A Tropical Travel Blog
by Cate Lincoln

Wailea, an upscale resort area in south Maui is one of my favorite spots in all of Hawaii. The resorts are fabulous, the beaches gorgeous, and it just feels like 24/7 vacation. On my latest trip to Maui, I spent a few days at the Fairmont Kea Lani (one of the crown jewels of Wailea) soaking up the sun at a poolside cabana, strolling along the beachwalk, and wading through the tidepools on Polo Beach.

The Fairmont Kea Lani is a posh resort located on 22 beachfront acres in Wailea about 30 minutes from Kahului Airport. With a prime spot on Polo Beach at the start of the Wailea Beach Walk, three pools (including a water slide!), numerous restaurants, an award winning spa, and plenty of golf, tennis, shopping, and dining nearby, you’ll be torn between reading and sleeping the day away in a beach lounger and taking advantage of all of the fun!

I received a discounted media rate during my stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani as well complimentary breakfast and cabana rental.  But of course, I only recommend my absolute favorites to you. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Hulaland possible.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

In this post, I’m going to share a travelogue of my stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani, give you a list of 15 things to do at the resort, and finish up with tips for enjoying your stay.

But first, check out this video of my stay:

My Travelogue

On this trip to Maui, I was lucky enough to be traveling with a couple of first time visitors to Hawaii. There’s nothing better than seeing one of your favorite places through new eyes! We spent the first part of our trip on Ka’anapali Beach and after checking out on the west side and grabbing acai bowls at WowWow Lemonade in Kihei, we checked into the Fairmont Kea Lani.

From the moment we pulled up, it was a first class experience. The portico and lobby are so grand and sweeping, and they perfectly frame the ocean in the distance.  We got checked in very quickly, and our room was ready early so we went right up and they had our luggage delivered before we even finished looking around the suite!

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

I was blow away by the view from the balcony! We had a full on ocean view. While there are a few garden or mountain view rooms, it seems like the resort is laid out so that the majority of the rooms have ocean or partial ocean views.

RELATED: Not very familiar with Maui? Read up on the lay of the is(land) and where to stay plus my favorite condos, luxury resorts, and boutique hotels and my area specific guides (including where to stay, eat, and things to do) for Wailea, Ka’anapali, the north shore, and upcountry plus my review of staying at the Four Seasons Maui.

The Fairmont Kea Lani is Hawaii’s only oceanfront all-suite and villa resort which makes it a perfect option for families or couples who want more room to spread out. Pricewise, it’s on the lower end of the surrounding resorts in Wailea, but you practically get double the space!

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

After we got settled, we packed up our beach and pool gear (when you’re staying at a place like this you really only need a bikini, sunglasses, and a book!) and headed out to explore the resort. We settled at the pool near the slide and spent the late morning hours swimming, lounging, and going down the slide!

Once those acai bowls from the morning started to wear off, we went in search for food and ended up at Ama, which is the pool bar and is a similar menu to what the poolside attendants offer.  I had a great mahi mahi sandwich and we also tried out one of the cocktails of the day (each day they had a special one at a discounted price).

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

During our stay, the resort was undergoing some construction which impacted the dining options, but the Makana Market and Café was scheduled to open soon which will give guests the added option of quicker/more convenient food and sundries.

After lunch, I headed down to Polo Beach to explore the tidepools a bit. The south end of the beach (go out to the beach and walk left) has some lava rock formations that are home to urchins, crabs, and other sea life when the tide goes out. I suggest wearing shoes so you can scamper around the rocks safely.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

Later, just as we were getting ready to head out to dinner, we had a special delivery! Macarons and a bottle of sparkling wine from Maui Wine! Every time I’ve stayed at a Fairmont, we’ve gotten a special surprise (read about my stay at the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island here), so when you check in make sure they know if you’re celebrating something special. Also, you’ll get text messages from the concierge checking in on you throughout your stay so don’t be afraid to mention it to them as well! They really go out of their way to make each and every guest feel so special.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

We started the next morning bright and early with breakfast at the Kea Lani Restaurant. It’s an amazing buffet with a selection of American, Hawaiian, and Asian favorites. Besides an omelet station and choices of pancakes, waffles, French toast, breakfast meats, eggs, etc., there’s a wide selection of local fruits and topping stations for chia pudding and oatmeal as well as a meat and cheese board with salmon. There were soooo many baked goods (the mango bread was some of my favorite) and in addition to POG juice (passionfruit, orange, and guava) they had fresh squeezed lillikoi nectar. There were so many Asian offerings that honestly weren’t too appealing to me for breakfast (I did have wontons!), but it was pretty cool seeing what other cultures eat for breakfast.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

I also want to add that the friends I was traveling with are gluten free and the Fairmont Kea Lani was SO accommodating. They made fresh gluten free pancakes and French toast and brought them to the table for them and they looked so fluffy and delicious!

After all of that breakfast, we burned a little of it off by walking the Wailea Beach Walk. This 1.5 mile coastal trail starts at Polo Beach (where the Fairmont is located) and winds its way along the cliff past Wailea Beach (Four Seasons & Grand Wailea) and ends at Mokapu Beach (Andaz Maui). The trail was bustling with runners and walkers and it’s a great way to see the most beautiful parts of Wailea.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

Once we were back at the Fairmont, we checked into our cabana for the day. It was located at the adults only pool and it was so GLAMOUROUS. The private cabanas cost $199 for the day and come with padded lounge chairs, a cooler with drinks (we chose water and guava juice but soda was also available), fresh pineapple, trail mix, and fruit platter, and mocha ice cream. We also had an attendant that checked in on us every so often and who we could order additional food and drinks from.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

I also went to take a mini tour of the spa since it has recently won awards as one of the best spas in the world. It also has some very innovative treatments including a WaveMotion massage, which uses a special table that tilts, rotates, and rocks to create a weightless feeling. There are only five in the world so it truly is a unique experience!

We rounded out the day just lounging about the cabana, swimming in the pool, and reading before heading out for an early dinner on the north shore. We checked out early the next morning to catch a flight to Oahu.

16 Things to Do at the Fairmont Kea Lani

1.Visit the Willow Stream Spa: The Fairmont’s award winning spa offers some of the best treatments in Hawaii. The spa facility is very luxurious, but you can also opt to have your massage poolside.

2.Wailea Beach Walk: Take a stroll past Wailea’s fabulous beaches along a walkway that overlooks the ocean. It’s a great place for spotting whales in season.

3.Take a Fitness Class: Try your hand at a variety of yoga (including paddleboard yoga!), meditation, barre, and bootcamp classes on the lawn, beach, and pool.

4.Fish Feeding at the Koi Pond: Meet at the bottom of the grand staircase every morning at 9 AM to help feed the resort’s koi fish. 

5.Torch Lighting Ceremony: Catch it nightly at the lower pool.

6.Hawaiian Canoe Experience: Learn about the ancient art of Hawaiian canoe paddling or rent a paddleboard at Polo Beach. 

7.Hula and Ukulele Lessons: Every Monday at 9 AM in the lobby take part in either a hula or ukulele lesson.

8.Take a Mixology Class: On Mondays at 3 PM the mixologists at Luana Lounge reveal the secrets to their cocktails. There’s also a special mixology event held in the lounge most Friday evenings.

9.Mermaid University: Kids ages 7-12 can participate in Mermaid University every Tuesday at 10 where you’ll hear mermaid legends and learn to swim with a monofin. Private sessions are available for an additional cost.

RELATED: 20 Bakeries and Food Trucks on Maui

Complete Guide to Upcountry Maui

5 Maui Day Trips

Where to Snorkel on Maui (and Find Sea Turtles)

Best Maui Beaches

Where to Eat on Maui 

Guide to the Road to Hana

5 Things to Skip on Maui

10.Tiki Tuesday: On Tuesdays (4-11PM) in the Luana Lounge, celebrate popular tiki culture with tropical drinks tricked out with paper umbrellas.

11.E Komo Mai Tour: This 45-minute welcome tour is hosted on Wednesdays at 10AM and features information about life in Hawaii as well as the local flora and fauna.

12.Hawaiian Language Lessons: On Thursdays at 9 AM join in on a quick lesson on the Hawaiian language as well as some tips on pronunciation.

13.Photography Scavenger Hunt: Two different self guided photography scavenger hunts are available at the concierge.

14.Reserve a cabana: There’s nothing more luxurious than spending the day lounging poolside under a cabana.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

15.Wailea Golf Club: Just a few minutes from the Fairmont Kea Lani is the Wailea Golf Club. One of the nicest in Hawaii, the club is home to three championship courses and a large training facility where you can work on your swing.

16.Shops at Wailea: The nearby Shops at Wailea is THE place to do your shopping. You’ll find everything from high end designer shops (Gucci, Louis Vuitton, YSL, etc.) to surf shops (Billabong, Roxy, RipCurl, etc.),  to local boutiques and souvenir spots (there’s an ABC Store and Whaler’s General Store).

Side Note: If you’re looking for a rental car for your trip, I LOVE Discount Hawaii Car Rentals. They’re seriously the only company I ever use. They’ll give you the very best prices, you don’t have to reserve with a credit card or pay until you show up, you can cancel and re-book anytime if you find a better rate, and they usually have a special that adds additional drivers for no fee. It’s a no brainer. Click here to check rates for your trip.

Tips for Enjoying Your Stay

All rooms at the Fairmont Kea Lani are suites so there’s a separate living area with a pullout couch, television, and mini bar.  Also, there are two different doors to the bathroom (through the bedroom and also through living room) so if there’s anyone sleeping on the couch, they won’t have to go traipsing through the bedroom to get to the bathroom.

You’ll definitely want a rental car on Maui. Although it’s so tempting to stay at the resort the whole time, there is so much to see and do on Maui that you’ll want to get out and explore. Self parking is included in the daily resort fee, but valet is extra.

There are six restaurants and lounges at the Fairmont Kea Lani. Ko is the resort’s signature restaurant. It’s open for lunch and dinner and blends flavors from the island’s plantation days. Nick’s Fish Market is one of the island’s best seafood restaurants and it has an impressive wine list. The Kea Lani Restaurant is where you’ll find the breakfast buffet. Ama is the pool bar and grill (there’s a swim up bar in the upper pool), Luana is a lounge off of the lobby, and the Makana Market and Café is where you’ll find quick service food and sundries.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

Pool and beach loungers (with umbrellas) are available on a first come first serve basis. 

Check for promotions when you book your trip that include the daily breakfast buffet for two or a fifth night free.

The Fairmont Kea Lani is very food allergy friendly. Make a note on your reservation if you’re dining at Ko or Nick’s and at the other restaurants inform your server when you’re seated. They have provisions for cooking food separately as well as providing extra gluten free options (like pancakes, waffles, and French toast made to order at the Kea Lani Restaurant).

Wailea is easily walkable from the Fairmont either via sidewalk or the beachwalk. Due to its high concentration of resorts, there are a lot of restaurants at your fingertips besides just what’s at the resort. Duo and Ferraro’s at the Four Seasons are a couple of my favorites as well as the Monkeypod and Gannon’s.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui Review

If you’re interested in a snorkel trip to Molokini Crater, I would suggest booking with Kai Kanani. They launch their catamaran from Makena just down the road. It’s the closest option (and a great tour).

P. S. Special thanks to Cameron White for taking most of the beautiful photos featured in this post and to Nicole White for social media coverage during our stay!

Thanks for sticking around and reading this whole post! It’s always my goal to provide a TON of value to YOU. To that end, lately I’ve been packing my Instagram (@hula.land) FULL of content and adventures that you might want to check out. A lot of my post captions are like mini blog posts with travel info, I’ve got IGTV review videos for luaus and excursions, and helpful story highlights like grocery store prices and hotel reviews. Not to mention that my feed is pretty much the ultimate tropical eye candy! You can follow me here and share my account with your friends! Your support really helps me to keep this blog running!

Also, if you have ANY questions about planning your trip to Hawaii, you can join my free Facebook group here. I’m in there answering questions every day and there are 5000+ other friends who have a ton of Hawaii information to share!