Fri. Jan 27th, 2023

There’s a reason why the Wailea Beach Marriott on Maui is one of the top properties requested by Marriott Bonvoy members. It’s not your typical Marriott – with brand signage everywhere – and it offers oceans of one-of-a-kind experiences to make the most of your vacation. That means singular excursions, inspired culinary experiences, diverse spa and wellness programming, authentic Hawaiian cultural offerings, and even a tennis club and a golf club nearby. Yup, you might just say the Wailea Beach Marriott is a “whole in one.”

Some of the best things to discover in Hawaii are right there, all under one roof (as well as under a few cabanas). And have I mentioned the wonderful, complimentary s’mores served every evening by the outdoor fire pit?

“Our claim to fame is our proximity to the ocean’s edge, with rooms woven into the terrain,” says Laurie Garzon, the property’s Director of Sales and Marketing, who took me on an extensive tour of the 22-acre oceanfront resort. “We have two beaches cradling the property, and the coral reef in front of the resort offers excellent snorkeling.”

One of the things I discovered, right off the bat, was the distinctive Hospitality Suite, a posh perk, all complimentary, which I rarely see at resorts. This special Arrival and Departure Lounge is open 24 hours, and you can take advantage of it when you arrive at the resort – if your room isn’t ready – and long after checkout. “You can literally stay in your bathing suit until you leave for the airport,” Ms. Garzon told me. Here’s where you will find water, snacks and fruit, along with a bathing-suit dryer, a mini spa, and separate Men’s and Women’s changing areas.

The pools alone will impress you. Ohi pools are for all ages on two levels, while the NALU Adventure pool offers Maui’s longest water slide (325 feet). In fact, the expansive NALU pool offers four water slides, splash zones, a swim-through grotto and spacious family cabanas. Then there’s the to-die-for Maluhia Infinity Pool offering unobstructed Pacific views and coveted floating cabanas. If you looked in an encyclopedia for a perfect, dreamy, Hawaiian pool – the Maluhia pool is what you’d find. Park your posterior right here and remind yourself of how blessed and lucky you are to experience this.

The resort is also known for their Keiki Kids Club for children 5–12 and GameSpace, which features foosball, billiards, shuffleboard and vintage arcade games. Here, kids can experience a special movie house (with popcorn), as well as crafts, bracelet-making, painting with a cultural spin to it, and daily scavenger hunts.

Now, if you’re an adult (and chances are, if you are reading this article, you are) the resort offers a lot of aristocratic experiences for adults too. I recommend staying in the oceanfront sundeck suites that start at $2,000 per night. These gorgeous guest rooms offer an extended 150 square feet of private outdoor living space – where you can even enjoy a private, luxe picnic. Picnics are complete with romantic lighting, rugs/blankets, pillow cushions, fresh flowers and gourmet grazing platters, perfect for proposals, anniversaries, birthdays and more.

Dining is just as distinctive. Options showcasing locally sourced ingredients range from the signature Humble Market Kitchin by Celebrity Chef Roy Yamaguchi to Mo’Bettah, a fun, poolside food truck offering Hawaiian classics like tuna poke and fish tacos. Menus throughout the resort feature thoughtful treats like Kiyo Miller’s Famous Banana Bread. Kiyo is a Maui local and long-time team member at Wailea Beach Resort.

One of the most memorable things I did at the resort was to partake of its “Malama Maui” experience. Malama means “to give back,” and it’s the resort’s way to offer cultural Hawaiian experiences to guests – and you even receive a discount if you donate your time or volunteer. I chose quilting – if you don’t know already, Hawaiian quilts can cost thousands of dollars and are typically framed to showcase the distinctive stitching that goes into them. I met with two lovely Hawaiian ladies – Lyndra and Jan – who showed me how to Echo-stitch pineapples and breadfruit onto the fabric. (Missionaries introduced cotton fabric to Hawaii in the late 1800s.)

Also onsite is a Mandara Spa, a 9,000-plus square foot facility featuring 12 treatment rooms, a salon for makeup and nail services, four couples’ rooms, a relaxation area and a lot more. It can offer up to 80 massages a day. A lomilomi massage comes in at $195 for 60 minutes.

There are also daily, complimentary wellness classes including sunrise yoga, mat Pilates, beach bootcamp and pool aerobics. And then there’s Coco Yoga, a 50-minute class that bases its workout around the coconut – with the fruit used as a weight, a stretching prop and eventually, even as nourishing treat at the end of the session.

I really loved my and my husband Bill’s stay here – the only caution I could offer is that the resort is indeed sprawling, and it took me a couple of days to determine the lay of the land and figure out how to get around to locations including the fitness center (it’s a gym dandy), and the various pools. Easy solution to this? Book a long stay! Otherwise, I found that by the time I got acclamated — it was time to leave.

So why are you hesitating? At this ritzy resort, The Water Awaits. (#thewaterawaits)

For more about my Wanderlust travels, please Follow me on Instagram at @DebbiKickham.

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