-time fire-dancing world champion.
Luau held every Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
Standard seating can be booked through the hotel
Be sure to book tickets as far in advance as possible
Four world-class golf courses just a short drive away
Wailea is home to some of Hawaii's best golf. Wailea Golf Club has three 18-hole courses -- named among the top 15 golf courses in Hawaii for 2007-2008 by Golf Digest and the award-winning Makena Golf Course is less than five minutes drive south of Wailea, offering another high-level, ocean-view course.
Three ocean-view courses at the Wailea Golf Club, including the par 72, 7,000-yard Gold Course designed by Robert Trent Jones II
Makena Golf Course, also designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., is set between the mountains and the ocean
Golf carts at the Wailea Golf Club are equipped with GPS as well as course tips and information
No open bars or weddings directly on the beach, but this is one of the most affordable options in rain-free Wailea
Wedding Size: Up to 200
Extra Fees: The site fees for the reception can spike once you add on a tent, chairs, and other basic decorations.
Wedding Packages: Dream Wedding: Maui Style, an independent company, organizes all of the events at the Wailea Beach Marriott. The Plumeria Package, the most basic wedding package includes a minister and all of the license arrangements, a ceremony on the grounds, and two flower leis -- that's it. Alternative packages range in price, and include extras such as a photographer, a videographer, and a musician for the ceremony.
Ceremony Locations: The lily pond and Lanai Point are small spaces, best suited to groups fewer than 10 people. Larger weddings take place at Kaho'olawe Point, which by itself accommodates 10 to 30 people, but upwards of 200 if you book it along with the Kaho'olawe Lawn and the Molokini Lawn.
Reception Locations: In addition to the outdoor ceremony locations listed above (where you can also host a reception), you can reserve one of several indoor spaces, including three different ballrooms large enough to host a 900-person banquet.
Photographers and Videographers: Photo and video packages available.
Music: Various soloists and Hawaiian performers available.
Food: Three-course plated dinners (minimum of 20 guests) available, though the surf and turf costs more and various "enhancements" such as tuna ceviche or a jumbo shrimp cocktail can up the price per person. Likewise, while a buffet starts low, various carving and "action" stations will add up.
Drinks: If you opt for a cash bar, prices fall considerably (the Marriott doesn't offer an open bar). Also, note that there's another bartender fee per bar (as well as another cashier fee per bar if you opt for a cash bar).
Cocktail Hour: Hors d'oeuvres (pupus) come in groups of 12 items; fruit, veggie, and cheese platters and shusi also available.
Cakes: Prepared by an in-house pastry chef, not included in the price.
Flowers and Decorations: Bridal bouquets and leis available.
Spa Treatments: The on-site spa offers a full menu of massages and facials, but for hair and makeup you'll have to head to a neaby salon.
Extra: Dove release or butterfly release both available.
Airport Transportation: The Marriott does not provide an airport shuttle service; a taxi to Kahului Airport takes about 35 minutes.
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