In order to ease our transition back to civilization following a week aboard the Safari Explorer, I sought a post-cruise stay at a luxury hideaway, somewhere removed from the crowds and with memorable views of the Pacific. The freshly renovated Hotel Wailea on Maui appeared to have the requisite qualities.
This 72-suite property stands on a hillside above one of my longtime Maui recommendations, the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea. The Four Seasons is much larger, with 380 rooms, and has the advantage of being right on the beach, whereas the Hotel Wailea is five minutes away via a complimentary SUV transfer. (Both hotels have dedicated beach clubs.) Those willing to forgo doorstep access to the sands will find a refreshing tranquility at the Hotel Wailea, which is set amid 15 acres of mature tropical gardens.
The key to happiness is reserving an Ocean View Suite. The Partial Ocean View and Garden View suites have the same spacious 720-square-foot layout, but they lack the unobstructed panoramas. (Suites with ocean views cost far less than similar accommodations at the Four Seasons.) Accommodations occupy 18 four-suite villas distributed around the gardens; Ocean View Suites on the upper floors have the most favorable aspect. Buildings 2, 3 and 5 enjoy the best location, facing a large pond as well as the ocean. Our suite was on the ground floor of Building 7, with a patio instead of a balcony, but its views still proved to be sensational. The patio’s love seat and wicker-framed armchairs were perfectly situated for watching the sun disappear next to the neighboring islands of Molokini and Kaho’olawe.