Eight restaurants and bars, ten pools, and nearly 800 rooms on a 40-acre resort. No one could accuse the Grand Wailea Maui of thinking too small. The biggest hotel on Maui, with the largest spa in Hawaii, Grand Wailea Maui offers one superlative after another. And while all that choice can be, at times, overwhelming, it means you’ll never get bored at this sprawling resort that’s fit for the whole family.
My husband and I arrived late in the evening, after dark, so it wasn’t until the next day that we realized quite how impressive the hotel is, from the grand open-air lobby to the expansive ocean views everywhere we looked. While the hotel is undeniably big, it never felt crowded. Despite the abundance of kids, it was never too loud. And even with a large convention staying at the hotel, we never once felt like we were just two guests among hundreds.
Our room, a 640-square-foot Oceanview King, felt open and spacious and was decorated in lovely neutral tones. Between the ceiling fan and the cooler night air, we didn’t need the AC, and the king bed was cool and comfortable.
Larger suites sleep up to five and range from 1,200 to 1,950 square feet, but we found our room offered plenty of room for my husband and I to spread out and relax, with a work desk, flatscreen TV, and a small sitting area in front of the lanai.
Best of all, the private lanai featured a stunning view of the property below, and beyond that, the Pacific ocean. I especially appreciated that the sliding doors to the lanai had screens, so we could leave the glass doors open and listen to the sounds of the ocean and birds.
Of course, at a large resort like the Grand Wailea, it doesn’t make much sense to spend too much time in the room. In addition to typical Hawaii beach adventures like scuba and snorkel lessons, yoga classes, and rental of bikes, kayaks, snorkel equipment, paddle boards, and boogie boards, the resort offers several experiences designed to help guests learn more about the island’s history and culture.
I opted for the resort’s free culture walk with Kainoa Horcajo, Grand Wailea’s Director of Culture. The hour-long walk talks guests to several sites of cultural significance around the resort while Horcajo shares fascinating stories about the island’s history, language, culture, and the aloha spirit that makes the islands so unique. As we walked, it was also easy to see how the resort’s large size also means it’s very easy to find quiet spots that feel like you’re own private paradise.
The resort also boasts a 50,000-square foot spa with 40 treatment rooms, appropriately named Spa Grande. Despite the spa’s size and popularity, I still found it to be a relaxing retreat for a facial and a long soak in the spa’s Healing Waters of Maui hydrotherapy circuit. The circuit includes multiple pools infused with essential oils blended with Hawaiian plants, minerals, herbs, fruits and spices.
There are also a steam room and sauna, two cold plunge pools, and Japanese baths. Access to the Healing Waters of Maui, including a full-body scrub, is included with many spa treatments, but you can also pay for entrance to the hydrotherapy pools without a treatment.
Post soak, my husband and headed towards the beach for a different kind of dip. Of the three resort beaches I visited in Wailea, the beach at the Grand Wailea was my favorite for its wide expanse of sand and gentle waves.
It was also easy to find a beach chair on the beach or on the lawn nearby. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so easy to find a chair near the pools, and that was my one issue with the resort.
While there were dozens of chairs available farther from the pools closer to the beach, it was very difficult to find a chair near any of the ten pools.
When we visited in the early afternoon, there were only a few people floating in the adult pool and a handful of people lounging on chairs around the pool, but every single chair was claimed with belongings and dirty towels. After a 15-minute search, we finally found a pair of chairs a short walk—on the scorching stone patio—from the pool. Thankfully, the annoyance was mostly forgotten after a few poolside drinks from the Volcano Bar, but it was frustrating that in the two hours we spent in the pool, we never saw anyone return to most of the chairs, and staff never removed the dirty towels.
That evening, we stopped for a drink in the Botero Bar (named for the artist; some of his plump statues are found near the bar) and then ate at the hotel’s signature restaurant, HUMUHUMU. Located in a beautiful pavilion with stunning sunset views, it serves fantastic Hawaiian-Polynesian cuisine, like seared scallops with yuzu, and my favorite, a decadent lobster ramen with red miso coconut broth.
Minor frustration with the beach chairs aside, I enjoyed my stay at the Grand Wailea. Service was excellent, the room was lovely, and though the hotel is very popular with families, it never felt overrun with kids; places like the Spa Grande, Botero Bar, and adult-pool were tranquil and relaxing. With just two days at the resort, I felt I barely scratched the surface of all that it offers and had to prioritize where I focused my time, but being spoiled by choice is one of the best ways to be spoiled.