RESORT REVIEW

Wailea Beach Resort

Haleakala Rising Above the Wailea Beach Resort

Wailea, Maui

One of the most popular vacation destinations for families with kids is the Hawaiian island of Maui. And with so many incredible family-friendly things to see and do, we can definitely understand why! We recently spent 11 fun-filled days exploring some of the top attractions and activities that Maui has to offer. 

The first leg of the trip included a four-night stay at the Wailea Beach Resort by Marriott. The property sits in the luxurious South Maui resort community of Wailea. This 1500-acre development includes a mixture of luxury resorts, condos, and homes. It also offers beautiful crescent-shaped beaches, world-class championship golf courses, and fantastic shopping and dining. As the oldest resort in Wailea, the Wailea Beach Resort claims to be located on the best stretch of oceanfront in the area. And having recently undergone a massive $100-million renovation, it now also offers one of the most comfortable and contemporary atmospheres for its guests. From the moment we arrived, we knew that we had chosen the perfect place to spend our first few days in Maui.

The Property

The Wailea Beach Resort sits on 22 oceanfront acres and boasts a stunning natural landscape that feels uniquely Hawaiian in so many ways. Large banyan trees welcome guests at the resort’s entrance. Jagged lava rocks rise along the ocean’s edge. Brightly-colored tropical plants are meticulously landscaped all throughout the property. And the result is a natural beauty that, in our opinion, is one of the resort’s best features! But it doesn’t stop there. The resort also offers incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding Hawaiian Islands from just about every place you go. For our family, it was everything we were hoping to find in a Hawaiian resort.

As for the interior spaces, the entire Wailea Beach Resort property was renovated in 2016 to create a more comfortable and contemporary atmosphere for its guests. Well, what a job they did! The resort doesn’t look dated at all. Its facilities are all clean and well-maintained. The common spaces are modern yet inviting. And they’ve done a nice job bringing in a contemporary decor that still feels authentically Hawaiian. It’s truly a beautiful property both inside and out!

The Beaches

The only concern we had about the Wailea Beach Resort coming in was that it’s not technically located on a beach. However, the truth is that there are two beautiful crescent-shaped beaches that flank the property on either end. We found them to be easily accessible with just a short walk from anywhere on the resort. (Honestly, we’ve walked further to get to the beach when we’ve stayed on larger “beachfront” properties in Mexico and the Caribbean.) The resort even offers its guests complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas at Wailea Beach on a first-come first-served basis. Throughout our stay, we found that the early morning hours were the best time to enjoy the beach. If you get there early enough, you can beat the crowds of guests from other resorts and the surf is still calm enough for young kids to enjoy.

The Rooms

Another highlight of our stay at the Wailea Beach Resort was our beautifully-appointed junior suite. It seriously felt like it could have come right out of a Pottery Barn or West Elm catalog. For us, it struck a perfect blend of being modern yet comfortable. It also offered plenty of space for a family with 2 wild and crazy little ones in tow. From what we heard from other guests, all of the Wailea Beach Resort’s 547 guestrooms are relatively spacious. However, the junior suites take it to a whole new level, which we really appreciated throughout our stay.

The layout of our junior suite included a king bed and a full living room with a sleeper sofa. The living room amenities included a 55-inch smart-TV, a large desk/shelving unit that offered plenty of counter and drawer space, and a mini fridge. We also had a semi-private lanai with 2 lounge chairs, a spacious bathroom with rain shower, and so much more. The boys’ favorite part was the ukulele that came hanging on the wall for our enjoyment! It was the perfect Hawaiian touch and made for an endless supply of entertainment. All-in-all, it the nicest room we stayed in during our three weeks in Hawaii.

The Pools

When researching a resort for our family travels, we typically look for a property with a great pool complex. This is especially true when we’re headed to a tropical destination. Fortunately, Maui is filled with resorts that offer fantastic pools for both recreation and relaxation. The Wailea Beach Resort is no exception. With three distinct pool areas, the Wailea Beach Resort offers a little something for everyone. 

The Ohi Pools are located closest to the lobby and are open to guests of all ages. They feature two separate oceanfront pools, two hot tubs, plenty of comfortable loungers, and poolside cabanas that are available to rent. The infinity pool here became our favorite early-morning hangout. As the first of the family-friendly pools to open each day, it offered a quiet and peaceful way to start our morning. We also found it a perfect spot to catch the sunset in the evening time.

The Maluhia Serenity Pool is the adults-only pool complex at the Wailea Beach Resort. Located in the middle of the resort, it features a large infinity pool overlooking the ocean, plenty of comfortable loungers, and poolside cabanas available for rent. Since we were traveling as a family, we didn’t spend a significant amount of time at this pool. However, it’s a beautiful setting, and every time we passed by it looked to offer a quiet and relaxing experience for its guests.

Kids Pools

The Nalu Adventure Pool is the kid-oriented pool at the Wailea Beach Resort. And it’s also where we spent the majority of our time throughout our stay. Although not the biggest kids pool we’ve ever seen, the  water usually remained relatively uncrowded, and the boys always had something fun to keep them entertained.

The atmosphere of the adventure pool is fun and inviting. It features volcanic rock formations, caves, and waterfalls that all add to its Hawaiian character and charm. A zero-entry area makes for a perfect hangout for the littles. It incorporates a number of splash park features as well as big sea animals to climb on in the water. 

The real highlight of the Nalu Adventure Pool, however, is its waterslides. In total, there are four waterslides throughout the pool complex. Two of the slides are open for all ages. The other two slides are much larger, requiring a minimum height of 48 inches to ride. The boys absolutely loved the smaller slides, while mommy and daddy had fun speeding down two of the tallest and longest waterslides on the entire island! These were definitely the best resort slides we experienced throughout our Hawaiian adventures.

Some other things we appreciated about the Wailea Beach Resort’s pools were the added amenities included in the daily resort fee. Among these were complimentary reef-safe sunscreen, plenty of ice cold water (often with fruit infusions), and unlimited towel access. When spending hours in the hot Hawaiian sun, these added benefits helped make our experience that much more safe and enjoyable. We also appreciated the fact that there were plenty of food and drink options conveniently located near the pools.  That way we didn’t have to leave to get lunch or dinner if we didn’t want to.

Family-Friendly Amenities

Outdoor Activities

In addition to the Nalu Adventure Pool, the Wailea Beach Resort offers a vast array of additional amenities that make it an excellent choice for families with kids. In the main lobby area, kids can try their hand at playing the ukulele. Or they can step outside to Mei Court to swing on one of the tree swings, play a game of giant chess, or just run around enjoying the beautiful park-like setting. Our boys fell in love with the Mei Court the moment we arrived. From that point on they made daily requests to go hang out at the “playground” throughout the entirety of our stay.

If it’s water activities you’re seeking, the Wailea Beach Resort’s watersports center offers a variety of options such as snorkel equipment, SUPs, kayaks, and much much more. While we were there, the resort was running an awesome special that included unlimited use of the equipment for a set period of time at a greatly reduced rate. Basically, if guests were going to rent equipment on more than one occasion throughout their stay, it would probably end up saving money in the long-run.

And last but not least, for guests looking for live entertainment, the resort features daily live music by the Ohi Pools and also hosts its own luau, Te Au Moana. We did not get to experience the luau in its entirety during our stay, but we did get to watch some of the dancing and entertainment from a distance. From our vantage point it looked very well-done and the guests appeared to be having a great time!

Indoor Activities

For some indoor fun, families can check out the Game Space – the Wailea Beach Resort’s family fun center. It includes a variety of arcade games, board games, and table games like billiards, foosball, and shuffleboard. All completely free of charge! Or you can step down the hall and catch a movie on the comfort of some beanbags in the resort’s Movie House. While we didn’t make it to the Movie House on our stay, we did spend an evening enjoying some family fun in the Game Space, and we loved it!

We should also note the Wailea Beach Resort does have a Keiki Club available for kids ages 5-12. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the opportunity to take advantage of it during this stay because our boys were too young.

The Restaurants

The Wailea Beach Resort offers a wide array of dining options onsite. During our stay, we had the opportunity to enjoy all of the restaurants except for the gourmet Humble Market Kitchin, which we largely skipped due to its upscale atmosphere and cost. 

For us, the best meal of the day on property was always lunchtime. We absolutely loved the fact that no matter where we were on the resort we could grab a meal in a convenient location without ever having to change out of our swimwear! Our two favorite lunch spots were the Mo Bettah Food Truck and Whale’s Tale. At Whale’s Tale, we enjoyed the comfortable oceanfront lounges. We also loved the fact that our boys could play cornhole or giant Connect-4 nearby while we enjoyed our meal. The BBQ Pork Nachos was easily our favorite dish here, closely followed by the fish and pork tacos. 

The nearby Mo Bettah Food Truck occupies a perfect location right next to the Nalu Adventure Pool. What it lacks in menu selection, it more than makes up for in ambience and quality. And to make it even better, you can also order food from the comfort of the poolside loungers and have it delivered right to you. Now that’s convenience!

While we typically ventured out to other local restaurants for dinner, we did enjoy Happy Hour at the KAPA Bar & Grill on our first night on property. The open-air restaurant provides great views of the upper Ohi Pool and the beautiful Maui sunsets in the evenings. And during Happy Hour the discounted drinks and appetizers make it a relatively affordable meal compared to other options on-site.

The Service

One thing we’ve learned throughout our travels as a family is that the staff at a hotel or resort can make all the difference in the quality of our stay.  At the Wailea Beach Resort, the staff are friendly and accommodating without coming across as pushy or overbearing. If we had a question or needed assistance at any time, we felt comfortable reaching out to ask. Each time we did, the staff seemed more than happy to help! 

One experience, in particular, stands out as a perfect example of the level of service guests can expect to receive at the Wailea Beach Resort. When we first checked in to the resort, we mentioned to the front desk that Benjamin would be celebrating his 2nd birthday on the final evening of our stay. When Benjamin’s birthday arrived, we returned from dinner to find a special surprise waiting for us in our room. The resort had delivered a delicious piece of chocolate cake and some Hawaiian-themed goodies for Benjamin. He was so excited, and it was a perfect way to wrap up an already incredible visit!

Summary

In the three weeks we spent exploring the Hawaiian Islands, we had the opportunity to stay at some pretty incredible hotels. However, our stay at the Wailea Beach Resort was by far the most memorable. In fact, it currently ranks up there among some of our favorite hotels of all time. So needless to say, the next time we’re back on the island of Maui, we definitey plan on returning once again to the Wailea Beach Resort.

Join the Adventure!

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