If you are looking for a slice of paradise on your next family vacation, you’ll find it at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Resort. I’ve stayed at several Fairmont properties so I may have biased to begin with because I’ve never met one I haven’t loved. That meant that the bar was set very high for this hotel and it certainly didn’t disappoint. This family-friendly resort is the perfect blend of fun for energetic kids and an overall atmosphere of pure relaxation for tired parents.
The property is situated on 22 oceanfront acres of tropical paradise on the pristine sands of Polo Beach in Wailea, Maui. On either side of the Fairmont, the beach is flanked by private residences. Luxury town homes are on the right (starting from 5 million dollars if you’d like to own a piece of that delicious view) and a low rise condominium complex is to the left. Although not technically a private beach, it felt as though we had the place to ourselves because the Fairmont is the only hotel on that particular stretch.
The undisputed advantage of staying at the Fairmont (as well as a favourite feature of every parent who has stayed there) is the suites. Every room in the resort is a one bedroom suite with a separate sleeping area for the kids.
With every room in the resort facing the ocean and and having at least 860 square feet of elbow room, there is no such thing as a bad room. All suites come equipped with two big screen TVs, mini fridge, a huge lanai (a Hawaiian balcony), separate bedroom and a massive sectional in the living room that converts to a queen-sized bed. My kids were thrilled they got they very own TV to watch cartoons in the mornings, and the built in media centre includes hookups to attach to your personal devices (tablet, smart phone, etc) to stream your favourite Netflix programs or music. The bathroom was one of the biggest I have seen in a hotel room, featuring double vanities with wall-to-wall counter space, a massive tub and large tile shower with plenty of space for mom and dad to bathe the kids without feeling crowded.
The Fairmont Kea Lani offers both fine dining and casual fare in the resort’s four restaurants. For a sandwich or coffee on the go, Caffe Ciao is a trendy Italian bakery, gift shop and deli. We bought wine at this little stop before heading back to our room in the evening to enjoy a glass on our lanai when the kids were in their bed.
In the mornings, we frequented the buffet breakfast at the Kea Lani Restaurant, which offers open air dining overlooking the adult swimming pool (no startling morning cannon ball splashes in the adult pool presumably). There is an à la carte menu service, as well as a full buffet breakfast complete with an omelette bar.
With restless little ones who were overtired from travel, the last thing we wanted to do for dinner on our first evening, was load them up in the car to find somewhere to eat, nor did we want to disturb other diners at our resort with cranky kid antics, so we opted to order room service. With a full sized dining table and chairs on our lanai, complete with a gorgeous view of the ocean and a sunset, it was the perfect option to provide us with delicious food and a stunning view without having to utter a single plea of “sit still and keep your hands to yourself” under our breath. Although we ate at normal feeding time, the Fairmont Kea Lani offers 24 hour room service for those with a hankering for premium nosh at out-of-the-norm meal times. Kid’s ages five and under eat free at all Fairmont property restaurants including Ko, their award winning restaurant that was voted the 2013 Maui Restaurant of the Year.
In truly fortuitous timing, the Willow Stream Spa celebrated its grand re-opening during our visit, giving me the chance to experience their de-stress 60 minute massage. I’ve always treated myself to a massage at the end of my holidays but I had made the decision to get one the morning of my first day, in an effort to fully unwind and set the tone for the week ahead. It was definitely the right choice – the massage was heavenly. After my treatment I enjoyed their newly installed spa shower experience.
The Willow Stream Spa prides itself on their state-of-the-art technology paired with local elements. To begin the experience, you slather detoxifying mud derived from local herbs and plants made from local supplier Ala Lani, followed by a steam, and finally ending with one or all of three showers that combine sounds, water and lights. Although I’m typically more of a bath than shower person, while fiddling with the shower settings, I proved that I’ve never outgrown my love of playing with buttons, and I loved the mud scrubs so much I stocked up on some before leaving.
Although the all-suite accomodations, the fabulous food and the glorious spa all make mom and dad happy travellers, the pool is the first thing my kids want to dive into on their vacation and the Fairmont Kea Lani did not disappoint. There are four pools, plus a few hot tubs. While one pool is reserved for the grownups, the others are kid-friendly.
The two activity pools are connected by a 140-foot waterside and adjacent to the bottom pool is a toddler pool for the smaller ones to splash in, however my kids wouldn’t go near because it was for “babies.” The kids loved the waterslide that flowed from one pool to the next. It’s elegantly hidden among rocks, trees, flowers and a waterfall so you might not even find it if you weren’t looking for it.
The best place to view the slide is from the not-so-secret-secret hot tub. My son was very excited when he discovered the hard-to-find hideout only to realize other people had discovered it as well (but not many, because it’s that well hidden). It also happened to be the best place to capture my kids’ grins as they rode down the slide.
I could barely pry them away from the waterside to eat and sleep, so they never ended up seeing the Keiki Lani Kid’s Club. The club is open from 9:00am – 4:00pm and offers supervised activities for children ages 5-13 years old. If your kids are too young for drop off or you’d simply like to take a break from the sun, the club is open daily from 2-4pm for parent-supervised play.
We loved the casual diverse, yet comfortable atmosphere of the Fairmont Kea Lani. From well-heeled guests in their designer linen and Gucci sunglasses, to those wandering the grounds in flip-flops and bathrobes, it was obvious everyone felt a sense of place here. All guests seemed to share the same relaxed gait of those truly enjoying paradise. It’s a tall order to experience bliss on earth, but we were happy to make the sacrifice.
Fairmont Kea Lani Contact Info:
A big thank you to the Fairmont Kea Lani for hosting our family at their gorgeous resort.
For more great ideas of family fun things to see and do in Maui, be sure to visit www.gohawaii.com/maui.