In the world of travel, word of mouth can make or break a resort. So when I heard about Wailea Beach Villas’ exceedingly high ratings on Expedia and Trip-Advisor, I decided to head to southwest Maui to see what all the fuss was about.
Wailea Beach Villas features a convenient location close to shopping. // © 2009
An exclusive residential oasis operated by Destination Resorts Hawaii — which represents eight condominium properties in the area — Wailea Beach Villas is the only Wailea property without a restaurant to receive 4½ stars from Expedia. It has also been the top-ranked Wailea hotel on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index since August 2008 (with the exception of three weeks when, according to spokesperson Sandy Frewer, a “rogue reviewer” gave the property a bad critique).
Based on my visit, I’d say that the high scores are right on target. This property stands ready to meet all needs. If seclusion is a priority for your clients, it satisfies them with a gated entrance and private elevators. If personal attention is a must, a dedicated concierge staff customizes each guest experience with niceties such as butlers and in-room spa services. If size matters, the resort comes through in spades with 98 penthouses and villas ranging from 1,900 to 3,100 square feet. My particular villa boasted three bedrooms with enough space for two families and then some.
Bring the Family
In fact, multigenerational travelers are just the market Wailea Beach Villas is targeting, according to Frewer.
“The property is positioned to attract high-end families who prefer a home environment rather than a hotel stay,” Frewer said.
But in this economy, even well-off clans are looking for deals — and Wailea Beach Villas understands this.
“The ratio of price to value is what’s most important for today’s traveler,” said Frewer. “Not only is Wailea Beach Villas luxurious, it provides outstanding value. This leaves a lasting, positive impression for visitors.”
The resort’s current packages underscore its commitment to value. Consider its Escape Rates promotion, which slashes rack rates by up to 62 percent. The starting cost for seven nights is $3,465, good on visits through Dec. 17.
“The Escape Rates are a direct response to feedback that consumers are willing to accept fewer services in the form of limited housekeeping, guarantee the reservation up front and stay a minimum of seven nights if the rate is right,” said Frewer. “Clients can luxuriate in a 4½-star villa or penthouse for the equivalent of a hotel room.”
The resort is also running a promotion with reduced rates, free breakfast at neighboring Longhi’s Restaurant and use of a sedan or minivan.
In return for their investment, Wailea Beach Villas guests get the works, from flat-screen televisions and elegant furnishings to multiple bathrooms and spacious walk-in closets. My villa’s gourmet kitchen — replete with granite countertops, state-of-the-art stainless-steel appliances and every possible cooking tool at the ready — made me wish I were a better cook. For clients who are similarly challenged in the culinary department, Wailea Beach Villas provides private chefs who can whip up a meal for them in the kitchen or create a barbecue dinner on their expansive oceanview lanai. Clients can also order room service thanks to an exclusive contract with Longhi’s or try other Wailea restaurants, many within walking distance.
The location of Wailea Beach Villas is hard to top. It’s right next door to the Shops at Wailea, which features upscale boutiques, galleries and eateries. A path through the grounds leads to a beautiful stretch of Wailea Beach, where the property provides chaise lounges, beach umbrellas, outdoor showers and attendants tending to every need. The popular walking path that runs the length of Wailea Resort lines of the edge of the property just in case clients feel the need to explore beyond their home base.
But why leave Wailea Beach Villas when it offers 12 acres of fabulous amenities? At the beachfront Makai infinity pool, reserved for adults, employees provide guests with Egyptian-cotton towels and cold water. Families gravitate to the Mauka pool and hot tub, located closer to the villas, with a special one-foot wading area for small children. Young guests can raid the Keiki Closet, stocked with free beach toys, sand pails, boogie boards, water wings, inner tubes and inflatable mats. Near the Mauka pool is a fitness facility — with Precor equipment and personalized entertainment units — plus a business center and a billiards room.
Frewer noted that most of Wailea Beach Villas’ clients hail from California, with growing interest out of Texas and the East Coast. And if it continues to answer the call for value in the coming year, I’m guessing the property will keep earning rave reviews from its guests.