After taking a very quick flight from Kauai, we landed at the Kahalui airport around 2pm in the afternoon. Per our usual routine, Jim ran to get the rental car while I stayed at baggage claim to get our bags. And they actually came out quickly -- wonders never cease!
Usually when we vacation on Maui, we stay in Ka'anapali, but to shake things up a bit, we decided to stay for 3 nights in Wailea. Then we would spend the last 5 nights of our trip in Ka'anapali. Jim and I had attended a friend's wedding last year at the Grand Wailea and Jim was dying to go back and actually stay at the hotel for a few days. So, thanks to the help of our american express travel points, we booked a 3 night stay there --- without having to auction off a kidney ;)
The Grand Wailea is a huge resort and spa that sits on Wailea Beach in the southern part of Maui. "Over-the-top" is a perfect description for this resort. The entrance is jaw-droppingly beautiful and the common areas are over-run with lush landscaping and water features. You really can feel the stress just melting away when you walk in.
The next morning we woke up early, grabbed a quick bite at a cafeteria style cafe in the hotel and then headed down to Makena Beach (aka Big Beach) for the morning. Makena is really popular with boogie boarders and sand surfers and it never fails so see a bunch of local kids there showing off their crazy skills. This time we even saw an amateur photographer there taking pictures of the kids and then offering to send them the jpegs once he got back to the mainland. It was really cool to see these young kids all excited about the prospect of having professional-style pictures of themselves doing flips and tricks on the water.
For dinner, we had made reservations for Nick's Fish Market, about which we had heard fantastic things. The service was out of control good; Jim ordered a mai tai and I kid you not it was one the table 2 minutes later, perfectly concocted. The food, however, was just okay. Considering this was a pretty expensive place, we were expecting a lot more. The salad we had as an appetizer was the best part of our meal, but my lobster tail and Jim's fish was nothing special. The strawberries flambe for dessert was impressive in looks, but was under-whelming in taste.
Our last full day in Wailea was centered around relaxation, pure and simple. After a small breakfast at an outdoor cafe, we made our way to Spa Grande for massages. Jim had had a massage there last year as part of the pre-wedding activities for the groomsmen and after seeing how amazing it was, made sure we scheduled a trip there for our vacation. The best part of Spa Grande -- the 1-hour hydrotherapy that comes standard with any spa treatment. Spa patrons are granted 1 hour of access to the 3 hydrotherapy rooms that contain: a roman jacuzzi tub, cold plunge pool, 3 waterfall massage tubs, series of 5 aromatic baths, japanese furo bath, swiss jet shower, redwood sauna and eucalyptus steam room. In addition, each person is treated to a complimentary honey mango exfoliation scrub.
In the afternoon, we went back to the pool area to lounge around, read and take advantage of the waterpark-like pools and waterslides. Rough, I know. ;) For dinner, we ate at a bistro on the hotel property which was pretty good. Afterwards, we changed back into our suits and took an evening dip in the adults-only hibiscus pool. Aside from a teen-aged boy (why he was there, I'm not really sure), we had the pool to ourselves. A perfect end to a great stay at the Grand Wailea.
- Our room at the hotel was very nice and clean, however, we realized after the first night that the room was quite damp and it never really dried out. On top of that we found several mosquitos hanging out in our room and we did get a few extra bites from them. Looking back, we should have complained to the front desk and have them move us, but I think we were so blissed out by that point that it never crossed our mind to say anything. We would to stay here again, but would ask for a room not on the ground floor and if there was a problem, we'd say something.
- I have heard that the pool area is quite obnoxious during the summer because it is just overrun with screaming children. This is the beauty of be able to vacation during the school-year -- no kids to deal with! I'm not sure we would have had as much fun if we had been there at the peak of summer.
- Like I mentioned earlier, Nick's Fish Market is great for service, but the food is just okay. I don't think we'd eat there again for a full meal, instead we'd try another one of the restaurants in the area.
- Overall, we really enjoyed staying in Wailea as it made visiting the beaches in southern Maui much easier for us.