(Note: Our last stay at the Wailea Beach Resort by Marriott was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Check with the hotel on COVID-related changes before booking your stay)
Jane and I have both done a lot of work travel over the years, and when we do, we generally prefer to stay at Marriott properties. So when we started planning a December getaway to Maui the Wailea Beach Resort came highly recommended due to their recently completed full renovation of the property. We saved up our points for months and cashed them in on a 5 night trip, getting well over $2,500 in value from our points and booked the Wailea Beach Resort as our home base as we planned an action packed visit to Maui. Check out our review below (spoiler alert: it was incredible!)
If you are looking to stay at a resort in Maui, chances are you'll be looking at one of two main beach resort areas. The first would be Ka'anapali on the northwest side of Maui. It was the original resort hot-spot and the resorts here tend to be on the older side that offer more mid-range options. As you might have guessed, the Wailea Beach Resort is located in the other resort area of Wailea, situated on the southwest side of the island. Wailea was developed more recently, and thus boasts some of the more luxurious resorts on the island. Fear not though, because whichever location you choose, you are still on the beautiful island of Maui, and you are going to have an awesome time in either area.
Let's cut right to the chase, with "Beach Resort" in it's name, how accessible is the beach?
Rest assured, The Wailea Beach Resort is well-situated steps away from both the main Wailea Beach to the south, and the quieter Ulua Beach to the north. We spent most of our beach time at Wailea Beach (check out our 5 days in Maui post for more on how we spent our precious time in Maui) where the hotel offers complimentary beach umbrellas and lounge chairs, but if you have the time it's well worth checking out both beaches during your stay.
Outside of the beach, the Shops at Wailea is conveniently located right next to the property and it's easily walkable to do some shopping or try out some of the restaurant offerings. As I mentioned, Wailea offers a more luxury experience, so we made sure to stop at the small
town of Kihei, which is a short drive away, to get some good local food offerings when we were looking for something more mellow.
While there are some options if you want to stick to walking and biking around the resort and Wailea area, we do definitely recommend renting a car to get to some of the best spots on the island (like the incredible Road to Hana!) Trust us, you won't regret the little bit of extra expense that renting a car will add to your trip.
First Impression and Guest Rooms
We arrived at the resort in the evening after our long flight in from Chicago and a quick stop at the rental car lot to pick up our ride. The first thing we noticed when we pulled in was how beautiful even the driveway was. The entire drive has a canopy of thick trees, and the resort has up-lighting along the entire drive. It felt like something right out of a storybook.
We pulled up to the open-air lobby and checked-in. We were welcomed with the traditional Lei greeting, offered a refreshment of infused water, and greeted warmly by the friendly staff. With our member status at Marriott, we were offered two free Mai Tai's from the poolside bar, waived parking fees, and an upgrade from a garden-view to an ocean-view room. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get the $35 per night resort fee waived, which is pretty much standard across resort on Maui.
Once check-in was complete, the bell-staff loaded our bags onto a golf cart and led us to our room. The Wailea Beach Resort is not your standard hotel with one tower, but instead boasts multiple interconnected buildings to house their guests. Definitely make sure you pay attention to where your room is the first time or you might need to stop for directions the next time you are trying to navigate the resort.
Overall, the room was very comfortable, and it was apparent that it had been nicely updated during a recent renovation. Some of the highlights were the bright bathroom area, comfortable beds with quality linens, a large smart TV in the room, and each room has it's own Nespresso machine (just like the Sir Adam in Amsterdam), which is always appreciated as you save a small fortune on resort-priced coffee every morning. As much as I love a good cup of coffee, the star of the show was definitely the stunning ocean view from our balcony. We left the door open to hear the crashing waves every night, and we never missed the stunning red and orange colors of the sunset every night. If you don't have status with Marriott, I would definitely recommend paying for the oceanfront upgrade.
The resort grounds are beautifully landscaped, and we spent a full day exploring all that the property has to offer. First, the Wailea Beach Resort offers four (!!!) different pools to choose from. For the kids or kids at heart, the NALU pool offers four different water slides so you can pick the one that matches your bravery level. The 'Ohi pools are the newest at the resort and boast an infinity edge so close to the ocean you can feel the mist as the waves crash on the edge of the shoreline.
Our favorite pool was the adults-only Maluhia Serenity pool, boasting a relaxed atmosphere, chill poolside bar, and panoramic ocean views that look like they belong on a postcard. We enjoyed cashing in for our complimentary Mai Tai's (and may or may not have stopped up for a couple other drinks during our stay).
Just like the pool selection, the resort no shortage of dining options to match whatever your cravings might be.
Humble Market Kitchen: The signature full-service restaurant by Roy Yamaguchi, serves up a fantastic breakfast buffet as well as upscale Hawaiian inspired dishes for dinner.
Kapa Bar & Grill: A more casual open-air sit-down experience just off the 'Ohi pools is a family-friendly spot for a dinner or drinks
Whale's Tale: Situated steps from Wailea Beach, this open-air coffee shop style spot offers an amazing patio to grab a cold-brew or fresh pressed juice and catch up on some reading
Mo Bettah Food Truck: How cool is it that this resort features it's own food truck? We loved the fresh poke bowls and fish tacos from this unique spot
NALU Pool Bar: Even if you don't feel like swimming, stop here for lunch and a freshly-made Mai Tai and take in the beautiful infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean
Starbucks: You know exactly what you're getting here, but the on-resort Starbucks was a perfect spot to stop for a drink to-go before going on that day's adventures
The resort also boasts it's own Luau, called Te Au Moana. While we didn't get a chance to fit the dinner and show into our itinerary, we were delighted to find out that our room's balcony overlooked the luau area, so we were still able to enjoy part of the show and save a few dollars on tickets.
Outside of pools, restaurants, and Luau, this hotels boasts other amenities such as a large fitness center and spa, a game room (where Jane showed her skill at shuffleboard by beating me) and even an on-resort escape room perfect for a day where you got a little too much sun at the one of the infinity pools
The Wailea Beach Resort by Marriott is one of those resorts that you just can't stop thinking about the minute you leave it. While the experience comes at a pretty serious premium, I can't recommend enough to save up your Marriott Bonvoy points and cash them all in on a Hawaiian getaway to this incredible place. The resort has it all, a great location, beautiful beaches, nicely appointed rooms, and of course, MULTIPLE infinity pools. I still dream about this resort and I will most definitely stop here again on my next trip to Maui.
Check out a few highlights from our stay at Wailea Beach Resort in our Maui video: