When visiting Maui, most families find themselves staying on the west coast, where the sun and sand take center stage.
Between Kaanapali, Kihei, and Wailea, there are dozens of hotels, resorts, and condos to choose from, and many have emerged from the pandemic years with fresh offerings.
So what’s new and note worthy for upcoming trips? Down south in Wailea, the Fairmont Kea Lani has undergone a massive renovation, with each of its 413 one-bedroom suites and 37 two-story villas being reimagined.
The project was recently completed, just this month on January 6th, and the results are impressive. As Hawaii’s only luxury all-suite and villa resort, there’s a lot to love about what the property can offer families.
Let’s take a look inside the new renovations:
A New Beginning For Each and Every Room
The 5-star Fairmont Kea Lani’s renovation project is called the Hoomaka Hou Transformation, translated as “A New Beginning.”
The goal was to refresh and modernize each room, of course, but also to incorporate more storytelling of local culture into the design and details.
This follows a destination-wide push in Hawaii, with the new suites and villas “designed to capture a sense of place and share the history of our island, incorporating elements that encapsulate the resort’s storied location.”
Think natural color patterns that mirror the hues of the shoreline, ocean, and foliage; textures, furnishings, and artwork that blend ancient Hawaiian tradition and craftsmanship with modern elegance and convenience (traditional fishing baskets made into light fixtures, for example); and functional room layouts that create gathering spaces for families to not just coexist, but thrive.
There are 9 types of large, one-bedroom family suites, which differ by their floorplan (860 or 1100 square feet), views (ocean or garden), and property location (corner, ground level, etc). All will accommodate a family of four, either with two double beds or a king and a pull-out sofa.
The villas are even bigger, with the ability to house a larger (perhaps multi-generational) family, or even two families traveling together. The two and three bedroom options offer between 1800 and 2200 square feet of living space with a full kitchen/dining area and a private courtyard, plunge pool, and barbeque grill within sight of the ocean.
Just a few steps from the beach, they are especially convenient for families with young children. Villas can be stocked prior to your arrival with groceries and other items should you choose.
Featuring the 2022 ‘Restaurant of the Year’
The Fairmont Kea Lani’s renovations complement what is already a very local and culturally-focused on-property experience.
For example, Kō Restaurant highlights dishes from Hawaii’s plantation era, which brought workers and thus, culinary influence, to the islands from all over the world, mixing Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese flavors. On the menu, you can find spin-offs of Filipino lumpia, Vietnamese Bao Bun, Japanese Kobe Beef, and Hawaiian Seafood Lau Lau, just to name a few.
What makes the dining experience even more special is that the diversity and intermixing of cultures found on the menu is also reflected in the staff, who offer insight into the how their native culture and cuisine has mingled with Hawaiian and Pacific Rim cooking styles (the lumpia reminded one server of his grandmother’s recipe, for example). In other words, be sure to ask for recommendations.
Not surprisingly, Kō, which means “sugarcane,” was recently named 2022 Restaurant of the Year by a local Maui magazine. Located poolside, it’s a place you might want to check out even if you aren’t staying as a guest.
Not Done Yet
Later this year, the second phase of the Hoomaka Hou Transformation will begin with the renovation of the Fairmont Kea Lani’s lobby.
Already large, open, and welcoming with water features, bamboo gardens, and live music, the new lobby will aim to continue its luxurious arrival experience while making it more functional as a gathering place for guests to use throughout the day.
This includes the creation of an interactive Hawaiian Cultural Center as well as the addition of another food and beverage outlet, headed up by the property’s new Executive Chef Michael Lofaro (formerly of the Grand Wailea).
The concept is still being developed, but it will follow the resort’s brand of combining modern and traditional Hawaiian cuisine. Given Chef Lofaro’s mighty food foraging powersthere’s no doubt the meals will come with colorful backstories. Expected ETA is the second of half of 2023.
Elsewhere throughout the property, don’t miss the outrigger canoe snorkeling adventure, one of the many active cultural activities. It leaves right from the beach and is a great family outing for spotting sea turtles. Other family and kid-friendly activities include a nightly torch lighting, evening show, and poolside cabanas.
Ready to go? Check out one of the on-going dealswhich include a 5th night free, 20% off your stay, free breakfast, and more.