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Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Ranked #7 of 8 Hotels in Wailea
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Add this place to your bucket list.”
Reviewed May 9, 2009

For our last two visits to Hawaii we stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. My daughter and I really wanted to go back to that property. We are quite smitten with the HWV fantasy pools, boat ride to our room, dolphins, and Buddha Point. But, my wife insisted that we make it to Maui for this trip. The Maui Ritz in Kapalua had a great rate but we quickly soured on that idea after reading all the negative reviews. A couple of years ago I saw a great piece on the Travel Channel about the Grand Wailea, Oprah takes her staff there, and based on the abundance of positive reviews on Trip Advisor we decided to give this hotel a chance.

This vacation, far and away, was the best we have ever experienced.

The weather: We arrived after the spring break crush on April 22, 2009. One day ahead of plan because the weather forecast for our stay looked quite bleak and the 22nd was the only day not calling for rain (even though my wife assured me that Wailea had a freakish micro-micro climate with little or no clouds/rain.) Upon our descent into Maui, as I had feared, a huge low pressure system laid a thick layer of clouds over the islands. As we made our final approach from the south, a small break in the clouds allowed the sun to light up a few hotels on the southern shore of Maui. I couldn’t make out the GW, but, with its white wash exterior I could clearly see the Fairmont from the window of the plane. I knew the Fairmont was in the same neighborhood as the GW. So maybe we had a chance of avoiding the dreaded ‘rained out’ Hawaii vacation.

The hotel made arrangement for our transportation from the airport (taxi). As mentioned, we decided to come a day early and the concierge said they would change our pick up date. The change wasn’t made. No big deal, we grabbed a taxi (mini van) at the stand, and made our way to the resort. ($60 + tip). The cab driver was great and the ride was short (20-25 minutes). As we rolled into Wailea, the scenery turned noticeably up-scale.

Arrival and check-in were flawless. The lei greeting made it special. As reported by others, the bell desk is excellent, and really got the stay off to a good start as they escorted us up to our room in the Napua tower.

Although more expensive, the Napua tower was an excellent value (A few more sq ft., better lanai furniture, central location, morning continental breakfast, and evening hors d’oeuvres/cocktails, and personal concierge). I recommend a room facing west to catch the sunset (Or, get a Napua suite.)

As mentioned by others, the fantasy pools are great. They do a good job of separating the ‘big fun’ water park from the sublime adult pool.

As planned, we didn’t venture out of Wailea. We fell into a nice resort rhythm during our 6 day stay.
1.Breakfast at the Napua Club
2.Have the GW staff set up our beach umbrella and chairs.
3.Wander back and forth between the beach and pools.
4.Participate in one ‘loosely’ planned event for the day (spa, luau, snorkeling, scuba lessons)
5.Lunch at our beach camp. (My wife would venture to shopping center next door and grab us some deli sandwiches and snacks.)
6.Grab a cocktail in the Humu lounge for the torch lighting ceremony
7.Head up to the Napua Club for evening hors d’oeuvres and a few more cocktails.
8.Watch the sunset from the lanai.
9.Nightly stroll of torch lit property and beach.
10.End up back in the lobby bar for some live music and night cap (the bartender made the kids great smoothies)
11.Head back up to the room, watch the local Hawaii news and go to sleep.
(Return to step 1 and repeat for six days/five nights)

The kids will be older for our next visit to Hawaii, therefore will add a little more off site adventure, but, we all really enjoyed falling into this daily relaxed routine.

The few negative reviews I’ve read about this property are from folks who expect the staff to perform at a Four Season, Ritz, or Park Hyatt level. Many of the GW staff does perform at that level especially the bell desk, and the Napua Club bartenders/servers. I felt like the GW is reaching for the ‘flawless’ service standards you’d expect at a 5 star property, and they come oh, so very close. Only a couple slips. My wife asked the pool server for a cocktail while looking for a place to lounge and the server abruptly asked her to find her seat first (the server apologized). The young woman running the towel/wrist band desk in the morning could probably use some training at the Disney institute. One night housekeeping arrived to restock our ice bucket with a plastic laundry bag of ice.(handing me the bag). I mentioned this to the manager on duty and he said they would put a stop to this 'tacky' practice). As mentioned before, they fumbled our pick up at the airport (I can’t imagine the Four Seasons would have dropped that ball). I did visit our next door neighbors (Marriot and Four Seasons). The evening vibe at the Four Seasons is fantastic, but the facility is ho-hum compared to the Grand Wailea and the exterior of the Marriot is downright dowdy/low-rent in appearance (although in fairness, the new Marriot adult pools are sharp and, based on the pictures, the rooms look rather nice). At the end of the day the extraordinary facility and the ‘mostly perfect’ service, push the Grand Wailea to the top in my book. Even w/out the kids in tow we would be hard pressed to pick the Four Seasons over the GW (but, for sure, we will stop by for dinner at Spago).

p.s. Not one drop of rain fell in our little Wailea micro climate during the six day stay. Even though the road to Hana was closed (mud slides) and the leeward side of the island experience heavy rains and flash floods (not common for the leeward side).

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank pratt_and_the_lake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Seattle
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2009

First off, my wife and I like to travel and feel pampered and get what we payed for. The service at the grand was terrible (except for a few people). Valet was terrible, the people who worked at the spa seemed like we were disturbing them. Entrance was beautiful, some parts of the grounds were great but it was too spread out, unkept and generally dirty. Our "refinished" room had pretzels on the floor and walls were dirty. Felt like a big "pool park". No attention to detail and rediculous prices for everything. To rent a cover for the pool was $265 for the day! We walked over to the 4 seasons, ate there, used the spa and will definitely stay there next time. Different type of class there. Much better.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank docjt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vancouver
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 5, 2009

The greatest part about our trip and the hotel were the surprises, exploring, and just relaxing while still having fun!
I can tell you that the hotel is great for families who enjoy the water. The pools are fantastic and the beach out front is perfect!
On most days we would settle on the beach near the pool. When the waves were big enough to bodysurf we swam at the beach but for most of the day we found ourselves in an oasis of
slides and pools. I found myself giggling a number of times -even after my 40th time down the slides. Near the beach there is a hut where someone gives you towels and will bring lounge chairs and umbrellas to the beach and set you all up. No extra fee, but we tipped $5 to $10 ( four lounge chairs and 2 umbrellas). This way you can place your chairs and umbrellas in any direction you want vs. pool are set one way.
No, the food is not great and yes, it is expensive. ( I found food prices on Maui expensive overall - but the wine is cheaper)
I was impressed with the artwork and the gardens!!! Beautiful.
The room was large enough for our family of four and the large bathroom helped.
Overall the hotel was fantastic for our family!
After we stayed here 6 days we went to Ekahi Village which was also beautiful - it was nice to eat in for a change again.
My advice is if you are watching your pennies stay at the Wailea for a few days and enjoy all that the hotel has to offer then stay at a condo. If money is not a worry than this is your place if you and your family enjoy the water!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank girlguide61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arizona
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 1, 2009

My fiance and I stayed here for a week in October! It was perfect. The room was amazing (beach view) and the pool was so much fun!! It really wasn't too busy either and I had read that the pool gets crazy busy. We never had a problem finding a spot to sit. The water slide line was never long either. There were not a lot of kids which i had read too. I don't think I would enjoy staying here in the summer because of the kid population in the pool. The beach in front of the hotel is great and that is where I got engaged:) Very special place to me. We loved Paia(spelling) the fish market there is to die for. I would stay here again but maybe not in the summer if I was looking for a quiet spot. The Four Seasons next door looked great too.

  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank amlm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed May 1, 2009

We stayed at the Grand Wailea over Easter. We were on a 12 day trip on Maui but since we got an employee rate we decided to stay here for a couple days. Normally when I go to Maui, I love staying in a condo. More space and a kitchen is essential for long stay there with small kids IMO. We stayed in a lagoon room over looking the pool. It had a king bed and pull out couch.
--Towel game in full force. Pool areas feel really crowded.

Positives:
--The room itself was big, cleaned each day and had a gorgeous bathroom. The tub was separate from the shower and this was a huge plus.
--The resort itself is gorgeous and huge.
--The pool is heaven for kids and adults alike.
--The beach is great, calm, big, great walking paths
--Snorkeling at the beach was really great. Did not have to go far to see fish but there was a ton to see far out as well.
--Wailea is a beautiful place, the shops of Wailea are not far from the resort.

Cons
--You have to do a lot of research yourself. Because the resort is so big, you really had to search out information on what and where different kids activities can do. This is not a hand holding resort, you have to figure it out yourself. This isn't really a con but for those that like a cruise director, there isn't one here! I thought it would be nice to have list of activities and locations slipped under your door each night
--All the food at the resort is extremely expensive. I guess that's relative, if you have a ton of money, maybe a ten dollar peanut butter and jelly sandwich doesn't phase you. We went to Kihei cafe in the morning and brought back food.

All in all it was a fun place to stay for two nights. After that we returned to our condo and enjoyed the peace and quiet!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
2 Thank callehiedra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, WA
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2009

So, we stayed at the Grand Wailea a few years ago when it was badly in need of renovation and didn't enjoy our trip then. This time we added a couple of days to our trip at the last minute and decided to give it a try after hearing about the renovation.

First off the renovation is great. I would not have recognized the rooms from our previous stay. New carpet, furniture, a great comfortable bed, really nice. No more mold or mildew smell. The rooms are now right there in the 4 Star category. The service was also much better. We were upgraded to a ocean view deluxe room that did have a nice view of the property and ocean. They were at low occupancy so we had no issues with housekeeping or getting service by the pool or beach. The pools are great. We have 4 kids - 8,7,4,2 and there was a pool for each of them. The little ones love the small pools connected by small slides and then down to a nice flowing river. The older kids loved the large slides and rope swing park. The largest slide is really fun even for adults. The pool area was not crowded with minimal lines and we always were able to get good spots in the shade. The grounds of the hotel are huge with rivers, small lakes with fish, and bridges. Our kids really liked walking around the property. All of the above made this a great stay.

As other reviews have said be prepared to be nickel and dimmed here. I was expecting it but was surprised still. A cabana at the pool was $225 per day ($70 at nearby places), drinks in the $15 range, breakfast buffet for us was over $100 (Adequate but nothing special). In general for the rates they charge you would expect a higher quality of food and service. This didn't affect our trip but should be noted.

The biggest surprise came on our last night. We came back to our room to find a note under our door saying that all the upper pools, river, slides, etc. would be closed Tuesday to Friday. Not a word about this when we checked in or at any time during our stay until this note. We were checking out the next morning so it didn't affect us but it would have really messed up our trip if we would have been just arriving. I understand that these complicated systems need maintenance but no notice. I know the Hawaii hotels are hurting but is seems short sighted to not warn people checking in or making reservations about this. I would guess having 4 days of down revenue is better than losing customers.

Anyway, we had a great time at this resort as the pool closure didn't affect us and I would definitely come back but I would really ask to confirm the pool will be open when you are there.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mlakeguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scituate, MA
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed April 29, 2009

I am writing from the perspective of visiting the Grand Wailea with my wife and 2 children (ages 15 and 12) on April 21-24. The hotel is great - we all had something to do at all times of the day. Big pool, beach, and shopping (nearby) and other nice resorts to visit within walking distance.

The overall facilities: Really first class. Many open areas to sit, great views and nice beach and pools. In fact, there is a water park for the kids. Kept them busy all day. Also, I did not notice large crowds. There was always a place for the 4 of us to set-up camp by the pool or on the beach (at any time of the day). I saw they had an "adults only pool/area" and it looked empty most of the time.

The room: Since I am a Hilton frequent stayer, we were upgraded to an ocean front room. The room was large enough for an extra cot and the view was the best we ever experienced. The bath was also extra spacious and fit all of our stuff.

Food: This is the only area I felt was lacking. It cost ~$100 to have hamburgers and soda's at the pool (and they were marginal at that). In fact, all of the restuarants were very overpriced (about double what you would expect from a resort). We did have dinner at one of the other dining rooms and thought the same - ok food quality and very high prices. On the last day though we found the shops at Wailea (5 minute walk from the hotel). Several restuarant choices (and takeout) that was very good and about 1/2 price.

Service: Again great. Everyone was very attentive and always greeted you with a smile.

The bottom line: On our next trip back to Maui, I won't consider staying anywhere else. We tried the Hyatt for the first part of our trip and it was nice but nowhere near as good as the Grand Wailea.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank EworksMA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Property: Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Address: 3850 Wailea Alanui Dr, Wailea, Maui, HI 96753-8443
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Maui > Wailea
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Wailea
#4 Family Hotel in Wailea
#4 Romantic Hotel in Wailea
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Wailea
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Wailea
#5 Spa Hotel in Wailea
#6 Luxury Hotel in Wailea
#7 Green Hotel in Wailea
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 780
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is the ultimate destination for a fabulous Hawaii vacation, perfect for families, spa goers, honeymooners, golfers and active vacationers. Situated on 40 acres of lush, tropical Hawaiian gardens, Grand Wailea opens onto Maui's beautiful Wailea Beach, voted one of the best beaches in America, with elegant and newly-renovated accommodations, indulgent spa treatments, fine dining and thrilling recreational options. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Wailea - a Waldorf Astoria Hotel Wailea
Grand Wailea Maui
Grand Wailea Resort Maui
Grand Wailea Hawaii
Grand Hotel Wailea
Grand Resort Wailea
Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort Maui

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