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Where to Stay and Where Not to Stay in Wailea, Hawaii

Wailea Beach Maui Hawaii

In October of 2017, I took a break from family portraits and hopped on a plane to Maui, Hawaii for a wedding. When we found out our friends were getting married in Hawaii at the Four Seasons we were so excited because neither my husband nor I had stayed there before. Actually, I had never stayed at ANY Four Seasons ever, so I was REALLY excited to say the least.My excitement bubble was quickly burst when I realized just how much this resort costs. As a fan of AirBnB and boutique hotels, I was completely out of touch with reality. There was no way we'd be staying all 4 nights at this elite resort. So what's a girl to do? I struck a deal with my husband. We stayed 3 nights at The Grand Wailea next door and 1 night at Four Seasons. SCORE right?! Well, not exactly.Before I get into my opinions of this resort (you might feel differently!), I have to say, the wedding hosted there was STUNNING. If you're a bride looking for a destination wedding location, consider Four Seasons Maui at Wailea. From the beautiful grass lawn terrace overlooking the ocean to the food (lobster, lobster, lobster!), no detail was missed and it was truly a lovely experience.Now, if you're a regular Jane planning your Maui vacation, listen up. 


Ok, people. Like I said before, 95% of our shut-eye while traveling is accomplished in a semi comfortable Ikea bed in a cute AirBnB that costs a fraction of one night at the Four Seasons (in the cheap room). BUT, I hear you. This is luxury. Even if it is insanely pricey, as a normal human being, I wanted to experience it for at least one day and accepted the steep price during booking.



I don't know what I imagined this would be but it was something like the opening scene of Coming To America.
We certainly didn't arrive to a palace with a string quartet to welcome us. Instead, we pulled up to what seemed to be more of a side entrance than a grand entrance. It was very beige and kind of dark, too. But, there's more to a hotel stay than the entrance. I let it slide.
The staff was extremely friendly, though, and whisked our bags off to our room. We were greeted with lemonade and hot towels. In theory this is nice, but for $700 a night, can I get a damn glass of champagne, a mimosa or anything better than sugar water?
The receptionist was delightful and even upgraded our room from mountain view to garden view. I don't think I've ever been upgraded to anything so that was fun and I was pumped to see this fancier room. 
I'll preface this by saying the room was very nice. Soft Hawaiian music played in the bathroom as we settled in, the bathroom was HUGE, and our upgraded space came with a lanai overlooking the gardens. However, at a whopping $850 a night, I simply could NOT rationalize how the room was that expensive.


Alright, moving on. After all, we probably weren't just paying for the room. It's more about the other amenities, right?


That's a little dramatic, but again, for the dollar amount they attach, the pool should be outrageously nice. It was extremely cramped and the white and blue cabanas and lounge chairs could use some design updating. The plastic lounge chairs just screamed PUBLIC POOL. Also, this pool in the center of the resort was the main pool for honeymooners and kids alike. 
Whether you're grabbing a glass of rosé at the pool bar, Ferarro's, or eating breakfast in the open kitchen restaurant, DUO, you will feel like a mom of 5 just trying to enjoy 5 minutes of peace and quiet.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love the kiddos, but again, when a resort puts a hefty price tag on the experience, I expect a little more luxury (aka silence).

The lounge area overlooking the ocean is a little nicer than the main pool but you'll still get plastic lounge chairs. You better show up early, too, to snag a spot and by early I mean about 7:30-8:00am. People are serious about those plastic loungers.



There was an adults only pool tucked away that was FABULOUS, I just think it should have been the main pool. It was rather small, but the decor was ultra chic with sleek cabanas, lounges, and an infinity pool. I stayed here.



Again, when you're charging $700+ a night, why is everything else so expensive, too? Bottles of water were $8 and cocktails $20. As I ate my pitifully plated eggs and bacon accompanied by the sound of screaming children, I couldn't comprehend how it was all worth it.  



If you're a millionaire or celebrating a major milestone and just want to experience it, sure, stay at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, but I would suggest saving your dollars (or thousands) and stay next door at The Grand Wailea instead.

For half the price, I felt like we got more out of our stay at The Grand Wailea. The entrance is DELIGHTFUL with Banyan trees, a waterfall and an expansive open air lobby. Bottero Lounge sits in the middle of the lobby just begging you to have a drink and cheers to vacation. The cocktails are more affordable and the lounge offers happy hour. The property grounds are vast, meaning you might get lost. The food and staff were spectacular. We chose the breakfast included rate which was served in their open air balcony restaurant (it was beautifully plated, too!). We had a balcony room with ocean views and a big bathroom. The hotel offered a complimentary photo session with affordably priced digital images for purchase. There is easy beach access with lounge chairs and umbrellas for guests. Most importantly, the main pool was adults only and the kids pool was far far away down one of the multiple lush pathways. We even checked out the "kiddy" pool and discovered it was more than just one pool. It was multiple pools, one of which had a grotto bar for yours truly. Now that's a kids' pool I can hang out in.



Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea did offer some amenities, though, that other resorts do not. Every time you turn around someone is handing you a hot towel, the staff is beyond friendly, Hawaiian music plays in the room, the carpet in the hallways must be Tempurpedic because it was so soft, and there are complimentary tampons in all the ladies' restrooms (sorry boys, but the gals know that can come in handy). With that being said, I didn't fly 10 hours for free tampons and I honestly think we can all live without hot towels. 

Four Seasons Resort Maui is undoubtedly beautiful, it's merely the price tag that tempered the experience.

Maybe I'm hard to please or maybe this resort just isn't worth the money. In my opinion, they need to either charge less or be better.



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