For our Valentine's Day mini-vacation to Maui, I wanted to have us stay somewhere special. For our first wedding anniversary (11th anniversary) back in 2014, the wife and I stayed at the Wailea Beach Marriott and had a fairly negative experience. The room was not up to par, the view was awful despite paying for an ocean view AND being a Platinum Elite at the time, and there were just general deficiencies ranging from atrocious parking, to lack of elevators in a large number of their buildings. So when we visit Maui now days, we usually stay at the CY Kahului, which we like quite a bit, but not this time. This time I redeemed two free night certificates with Hyatt and opted for the Andaz Maui in Wailea.
Many of you may actually know this property by its former name... the Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort. The Andaz opened in 2013 to much fanfare and a protracted re-development process, which originally had the property being redeveloped into the Baccarat Wailea, a Starwood property. It's some place we've wanted to visit for some time now, but with room rates north of $400/night plus a $40/night resort fee and $30/night valet (only) parking fee, it's pretty far outside of my budget. It's also one of the most difficult to get award reservations in the Hyatt system. In fact, after months of trying, I lucked out and snagged an "accessible king room" during the Valentine's/Presidents Day weekend. But anyway, on arrival, the wife and I were given leis; a kukui nut lei for myself and a tuberose lei for the wife. After declining assistance with our bags, we proceeded to the lobby.
The lobby has a very open, modern island feel to it. There's tons of natural light blended with a lot of whites, wood tones and stone. In the center, there's a sand pit with seating where some activities are held throughout the week like lauhala weaving. Once we entered the lobby, we were greeted by a receptionist and invited to take a seat anywhere in the lobby. A few identifying questions were asked while we were offered cold towels and refreshing lavender lemonade.
After a few more minutes and some credit card authorizations, etc. we were informed that we've been upgraded, but that our room wasn't available at the moment. I should note that the property's website states that upgrades are only available within the booked room type (I interpret this as view upgrades only) for GP Platinum members, while GP Diamonds are eligible for more generous upgrades. Since our room wasn't available yet, the wife and I decided to leave our luggage with the front desk and explore the property a bit. Here's a few more shots of the lobby, the last one being of the Concierge desk.
The view from the lobby was pretty awesome too.
But the view from Mokapu Beach was even better.
On the way back up to the lobby, we passed by some rooms that had direct pool access, which we thought was cool.
With no definite timeline of when the room would be ready, and with the official check-in time hours away, the wife and I decided to head to Up Country and pay Ali'i Kula Lavender a visit. I mainly wanted to come here for the views, though this time there was no lavender to be seen at all!
Soon after reaching the lavender farm (45 min - 1 hr drive), the hotel called informing us that our room was ready, so we headed back down the mountain. When we arrived back, the receptionist presented us with our keys and had informed us that we had been further upgraded...
Now things were getting exciting! She informed us our room number was Room 240 in the Makai (ocean) Wing, and that bell would bring our bags to our room in a few minutes. So we headed to the Makai wing and took the elevator down to the 2nd floor (lobby is on the 5th floor), and headed to the very end of the wing.
We opened the door to the room and were completely STUNNED to see exactly what they meant by the upgrade.
Yup, the property had gone above and beyond and awarded us this AMAZING ocean view suite. I was giddy beyond belief and simply couldn't stop smiling! I was floored that such a hard to get award night property would upgrade me, a mid-tier elite, during a nearly sold out weekend, to this gorgeous suite! The above photos are of the living room, which included large amounts of seating space, a nice dining table, large HDTV, a work desk with Bose BT speaker, and an cabinet containing a wet bar, glasses, ice bucket, wine key, a Keurig, mugs, coffee, tea, Anahola (Kauai) Granola bars, Tazo Teas, Starbucks Via Coffee, Maui Chips, and a fridge with a variety of artisan soft drinks.
This being an Andaz means ALL non-alcoholic (which means EVERYTHING) in the mini barn and the cabinet in general, are complimentary. WiFi is also complimentary. Looking back towards the door, the foyer area had light controls, electronic privacy/room servicing indicators, a coat rack, and a water closet.
Going further into the room, the bedroom had a super comfy love chair with ottoman, a large HDTV, and a massive bathroom.
The showers in this property are the peek-a-boo variety by the way, and includes a rain head and a handheld sprayer. The controls are a little confusing, with the lever controlling water flow rate AND which head the water is coming out of, while the knob below controls the temperature.
On the right side of the bathroom is what looks like a plain wall.
But behind it are the toilet (the room is HUGE! there's a scale and a sculpture in there) with Japanese style bidet/heated seat, as well as a large closet with a luggage stand, safe, ironing board, iron, shoe brush, shoe horn, robes, and slippers.
Toiletries on offer were extensive. The bath products (soaps, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion) were the property's own private label called Maile, named after the fragrant Hawaiian plant used to make leis primarily worn by men.
On the women's side of the vanity was another kit containing a few more items as well.
The little kit contained a repair kit, shower cape, makeup remover, and mouth wash. By each basin was a box containing tooth paste and two tooth brushes each! There were also cups made out of the base of wine glasses.
The controls in the room were all electronic. There's a panel on the work desk and the nightstand that controlled lighting for the entire room (except for certain lamps) and the electronic shades and blackout shades.
The bedroom and living room both had their own balconies with different furniture on them too. I only wish they had cushions on the furniture, as I could stay out there and listen to the sounds of the oceans, the singing birds, and the gentle flowing of water all day.
Of course, as I mentioned before, there are TVs if you feel the need to watch something. They look like they're fixed, but the actually swing out and swivel around so that you can watch them from bed or the love seat in the bedroom, and from the sofa or the dining table in the living room. One thing you won't find in this room, though, no matter how hard you look is a microwave. The fact that this was a missing at the Hyatt Place Waikiki was a bit odd to me, but hear? Not really. My guess is the clientele here likely wouldn't use one, especially since the property has 24/7 access to food and drink. In fact, the property has a place called Mokapu Market, which is open 24/7, offering baked goods, sandwiches, salads, hot meals during certain hours, a gelato bar, a large selection of alcohol and soft drinks, gift items, and sundries.
The property also has two restaurants (Ka'ana Kitchen and Morimoto Maui), the Lehua Lounge, Bumbye Bar, a fitness center with free earphones, a photo/GoPro Lab, beach rentals and lessons, reusable water bottles with complimentary fill stations, single and tandem bikes, the Ohana Lounge (early arrival/late departure lounge), and a spa with apothecary. We really wanted to try the spa, but it wasn't in our budget this time around. A benefit we did use, however, was the complimentary private car service that'll transport you within a 1-mile radius from the property!
I know it isn't fair to compare the Andaz to the Wialea Beach Marriott; they are at different price points after all, though the difference isn't always that large. Like my experience with the Hyatt Place, I noticed that a lot of attention to detail was given at the Andaz. All employees were always incredibly friendly, greeted you each time they saw you, and were very genuine. I was surprised how the valets, each morning, recognized us and asked us about how a specific thing we did the previous day went. Service is very proactive rather than reactive, and the room servicing cards are employed here like they are at the HP too. It's some place we could see ourselves (if we had money to) returning to again, and again.
It kills me, in a way to say this, but the Andaz Maui is by far my favorite hotel to date. And together with the HP in Waikiki, has swayed my decision to finally break my unwavering loyalty to Marriott. That's not to say I won't remain loyal to Marriott, I will; it's just that Hyatt will get part of my loyalty as well. And I know our experience here was out of the ordinary, but even if we get a no view, standard room next time, I think we'd be happy with it. It's truly a marvelous place to visit... as the wife put it, it's like a Aulani (Disney) for adults, but much more luxurious and with much greater service.
Until next time, Aloha a *** Hou, and as ks77 always says, Maui no ka oi !