Travel

By Kimberly McDonald

When Jose Luis Ezquerra designed the first (and still only) all-suite luxury resort on the island of Maui, he certainly chose the right name. Kea Lani…Heavenly White or White Heaven.

With a backdrop of blues ranging from azure to turquoise, the stunning white caps of the Kea Lani stand out among the other more traditional looking hotels in the Wailea area. Situated on the famous Polo Beach, the Kea Lani is one of the Fairmont group’s crown jewels.

But you can read all of this on their website. The fact is that no matter how stunning the lush gardens, gorgeous architecture or breathtaking views are, what really sets this hotel apart from the other ones is its staff and service. I found this to be, by far, the most friendly and helpful staff I encountered on Maui.

The rooms are well-appointed and very comfortable. The bathrooms all have standup showers as well as great sunken tubs – ideal for soaking in after a day spent riding down the flanges of a volcano! Since it’s an all-suite hotel you have your own living room and a furnished lanai (for you mainlanders, that means balcony or terrace).

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The hotel also boasts oceanside private villas. I toured one of the villas during my stay and it is truly the epitome of luxury. With your own private plunge pool and barbecue, you might not need to leave your villa during your entire stay! In addition, each villa provides a kitchen, washer & dryer, and the same luxurious bathroom amenities you find in the suites of the hotel.

The staff attends to your every need at the Fairmont Kea Lani, and nowhere is this more apparent than the pool area. Fresh towels are delivered to you. Whether you choose the adults only pool, the great lawn (where you can bask in the sun, with your chaise facing the Pacific), or the swim-up bar, the staff is there to offer their assistance should you need anything. I found that the staff was also very helpful with regard to local activities and suggesting places to go for shopping, music, local flavor, golfing, turtle watching and all manners of island activities. The really contribute to the warm and friendly atmosphere.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the hotel bar. First of all, it’s all open-air and that makes it absolutely stunning. With the blue Pacific and White Kea Lani as a foil, this gorgeous space is set with oversized chairs and sofas that you can sink into while enjoying one of the bar’s signature cocktails. A great place to stop at before heading to Nick’s Fishmarket for the freshest seafood menu in Wailea.

The Fairmont took over the property in 2001, and so far as I could tell, maintained the integrity of the original design and appeal of the heavenly white Kea Lani. They have seen to it that the guests have a place where they can enjoy relaxation, good food, gorgeous setting, a convenient location, and a helpful staff to make them feel like they’re living on a cloud for the week.

Maybe, just maybe, they are…

Originally published June 2005
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