For over a century, travelers have flocked to Hawaii for luxury vacations, but it was only a few decades ago that similarly upscale lodgings took root on Maui. Now the Valley Isle is abloom in choices for well-heeled travelers and those willing to splurge on once-in-lifetime accommodations. Here are our favorite opulent oases in Maui County, which includes the quiet island of Lanai.
Feature Photo: Andaz Maui Facebook
TIP: Since most hotels have 4pm check-in. Ask for an early check-in.
If they can’t accommodate, they will let you store your bags so you can head to the beach!
Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
This 15-acre, LEED-certified (environmentally friendly) beachfront property made Travel + Leisure magazine’s “It List” when it opened in 2013 and has maintained its chic, modern appeal ever since. In the Hyatt family of hotels, the Andaz offers luxurious guest rooms, suites and residential villas, along with cascading infinity pools, a 14,000-square-foot, full-service spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Guests can also enjoy two highly acclaimed full-service restaurants, i an on-site water activity center, access to championship golf and tennis facilities and Maui experiential tours.
- The three-level terrace of infinity-edge pools, ending at a fourth, lagoon-style pool just above above Mokapu Beach, offers plenty of room to spread out, with a separate “tranquility” pool for guests 18 and over on the other side of the main tower.
- Dinner at Morimoto Maui and Ka‘ana Kitchen are equally memorable.
Four Seasons Resort Maui
The first full-service Four Seasons resort when it opened in 1990 towers above Wailea Beach, one of the best strands of sand in South Maui. The 383 recently renovated rooms on the 15-acre compound include 76 lavish suites with koa wood furnishings and contemporary Hawaiian motifs; you’ll pass lush gardens and fountain courtyards on the way down to the beautiful beach. Everything is top-notch, from the two pools (including the adults-only Serenity Pool), three restaurants, spa and fitness center to the nightly hula in the lobby lounge and a world-class art collection. There’s also no daily resort fee to drive up your bill, but plenty of complimentary amenities, including activities for kids, families and couples.
- Lounge by the pools or on the beach and enjoy views of the uninhabited island of Kaho‘olawe and Molokini crater; staff will offer reef-safe sunscreen and bring you chilled treats throughout the day.
- You can also book a luxurious cabana for greater privacy and pampering.
Montage Kapalua Bay
The virtual “end of the road” of West Maui resorts debuted in 2014 as the most luxurious, discreet and romantic of the bunch. Starting at 1,250 square feet, its spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom units were built as residences with top-name appliances in full kitchens and deep soaking tubs and separate showers in marble-lined bathrooms. Sunset and views of Molokai across the channel are breathtaking. Explore Hawaiian cultural activities on site, sunbathe at the virtually hidden beach or go snorkeling in one of the nearby pristine bays. Indoor-outdoor Cane & Canoe Restaurant specializes in steak and local seafood with tropical influences. Overlooking Molokai, the Sunset Pool offers three terraced infinity-edge pools (one adults-only) amid tropical foliage
- The vast Spa Montage, which offers it own ocean-view infinity-edge pool, provides state-of-the-art skincare and divine massages, wraps and other body therapies.
- Hop in Montage’s latest-model Cadillac shuttle to sample nearby dining at Merriman’s on Kapalua Point.
The 463-room, 54-acre Ritz Carlton, Kapalua property sits on a verdant, gently sloping bluff just above the ocean with panoramic views of blue water and green mountains. Centered around a massive, three-tiered heated pool, the hotel offers a unique blend of luxurious amenities with cultural and recreational activities. Spa treatment rooms come with private garden showers and volcanic stone grottos, while the fitness center boasts ocean views. Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program, closely affiliated with the property, offers all levels of activities from land to sea. The Ritz Carlton, Kapalua, also features six dining experiences, indoor/outdoor meeting spaces, lush organic gardens, tennis and two championship golf courses.
- Dining is exceptional, especially the Hawaiian coastal cuisine at Banyan Tree restaurant, the lavish, locally sourced breakfast options at Ulana and the milkshakes and burgers at the beachside Burger Shack.
- Book a club-level room for the best club lounge in Hawaii, renowned for its ample and elegant food service and thoughtful concierges.
Wailea Beach Villas
Winner of numerous magazine and online travel site awards, Wailea Beach Villas ranks among Maui’s finest oceanfront resorts. This exclusive, low-rise condo resort, offering rentals through Hyatt’s Destination Residences Wailea management company, sits on 11 acres off a quiet end of Wailea Beach. The private sanctuary features tropical oasis of waterfalls, exotic gardens and tiki-lit pathways, including multiple pools and hot tubs and a first-rate fitness center. The roomy condos boast top-line kitchen appliances, with Viking grill stations on private, glass-walled lanais; concierge service can help with groceries, private chefs or any other needs.
- Grownups will love the adults-only lagoon pool, while families can opt to splash in their own swimming hole steps from Wailea Beach and the coastal path.
- Shopping and dining are close at hand, thanks to the Shops at Wailea.
Four Seasons Lanai
This 90-acre resort on the smallest and least populated of Hawaii’s publicly accessible islands practically defines exclusivity. Oracle tycoon Larry Ellison acquired it in 2012, along with most o the island of Lanai, and has spent millions remaking it into the most luxurious and up-to-date hotel in the islands. Interiors of the 213 rooms, spread across low-rise buildings overlooking Hulupo‘e Bay and dramatic Sweetheart Rock (Pu‘u Pehe), have sumptuous but subtle decor, with lots of wood, stone and high tech (automatic Toto toilets in bathrooms and iPads in rooms to control everything else).
The culinary options are equally high-end, with many locally sourced ingredients at Nobu Lanai and poolside Malibu Farms, two standout options. You can take the ferry from Lanai, but some room rates may include charter Cessna flights to and from Honolulu, where you can take advantage of the serene Four Seasons Lounge to start your journey in style.
- It’s an easy walk downhill to the beautiful white crescent of Hulupo’e Beach, off a marine preserve where snorkeling and scuba are popular; look for pods of dolphins in the morning.
- For landlubbers, the resort’s 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Manele Golf Course is a must-play; hiking, four-wheel-driving to remote beaches, zip lines, archery, yoga, horseback riding are among many other activities offered by the resort.
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