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Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Wailea
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 July 2007

My wife, our two kids (4 years and 18 months), and I spent a half day at the Wailea and Four Seasons deciding which one to stay at for the second half of our trip (we extended our trip and just showed up at the hotels). We literally walked the properties, asked questions of the respective staffs, etc. And while we chose the GW for the kids, we had meals at several locations (including three at the 4S).

Notwithstanding a lot of the gloss in the other reviews on this site, there are vast differences between the GW and 4S.

If you have children, the pools and water park at the GW are compelling. Two big slides (kids must be at least 46 inches tall to ride at all) and plenty of smaller pools and slides for others to try out. There is also a baby beach area, which is a sandy part of the pool that is just like a real beach, but without waves. It is a great place for little ones to be watched by their parents (and nannies), without some of the stress of playing on a beach with waves.

Another plus of the GW is the grounds, which are sweeping (the property is huge). At least from where we were staying, one can look out over an expansive lawn to the beach. The 4S is on a bit more of a hill (maybe 30 to 40 feet), so the feel is more of being at an Italian resort overlooking the water (without the beach being immediately visible from most spots).

Downsides of the GW:

1. The service can be impersonal. A valet drove over an inflatable tube that we had, leaving a tire imprint and (later, we found out) putting a leak in the tube. The bellman and valet just kind of shrugged. This would never happen at a 4S.

2. In rounding a corner en route to our room, the bellman clipped my daughter's boogey board on a corner, causing it to emit a cracking noise. He just looked at us and then ignored it.

3. Our room was fantastic and subpar. We were in 0016 (0010-0017 are all similar). Ocean view, ground level. We had a terrace a foot above a fish pond. It was fantastic for the kids to be able to throw bread in for the koi. It was a morning and evening ritual. Downsides are that the room was very musty / moldy and the carpet very dirty. Literally, we would get out of the tub or shower with clean feet and then our soles would get very dark just walking around the room. Would not happen at 4S.

4. Food is not just a notch, but two notches below the 4S and the prices are just about the same, with the GW higher in many cases (particularly for items from the children's menu). If you are a foody and decide to stay here, just have all of your meals over at the 4S.

5. The pools / water park are madness. Very loud and teeming with people, hundreds and hundreds of them. Screaming bands of kids. Kind of reminded me of that Mel Gibson movie, "Mad Max". This is okay if you have kids and are there for mayhem. But it is not relaxing, if that is what you are looking for. It is important to note that hotel staff can have birthday parties for their kids at the hotel, with tons of kids packed into normal hotel rooms for sleepovers and then invading the pool the next day. Another thing to consider is that the GW also sells admission to the pool to non-guests. $150 per week for adults and I did not check on the kids rate. So, as a result, some savvy folks who want a more refined atmosphere will stay at the 4S and then buy weekly passes for their kids to go next door and descend on the GW pool system.

6. The hotel is big and can get crowded. To get good chairs, I had to go down to the pooly by 7:00 a.m. each day, which wasn't that bad because we like to get an early start anyway. But it is something that one does not have to do at the smaller 4S.

7. My biggest problem with the GW is that, much like a cruise, it is designed to separate you from your money. Wailea is expensive, which is fine. I have no problem paying $40 or $50 per entree at the good restauarants, because that is the going rate. But I really hate being nickle and dimed by my hotel:

a. Pool cabanas: 4 chairs under a cabana + 4 exterior chairs. One of the few ways to get shade. No real amenities. There are maybe 15 or so cabanas. The cost? $275 per day. That is not a typo. I was floored. So, I asked the question at the 4S, which had almost the same number but for a much smaller # of guests -- the answer was "no charge." Needless to say, we didn't pay for this. Nor did we pay $175 for the use of a two-chair "cassetta" for the day.

b. Their are two tiers of in-room internet access. The better option, which is the only one that will replicate what you are used to, is $15 per day. More nickle and diming.

c. Printed a 75-page document at the business center. $1 per page. $75. Okay, so far. But then they were going to charge me $0.50 for a binder clip.

d. It is actually more costly to have kids at the GW than at the 4S. For example, breakfast is free for < 5 guests at the 4S; not so at the GW. And the rest of the meals at the 4S for kids are far superior (and less costly) than at the GW. Also, the 4S puts out corn dogs and mac and cheese at the pool for kids -- again, at no cost.

The ironic thing is that the rooms at the 4S are somewhat more expensive, but when you factor in all of the ways that the GW will separate you from your money (I have only listed a few), they must net out to be about the same.

Finally, the atmosphere at the 4S is much more distinguished than at the GW. There is no comparison. The pool is much smaller (though still of a respectable size). It has a refined Italian resort feel to it, instead of a water park.

In sum, I do not know why a couple would ever choose the GW over the 4S. For those with kids, the GW makes sense (with knowledge that you are consciously making some sacrifices), but just remember to have your meals over at the 4S (it is a short walk). Or alternatively, stay at the 4S and buy passes to the GW pool for your kids so that they can go run around somebody else's pool.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled with family
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11  Thank Bay-Area-Foodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 July 2007

It has been a while since we were at the Grand Wailea, but the experience is one I should have shared earlier.
We have stayed at the Grand Wailea several times as part of a business group, and until our last visit, have had good experiences. At a nearby jewelry store, my husband purchased a bracelet for me for our anniversary. It disappeared from our safe, and we got little help attempting to get it back. It was obviously an inside job. Enjoy the Grand Wailea, but be aware that you can not keep any valuables on the premises--even in the safe.

  • Stayed: March 2006, travelled on business
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5  Thank Michiganlovetotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2007

The Grand Wailea exceeded our expectations. We went there recently for our honeymoon and were extremely pleased. They have agents working full time to help you book bike trips, hiking trips, dinner and other activities. The food was delicious. They went above and beyond our expectations of service. Nice workout facility, close to restaurants and shops. The only negative thing I could say is don't expect anything to be cheap. The hotel is expensive for everything. Although, we found this all throughout Maui.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Glamgal52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2007

We visited Maui and stayed at the Grand Wailea seven years ago when our kids were 15, 13 and 7. This time around they were 22, 20 and 14 and were joined by 7 cousins and 18 assorted Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents. We had a wonderful time and would have liked to have stayed another week just to relax. The rooms were all beautiful, very clean and most had great views. The staff were all friendly and everyone that I said hello to greeted me with a return smile and greeting.

The only two negative things I have to say is that they did not put our rooms together and the food was not wonderful. 12 rooms and we were all over the place, different floors, different wings and even different buildings! Thankfully we had no teens under 14 staying with anyone less then 18 and all were good, non-drinking kids.

The Grand buffet was great - made to order omelets and everything one could ever ask for for breakfast. But the two main restaurants, The Terrace ( I think that's what it was called - next to the adult swimming pool) and the Humuhumunukunukuapua had very good food, but for the prices they charged it should have been outstanding.

We were not able to get a cabana because we didn't know that they needed to be booked before arrival. We did rent Casabellas twice and they worked out very well. We had two next to each other both times and then had several lounges around them. Waiters came with treats (frozen grapes, cool wash cloths and popsickles) and took orders for drinks and lunch. The Casabellas are rented on a first come, first serve basis. I think they were $50 or $75 a day each. Since no one except the Grandparents stayed sitting still for long, having about 1/2 dozen lounge chairs was perfect.

I think my husband and I had one of the nicest rooms. We had a terrace room on the same floor as the reception area. It had a King bed, a sofa, a chair as well as a desk. The terrace had an extended grass section. The bathroom was also huge with double shower and a soaking tub. We rented a micro-fridge and used it to store juice and milk. We then invited the gang to come to our place for a light breakfast for most of the days. We ate at the Grand Buffet twice but some people in our group ate there every morning.

This was a wonderful vacation and after walking past 1/2 a dozen others along the beach, I think it was the best hotel.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled with family
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2  Thank toobusytoday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2007

Maui is an interesting place. I had a worker tell me that there are more Caucasians in Maui than Hawaiians. For a few times during our stay I really had to remind myself where I was. There is no luau or type of Aloha spirit evident except from the lei greeting at check in or the telephone operators who always said "Aloha" and "Mahalo." Interestingly enough there was a very large fireworks show (and it wasn't 4th of July) that was put on by one of the convention groups who were there. That certainly didn't remind me of Hawaii! On several occasions we passed employees who just walked by with their head down, not even smiling. Well, with that out of the way, here goes. We have stayed at this hotel before and knew what to expect. We had a garden view room which is very large by hotel standards. The king beds actually face the window. How intelligent is that? The bathroom is plush and large. I love the adult pool and cabanas. One of the things that I really hate is the people who go to the hotel and then complain about the prices. Heard a few of those conversations, but quickly figured out that these folks were vacation winners and freebie conventioners. (Saw a lot of people eating pizza and sandwiches on their lanais.) We had a cabana for every day of our stay. Definitely cheaper than a sunburn. I laugh at people who complain about the cabana prices. There's always the chairs and umbrellas on the beach for I think $35 or something like that. Sit there if you don't want to spend the money for the cabana or stick a towel over your head - towels are complimentary, you can get as many as you want and you don't have to sign them out. I'm also amazed by people who complain about the breakfast. We went to Cafe Kula every day. My breakfast was hearty and never cost me over $11. The water park is amazing. The slides are great and the pool is always kept spotless. With 700 rooms it amazes me how they can keep all the pools and slides so neat and clean. Bottom line: if you want peace and quiet stay next door. If you want a place with a lot of fun, but quiet areas as well, then this is the hotel for you. Oh, we did have several problems with our air conditioning. Room never seemed to get really cold. Not sure about the negative reviews below. We didn't see those type of problems. Saw basic wear and tear, but that was about it. We will definitely return.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled with family
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6  Thank californiamom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Address: 3850 Wailea Alanui Dr, Wailea, Maui, HI 96753-8443
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Hawaii > Maui > Wailea
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Wailea
#4 Family Hotel in Wailea
#4 Romantic Hotel in Wailea
#5 Spa Hotel in Wailea
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Wailea
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Wailea
#6 Green Hotel in Wailea
#6 Luxury Hotel in Wailea
Price Range: RM2,173 - RM5,644 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 780
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is the ultimate destination for a fabulous Hawaii vacation, perfect for families, spa goers, honeymooners, golfers and active vacationers. Situated on 40 acres of lush, tropical Hawaiian gardens, Grand Wailea opens onto Maui's beautiful Wailea Beach, voted one of the best beaches in America, with elegant and newly-renovated accommodations, indulgent spa treatments, fine dining and thrilling recreational options. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Wailea - a Waldorf Astoria Hotel Wailea
Grand Wailea Maui
Grand Wailea Resort Maui
Grand Wailea Hawaii
Grand Hotel Wailea
Grand Resort Wailea
Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort Maui, HI

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