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Reviewed 19 April 2012

Went to the Grand Wailea with my parents, they have an awesome new waterslide, I rode it all day long with my friends. There are only 12 in the world and this was the first one ever at a resort. I can't wait to go back and ride the FISHPIPE again!

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Jason B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2012

The pools and beach were great for family. We loved the decor and the amenities of the building, but our suite was directly under the concierge lounge, and we were awakened every morning at 5am by staff rolling carts and banging trays setting up the breakfast over our room. The concierge lounge food was great in the morning and the evening, but we were not lucky with our room location. The main restaurant was great for breakfast too. Everything there was beautiful. It's very hard to get lounge chairs near the pool where you can see your kids swimming, though. Concierge floor staff was great, the rest of the staff was just ok.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Cara F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2012

We stayed at The Grand Wailea during Spring Break, to say it was an enjoyable, restful, relaxing family holiday would be a disservice to anyone looking to stay here during any busy holiday time. It was a nightmare from start to finish. If you like getting up at 6.30am to secure a sunbed by the pool or the beach then this will be your perfect destination. If you enjoy queuing for an hour to get seated at breakfast then go right ahead and book this hotel. I have never seen so many unhappy, stressed and angry vacationers anywhere in my life, and goodness me there are a lot of guests in this hotel so there were plenty to see. The hotel itself was clean and well presented however the lack of adequate facilities for the size was staggering. What is really scary is the fact that this hotel is in the process of attempting to gain permission for a 300 room additional building. I am sorry to say that although I will return to beautiful Maui I will never return to The Grand Wailea.

Stayed: April 2012
16  Thank Jo A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
blynx1, Manager at Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 18 April 2012

Aloha, We would like to thank you for your review of the hotel. Some of the issues you encountered do not reflect the high level of service and aloha that we are known for. We will address the issues that you mentioned and appreciate your valuable feedback.

We would like to inform guests who are reading this that Maui and our resort are often extremely busy during this Spring Break/Easter period, we indeed staff up for it and all our team members try and make each guests experience a special one, sometimes there are lines, usually short and we try to take action as soon as we realize there is a delay in services. In reference to pool chairs, we do have chairs available most all the time, they may not always be where guests would prefer to sit (poolside), however, we do try and accommodate all requests.

We appreciate the feedback always.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2012

Alright let's get started with a list of terrible spring break experiences. First of all if you want a sun bed get up at 3am and start campfire because you might need one to keep warm to wait in line all those hours before they actually let you fight for the sunbeds. If you do want a sunbed by the ocean you will have to pay a little bit extra for those, but yet you still have to wait in line. Breakfast was an absolute disgrace you would have to wait in a line which ran about 50 feet from the front of the line where you give your name then you'd have to wait in another long line for your table. I also went to the so called famous Luau all it consisted of was some pretty average food, but I thought the performance was quite interesting. All in all this was probably my worst holiday we had to fight for sunbeds literally. I don't think I will ever go back to Grand Wailea or any Hilton resort. The scary thing about this is that I read in a local newspaper that they're thinking of adding an extra 300 rooms to this resort which could really scare me for other people staying there in the future. I would not recommend this resort to anyone please do not stay here.

Room Tip: Get up at 4am if you want a sun bed
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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13  Thank Jake A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2012

(1) I had a positive first impression from Grand Wailea management a week before even arriving. A close family member fell ill and we had the possibility of having to cancel our trip if a worst-case outcome took place. Already inside the two-week advance cancellation window for during high season, I contacted the General Manager to find out, as a multi-year HiltonHonors Diamond status member (I don’t play my “HH Diamond card” very often but it’s nice to have it when I might need it), if I could get a waiver and have my very large number of HiltonHonors points that I redeemed for this trip returned to my account if an unfortunate circumstance occurred requiring cancellation. His executive assistant promptly returned my call and facilitated contact with both the GM and also the Front Desk Manager, and both agreed to the waiver if I needed it…providing tremendous peace of mind to me as the lead-up week progressed. As it turned out, our family member came through surgery OK and our trip proceeded as planned, but in any case I was grateful, again given high season for the resort.

(2) As other reviewers have indicated, there’s a WalMart in Kahului just outside the Airport along Diary Road, a good place to stop for some basic provisions (bottled water, etc) and breakfast food for your room’s mini-fridge, in order to save money on the exorbitantly priced breakfast options available on the resort property. There’s also a Safeway just off Hwy 31 at the Pi’ikea Rd. intersection in Kihei on your way to Wailea.

(3) We arrived about an hour later than most other folks from our flight due to our extended WalMart stop, so check in was calm and easy. I had already done my homework and brought plenty of 1- and 5-dollar bills ready for tipping throughout the trip, but I was still a little annoyed that upon my first impression of the property I felt compelled to tip the parking valet (or valet “greeter”) for emptying our luggage from the car onto a cart, and then the bellman again for delivery to my room. I’m happy to tip (and tip well) for excellent service, but I consider the normal protocol to be that the bellman empties the car and delivers luggage (and earns tip), and no tip to parking valet until delivery of my car the next time out, not at drop-off. As for hotel check-in, if we had arrived during the “rush” an hour earlier I suspect it would have been slower – the front desk seems understaffed at some hours.

(4) My HH Diamond status yielded a 20% spa discount coupon for one treatment and a 2 HumuHumu discount coupons, all convenient since we had already made reservations at both venues prior to our arrival. (Another TA HH Diamond status level reviewer had foretold me of these discounts for HH Diamonds, so I was already expecting them and was happy about it.). Our award stay also yielded waiver of the $25/day resort fee (we still had to pay the $30/day parking valet fee). We also received an upgrade from our award-stay-reserved Terrace level room to a room in the exclusive Napua Tower…and even though it was on the 6th floor and not the “ideal” 8th or 9th, it was still excellent and an appreciated upgrade. Napua occupancy also yielded some additional amenities including an excellent Continental breakfast…meaning that much of that stop at WalMart for breakfast food went to waste…oh well. (Live and learn: If you’re a HH Diamond, call ahead the day of arrival and find out if you’ve scored a Napua Tower upgrade…you should still stop at WalMart or Safeway immediately when you arrive on Maui for your snacks/bottled water/necessities (saving you from that first morning’s sticker shock when you try to breakfast on site), but if you’re in Napua with that included Continental breakfast you can save money on the breakfast foods you might have picked up if you’d stayed elsewhere on property that doesn’t include breakfast.)

(5) Our room in Napua was excellent; the bathroom is superb, including the provided shampoos, lotions etc., spacious stand-up shower, double vanity, private and pleasant lanai, etc. My only nitpick about the bathroom would be the position of the lighting at the sink/mirror…the bright lamps are mounted to the side of the mirror, meaning they throw a shadow onto one’s hands from the side and make it hard for a bearded man like myself to accurately trim up my beard. Yes, it’s a weird nitpick but it still affected me…a missed detail by the designers/decorators in an otherwise excellent bathroom presentation.

(6) Another item I observed in Napua is that the card key readers to get onto each floor are obviously worn and need repair/replacement; on multiple floors both my wife’s and my cardkeys required no less than 4 or 5 attempts to finally get a green light (and the keys worked fine on the room door, proving that it’s an issue with those outer gate readers). In addition, the gate hinges don’t always adequately auto-close the gates. It’s a sign of age/wear and needs attention.

(7) My final issue in Napua is the otherwise excellent Continental breakfast. It’s scheduled for 7:00-10:00AM, but the attendant never had it ready before 7:05AM. Is 5 minutes a big deal, especially on vacation and trying to “relax”? No, it’s not a huge deal. BUT: 7AM means 7AM, not 7:05…especially when the vast majority of guests are still on “body mainland time”…meaning that it’s already approaching “body afternoon” if from Central or Eastern time. And parents with kids (and childfree bystanders like me) have to endure hungry offspring whining, “Why isn’t it open-n-n-n yet-t-t-t???” (Yes, I experienced that on multiple mornings.) Combine that with the NOT-relaxing beach/pool “chair rush” that ALSO begins at exactly 7AM and not a minute before, and you can see the problem here (more on that below). This is a high end resort…start the offerings promptly when they are advertised to start, please…or better still, start them earlier (also see below). I also observed that the “hot” food offerings at the Continental breakfast were consistently served lukewarm or even cold…and there’s no microwave there to heat it up a bit. Again, this (the slacking-because-no-one’s-supervising-them early morning staff) strikes me as an issue that management is not aware of because they’re not on hand at that hour to experience it, and few if any guests ever mention it (I’ve made the same observation about breakfast not starting on time at many Hilton-branded properties over the years, and in EVERY (and I do mean every) case, the manager didn’t know about it because he/she is never there right at opening time, and had never heard about it from a guest until I pointed it out). So here it is for Grand Wailea management: Have your staff start breakfast on time every day, make sure hot food is indeed served (and kept) hot, and show up at opening time more than once in a while to spot check that your instructions are being followed consistently.

(8) Let’s move on to the pool/beach “chair rush”. It’s very real, especially during high season such as Passover/Easter Spring Break week when we were here. Promptly at 7AM (meaning that queue-up begins at least 15 to 25 minutes before), and not a minute before, the activity desk opens up and one must obtain a wrist band for the day (and they use a different color each day so you’ve got to get one each day) in order to manage registered guests vs. “amenity poachers” from other properties (it happens; I witnessed some polite ejections). Then, one must rush to the location of their choice (main pool, adult pool, or beach chair cart) to secure chairs for one’s group (and yes, the chairs are packed in like sardines at all the venues). And as other reviewers have reported, there’s the ongoing act of making sure that at least one member of the party “holds the fort” so that the patrolling staff doesn’t take away the towels and give away your chairs to someone else, likely a poor sap who chose to actually relax in the morning while on vacation (what a concept) and DIDN’T get involved in the 7AM queue-up, and thus later in the morning has to troll for 2 or more adjacent chairs. Frequent flyer Dave says: It feels EXACTLY like what it’s like to board a plane these days and have to fight for a position in the boarding line in order to secure overhead storage for carry-ons. And worse, in addition to the Napua Continental breakfast, other breakfast options on property (dining room buffet) also start at exactly 7AM and not a minute before, meaning that one has to secure the chairs, exit for breakfast and make sure you return within 55 minutes to “keep your spot”, or otherwise not eat with your spouse/SO/group while one gets the chairs and the other gets breakfast (which is what my wife and I did…nice romantic breakfast, eh?)

(9) Here’s a strong suggestion for members of resort management, who apparently DO read these reviews: Given “mainland time” of most guests, WHY can’t the breakfast options start at 6AM and not 7AM, so that breakfast can be enjoyed (well, OK, hurriedly consumed in order to still queue up early for the chairs) and then make the 7AM “chair rush” in time without having to make a choice between breakfast or chair queue position. This is a simple quasi-solution and should be implemented IMMEDIATELY…because starting everything at exactly 7AM given the “chair rush” situation is just unacceptable, period. Now I expect that hotel management may reply to this review with the usual soft “we’ve studied this and we know our market” language (see many other reviews and management replies around here)…but this one is indefensible, sorry. Start the various meal services an hour before the pool/beach service…it’s a no-brainer, JUST DO IT.

(10) The saving grace to the “chair rush” for us was the Hibiscus (adult-only) pool. Even during high season we were able to secure a pair of chairs near enough to the pool to be good enough for us. I’m certain that is/was NOT the case for those with multiple kids needing to place themselves at the Activity pool. For them, during high season, “losing” at the chair competition is not an option. (The Hibiscus pool is also an oasis for grown-ups…it SAVED our stay and is THE reason I would consider returning here, being childfree and given the huge number of families with children who come here.

(11) I could also live without the not one but two solicitations for joining the Grand Wailea Club for future discounted visits. We received a note on the pillow about it one evening upon turn-down service, and then a follow up voicemail about it, with “incentive” to sign up during this visit. The pillow note would have been sufficient, thank you very much.

(12) Returning to the positives, we availed ourselves of Spa Grande twice during our stay, and HumuHumu once; I have reviewed them both as separate venues here on TA with 5-star ratings of each. In addition, the grounds of the property are indeed as superb as so many other reviewers have noted…it is always a pleasure to explore and discover everything the property has to offer.

(13) Check-out was a breeze; express check-out was fine as everything was in order on the final bill slipped under our door that morning. Recommendation (and I did this, which made said check-out so straightforward): For a resort like this, stop by the front desk more than once during your stay to have them print you off a “bill to date” so that you can check that everything charged to your room is accurate and as expected. If there’s one thing you don’t want with a multi-hundreds/thousands dollar stay, it’s time-consuming controversy at check-out time, when at that moment you’re thinking ahead about the chaos that you’re about to confront at Kahului Airport within the next hour. If there are any errors or confusion on your bill, you want to handle it well before then.

I hope that this long and detailed review of our stay at the Grand Wailea is helpful to many of you. As the title indicates, if those few flaws are corrected, we would surely return again to this spectacular property.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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19  Thank DaveR19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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