Review: Andaz Maui at Wailea (Hawaii, USA)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Last summer, I traveled to the Hawaiian Islands, where I had a wonderful time. You can read my trip reports here:


Today (December 27, 2017): Review of Andaz Maui at Wailea (Hawaii, USA).

Perched along crescent-shaped shores, Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort radiates luxury. From the moment you step into the airy lobby, you’ll feel like you’re a world away. Each one of the hotel’s 290 guest rooms and suites, and seven residential villas, blends the non-traditional Andaz style with the feel of a luxury resort community. Accommodations are enhanced at every turn, with modern touches like private lanais for admiring magnificent Hawaii sunsets, baths with ocean and garden view showers, and luxurious body products that invigorate both body and mind. Dip your toes in the sand, explore Hawaii’s vast wonders, lounge poolside with your favorite drink, and enjoy delicious food at gourmet restaurants at my favorite hotel in Hawaii.

Andaz Maui at Wailea features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels & resorts in Hawaii and the most eco-friendly luxury hotels in the world.

In this review (more info below my slideshow & Youtube clip):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there
  • Photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Andaz Maui enjoys an ocean-front location on the northern end of Hawaii’s most glitzy resort enclave, Wailea. Nestled beneath the leeward slopes of Haleakala – the world’s largest dormant volcano – Wailea exudes the ambience of an exclusive country club. Spread across immaculately manicured gardens with staggering ocean view, the elite area is home to several high-end resorts, including this Andaz property, the Grand Wailea – a Waldorf Astoria hotel, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, and the Fairmont Kea Lani. Wailea’s big draws are the gold-sand beaches, mostly sunny skies, a famous golf course, word-class shopping, and proximity to Maui’s main airport (30 min drive).
  • Andaz Maui features a surprisingly modern decor, something that most resorts in Hawaii lack. The beautiful property opened in 2014 after a complete renovation of the old Renaissance Hotel, which sat vacant for a number of years before being partly demolished down to its foundation at the end of 2011. Designed by the award-winning architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, the Andaz interiors with their clean-lined modern look reflect the pure simplicity and beauty of its lush tropical surroundings. The Rockwell Group created a series of architectural interventions to open the old Renaissance Hotel’s buildings to Maui’s extraordinary landscape while using a palette of natural materials that reflect the warmth of Hawaiian hospitality.
  • The previously dark and enclosed lobby of the former Renaissance Hotel has been replaced by a spacious and open lobby. The lobby is reached by a walk over an awe-inspiring entryway bridge of glowing Ambrato stone, framed in mahogany and floating over a reflecting pool. After entering the lobby, you find yourself in an airy lounge filled with daylight, light wooden furniture and floral displays. The lobby’s centerpiece is a sand pit – under an oversize skylight and surrounded by wooden bowl-shaped chairs – that gets artfully raked several times a day, like a Zen garden’s gravel. One wall of the lobby is open, offering great views of the pools, gardens and Pacific Ocean, while allowing a constant breeze to enter the space.
  • Check-in at the hotel is a hassle-free process. Arriving guests don’t have to line up at a front desk but are met by the hotel staff (a so-called Andaz host) who circulates around the lobby and offers guests a traditional Hawaiian lei greeting: a floral lei for the ladies and a shell necklace for the men. Next, you’re invited to sit down and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or a cup of coffee while the host completes the check-in process on a computerized tablet and prints the room keys. Once you’re finished sipping and signing the arrival forms, the Andaz host escorts you to the room. There is also a concierge help desk in the back of the lobby, for guests who have questions or are looking to plan the day’s events.
  • The resort comprises 297 thoughtfully appointed and spacious  and suites, including 7 luxurious villas with 2 to 4 bedrooms. During my holiday, I tried out two room types – a view room and a corner suite – with the main difference between the two being the addition of a separate living room and larger bathroom in the suite. Both accommodations displayed a gorgeous, rather minimalist decor with some ikat and batik prints thrown in for island flavor. Custom-designed furniture included platform beds with side tables in a walnut finish and teak wood slat vanities. Bathrooms featured floors made of lava stone and shuttered wooden screens in a white-washed oak finish that opened to the bedrooms. Both the room and suite opened up to a balcony, equipped with a small table and two chairs along with a very unique hanging chair (suite only).
  • Like most Andaz properties, Andaz Maui at Wailea offers minibars with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and locally sourced snacks that are replenished daily. The complimentary snacks consist of Maui potato chips and delicious Hawaiian cookies. As for the beverages, the free drinks include local Root Beer, local Cola, and POG juice; alcohol is also available in the minibar, but the resort charges you extra for that.
  • Guests of Andaz Maui can choose from five different pools to relax and soak up the sun. The main pool area is located below the lobby and consists of three staggered levels of infinity pools, all featuring magnificent ocean views and cascading down the property toward a lagoon pool. The middle-tier of these pools is the most popular one since it features a large hot tub inside the pool. The lagoon pool is shallow and features a sloped beach-style entry making it safe for the little VIP guests to play in. This entire ocean-front pool complex is interspersed with terraces and grassy lawns, with plenty of chaise lounges and cabanas for all guests. Finally, there is also a 5th pool that is located near the spa entrance, off-set from the other pools. This tranquility pool is only accessible to adults in order to maintain an ambience of quiet relaxation for those in need of that.
  • Andaz Maui offers private access to Mokapu Beach, a quarter-mile (400 m) long pocket of gold sands fronting the hotel. The name Mokapu means ‘sacred island’, referring to a small rock islet that used to be just offshore but was blown to bits during WWII combat training exercises. Mokapu is more quiet and serene than its more famous Wailea beach neighbor and offers excellent swimming, boogie boarding and great snorkeling around the rocky outcrop to the south. Although the beach is public, the Andaz hotel has a private beach club with several rows of loungers and umbrellas which can be enjoyed free of charge by hotel guests. Behind the beach is a beautiful walkway which connects the Andaz to the neighboring resorts and beaches.
  • The resort has two award-winning restaurants. A wooden spiral staircase, recalling the curves of a Hawaiian canoe, leads guests down from the lobby to the resort’s main restaurant – Ka’ana Kitchen – which offers delicious authentic island and farm-to-table cuisine served family style. Located alongside the lagoon pool, the second restaurant, Morimoto Maui, is led by the acclaimed celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto – best known for Iron Chef and Iron Chef America – and offers a culinary adventure blending Western and Japanese traditions. Besides these two fine dining venues, Andaz Maui also features two casual eateries: Lehua Lounge on the edge of the top infinity pool and Bumbye Beach Bar along the lagoon pool both offer light snacks.
  • Each morning, Ka’ana Kitchen is the decor of an absolutely fabulous breakfast buffet that is displayed around the restaurant’s open kitchen until 11 am. There are both hot and cold food stations offering an impressive selection of farm fresh Maui foods in addition to Western and Asian dishes. The buffet includes cheeses, cured fish, cold meats, sliced fruits, baked goods, pastries dumplings, pork buns (manapua), fried rice, eggs, bacon, omelettes, and potatoes (to name a few). One of buffet’s highlights is the juice station, where a mixologist will make you any juice blend or smoothie you want; there’s also a signature juice which changes daily.
  • As if the beach in Wailea isn’t relaxing enough, Andaz Maui also has a superbly designed spa. The resort conceived a Hawaiian apothecary concept for its Awili Spa and Salon to incorporate indigenous herbs into customized treatments. The spa features ten treatment rooms, saunas, hot tubs, a full-service salon, three relaxation rooms, a 24-hour fitness center and a private adult spa pool. Adorned with tall, custom cabinets to store herbs and organic products, the spa lounge features a large walnut table where Andaz apothecary consultants mix freshly picked herbs and other organic items to create teas, lotions and oils for guests’ treatments.
  • A nice feature is that the resort features a 24-hour market which is fully stocked with local snacks and beverages from the Hawaiian Islands, whether you find yourself looking for a midnight snack or the perfect bottle of wine for your beachside rendezvous. The so-called Mokapu market offers a host of light snacks, flat breads, prepared foods and locally sourced, native fare, and a tasty display of gelato for a cool treat in addition to a selection of handcrafted soft drinks, excellent beers and a large variety of exclusive wines.
  • Andaz Maui – Hawaii’s first LEED-certified hotel – takes environmental impact very seriously. The resort’s design approach minimizes waste and harmful emissions, reduces energy and water consumption, and stresses sustainable design as an integral component of its overall strategy. Sustainable elements throughout the resort include a solar hot water system, variable speed chillers, motion sensor lighting controls and low flow plumbing fixtures. Environmental practices continue in-room, with automized temperature control and guestroom glassware made from recycled wine bottles.
  • The 297 room Andaz Maui is an intimate property according to Hawaiian standards (where mega resorts with 500+ rooms are the norm). Due to its ‘small’ number of rooms and it smart layout (with several pools and an adults only corner), the resort retains a tranquil ambience, something that is not found in most other over-crowded hotels in Hawaii. It caters to both families (although it kids facilities are not as extensive at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea down the road) and adults that are looking for a peaceful Hawaiian getaway.
  • Any time spent in Maui will include outdoor adventure, beach-time and relaxation. The resort’s dedicated hosts can assist in planning a number of offsite and beachside experiential excursions that will immerse guests in the local culture, including canoe paddling, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, surf lessons, golf privileges at several local courses, or an exhilarating helicopter ride or zip line adventure.
  • Andaz is the lifestyle hotel brand of the Hyatt hotel group, with properties located in lively urban neighborhoods and leisure destinations such as West Hollywood, London’s Liverpool Street and New York City. Inspired by the cultural and social life of the locale, each Andaz hotel is unique in design, amenities and cuisine, but all share a friendly attitude and warm, personal service. Signature elements include a lobby that feels like a living room, an open kitchen, and studio-like meeting spaces.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Andaz Maui is the most sophisticated resort in the upscale Wailea area, and my favorite resort Hawaii, because of its delightful decor, great rooms, mouthwatering food, beautiful beach, smart layout en relatively quiet ambience. There are still a few things that you need to know when considering a stay here:

  • The Andaz Maui charges a daily resort fee of $40 USD, a common practice among Hawaiian resorts (except for the Four Seasons properties). Although the hotel advertises its fee as ‘worth celebrating for’, it will come as shock if you were ill-informed about this extra charge. However, it is not that bad of a value on condition that you take advantage of all that it has to offer, such as GoPro Hero 4 camera rental, outrigger excursions, stand up paddleboard lessons, guided kayak tour, snorkel rental, yoga classes, single and tandem bike rental, ukulele lessons, hula lessons, body board rental, reusable water bottles, sun Bum sunscreen SPF 30 (located on pool decks), and a photo session with Pacific Dream professional photographers.
  • If you want to book a complimentary stay here using World of Hyatt points, you may find yourself confronted with mission impossible as the Andaz Maui is one of the worst Hyatt properties in the entire world when it comes to releasing standard rooms for award reservations. In addition, the hotel often makes these rooms available for extended stays only.
  • Although the breakfast is superb, the buffet is pricey ($45 USD per person, excluding tax and gratuity) but you should know going. However, the buffet stays open until 11 am and for the amount of food you will have, this can serve as both breakfast and lunch. Keep in mind that you can avoid the breakfast charge by booking via Virtuoso. In addition, buffet breakfast is also complimentary for Globalist Tier Members of the World of Hyatt program.
  • Although the spa facility and the locally inspired treatments are excellent, I found myself in an awkward situation during my 60 min spa treatment. The therapist kept insisting that I should opt for an additional 30 minutes on several occasions during the massage, totally ruining the serenity and relaxation of the moment. I do believe that this kind of commercially driven behavior is not in line with what one should expect from a treatment at a high-end spa.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 8/10
  • Design: 9/10
  • Pool: 9/10
  • Rooms: 8/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Breakfast: 9/10
  • Spa: 6/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Value for money: 9/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8,6/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Andaz Maui at Wailea, whether it’s booking a room at the cheapest price or receiving complimentary VIP perks (e.g. upgrade, breakfast, resort credit, etc …).
  • Save money: enjoy free VIP perks at Andaz Maui at Wailea when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD spa credit).
  • Save money: make use of Hyatt’s best rate guarantee. If you find a better rate, the Hyatt Hotel Group will match it and give you $50 toward your next stay.
  • Save money: elite members of Hyatt’s loyalty program, World of Hyatt, are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – complimentary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out  (when available), and free breakfast. Click here to read my review of the World of Hyatt program (with pros & cons).
  • Room tip: my one big room tip for the Andaz Maui – as for most properties in Hawaii in general – is to book the view that you want and do not count on an upgrade (even as a Hyatt Globalist) as room upgrades are extremely rare at this property.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Hawaii’s off-season – when the best rates are available and the islands are less crowded – is spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) – a paradox because these are the best seasons to be in Hawaii, in terms of reliably great weather.  Winter (December to March) can be a surprisingly cloudy and wet affair, although Wailea is located in one of the driest and sunniest spots in the archipelago.


HOW TO GET THERE

The Andaz Maui at Wailea is located a 20 minute ride from Maui’s Kahalui Airport. Many large air carriers offer direct flights to Maui from approximately 20 cities in mainland North America. Key Maui airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin America. Kahului Airport is unusual for Hawaii, because it offers so many direct non-stop flights from North America, but none at all from Asia. Check the wikipedia page of Kahalui Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Maui. Inter-island Hawaiian air travel is easy and frequent, with regular Maui jet service to Honolulu, the Big Island (aka Hawaii Island) and Kauai. Commuter planes and ferries travel to the neighboring island of Lanai.


HOTEL ENTRANCE
HOTEL ENTRANCE
BRIDGE TO LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY: STAIRCASE TO KA’ANA KITCHEN
LOBBY: STAIRCASE TO KA’ANA KITCHEN
LOBBY: BOUTIQUE SHOP
LOBBY: MOKAPU MARKET
LOBBY: MOKAPU MARKET
LOBBY: MOKAPU MARKET
WING WITH GUEST ROOMS
WING WITH GUEST ROOMS
WING WITH GUEST ROOMS
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM (VIEW)
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM (VIEW)
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM
ANDAZ VIEW ROOM: WELCOME SNACKS
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: LIVING AREA
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: LIVING AREA
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: LIVING AREA
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: LIVING AREA
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: LIVING AREA
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: LIVING AREA
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: LIVING AREA
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: LIVING AREA
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: LIVING AREA
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: LIVING AREA
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: WELCOME AMENITIES
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BEDROOM
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BEDROOM
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BEDROOM
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BEDROOM
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BATHROOM
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BATHROOM
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BATHROOM
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BATHROOM
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BATHROOM
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BATHROOM
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BATHROOM
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BALCONY & VIEW
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BALCONY & VIEW
ANDAZ CORNER SUITE: BALCONY & VIEW
POOL AREA: OVERVIEW
POOL AREA: OVERVIEW
POOL AREA: OVERVIEW
POOL AREA: UPPER INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: UPPER INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: UPPER INFINITY POOL (FIRE PIT)
POOL AREA: UPPER INFINITY POOL (BAR)
POOL AREA: MIDDLE INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: MIDDLE INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: MIDDLE INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: MIDDLE INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: MIDDLE INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL (HOT TUB)
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL (HOT TUB)
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL (HOT TUB)
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL
POOL AREA: LOWER INFINITY POOL (FIRE PIT)
POOL AREA: LAGOON POOL
POOL AREA: LAGOON POOL
POOL AREA: LAGOON POOL
POOL AREA: LAGOON POOL
POOL AREA: LAGOON POOL
POOL AREA: LAGOON POOL
POOL AREA: LAGOON POOL (BUMBYE BEACH BAR)
POOL AREA: LAGOON POOL (LUNCH)
OCEAN-FRONT LAWNS
OCEAN-FRONT LAWNS
OCEAN-FRONT LAWNS
OCEAN-FRONT LAWNS
OCEAN-FRONT LAWNS
MOKAPU BEACH
MOKAPU BEACH

MOKAPU BEACH

MOKAPU BEACH
MOKAPU BEACH
MOKAPU BEACH
MOKAPU BEACH
MOKAPU BEACH
MOKAPU BEACH
MOKAPU BEACH
MOKAPU BEACH
MOKAPU BEACH
POOL AREA AT SUNSET
POOL AREA AT SUNSET
POOL AREA AT SUNSET
POOL AREA AT SUNSET
POOL AREA AT SUNSET
LAWN AT SUNSET
LAWN AT SUNSET
LAWN AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
BEACH AT SUNSET
RESORT AT SUNSET
AWILI SPA AND SALON: ENTRANCE
AWILI SPA AND SALON: RECEPTION
AWILI SPA AND SALON
AWILI SPA AND SALON
AWILI SPA AND SALON
AWILI SPA AND SALON
AWILI SPA AND SALON
AWILI SPA AND SALON
AWILI SPA AND SALON
AWILI SPA AND SALON
MORIMOTO MAUI RESTAURANT: DINNER
MORIMOTO MAUI RESTAURANT: DINNER
MORIMOTO MAUI RESTAURANT: DINNER
MORIMOTO MAUI RESTAURANT: DINNER
MORIMOTO MAUI RESTAURANT: DINNER
MORIMOTO MAUI RESTAURANT: DINNER
MORIMOTO MAUI RESTAURANT: DINNER
MORIMOTO MAUI RESTAURANT: DINNER
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: DINNER
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: DINNER
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: DINNER

KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: DINNER
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: DINNER
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: DINNER
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
KA’ANA KITCHEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

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