Maui: Four Seasons Resort in Wailea
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Address3900 Wailea Alanui Drive 96753 , Hawaii 808/874-8000 fourseasons.com/maui
A guided snorkeling tour with Maui Undersea Adventures: The water right in front of the hotel is one of the best spots for snorkeling, and the charming guide will point out sea creatures, retrieve lost fins, and lead you through "turtle town," where you'll swim alongside sea turtles.
The outrigger canoe experience: Two guides will lead you out on the ocean in a traditional Hawaiian canoe, where you'll paddle with a group and likely spot turtles and other sea life.
A cocktail at the Serenity Pool: This 21-and-up infinity pool (where the water laps up right to the edge) is on an upper level with a gorgeous view of the Pacific. Lounge poolside or hang out at the swim-up bar, where you can drink a margarita without ever exiting the water.
- L'Occitane bath amenities
- Internet Access (standard wifi is free; upgrade to high-speed for $20 a day)
- Complimentary newspaper
- iHome docking station
- DVD/CD player with slot for camera memory card
- Access to CD/DVD libraries
- In-room safe
- Multi-line telephone(s) with voicemail
- Beach tote to use during stay
When I arrive, pulling up to the lobby in that particular state of exhaustion that only comes from sitting on a plane for ten hours, I'm promptly adorned with a lei and escorted to check-in while the valet parks my rental car. As the concierge confirms my reservation, I'm handed a warm towel for my hands and a small glass of an elderflower-scented drink (I'm so tired I can't tell if it's alcoholic or not, but it hits the spot), and my luggage is loaded onto a cart. I'm given a quick tour of the room—it's spacious, with a king-size bed, an iHome dock, a cavernous bathroom, and a balcony with a beautiful view of the ocean in the distance—and then I'm left to relax.
This is the kind of place people book for destination weddings, and I do see a lot of wedding parties and honeymooners, but I'm surprised both by the number of families as well as how comfortable I feel traveling solo. Not only does everyone on staff seem to remember my name immediately, but it seems like the best part of their day is bending over backwards to make me happy, making sure I have what I need and cheerfully chatting with me at the bar (or leaving me alone, depending on the air I project). "These people are all drunk on sunshine," I text a friend.
The resort features three restaurants—DUO, steak-and-seafood focused; Ferraro's, classic Italian; Spago, Wolfgang Puck's Hawaiian outpost which features Pacific Rim- and California-influenced cuisine—plus a cocktail lounge with appetizers and small plates. Each uses the bounty of local ingredients—in fact, 70% of what the hotel uses is sourced in Hawaii. Sweet Maui onions are tucked into creamy corn agnolotti at Spago and spread atop a square of foie gras at DUO; local tomatoes compliment velvety burrata at Ferraro's; lilikoi, or passionfruit, accents everything from vinaigrette to chocolate vodka mousse. The local seafood is exceptional, as you would expect, from tender opakapaka (pink snapper) glazed with sweet and sour sauce at Spago to nairagi (striped marlin) paired with eggplant caponata and pesto at Ferraro's. What you might not expect is the variety of fantastic meats you'll be presented that are also being raised on the islands: at DUO, I'm treated to American-style Kobe beef raised in Hawaii and some humanely-raised heritage pork from Malama Farm, a nearby farm whose Berkshire pork they often feature as a special. By this point, stuffed with good food and a little drunk on sunshine myself, Maui is starting to seem like the promised land. —Laura Sant
In the Area
- Tutu's Pantry: A delightful little store selling Hawaiian-made products like coconut candy, papaya hot sauce, lilikoi jam and more. If you're not checking bags, they're happy to ship things to you. Inside Kihei Kalama Village,1914 S. Kihei Road; 808/874-6400;10am-7pm daily; tutuspantry.com
- The Farmer's Market at Aloha Open Market: Shop everything from fresh lilikoi (passionfruit) to sugarcane to homemade pineapple cake at this market along the side of the road in Kihei, a short drive north from Wailea. 1794 S Kihei Rd, Kihei; M, T, Th, F 7am-5pm
- Jawz Taco Truck: This taco truck, often parked on S. Kihei Rd just north of the resort, or near the entrance to Makena beach, is a great place to grab lunch and walk over to the beach. (If you miss the truck, there's also a restaurant in Kihei.) 808 874-TACO; jawzfishtacos.com
- Ululani's Shave Ice: Shave ice is everywhere on the island, but this is some of the best, in flavors from coconut to lilikoi to pickled mango. Try it with a scoop of haupia (a traditional coconut pudding)-flavored ice cream, on the bottom. 61 S Kihei Rd., Kihei; 360/606-2745; 10am-6pm daily; ululanisshaveice.com
- The Road to Hana: This scenic drive along the northern coast of the island is dotted with smoothie stands, people selling tropical fruit and homemade banana bread, and gorgeous overlooks. Stop first in nearby Makawao and grab a snack, or pick up some gifts, from the farmer's market or one of the local shops. Spam sushi, if you've been dying to try it, is an option, plus locally-made goodies like coconut milk kefir and papaya hot sauce. Hana Highway (route 360), Maui