READ MORE FROM THIS TRIP
Introduction: Dream Trip for My Wife (and daughter) To Hawaii
• Review: Delta Airlines 767-400 (Business); Detroit to Honolulu
• Review: Delta Sky Club Lounge (Detroit)
• Review: Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach (Honolulu)
• Review: Southwest Airlines 737-800 Inter-Island (Economy); Honolulu to Maui
• Review: Fairmont Kea Lani (Maui)
• Review: Southwest Airlines (Economy); Maui to Atlanta (via Oakland)
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After arriving from Oahu on Southwest Airlines, we gathered our belongings, hopped on the electric train to the rental car facility, and embarked on our 30-minute drive to the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea.
The Fairmont Kea Lani occupies some exclusive real estate in the Wailea Beach area. They also share this prime real estate with the Andaz Maui, Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria, and the Four Seasons.
BOOKING THE PROPERTY
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts are a chain of luxury hotels that operate 75 properties in 24 countries primarily found in the US and Canada.
The Fairmont Kea Lani is a 5-Star, all suite property with prices to match! Unfortunately, AccorHotels are not a transfer partner or Amex or Chase, and I do not frequent AccorHotels so I do not have any points to redeem for stays at their properties.
However, there is a work-around to book any hotel on this planet. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can redeem Ultimate Reward Points at 1.5 and 1.25 cents per point, respectively through the Chase portal.
My wife REALLY wanted to stay at this hotel and having the desire to experience this hotel but not interested in redeeming every Ultimate Reward point we have, I booked the standard suite.
As you can see, the cheapest room is $489 or 39,120 points per night (at 1.25 cents per points using CSP or 32,600 points with CSR). We were staying 3 nights so we redeemed 97,800 Chase Ultimate Reward points.
It’s worth noting that, this rate does not include the $45 resort fee or any meals.
Upon arrival, we found a free self-parking lot on property. We decided to utilize it as valet parking was $45 per day.
The parking lot was chock full of expensive cars, particularly large luxury SUV’s like Cadillac Escalades and GMC Yukons. Unfortunately, these vehicles only highlighted the talent of their drivers, often taking up two parking spots.
Pro-Tip: If you arrive at the wrong time, you will NOT find a parking spot which is extremely frustrating.
As we entered the lobby, my family was warmly greeted by the valet driver / bell hops asking our names and if they could help with our luggage.
We visited the front desk, were presented with Hawaiian leis, and offered an upgrade from the Mountain View room (literally, facing a mountain) to the Oceanview Suite with King Bed and free breakfast for $30 total per night. Obviously, we accepted and you’ll see why in a few moments.
The property is very large so you will get a lot of exercise.
The entire hotel is open-air. Personally, I did not care much for this concept because Hawaii can be extremely humid during certain periods of the year, so your only escape is your hotel room.
Opening the door to our room, we were greeted by a refreshing air-conditioning breeze.
Directly in front of us was a living room with a large sectional couch, work desk and flat screen TV.
The room incorporated many Hawaiian features including artwork, a palm leaf ceiling fan, and various types of wood.
Near the entrance there was a wooden cabinet that housed a microwave and large refrigerator. There was also a Keurig and hot water kettle.
Passing through the living room, we found a large (and extremely comfortable) king bed in a spacious bedroom.
The bedroom had two separate closets, another palm ceiling fan, and multiple luggage racks.
Transiting through the bedroom and into the bathroom, we found a large soak tub, double sink vanities, a convex vanity mirror, and a basket for used towels.
The toilet could be found behind the wooden door to the left and the large shower could be found in the far right corner.
The bathroom was stocked with several Rose 31 amenities.
A few minutes after arriving in the room, we heard a knock on the door and a hotel representative delivered a toddler amenity kit that included wipes, baby lotion, Desitin, and baby sunscreen.
She also delivered a garbage can (the white can on the left) specifically for baby diapers. I thought this was exemplary service as we had not requested it, yet, the team recognized we had a baby and delivered.
The balcony presented an awesome opportunity to take in the majestic feel of being in Maui with sunset ocean views just off to our right.
We decided to explore the the various restaurants on the property. The Fairmont has 4 restaurants including: Ko, Nick’s Fishmarket, AMA Bar and Grille, and the Kea Lani Restaurant.
The photo below is a bit blurry but this is a menu for Nick’s Fishmarket. The cheapest entree on the menu is a vegetable pasta which is $32. The cheapest salad is $18. Obviously, if you are traveling as a family, this could become a very expensive venture.
Note: You are able to see the entire menu HERE
We decided that it would, perhaps, be more cost efficient to visit local restaurants for a meal. As we walked through the lobby to our rental car, we discovered the hotel had a complimentary shuttle that would take us to The Shops At Wailea, a local outdoor mall that had more than 10 restaurants. Nice transportation, huh!?
The hotel also had complimentary bikes but we chose the SUV instead.
The next morning, we ate breakfast at Kea Lani Restaurant. Again, the menu prices justify the $90 total that I paid for breakfast and the upgrade. A waffle for $23? An omelet for $30?
The drink menu is as follows:
Interestingly, as a person that has dietary restrictions, they were able to make vegan pancakes topped with fresh fruit. And these were, perhaps, the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted in my life!
There was also a station where you could obtain made-to-order omelets. This photo was taken at 5AM so the restaurant was still preparing for the guests.
After breakfast, we explored more of the property grounds. The fitness center was on the lower level and although it was 5AM, people were waiting in line to use the Pelotons and treadmills. I found this to be the case, every morning so I was unable to obtain a photo from inside the gym.
Next door to the gym was the Makana Market and Cafe where you could find snacks and souvenirs. It also had an ice cream shop that I found to stay busy with families all day.
Again, it was very early in the morning but we found staff rearranging pool lounge chairs and cabanas and placing towels on each and every chair.
Note: I love the tile work on the bottom of the pool.
The property is very large but there were adequate signs throughout the property.
On our walk down to the beach, I noticed several “tranquility areas” throughout the property also.
On the way to the beach, we passed the two-story Villas and each villa has their own individual plunge swimming pool.
The hotel has a large and clean private beach for hotel guests and several activities that you can register for including: snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaks and more.
Our daughter enjoyed sitting outside in the sun, playing with her lei and looking at the water.
Overall, we had a great time and I would definitely recommend the Fairmont Kea Lani if you are searching for a luxury hotel with excellent service in Wailea.
However, I’m always torn on whether I enjoy staying at luxury hotels like this so let’s talk about a few dislikes and then return with a few likes.
Generally, hotel restaurant prices are a bit inflated and I understand this considering the convenience. However, personally, I feel ‘nickel -and dimed’ when I redeem points for a $500/night room that does NOT include a meal (even if it’s just breakfast). $30 for one omelet? I don’t mind paying for breakfast, but that price is exorbitant and disrespectful.
Another aspect that I did not enjoy were the outdoor hallways. Hawaii is known for the great weather during specific times of the year. During those other times of the year, it’s also known for it’s humidity. I don’t want to be confined to my room to avoid the heat.
Parking was atrocious! The actual parking spaces were small and when you add in the fact that everyone had rented an Escalade or Yukon and taken up two spots, it became a nightmare. And given that I only paid $45 to rent my car for 3 days, I felt $45 per night to valet the car was a bit expensive.
I loved that the property had 4 separate pools; a regular pool, adult pool, kids pool, and swim up bar pool. Everyone had their own space to enjoy the property.
I enjoyed the ability to rent various equipment: snorkel, boogey board, go-pro cameras, etc.
I enjoyed the fact the hotel had complimentary SUV service to the surrounding markets and shopping venues. That alleviated a lot of anxiety concerning the parking lot challenges.
I did not mention this in my review but when attendants come to clean your room, it’s a two-person team. They clean your room in the morning and return for turn down service in the evening. Given that there is a team, it is efficient and fast.
The service was amazing! Every time we passed through the lobby, the valet parking attendants referred to us by name despite never using the valet parking. The staff was proactive and checked on everyone sitting around the pool to make sure they had towels and sunscreen. There is a concierge desk that is staffed by 4 people at all times. The staff delivered the child amenity kit without prompting. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Have you ever stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani? What was your experience?