Families flock to Maui for a much-needed respite. But those also craving impeccable service, understated elegance, delicious dining, and seemingly-countless kid-friendly amenities in an exclusive environment turn to Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. And, I’ve learned over the years of booking readers in with my benefits that couples prefer it just as much.
It’s the kind of resort where you want for nothing. Our end-of-summer stay coincided with the threat of a hurricane which thankfully never came, but there are worse places to endure canceled flights. In this review, I go over how to choose between the newly-renovated rooms and suites (important), the excellent, dining, activities, and try to explain what sets it apart from other amazing Maui resorts.
WHAT I LOVE
- No resort fee
- More inclusions in the room rate than other Maui resorts
- Club Level rooms
- Excellent service
Kids For All Seasons day camp and game room
GOOD TO KNOW
- The main pool can get crowded
- Book winter break as soon as it opens (repeat guests receive priority)
- Mountain-Side guest rooms can overlook the parking lot
Wailea: Perhaps the Best Maui Location
You can rent at Kahului Airport (OGG) and drive the 20 minutes or so to the resort. The road to Wailea is more-or-less straight, which is important to us because my daughter got carsick getting to the other side of the island on a different vacation.
The exclusive Wailea enclave in Maui right up my alley because it’s quieter and leans more upscale than other popular tourist spots. Sure, there are still plenty of tourists due to the number of resorts located here but I don’t feel overwhelmed.
We drive into nearby Kihei for odds and ends as well as to check out local foodie spots my husband likes for poke and other delights. Kihei is also relatively quiet, very easy to navigate, and home to grocery stores.
But, I can absolutely see how people stay put at the resort and rarely leave it.
How to Choose a Room at Four Seasons Maui
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea boasts the largest rooms and bathrooms on the island. Accommodations have recently been renovated to a gorgeous contemporary and comfortable design.
My Thoughts on a Recent Room
Our Oceanview King Room clocked in at around 600 spacious feet with a living area and an enormous bathroom. I’ve stayed in hotel rooms in Europe that were as large as the bathroom, which also had a radio system that played festive Hawaiian music, jazz, etc. through ceiling speakers.
I appreciate that bath amenities include after sun care but you can (and I do) request select other items you may have forgotten to pack through the fabulous Four Seasons app.
But what really sent my husband into bliss was the size of our TV. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a difference. I appreciate that the empty mini-fridge that allows us to keep fruit and perishables on-hand for snacks. The rooms are also equipped with Hawaiian-style coffee and coffee maker, though you could pick up a complimentary fresh cup and pastry during early morning hours in the lobby.
Milk, cookies, and fruit were waiting in the room for my daughter upon check-in during our last stay. The balcony proved a lovely place for a sunset or diving into a good book as this was our view.
A Full Run-Down on Room and Suite Types
The resort is shaped like a “U” with rooms on the interior and exterior sides of that “U.” With this in mind, let me tell you what you need to know about selecting a room. All of the guest rooms are 600 square feet plus a lanai. King rooms have a sofa bed but they prefer that occupancy stays at two adults and one child.
Mountainside Rooms line the back of the “U” and a bit up the sides. These entry-level Four Seasons Maui rooms can have beautiful Haleakala volcano mountain views but many of them also overlook the parking lot, common areas, or Wailea Alanui Drive. So, I suggest that you start with a Garden View Room, the next level up.
The difference between the next two categories, Garden View Rooms and Deluxe Garden View Rooms, is really the view quality. As you might imagine, the tropical gardens around the resort that both rooms overlook are quite stunning. Deluxe rooms have better garden views and tend to be on the lower floors.
Oceanview Rooms and Deluxe Oceanview Rooms have balconies that face the inner courtyard of the “U” which means that they have side ocean views. In other words, you will see the ocean from the balcony (looking left or right) or from certain angles within your room. It is not a full ocean view. For a more full ocean view, you’ll want to book a Deluxe Ocean View Room but know that it is also a side-angle view.
Club Level rooms and suites occupy the eighth floor so boast the best views and come with:
- Private check-in and check-out
- Elevator key provides exclusive access to the Club Floor
- All-day refreshments in the Lounge, including Continental breakfast, afternoon tea, premium cocktail service and hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and after-dinner drinks
- Personalized business and concierge services
- High-speed Internet access
Executive Suites come with either Garden, Deluxe Garden, and Ocean Views. These small suites are about 840 square feet in size and are very popular with families because the bedroom separates from the living room. Executive suites do not come with Club Level privileges.
Larger Suites include the Ocean-View Prime Suite (1400 square feet) and Garden-View Suite (1100 square feet). These do come with Club Level privileges. Those looking for more lavish accommodations can take a look at the Residential Suites. Going back to the resort shape, the tips of the “U” which face the Pacific Ocean, are the suites with the very best ocean views.
Multiple Swimming Pools
Guests have three pools to choose from but we spend the majority of our time in the family-friendly Fountain Pool (pictured at the top). Complimentary cabanas (at other Maui resorts, you pay for these) as well as poolside drink and food service round-out the leisurely experience.
During our last stay, I took advantage of the flavored waters, magazines and sunscreen are available at stations around the pools. Friendly staff members give sunglasses a complimentary cleaning, provide cool towels and cucumber slices as well as an amenity every hour that ranged from smoothies to muffins to fresh fruit.
I appreciate that you can’t just throw your stuff on a cabana first thing in the morning and call it yours for the day. While there is a bit of leniency, of course, the rule of thumb is that you risk losing your space if completely gone from it for over an hour. With guests rotating between the pool, beach, room, and various activities this made it not too difficult to secure a cabana.
Do order the poolside Mai Tai which comes in a fresh pineapple.
Small children have their own pool with a water slide and multiple depths including shallow wading areas. Adults seek respite in a tranquil pool area with a swim-up bar and cabanas, which is why many couples choose the resort.
So Many Onsite Activities — Most Are Included
To give you an idea of how much there is to do, we were in residence for six nights, fairly active, and didn’t have a chance to experience everything.
A stop into the game room for a bout of ping pong or shuffleboard became a pre-dinner ritual. Not pictured is a relatively-robust game room with Wiis and Xboxes, pool tables, a seating area with a television, and more. A supervised Kids for All Seasons kids’ club offers daily programming for ages 5-12.
Unfortunately, I had to take a call during the Tuesday morning that SUP yoga was offered otherwise I’d totally have tried it. We also seemed to be occupied during the complimentary outrigger canoe outings but this is on my to-do list for next time.
The beach is beautiful. During our last stay, waves were a bit stronger and larger than usual due to the tropical storms but we managed to rent boogie boards during our final day when the water was calm, warm, and clear enough for snorkeling. There are no lifeguards on duty but flags indicate ocean conditions.
Chairs, umbrellas, towels, sand toys, volleyballs, and more recreational gadgets are available for guest use in the sand. However, a lounging area perched on a nearby bluff overlooks the beach.
Fantastic Four Seasons Maui Restaurants
The food at Four Seasons properties is always good. It’s clear that it’s an emphasis at this resort perhaps because people do tend to stick around after long days of leisure. A majority of our meals are eaten on in the Four Seasons Maui restaurants because it’s tough to leave when, say, seafood or farm-to-table dinner buffets are happening steps away from our room.
We’ve eaten in every restaurant with the exception of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago. We actually planned to dine there on our trip but became sidetracked by what is lauded as Maui’s best raw bar.
DUO Steak and Seafood
Let’s start with the raw bar at DUO Steak and Seafood. Bottomless lobster, crab, poke, oysters and then some paired with a choice of salad or soup. I think we savored every brilliant morsel over the course of several hours (and some Iconoclast, a Napa Valley wine made specifically for Four Seasons). I’ve never eaten so much lobster in one sitting in my entire life.
A few days prior, we’d booked the Market Night dinner with seasonal local produce and ingredients from the island. Guests can choose their own dinner, basically, from overflowing displays. About 70% of the ingredients are from the island (supporting upwards of 60 local fishermen, ranchers, and farmers), which is incredible given how much food is on offer.
Do arrive at DUO Steak and Seafood early enough to enjoy a cocktail with a Maui sunset. The staff noticed my husband squinting a little—he’d left his sunglasses in our room—so, of course, they brought over a box containing multiple styles of sunglasses for guest use.
This was the view from our table.
DUO Steak and Seafood is also where the fantastic breakfast buffet is located featuring continental, international, and Hawaiian favorites. I ate piles of bananas soaked in coconut milk each morning, but choices cover almost anything you’re craving for breakfast.
All buffets here offer adorable Keiki options (I may confess to having indulged in the donuts here).
Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante
Located near the pool, we ate several times at Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante where the sunset is also fantastic. So is the seafood Cobb salad, kids’ steak (my daughter ordered it multiple times) as well as the charcuterie and cheese board. My husband ordered lobster pasta that was also out-of-this-world.
The view over the resort is arguably the best from here. The indoor-outdoor vibe proved the perfect spot to unwind with a cocktail and small plates after a long day of travel or sightseeing. A hula dancer performed to live music—talk about the perfect Hawaiian ambiance—and even allowed younger kids to jump in and give it a whirl.
My other advice is to order a Japanese breakfast whenever it’s on a menu at a Four Seasons property as they are exquisite.
In-room dining is a perfect solution for late mornings and times when caving up in the room seems like the best idea.
The Spa and Fitness Center
I meant to book a spa treatment but since the three of us don’t travel together that often, there never seemed to be a good time for me to escape. Cardio equipment at the fitness center is open-air for ocean breezes. Golf and tennis are also available.
I rely heavily on Four Seasons concierges to organize my itineraries because they know best. I could research and research but ultimately their choices never fail me. This time was no different. Figuring we’d be jet-lagged, I organized a 6:30 a.m. snorkeling tour to Molokini with Kai Kananai that they suggested would be perfect for my 8-year-old. It was.
She also loved Maui Zipline, a scenic 25-minute drive away. We rode five lines in sequence with witty guides who paid incredibly close attention to safety. The lines draped over a lush tropical plantation with panoramic views to the ocean on one side and mountains on the other. It’s perfect for families, but not necessarily for the adrenaline junkie.
And, the oceanfront Te Au Moana luau provided fantastic evening entertainment and pretty good food just a 10 minute or so walk from the resort. I appreciated that pre-dinner activities included demonstrations for how to open a coconut and detailed descriptions of how the pig is roasted, to name a few, so there wasn’t a lot of idle time.
Good to Know
Between the onsite boutiques and nearby shopping in Kihei, don’t stress about forgetting to pack something.
Artisans showcase wares on the ground level near the pool. If you see something, don’t wait to buy it because vendors change daily.
The resort can arrange transportation from the airport and there is a house car and resort shuttle that can take you to within Wailea. We found having a rental car handy, however.
An Aloha suite is available for showering and changing if you arrive early and your room isn’t ready or if depart after check-out time.
And, of course, the flowers throughout the hotel—mostly orchids and other tropical arrangements—were stunning.
Childproofing, cribs and other baby gear can be arranged with advanced notice.
Whale watching season happens from December through April. I would imagine that guests see quite a bit of activity out in the ocean from the resort during this time.
The resort is just as fabulous for couples and singles. In fact, the fall is considered couples’ season. I’m not going to lie that I was sad to miss boozy shave ice by the pool among other adult activities on tap for the fall.
I still feel like there is so much to mention, but conclude by saying that this is the best resort in Maui for families in search of a Hawaiian vacation. We left feeling rejuvenated, reconnected, and ready to tackle the school year. We’ll be back.
Four Seasons Maui Reservations
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is one of the resorts I can book for you with agent-exclusive amenities that will enhance and add value to your stay. These include:
- Daily breakfast for two in the Hotel restaurant
- Hotel/Resort Credit* (based on room category booked):
• Guest Rooms: USD 100 credit per stay
• Suites and Specialty Suites: USD 200 credit per stay
• Private Retreats: USD 200 credit per bedroom per stay
- Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in**
- Welcome note at check-in acknowledging you and your travel agency and the benefits that are being extended
- Complimentary standard Internet in all guest rooms and premium Internet in all suites
*Hotel/Resort Credit may be applied to select incidental charges incurred at the Hotel or Resort. Must be used in conjunction with the initial stay and will be applied at check-out. May not be applied towards the room rate, taxes, resort fees, service charges, conference fees, or any charges from outside vendors. Exclusions may apply; contact the Hotel/Resort for more details.
When a suite is reserved in connection with another guest room or suite, the cumulative credit (based on room category booked) value applies.
The Private Retreats credit applies to Villas and Residences with a minimum average rate per night (before Resort fees and taxes) of USD 1,000.
**Category upgrade based on availability at time of check-in excludes Specialty Suites, Villas and the Private Retreats collection of Villas and Residences.
Have you stayed at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea?
*Bathroom and room photos are used courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.