Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

Seriously, why do I have to live so far away from Hawaii?! I’ve now been to Hawaii twice – both times visiting the beautiful island of Maui, which I love so very much. I have two full travel guides for Maui coming soon – one for Wailea and another for Kapalua, but today I’m starting off with a full overview of one of my all-time favorite hotels, the Fairmont Kea Lani. And if you’re planning a multi-island trip and heading to Kauai, be sure to check out my travel guides for Princeville (north side) and Poipu (south side). My Princeville guide is actually my most popular blog post ever, just saying!

Given the experience we had at the Fairmont Kea Lani, it comes as no surprise that this year, U.S. News Travel the resort received awards for Best Maui Hotels and Best Hawai’i Hotel. This resort was one of the main reasons we came back to Wailea. A few years ago the resort went through a $70 million renovation and let me tell you, it’s pretty incredible. One of my favorite things about it is that the entire property is made up of suites and villas, so you literally can’t go wrong with any room. Read on for lots more about our experience at the Fairmont!

Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, Hawaii

What to Do

One of the things I love most about Hawaii is that it’s a tropical paradise while also offering lots to do to stay active. My husband isn’t one to spend a week sitting still on the beach {though I definitely could & he is getting better at it!}, so we like to have activities while we’re on vacation. And it’s always nice to do a few things that qualify as a workout to avoid getting completely off track. Plus when you’re in a place like Hawaii, anything outdoors is enjoyable!

At the Fairmont Kea Lani, they have their Inspire Your Energy fitness and wellness program that has a little something for everyone, including everything from personal training sessions to daily fitness classes that are free for guests {yoga, mind body barre, pilates, boot camp, meditation breathing, aqua fitness & more}. The best part about these is that many of the classes are outdoors, so you’re not cooped up in a gym while it’s gorgeous outside. Sunset yoga – yes, please! And to top it off, there are lots of restorative treatments you can choose from at the Willow Stream Spa.

To get a taste of Maui culture, go on an outrigger canoe ride. At the Fairmont Kea Lani, you can make reservations in advance of your trip {space fills up quickly!} for their Hawaiian Canoe Experience, which is a 1-hour excursion that’s free to hotel guests. It was a really cool experience and great way to see the beauty of Wailea from a different perspective. Mid-way through, we jumped right off the boat and got to do some snorkeling! I had a big fail and didn’t replace my waterproof camera before we left for this trip, but managed to get a few pics with an old school disposable camera I bought at the gift shop {who knew these still existed?!}.

Fairmont Kea Lani, Wailea, Maui, Hawaii - Polo Beach Sunset

And while the activities at the resort were great, I’ll be honest and say my favorite parts of staying at the Fairmont were the simple things… the beach and pool! The beach, called Polo Beach, is beautiful and pretty calm because it’s protected by lava rock on both sides, so it’s great for snorkeling along the Wailea Point reef, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, etc. If you’re there during the winter months {peak season is December I think!}, you can go underwater and actually hear all of the Humpback Whales, and you can see them right from the beach. I was very bummed to miss this but made up for it when we got to swim with the sea turtles while snorkeling off the Kauai coast. When we visited Maui for the second time during the same time of year, we saw a bunch of whales off in the distance from one beach over.

Fairmont Kea Lani - Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

There are two lagoon-style pools that are connected by a waterslide, one of which has a swim-up bar that we posted up at quite a bit, and then there’s a separate adults-only pool if you want to get away from the kids. We actually preferred the lagoon pools because of the swim-up bar and waterslide, which BTW isn’t just for kids – I went down it several times a day! If you want some extra space, you can rent a cabana at any of the pools.

Fairmont Kea Lani - Wailea, Maui, Hawaii 

We had rented a jeep for our stay on Maui, which I would highly recommend, but while we were in Wailea we barely used it because we were only there for a couple nights and wanted to take advantage of all that the Fairmont had to offer. It was great to have while we were in Kapalua and would definitely have been needed if we did any day trips if we had more time.

The biggest one is the Road to Hana, which is quite the trek but I’ve heard great things about it. And you can stop at the popular Mama’s Fish House for food/drinks on your way out there (daytime/sunset are best because you’re paying for the view!). Aside from that, there are lots of other activities to check out all over the island – check out the sunrise/sunset at the Haleakala crater, experience a Hawaiian luau, golf at the Wailea Golf Club or at Kapalua for even better views and get your shopping in at the Shops at Wailea. 

Where to Eat

My favorite restaurant during our stay in Wailea was Kō, the Fairmont Kea Lani’s signature restaurant, which is currently #1 on TripAdvisor’s list of the top restaurants in Wailea. The restaurant is all outdoors and it was nice to get to enjoy the beautiful nighttime temps and views of the sunset. Everything on the menu is inspired by Hawaii’s plantation era, with a mix of Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese flavors. I love how over 90% of what they serve is local produce, fish and beef.

Fairmont Kea Lani Dining - Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

Some dishes to try at Kō are the Catch of the Day with the Macadamia Nut Crust, Beef Short Ribs and Lobster Tempura. I also tried a few different Kō Plantation Cocktails and they were all SO good. I wish I could remember which ones I had, but they probably were different then since they use all seasonal fruits and herbs. When I was there, they showed me how they literally pull herbs from a garden on the property, so you know everything is super fresh.

For breakfast, we ate at the Fairmont’s Kea Lani Restaurant, which has both buffet and a la carte options. We loved starting off the day with fresh Hawaiian fruits and juices. Then we had lunch right at the swim up bar every day, complete with a giant drink in a pineapple, which was my favorite. At one point I was drinking water out of my pineapple after my drink was gone! So refreshing and fun. 

Other places to try right behind Kō on the TripAdvisor list… Ka’ana Kitchen, Matteo’s Osteria, Ferraro’s, Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman and Nick’s Fishmarket Maui (also at the Fairmont!). And if it’s football season and you (or your husband) are dying to watch an NFL game with some beers and bar food, head to Mulligan’s On the Blue, which is right up the street from the Fairmont, overlooking the golf course.

Fairmont Kea Lani Suites & Villas

As I mentioned earlier, you really can’t go wrong with any room at the Fairmont Kea Lani because they’re all beautiful suites. We stayed in a one-bedroom suite (floor plan here, suite tour here) with a view of the pool/ocean and it was perfect. Nice big, cozy bed, living room area, huge bathroom, kitchenette area, etc. Absolutely zero complaints here! But if you want more space or have more people, you can also go with a luxury beach villa (floor plan here, villa tour here) with 2-3 bedrooms, full kitchens, right on the beach.

Fairmont Kea Lani - Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

Fairmont Kea Lani - Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

Fairmont Kea Lani - Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

Questions about the Fairmont Kea Lani? Leave them in the comments below – along with your favorite things to do/see in Maui!

Fairmont Kea Lani - Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

Fairmont Kea Lani - Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

Big thanks to the Fairmont Kea Lani for providing me with a complimentary stay at the property to experience it first-hand!


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