The Ultimate Host

The Fairmont accommodates guests ready to buy the best

By: Marty Wentzel

In Southern California, there lives a girl whose family has celebrated all 12 of her birthdays in a villa at Fairmont Kea Lani.

“The villas draw a high percentage of return, long-staying guests,” said Fairmont Kea Lani general manager Christof Luedi. “Some come back as often as 10 times a year.”

I’m no fat cat, but after spending two nights in a Kea Lani villa, I understand why they’re a favorite among affluent travelers heading to Maui. The two- and three-bedroom bungalows snuggle closer to the ocean than the hotel’s main building. Measuring 1,800-2,200 square feet, each two-story haven has a private patio with a barbeque grill and plunge pool, two full-size bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and washer and dryer.

Not content to leave exceptional alone, Fairmont recently ratcheted up the service level in the villas.

“Hawaii and Maui, in particular, are experiencing high demand for luxury resorts,” Luedi said. “Our guests are discriminating travelers who expect the best. We are always looking for ways to meet their evolving needs and their desire for exclusive experiences.”

Like the ultimate host, Kea Lani stocked my digs daily with homemade mango bread, fresh fruit and other gratis goodies, a new perk for villa guests. Another recent addition is the personal villa manager, a dedicated resource person who contacts clients prior to arrival and during their stay to make sure each need is met. For in-villa dining, guests can now arrange for such extras as a private bartender, a hot dog barbeque party or a full-on steak and lobster dinner on the lanai. With one phone call and the appropriate monetary resources, clients can even book a private Hawaiian music concert in their villa, complete with hula dancer.

But frankly, I am content to enjoy my quarters without the extra frills. A multi-million-dollar renovation recently turned my villa into a work of art. The bed is a knockout with a teak-and-woven rattan headboard with sea urchin-shaped bedside lamps. A new bamboo entertainment center features carved teak handles, and the dining room table boasts cinnamon bark veneer. Every photo and painting in the unit reflects island scenes and moods. Shampoo, conditioner and other bath products come in containers so large that I never ran out after one use in the walk-in shower or the deep-soaking tub. Afterward I padded around in a plush Kea Lani robe and slippers.

Garbo-like clients can easily isolate themselves during a villa vacation, but they’d be doing themselves a disservice by neglecting the rest of the 413-room Kea Lani. Guests can sup and sip in the hotel’s many restaurants, including Nick’s Fishmarket Maui, Kea Lani Restaurant, Caffe Ciao, Polo Beach Grille and the lobby bar. If the private plunge pool at the villa seems small, clients can slip into the resort’s two lagoon-style swimming pools connected by a 140-foot waterslide or the adult-only pool. Spa Kea Lani pampers guests with massages, facials and body and hydrotherapy treatments. And the adjacent Kea Lani fitness center is open 24/7 with top-of-the-line workout equipment. Just outside the hotel’s front doors, action awaits on Wailea’s three championship golf courses and 11 Plexipave tennis courts.

When my fantasy vacation came to an end, the personal villa manager called to see how she could ease my transition back into the real world. Based on her recommendations, I flipped on my 27-inch TV and used the speedy On Command system to check out rather than go to the hotel’s front desk. A bellman arrived at my door, on time to the minute, to retrieve my luggage and drive me to the lobby. I asked if he could bypass the porte cochere and simply shuttle me to my car in the hotel parking lot.

He smiled and said, “I can take you anywhere you need to go.”

I felt special indeed.


Fairmont Kea Lani Villas
4100 Wailea Alanui
Wailea, Maui, HI 96753

Hits: A recent renovation enhanced what were already exceptional accommodations. New services for villa guests include a daily delivery of beverages and snacks and personalized in-room stationery. Optional extras now include in-villa meals, prepared and served by a gourmet chef.
Misses: Eventually, all vacations must come to an end.
Be Aware: The villas are situated closer to the ocean than the main hotel building. Villa units are two-story with stairs connecting the levels inside. Only one unit is wheelchair accessible.
Plugging In: Desks are set up for easy connection to the resort’s high-speed wireless Internet access service, which costs $13.95 per day. Guests pay $10 to use the Business Center on the hotel’s lobby level.
Clientele: High-end travelers who expect the best; clients seeking privacy and pampering.
Rates: Two-bedroom villas range from $1,600-$2,200 per night with three-bedroom units from $2,200-$2,800. The new Hawaiian Concert package, including one night’s accommodations, a private canoe experience, gift basket, villa barbeque with chef, and performance by two musicians and a hula dancer, costs $10,000.
Commission: 10 percent