Explore Hawaii through the Wailea Beach Resort

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Explore Hawaii through the Wailea Beach Resort

The first thing you see when you step into the Wailea Beach Resort in Hawaii is the ocean. Sweeping views of the water are available from most vantage points in the open concept lobby, so you can stare out at the white caps while you sip on some fresh passion fruit, orange and guava juice (POG, for short) at check-in, get decked out with a real flower lei, and present a credit card for incidentals. Slowly, thoughts of the mainland disappear—you’re on island time now. While the resort is a soft brand within the Marriott collection, think of it more as a partnership that offers guests the chance to rack up points and benefit from corporate infrastructure, aside from those elements the property functions more like a boutique hotel.

Water is a recurring theme at Wailea Beach, with two family pool areas and an adults-only infinity pool that comes complete with floating cabanas and speedy food and drink service throughout the day. All three existing pool setups boast ocean views, as does the vast majority of the property itself, from the guest rooms, to the restaurants, to the on-site oceanside area for the Te Au Moana Luau, an authentic Polynesian luau that attracts additional visitors on an almost nightly basis. Other daily activities like tide pool exploration, swimming with sea turtles tours, complimentary scuba classes, and outrigger canoe excursions get guests out and into the ocean itself, experiencing and appreciating it the same way native Hawaiians do.

As the first resort to be built along Maui’s coveted Wailea beach strip, the hotel is positioned so close to the water you can actually hear the waves lapping through your balcony door, and photo opps, weddings, and pop-up events along the property’s extensive lawns are near constant. But given the resort’s sprawling 22 acres, none of the happenings make it feel chaotic or crowded, just part of the ebb and flow of guests who want to get as close as they can to the water’s edge. If you’re at the hotel, odds are the ocean is in sight, and maybe as near as a few feet away—it’s a perpetual presence, and that’s part of what sets this hotel apart from others on the island. 

Still, as guest’s tastes change and adults-only travel is rapidly becoming just as popular on Hawaii as family trips and corporate events, the resort recently opened a more serene space for adults who want a quiet day during their stay. Enter Olakino, a wellness-focused private space with an infinity pool that overlooks the ocean, a custom food menu, and spiritual programming like yoga, sound baths, and acupuncture. Scalp and/or hand massages are also on offer, and live guitar playing and singing from a local musician keeps the vibe even-keeled and mellow. 

Wailea Beach Resort

Though the price for access to the area might seem a little steep, starting at $200 for a lounge chair, the pass works for the entire day, and all the wellness offerings plus even some light bites are included in that rate. With Olakino providing a quieter, oasis-like pool experience, expect the other adults-only pool to slowly transition into more of a lively atmosphere, with upbeat playlists and a lighthearted vibe. For an even more adventurous pool day, head over to the kid’s pool and try out the waterslides, which can easily accommodate adults. The open-aired one on the left is slower, but the tunnel slide on the right is actually very fast. 

For a guided ocean swim, venture off site on a snorkeling cruise through local vendors Kai Kanani. With a large, luxurious catamaran, and cruise options available at sunrise, mid-morning, or sunset, these well-seasoned experts are the perfect teachers for a newbie snorkeler, or anyone looking to explore Hawaii’s coral reefs and sea life safely and without damaging them. Because the ocean and natural ecosystem built around it is the primary draw for visitors to the islands, working with vendors like Kai Kanani who enforce strict rules about not disturbing the coral and staying 10 feet away from wildlife like sea turtles and octopi is an important part of being a respectful guest in these waters. 

Since Hawaiian waters are teeming with fish and other sea creatures, any visitor would be remiss not to indulge in some fresh seafood while on the island. With multiple dining options at the resort like casual poolside plates at Kapa, or the oceanfront breakfast and lunch pick-up window Whale’s Tail, the real standout is Roy Yamaguchi’s Humble Market Kitchin. Inspired by the Japanese-American chef’s own humble roots growing up on Maui, the menu focuses on local and fresh caught catch-of-the-day dishes, local specialties like Mahi Mahi and butterfish, and even ventures into surf and turf sushi rolls or steak, lamb and short rib for meat lovers.

Another standout restaurant on the island is Mama’s Fish House, a 30-40 minute car ride away from the property over toward the north shore. Get the famous macadamia nut crusted fish stuffed with crab and lobster, and splurge on decadent desserts like the chocolate mousse “pearl” to finish the night off. Checking out this off-site spot also presents the chance to explore the island a little bit. There’s a beach right out front of the restaurant, and plenty of chances for additional photo opps, picnics, or playing in the sand while waiting for a table.

Between their latest wellness offering, the proximity to the water, and an ocean view from practically every vantage point, a stay at Wailea Beach Resort is the ideal oceanfront hotel experience in Maui. With a good mix of both families and adult travelers, the hotel’s open spaces and separate pool areas allow the hotel to serve any demographic—and now that Olakino is open, even the sound bath comes with an ocean view.

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