We’d come to Humuhumunukunukuapua’a in 2012 and had a lovely time, so decided to come again in January 2013. Rather than phone in a reservation, we decided to drop in while we were doing a bumber around Wailea. And there were a few things that were a bit sour.
The Grand Wailea is so entirely over the top it’s positively silly. And enjoyable to wander around and giggle at. But we noticed that while the staff was friendly, smiling and greeting everyone, the guests avoided making eye contact, made no greeting to anyone and didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves very much. We were there perhaps 20 minutes and only one ‘guest’ responded to my ‘hi’. I’m guessing he was also ‘visiting’ and wasn’t staying at the Resort.
We approached a Concierge to book our reservation and when she realized we weren’t staying at the Resort, she became coldly efficient, took our booking and refused to validate our parking ticket (valet parking only at the Grand Wailea, with a minimum $10 charge...goes up over time), saying she didn’t have a stamp. Neither would the staff at the front desk, suggesting we go buy something in the shops and it would be validated there. I suppose they get a lot of vagabonds like us sneaking in to take a look at the place and have to take steps to keep the riff raff out.
We arrived early for our 6:30 reservation, planning to sit at the bar and enjoy the sunset. The bar was already full and those already there weren’t exactly accommodating to newcomers (we grabbed one stool and I planned to stand behind my partner) but we went to a table, instead. My partner is very good at getting the table she wants and she had little trouble convincing the hostess to seat us at a prime, corner table at the south-west edge of the lagoon – best sunset perch in the restaurant - instead of the middle-of-nowhere table we were first led to.
Our server soon arrived (I don’t like being called ‘dear’ or ‘honey’ but realize that some folks are just built that way – and our server certainly was) and encouraged us to order. We did but suggested that we wanted to wait twenty minutes or so before being served, as it was still quite early. The appetizers arrived soon thereafter and her response to ‘we aren’t ready to eat, yet’ was ‘well, the appetizers come out pretty quick once the order is in’. She took them back and the same plate returned to us fifteen minutes later, having clearly sat under the heat lamps for that time. We had asked for a modification to the appetizer platter to accommodate a food restriction and the kitchen handled that well.
Not once, or twice but three times over the course of our dinner, runners came by our table with food ordered by diners at other, nearby tables. One of our dishes was offered to another table before it came to us as well. This restaurant presents itself as a high-end and expensive establishment and the surroundings, if as over-the-top as the rest of the Grand Wailea, supports that presentation. The service was just not up to the standard one would expect from a restaurant at this level.
The food was generally good and the scallops were excellent. The bill was less than expected – a nice surprise. But we won’t be returning to Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Even if it is fun to look around and more fun to try and say the name.
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