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