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Editor's note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, TravelAge West is encouraging all readers to stay at home and do their part in flattening the curve. This includes travel to Hawaii. We hope that the information in these stories will help readers stay up to date for when it’s once again safe to return to Hawaii.
Shopping-centric clients with Maui on their minds will want to know about two noteworthy retail projects in Wailea Resort.
Shops at Wailea, which presents famous brands as well as unique island boutiques, is undergoing an impressive renovation. And Wailea Village, which specializes in intimate, locally owned businesses, is an exciting new venture that’s still growing.
Both centers promise healthy doses of retail therapy for future visitors to southwest Maui.
As vacations draw closer, travel advisors can urge clients to do some online window shopping by browsing the websites of these dual lures.
Shops at WaileaThink of Shops at Wailea as a natural extension of the destination’s stylish accommodations. With 70-plus stores, restaurants and galleries, it welcomes all visitors and residents, yet it feels especially in sync with the well-heeled clients who gravitate toward Wailea’s hotels and resorts.
For instance, its ABC Store — Hawaii’s ubiquitous convenience mart usually known for mainstream, tourist-oriented items such as sunscreen and T-shirts — adds an upscale touch by selling fine wines and Champagne. Its Island Gourmet Market features top-tier meat, fish, cheeses and baked goods appealing to visitors who are staying in one of the area’s condominiums. Gucci and Tiffany peacefully coexist alongside Billabong and Crazy Shirts.
Shops at Wailea is in the midst of a major upgrade, which is set for completion prior to the 2020 holiday season. When finished, the public spaces will incorporate design elements that channel Maui’s history and culture.
Eventually, the facility’s common areas will pay tribute to three distinct geographic zones, from the mountains to the middle and lower valleys. Overall, clients will discover more room for lingering, strolling and enjoying special events (such as free live shows by a variety of Hawaii’s top performers). There will also be a farmers market, which will flourish with produce from regional growers.
“Travelers today seek location-driven experiences unique to their destination, and that is precisely our goal with this extensive revitalization,” said Rosalind Schurgin, CEO of The Festival Companies, which manages Shops at Wailea. “The enhancements to our center will bring a true sense of place inspired by the beauty and landscape of Wailea and the island of Maui.”
Note: The Shops at Wailea is currently open, with current operating hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays until further notice.
Wailea VillageThis new 45,000-square-foot gathering place doesn’t focus on big box stores, luxury anchor chains or franchises typically found in other retail centers. Instead, more than 90% of its shops are locally owned. That means visitors get a rare opportunity to chat with some of Maui’s most creative talents.
A great example is Sabado Gallery and Boutique, where Phil Sabado — considered one of Maui’s best painters — shares works depicting Hawaiian history, culture, nature, people, mythology and everyday life. It’s significant that he decided to open his first gallery here, according to Therese Hotvedt, spokesperson for Wailea Village.
“When you walk into his gallery, you’ll either meet Phil himself, his son Erin or his wife Christine,” Hotvedt said. “Clients can easily find themselves spending two hours talking story with the Sabados and perhaps even the grandkids. That's the kind of welcome awaiting in Wailea Village; the shops are part of the owners’ home, and they treat everyone like family.”
Then there’s Paper Garden, home of original cards and gifts, where guests can take part in owner Pamela Zemrus’ crafts workshops like hand-lettering, candle-making and paper flower-making. In Kohola Gallery, underwater and nature photographer Douglas Hoffman greets clients personally and shows them around, while Droplets owner Beate Sykes charms visitors with her whimsical collection of children’s clothes and souvenirs.
Soon to debut at Wailea Village is Opihi, a restaurant showcasing the skills of acclaimed Hawaii-born chef Troy Guard. When it opens, the 5,000-square-foot eatery will feature local seafood, meat and produce along with dazzling ocean views from a wraparound lanai.
Note: Certain retailers at Wailea Village have currently re-opened.