On a recent trip to Maui, I stayed in three very different Wailea-area hotels in three days. While the Grand Wailea was almost too big and the Andaz verged on too chic, the Fairmont Kea Lani was just right: big enough to offer plenty to do without feeling overwhelming, stylish but not at the expense of functionality, and with the perfect balance of families to honeymooners and romance to fun.
Like many hotels in Hawaii, the Fairmont stuns from the moment you walk in. The lobby and other common spaces are indoor/outdoor ensuring that you’re always enveloped in the island’s warm air and plumeria-scented breeze.
One of my favorite things about the Fairmont was that every room is a suite, so you don’t need to worry about “upgrading” unless you want to ensure you have an ocean view. My room was a one-bedroom suite (two-bedroom suites and villas are also available) with more than 800 square feet of space. There were separate bedroom and living areas, each decorated in breezy plantation style with dark and light woods, topical prints, and pops of chartreuse color.
There was plenty of storage, multiple outlets, large mirrors, and lots of natural light. I appreciated that there lanai doors had screens, so I could leave the sliding glass open to hear the birds and waves and not worry about bugs getting in.
The living area had ample seating, including a sofa bed and desk, and there was a foyer pantry area with mini-fridge, coffee maker, and microwave.
The bathroom was massive, with a walk-in shower, deep soaking tub, double vanities, and a large closet.
My favorite part though, may have been the large private lanai—which in my room wrapped around the whole suite, and was accessible from both the living room and bedroom. The portion near the living room had full ocean views and a small dining table, with the side near the bedroom had a romantic chaise lounge for two and dreamy views of palm trees and the ocean in the distance.
The grounds were equally impressive, with four pools (including one that’s adults only and one for kids) with a waterslide and swim-up bar, a beautiful stretch of sandy beach, five bars and restaurants (I loved the drinks at LUANA and had a fantastic meal of Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese fusion at Kō), an on-site market, fitness center, and spa.
I visited three of the pools during my time at the hotel and never went long without a staff member asking if I needed anything. Throughout each day there were plenty of lounge chairs available at each pool. I also loved that when I wanted quiet I could float in the adult pool, and when my husband and I wanted to have a few drinks, we could head to a different pool and not worry about disturbing the adult pool’s quiet.
As with many other hotels in Hawaii, the Fairmont Kea Lani also offers a full slate of activities for guests, including a kids club, hula and ukulele lessons, and history and culture walks.
I opted for the free outrigger canoe paddle, and—despite the fact that open water makes me a bit nervous and I’m not a strong paddler—it was one my favorite experiences of my six days on Maui. The guides were patient, funny, informative, and entertaining and made sure every guest was comfortable. The canoes go out with four guests; the other two in our party took the opportunity to snorkel from the canoe while my husband and I were content to watch the underwater action from above through the crystal-clear water.
Every resort on Maui has its own personality, and as I discovered, the Fairmont Kea Lani fit mine perfectly. I never felt like I was walking more than a few minutes to get where I needed to go—as opposed to some larger resorts where the grounds are almost too expansive. The design is modern and stylish—but it never feel like it’s trying too hard to be cool. Staff was attentive but never overbearing, every detail was considered, and there was a good mix of families and couples, with plenty of space for each to mingle as much or as little as they wanted.
From food to service to the stunning suites, everything at the Fairmont Kea Lani is just as it should be: effortless luxury with an ocean view.