Season of Luxury

Maui’s Four Seasons is the Cadillac of resorts for clients who can afford the best

By: Bill Becker

WAILEA, MAUI Sure, there are several hotels to choose from in Wailea, one of Maui’s handful of exclusive coastal enclaves featuring world-class resorts, but how many have presidential suites, like the Four Seasons’, going for $8,200 per night? Sound out of line? Hardly. According to Mark Simon, director of marketing, such an offering merely reflects the Four Seasons Maui’s careful dedication “to satisfying our guests to the nth degree.”

The Four Seasons is an AAA Five-Diamond, Cadillac of a hotel in which both the Hollywood and corporate elite have regularly traveled since its opening in 1990. On a recent hosted visit, the luxury could be felt the moment we entered the palatial, Zen- and stone-themed lobby. The lobby opens up to a massive view of the ocean and the beach, framed by a fountain and tiered lines of cabanas and chaises. Nothing seems 10 years old; it all seems brand new.

As at other Maui resorts, an array of activities await clients on the beach, including surfing, sailing, kayaking, parasailing, windsurfing, boogie-boarding, snorkeling and bicycling. Most of these are available at Maui Watersports’ beach center at the Four Seasons (www.maui

Three 18-hole championship golf courses are also available to guests across the street, beyond Wailea Analui, at the Wailea Golf Club.

The hotel has hikes, workouts and other fitness/wellness activities, too. It also hosts local athletic events such as a “lite” version of Hawaii’s famed “Ironman” triathlon known as the “Aluminum Man” race.

Or clients can just sunbathe, surf, swim or lounge on the hotel’s white sands. Meanwhile, Maui’s natural beauty beckons. To the west are the spectacular shoreline, white sandy beaches and the islands of Kaho’olawe, Lanai and Molokai. To the east and northeast lie two of Maui’s greatest tourist treasures Mount Haleakala and the road to Hana.

Tally up the Four Seasons’ other assets and you have a major player in Maui: a newly renovated spa; a new 1,000-square-foot fitness center; a richly equipped computer gaming salon (as if endowed by Bill Gates) and an impressive “Kids for All Seasons” daily activity center and program for children ages 5-12.

The spa is small relative to the hotel’s size, but cost some $3 million to renovate. It boasts an array of treatment rooms and a healing garden of local herbs and flora. Guests can use an elegant couple’s suite for soaking or exfoliating under masks of native Hawaiian roots and herbs. Thatched huts offer views and sounds of the ocean for further enhanced massage, facial or scalp treatments.

A proviso: the treatments cost, cost, cost.

The hotel sits on 15 acres and features 380 rooms and 75 suites; 85 percent of the guestrooms offer ocean views from a deck or balcony with chaise lounges. Be sure to check though, as some of these abut service driveways or employee parking and feel less secluded and quiet.

Rooms feature amenities such as mini-refrigerators, coffeemakers and even coffee grinders with free Kona coffee beans (though housekeeping forgot to replenish the complimentary filter packs).

Television, VCRs, DVDs and, most notably, complete Bose audio systems (not clock radios) can also be found in rooms, along with small but eclectic CD collections.

Bathrooms feature stand-alone bathtubs framed in steel and glass, underpinned by elegantly tiled floors.

The Four Seasons’ eateries are also impressive, and each has an open-air, often oceanfront, seating option.

Ferraro’s, the flagship haute restaurant, showcases authentic Italian cucina rustica. Spago is where patrons enjoy world-famous Chef Wolfgang Puck’s cuisine, utilizing fresh Hawaiian ingredients. Finally, the Four Seasons’ meat-and-potatoes equivalent, the Pacific Grill, has a thorough breakfast buffet (including omelette and waist-high children’s stations), Hawaiian regional cuisine and evening entertainment provided by a slack key guitarist.

The hotel also has a special 8th floor concierge level and Club Room that exude a dedication to privacy and security, as well as luxury. Absolutely no guests from other floors are allowed in the Club Room. It’s just down the hall from the Presidential Suite, designed expressly for CEOs and heads-of-state hence, its towering price tag. It’s a great place to hide out as an occasional coup requires!

In fact, the Four Seasons is a great place to send any upscale client to hide out and enjoy the good life.