Maui's hottest pool scene
780 Rooms / 52 Suites
If you dream of a vacation where you’d while away the day at the pool, try Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. The hotel boasts one of the most elaborate pools in Maui. A river connects nine individual pools on six various levels, and there’s also four intertwining slides, a whitewater rapids slide, a Tarzan-style rope swing, six waterfalls, caves, a lazy river, three Jacuzzis, an infant pool, a scuba-training pool, the world’s first water elevator (it brings you back to the slide entrance so that you don’t have to traipse all over the 25,700-square-foot pool area) and Fishpipe (a new rotating barrel ride that lets you slide further than the longest water slide in the world).
And if you prefer your pool time to be more sedate, swim over to the in-the-water Grotto Bar, where you can sip a Pineapple Passion (Pau vodka, passion fruit rum, pineapple juice) and watch the game on three large TVs. Or escape from the fray and bask in the quiet of the adults-only Hibiscus Pool. Reserve one of the premium cabanas, which come with DirecTV and a Fitbit-like watch that lets you summon help when you need it.
When it’s time to get out of the pool, the beachfront Maui hotel offers plenty to keep you busy. Grand Wailea has seven restaurants and bars, a charming chapel fronting a koi pond, a 40-treatment-room spa, a guided outrigger canoe experience, The Rock (a children’s camp that include a restaurant, craft room, theater, game room, teen lounge and outdoor play area), access to three 18-hole championship courses at Wailea Golf Club and 11 courts at the Wailea Tennis Club, and a great location in the exclusive Wailea area.
Peruse the paintings, sculptures, murals and more strewn about the property — it’s the largest resort art collection in Hawaii. You’ll encounter pieces from artists like Fernand Léger and Mordecai Ardon, but don’t miss the superb curvy bronze Fernando Botero sculptures, the world’s largest collection of the Colombian artist’s work.
If you need guidance, join one of Grand Wailea’s complimentary art tours or check out the artists-in-residence who keep hours at the luxury hotel. And if you get inspired, sign up for classes like outdoor painting, outdoor photography and watercolor painting.
The recently renovated accommodations carry a modern island vibe. The color palette draws from Maui’s landscape: wave-like art hanging above the bed recalls the ocean, and the green and brown carpeting (which is made from recycled fishnets) is a nod to lush Hana. Wicker furniture adds a tropical feel.
All of the light, airy rooms come with a balcony or patio, sofa sleepers, a 55-inch HD television, a Keurig coffeemaker, a walk-in shower and tub.
Try to snag a room in the more private Napua Tower, which has its own check-in, dedicated concierge, complimentary continental breakfast along with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the early evening.
One of the highlights of Grand Wailea is its Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Spa Grande. The 50,000-square-foot facility is the largest spa in the state and provides a sizeable menu of treatments, including facials, massages, body therapies.
Come early to take advantage of the spa’s excellent Terme Hydrotherapy Circuit. It has a traditional Western area, containing a whirlpool with a cold plunge, a dry redwood sauna and a eucalyptus steam room. But the real finds are the other offerings — a Japanese area offers Furo baths with hot and cold plunges, and a Maui section touts a trio of 10-foot-tall waterfalls that massage your neck and shoulders, two tropical showers with 50 invigorating water jets, and five Hawaiian-inspired essential oil bath experiences created specially for Spa Grande.
The main dining attraction is Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (named after the state fish, the restaurant also goes by the easier-to-pronounce Humuhumu). The romantic alfresco setting is wholly Hawaiian: a series of thatched-roof spaces floating on a lagoon. The menu mixes land (filet mignon, rack of lamb) and sea (seared ahi with foie gras, mahi mahi) ingredients.
The Wailea hotel’s Grand Dining Room Maui is the place for breakfast and gorgeous views of the reflection pool and the Pacific Ocean beyond it. Head there for Sunday brunch, a buffet spread that includes sushi, omelet and carving stations, snow crab legs, made-to-order malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts that are popular in Hawaii) and a lot more. Nosh while enjoying live Hawaiian music and hula dancing.