Wailea is lucky enough to play host to the most fabulous resorts on Maui, and two of those are the Fairmont Kea Lani and the Grand Wailea.
These iconic beachfront resorts have been popular with tourists for decades.
Deciding where to stay is tough, because both resorts have so much to offer. We’ve put together this guide to ensure you make the right choice for you.
The Basic Facts: Fairmont Kea Lani and Grand Wailea
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Both the Fairmont Kea Lani and the Grand Wailea were opened in 1991, as Wailea began to firmly establish itself as a luxury resort.
Over the years, both properties have gone through extensive renovations and restorations.
Wailea is a resort destination, with acres of beaches and unforgettable sunset views.
The Fairmont Kea Lani and the Grand Wailea are within walking distance of each other, with the sprawling resorts stretching towards the sea.
What Type Of Rooms Can You Get?
The Fairmont Kea Lani actually has some of the biggest standard rooms in Wailea. All the suites are at least 860 square feet, with large windows revealing fabulous views (if you pay for them).
The one-bedroom suites are large enough for families, with amenities such as flat screen televisions, coffee makers, and double sinks. With elegant wood paneling and marble decorations, it feels sophisticated, if not hugely luxurious.
There are 780 rooms at the Grand Wailea, so you have more than enough options to choose from. Standard rooms are an impressive 640 square feet, and come with a king bed.
Large suites are spacious, but slightly lacking in amenities. The bathrooms are fantastic, and the sleek décor across the rooms is pleasant.
What About The Villas?
Villas at the Fairmont offer a more hands-on holiday experience, featuring gourmet kitchens, private courtyards, and barbecue grills.
They’re spacious and attractive, catering well to families who enjoy both privacy and having access to hotel amenities.
The smallest villa at the Grand Wailea is 3200 square feet, so it’s a place to go for opulence.
Massive bathrooms and comfortable living areas mean you may not want to leave the villa, but the private pool might lure you out.
Which Has The Best Pools?
It seems unfair to compare the very nice pools at Fairmont Kea Lani with the water wonderland found at Grand Wailea. Grand Wailea is unmatched.
Upper and Lower Lagoons at Fairmont Kea Lani
The lagoon pools at the Kea Lani are a fun place to bring the children that don’t feel a play park.
The cabana seating and plenty of lounge chairs offer a place to soak up the sun, while the keiki (children) enjoy the whirlpool and slide.
Adults Only Pool at Fairmont Kea Lani
Smaller than the lagoon pools but with a calmer atmosphere, the Adults Only Pool at the Fairmont Kea Lani is a real treat.
It’s simple but lovely, playing on the natural charm of the setting.
Grand Wailea Canyon Activity Pool
Children (and adults) will be able to spend hours in the Canyon Activity Pool.
There’s so much to do, you might almost forget you can leave the resort. With white water rapids, rope swings, waterfalls, and even a water elevator, this is perhaps the best pool on Maui.
Hibiscus Pool at Grand Wailea
The Canyon Activity Pool is fantastic, but the Hibiscus Pool at the Grand Wailea is a necessary addition.
The serenity found here is a world away from the madness of the water park. Enjoy the two jacuzzis, and the intricate hibiscus mosaic.
Which Has The Best Restaurants?
There are ample places to eat at both the Fairmont Kea Lani and the Grand Wailea.
Restaurants at Fairmont Kea Lani
The stand-out restaurant at the Fairmont Kea Lani has to be Ko. It combines local ingredients with beloved family recipes and luxury dining. Head to Nick’s Fishmarket for a romantic dinner, or the Kea Lani restaurant for a hearty breakfast.
AMA bar and grill provides poolside dining, or go to the Makana market café for the best pastries.
Restaurants at Grand Wailea
Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, known as Humu, is a fabulous floating restaurant celebrating simple ingredients. And that’s just the first of several eateries at the Grand Wailea.
The Café Kula and Bistro Molokini are casual dining areas with light bites and refreshing drinks.
What are the spas like?
The Fairmont Kea Lani and the Grand Wailea are both luxury hotels, so a spa is a must-have.
If you want to take your relaxation to the next level, then both hotels have some irresistible treatments.
Fairmont Kea Lani Willow Stream Spa
An award-winning luxury spa inspired by Maui traditions, you must make time to stop at the Willow Stream Spa. Using state-of-the-art spa technologies and ancient Hawaiian practices, Fairmont Kea Lani have created something special.
Try a rejuvenating fitness experience, a full-body wellness treatment, or a targeted massage.
Grand Wailea Mohalu by Spa Grande
A personalized escape awaits you at Mohalu by Spa Grande in the Grand Wailea. Choose from a range of treatments that cover the whole body, including some traditional Hawaiian experiences.
There’s also a 24-hour fitness center, for rejuvenation after a long spa treatment.
What is better at Fairmont Kea Lani?
The Fairmont Kea Lani has large standard rooms with quality features, plenty of nearby restaurants, and a beach that feels private. Families and couples (and honeymooners) will be happy here, although the pool is pretty simple.
What is better at Grand Wailea?
The biggest selling point of the Grand Wailea is the incredible water park, which is endlessly fun. Everything you need is at the Grand Wailea, although that does have its downsides.
Traveling around the resort can become tiresome.
Which is right for you, Fairmont Kea Lani or Grand Wailea?
The Fairmont Kea Lani is laid back, with a charming atmosphere and superb restaurants. Great for couples and families who prefer the quiet life.
The Grand Wailea is chaotic, but in the best way. Stay here if you like non-stop adventure, and a luxury room to rest your head.
Other Places To Stay In Maui
We’ve written quite a bit about all of Maui’s available lodging, and continue to do so, but we wanted to share a few more places to stay from our friends at Booking.com.
A Resort Stay: The Four Seasons Resort in Wailea is the cream of the crop of resort stays, with restaurants, ocean views, an on-site spa, and the Shops at Wailea are just down the road. Couples particularly love The Four Seasons!
Bed and Breakfast: Sometimes, it’s all in a name, and Adventure in Paradise is exactly what it sounds like, located in Haiku on Maui’s north shore. Wake up to a 180 degree view of Haleakala summit every morning from your private patio.
Hotel: The highly rated Maui Sunset hotel combines laid-back atmosphere and the beach of Waipuilani Park. Also, it’s only 1.7 miles from the Elleair Maui Gold Club!
Vacation Home: Find your home away from home at Puu Koa Palms, six minutes from Hookipa Beach, and near the Hana Highway. Also particularly great for couples!
Villas: If you’re looking to vacation in style with your own villa try the Andaz Maui, which include all the expected amenities along with grills and plunge pools.