Best Breakfast in Wailea: Buffets That Are Worth $50/Person & Ones You Should SKIP
If you’re staying in resort-land and looking for breakfast, I’ve got you covered. Now I know that most people just end up going with whatever is convenient and that usually means what’s offered at the resort where you’re staying, but if you’re trying to plan your budget, or just want to make sure that you get GOOD FOOD I’ve got the scoop on what you need to know.
Yes, most dining options (especially breakfast) in Wailea are located in the resorts so I’m going to break down your best options if you want to do a full breakfast buffet, something a little quicker (and cheaper) plus non resort options (including some of my favorite spots in nearby Kihei.
Best Breakfast in Wailea
So, here’s where to find the best breakfast in Wailea…
Resort Breakfast Buffets
If you’re all about living that lavish resort lifestyle, then you’re quickly going to get familiar with the breakfast buffet. It’s a staple at any high end beach resort and you’ve got OPTIONS in Wailea. Which is good, because you’d think one $50 breakfast buffet is as good as the next, but you’d be wrong. There’s a surprisingly big variety among the big resorts in Wailea…most wonderful, but at least one that I would recommend avoiding…
Ka’ana Kitchen (Andaz)
Ka’ana Kitchen at the Andaz Maui is probably my favorite breakfast buffet in Wailea. It’s the average $50/person, but I think they have the best offerings, best quality, and best service. The restaurant also has a great view and even on a non-weekend/brunch day it’s probably the place that feels the most like a special experience (even for $50/person some resorts just feel like they’re shuttling a herd of guests through the buffet before they leave for their daily adventures).
One thing I really like here is that omelet and made-to-order egg requests are handled through your server and brought to your table so you don’t have to stand in line and wait for them to make it.
The whole concept of the restaurant is that you’re actually in the kitchen (even at dinner) so a LOT of the food for the buffet is actually being made right next to the serving stations. Which means that you can usually grab extremely fresh waffles, pancakes, etc. They’re also really good about swapping out dishes and bringing out fresh food so you never feel like you’re getting the stale, crusty ends that are left in the pan.
They have everything you could possibly want here but I especially loved the desserts. A lot of them were unique and not the typical things that you see at a breakfast buffet. Example: Nutella brioche buns and homemade fruit cobbler.
If you’re just coming for oatmeal, yogurt, eggs, etc. the price is pretty excessive, but if you’re ready to really eat and enjoy it, you won’t be disappointed.
Kea Lani Restaurant (Fairmont Kea Lani)
I’ve been here a few times and it never disappoints. The food is top notch both in selection and quality. And they’re clearly prepared for an international crowd…I always enjoy seeing miso soup, dumplings, and rice available for breakfast.
And I LOVE the new makeover they’ve given the dining room. It’s very “Golden Girls” and I’m here for it.
One thing you need to know here…the omelet station is tucked around the corner and very easy to miss.
I was a bit surprised that the buffet here is a few dollars more per person than most other places in Wailea ($2-3), but it’s within range and it pulls its weight. I approve.
Humble Market Kitchin (Wailea Beach Resort)
I hate to say it, but this is the one to avoid. It’s a very average breakfast buffet (think mid tier Marriott in a city), it doesn’t have a ton of variety and honestly most of the hot food seemed like it had been sitting in the heating dishes for hours. Which it probably had…there were noticeably fewer people eating here than everywhere else I’ve been in Wailea.
The view is great though!
If breakfast here is included in your rate (it’s a Marriott but the restaurant is 3rd party so Bonvoy elites that get free breakfast perks don’t get it here- they get it at the Starbucks), it’s a decent options, but there’s NO WAY I’m paying $50/person for this when I’ve seen what’s next door ; )
DUO (Four Seasons)
I haven’t been to DUO in a while so I’m due back for an update, but in the past it’s always been very good. At $52/person it’s on par with everywhere else, but they also have a really good ala carte menu here which surprisingly a lot of the other breakfast buffet restaurants don’t have.
Great location on the pool deck!
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‘Ikena (Grand Wailea)
This is the only big resort breakfast buffet that I haven’t been to so I guess I’m going to have to make it a priority!
I love the location right off the lobby with views overlooking the resort. The Monday – Saturday buffet is in the same price range as everywhere else in Wailea ($50/person), but I’ve got my eye on the Sunday Rose Brunch which looks extra swanky. $115/person gets you the regular full buffet, a glass of rose, a smoked carving station, fresh ceviche bar, oysters, snow crab, shrimp cocktail AND MORE.
It sounds excessive, but honestly, that’s Wailea.
Casual Resort Grab & Go Options
When your wallet (and honestly, your stomach!) can’t handle the buffet one more day, you’ve still got options! Most of these (probably with the exception of Whale’s Tale) aren’t places that you would go out of your way for if you’re not staying there, but it’s good to know your options:
Whale’s Tale (Wailea Beach Resort)
This outdoor counter service spot is about as close to the water as you can get. They’ve got coffee drinks, acai bowls, smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, etc. and a lot of really cute seating options. All with a view! It’s right on the Wailea Beach Walk so it’s a really convenient spot if you want to take an early morning walk and stop to grab a bite.
Mokapu Market (Andaz)
The grab and go market at the Andaz is a full on coffee shop with pastries, sammies, etc. Plus a little mini mart of snacks.
Makana Market (Fairmont Kea Lani)
Grab and go market at the Fairmont Kea Lani. It’s got a really convenient location near the pool so it’s also a good option for lunch.
Kula Cafe (Grand Wailea)
The Grand Wailea’s grab and go/quick service cafe also has a ton of seating and you can take stuff to go but it’s pretty far from the pool/beach.
Beachwalk Cafe at the Four Seasons
I think the Four Seasons got the short end of the stick when it comes to grab and go/quick food options (but hey, that’s probably the demographic) but what they’ve got is the Beachwalk Cafe. Aptly named because it’s a little kiosk right off the beach. Grab coffee, drinks, ice cream, some snacks, pastries and sandwiches. Their breakfast (and lunch) sandwiches are actually really good.
Places Outside the Resorts
If you just need something a little more lowkey (or hearty, or not excessively priced), here’s where to go:
Island Gourmet Market
I want to call this the best kept secret in Wailea, but I don’t know how you could call it a secret. It’s attached to the Shops at Wailea (walkable from the Wailea Beach Resort) and it’s the closest thing to a grocery store you’ll find in Wailea. But besides stocking up on snacks, groceries, and prepared foods, they also have a grill/restaurant and they have really good food. If you want a big, greasy loco moco, this is your spot. They cook hot food made to order for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Whalers General Store/ABC Store
Inside the Shops at Wailea you’ll find a Whalers General Store (bottom level) and an ABC Store (upper level). Both are little markets (similar to Island Gourmet) and good places to stock up on snacks, drinks, and prepared foods.
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This is the local coffee shop in Wailea and you’ll find it up the road in Wailea Village. If you like a long morning walk, it’s a good destination.
There’s a full-fledged Starbucks in the lobby of the Wailea Beach Resort. If you’re walking along the Wailea Beach Walk (from the Grand Wailea, Four Seasons, Andaz, etc.) just follow the signs up through the resort to the lobby.
Breakfast Places in Kihei
If you want a good local style breakfast spot…you’re not going to find it in the resort bubble ; ) But Kihei is a 5-10 minute drive away and that’s where you’ll find the good stuff.
For me, Kihei Caffe is a must do. It’s hearty, big portions, and GOOD local style food. Be prepared to wait in line if you go mid morning (but it moves fast) and take cash (or there’s an ATM inside). It’s right across from Kalama Beach park and it just feels like where you want to be when you’re on vacation in Hawaii.
Nalu’s South Shore Grill
Somewhat of a trendy spot, this place serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Everything is counter service and moves quickly (even with a long line), but the fare is a bit higher end than local “dive” spots. It’s located in the back of a strip mall, so no view but they’ve created a pretty lush atmosphere all the same.
Here’s one more really important thing you need to know before your Hawaii trip…
Reservations You Need to Make BEFORE Your Hawaii Trip
You’ve got your airfare, hotel, rental car and your big activities booked, so you should be good to go, right? Wrong!
Travel is BOOMING in Hawaii so a lot of state and national parks used the closure and reopening to institute reservation systems at some of the island’s most popular spots to make things a little more sustainable.
That means that there are now over half a dozen sites (beaches, trailheads, etc.) that require advance reservations. And some sell out well before you arrive on the island so you really need to have some sort of a plan.
I recently saw somebody in a Hawaii travel group post in a panic that they didn’t know they had to make reservations for things in advance…they thought they could just show up and “go with the flow.” I was tempted to say, well, “as long as the flow doesn’t take you somewhere that requires reservations, you can!” ; )
But I don’t want YOU to be that person, so I’ve pulled together a list of all the places you need to reserve entry in advance (plus all the details on booking windows, price, links, etc.) and a handful of popular tourist hotspots that book out really far in advance too.
Haleakala National Park (Maui)
To visit Haleakala National Park for sunrise at the summit, you must make reservations in advance here.
Reservations are required to enter the park gates between 3AM and 7AM (sunrise hours).
Online reservations are $1 per reservation/vehicle PLUS you’ll pay the park entrance fee of $30/vehicle when you arrive (National Park annual passes are also accepted at the gate).
The reservation booking window opens 60 days in advance at 7AM HST. There are also a limited number of tickets released two days before.
You can make one reservation every three days with the same account. So if you want to make reservations for back to back days (in case of weather/conditions), you’ll need to do so with separate accounts (email addresses).
If you can’t get reservations for sunrise, you can enter the park anytime after 7AM without reservations. The summit is spectacular during the day and you don’t need reservations for sunset.
I strongly recommend creating an account before and making sure you’re logged in at 7AM HST because it’s not uncommon for reservations to sell out quickly.
Waianapanapa State Park (Maui)
To visit Maui’s famous black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park on the Road to Hana, you must make reservations in advance here.
Reservations are required to visit the beach and are distributed in windows from 7AM-10AM, 10AM-12:30PM, 12:30PM-3PM, and 3PM-6PM. And they are pretty strict about exiting by the end of your window time (you can arrive anytime within your window).
It’s $5/person to enter plus $10/vehicle to park and those fees are paid when you book your time slot.
Reservations open up 30 days in advance.
Iao Valley State Park (Maui)
To visit the lush, green mountains and hike at Iao Valley State Park, you must make reservations in advance here.
Reservations are offered for 90 minute time slots beginning at 7AM and ending at 6PM. They ask that you arrive within the first 30 minutes of your time slot.
Entry is $5/person plus $10/vehicle to park.
Reservations open up 30 days in advance.
Diamond Head (Oahu)
To hike to the top of Waikiki’s famous Diamond Head, you must make reservations in advance here.
Reservations are offered in two hour increments beginning at 6AM (6AM-8AM, 8AM-10AM, etc.) and ending at 6PM. If you’re parking onsite, they ask that you arrive within the first 30 minutes of your reservation window.
Entry is $5/person plus $10/vehicle to park.
Reservations open up 30 days in advance.
Tip: I recommend booking one of the first two time slots because there isn’t much shade on this hike and it gets pretty hot.
Hanauma Bay (Oahu)
To snorkel at Oahu’s pristine Hanauma Bay, you must make reservations in advance here.
Entry times are staggered in 10 minute increments from 7AM to 1:20PM with roughly 1000 slots being assigned in advance every day.
Reservations can be made two days in advance and they open at 7AM HST. They’re usually gone in minutes (if not seconds).
If you’re unable to get an advanced reservation, you can try for a day of, walk in ticket. They open at 6:45AM and they only have a limited number available. Everyone in your group needs to be present when you purchase your tickets in person.
There are no reservations for parking and it’s first come, first serve. $3/vehicle.
It’s $25/person to snorkel at Hanauma Bay (12 and under, active military, and locals with HI ID are free).
The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is open Wednesday through Sunday (CLOSED MONDAY AND TUESDAY) from 6:45AM-4PM. Last entry is at 1:30PM, the beach is cleared at 3:15PM and you have to leave the facility by 4PM.
Jellyfish patterns can also affect whether or not the bay is open so double check the day before/day of.
USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor (Oahu)
If you want to take the boat tour at Pearl Harbor out to the USS Arizona, it’s recommended to make advance reservations here.
Online reservations are guaranteed a specific boarding time to go out to the USS Arizona. If you’re unable to get an advance reservation, you can wait standby when you arrive. The line could be short (15 minutes or so) or long (hours) and it just depends on the day (if they’re having problems with the loading dock sometimes they don’t take many from the standby line) and the time of day.
Reservations are supposed to open up 60 days in advance, but keep an eye on your exact dates, because lately they’ve actually been opening up about 57ish days in advance???
They also release a small batch of tickets the day before.
The boat ride out to the USS Arizona is free, but it’s $1 to make the reservations online.
They recently started charging $7/vehicle for parking at Pearl Harbor.
Haena State Park / Kalalau Trail (Kauai)
If you want to hike Kauai’s famous Kalalau Trail, you must make advance reservations here.
You’ve got three options here:
1) Parking & Entry: This is the most flexible option and also the most limited. THESE RESERVATIONS SELL OUT IN LESS THAN A MINUTE. There are three time slots available: 6:30AM-12:30PM, 12:30PM-5:30PM and 4:30PM to sunset. You can purchase multiple time slots if you want to stay longer. It’s $10/timeslot (parking) plus $5/person and you have to reserve every person when you initially book. Everybody has to arrive in the same car and your ID needs to match the reservation.
2) Shuttle & Entry: If you can’t get parking at the trailhead, there’s also a shuttle option. Shuttle reservations are $35/person (16+), $25/person (ages 4-15), 3 and under can ride free. The shuttle runs every 20 minutes 6:20AM to 6:40PM.
3) Entry Only: If you’re a Hawaiian resident (with HI ID) or someone WITH a Hawaiian resident, you can purchase entry only for $5/person with no advance reservations. Also, if you’re walking or biking to the trailhead you can do this option. But there is NOWHERE to park in the area to walk in. So this really only works for those with bikes or who are staying close enough to walk. They will tow your car if you park outside the designated areas.
The reservation window opens 30 days in advance at 12AM HST. The parking & entry option usually sells out in a minute, but the shuttle availability will last longer.
There are a TON of FAQs here including the possibility of snagging a canceled reservation.
Other Things to Book in Advance
Hawaii is a busy place these days! Besides the state and national parks above, here’s a handful of miscellaneous things you should make reservations for in advance (if they’re on your radar):
Mama’s Fish House (Maui): The iconic spot is the most popular restaurant in Hawaii and they’ve been opening reservations (and selling out) 4-6 months in advance. You can call and get on the waitlist for one day or you can set notifications on OpenTable to alert you for cancellations every day of your trip. Most people have pretty good success on OpenTable.
Old Lahaina Luau (Maui): Honestly, any luau you’re planning to attend you should book early, but most people are usually shocked how far out the Old Lahaina Luau books out. Book it as soon as you know your dates (I think they open at the six month window). They also have a waitlist.
Kualoa Ranch UTV Tour (Oahu): Everybody loves Jurassic Park so getting to ride UTVs where they filmed the movies is very popular. The ranch offers a lot of different tours but the UTV tours usually book out a couple of months in advance.
Spa Reservations: If you’re staying at a resort with a spa (or planning on visiting one), don’t wait until you arrive to make your reservations. I’d make them at least a month in advance.
Tee Times: Same for golf, reserve your tee times well in advance.
Dining Reservations: Any “fancy” or resort restaurant is likely to be booked up these days so if you like having a nice dinner every night, make your plans in advance.
Want to read more? Don’t miss some of my most popular (and favorite) posts about Maui: My Favorite Hotels on Maui | Wailea vs Ka’anapali | All of the Wailea Resorts Ranked | Maui Travel Tips | Things You Can ONLY Do on Maui | Where to Find Maui’s Best Condos and Vacation Rentals | My Favorite Road to Hana Itinerary | Road to Hana Tips | Should You Drive the Backside of the Road to Hana? | 10 Day Maui Itinerary | Best Snorkeling Beaches on Maui | Snorkeling Molokini Crater | Old Lahaina Luau Review | Is Mama’s Fish House Worth It? | Tips for Sunrise at Haleakala National Park | Things to Do in Wailea | Things to Do on the North Shore | Things to Do Upcountry | Where to See Turtles on Maui | Whale Watching on Maui | Maui Pineapple Tour | Where to Stay in Hana | Where to Stay in Kihei | Where to Stay in Lahaina & Ka’anapali | Best Beaches in Wailea & Kihei | Fine Dining on Maui | Best Restaurants in Wailea | Best Restaurants in Lahaina | Grand Wailea Luau Review | Maui vs Kauai | Four Seasons Maui Review | Andaz Maui Review | Fairmont Kea Lani Review | Wailea Beach Resort Review | Four Seasons vs Andaz Maui | Andaz Maui vs Wailea Beach Resort | Best Breakfast in Wailea
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