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After a much anticipated opening, Andaz Maui at Wailea officially opened on Sept. 1. Formerly a Renaissance hotel, the 297-room, 15-acre oceanfront resort in southwest Maui was redesigned by the architecture firm Rockwell Group and restructured into a hip, modern property.
The hotel’s biggest news is the mid-October opening of Morimoto Maui restaurant by renowned Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Until then, the hotel’s open-concept Kaana Kitchen is doing a stellar job of combining mainland favorites and local specialties. Kaana Kitchen dedicates its efforts to locally sourced food and, in turn, collaborates with Awili, the resort’s spa, which uses the restaurant’s leftover fruits, herbs and spices in hand-mixed treatments. That means the pineapple which guests saw at the morning buffet might be baked, dehydrated and eventually used in a soothing exfoliating scrub concocted by the resident aesthetician.
Rockwell Group’s goals were to present open and airy guestrooms and public spaces to complement the lush surroundings of Mokapu Beach. The rooms’ white plantation-style shutters help with that effect. Indeed, stunning views of the ocean and Molokini and Lanai islands are accessible, provided guests master the electric panels controlling the blackout shades and lighting. If anything’s amiss at Andaz, it’s the lack of good old-fashioned light switches for the technologically impaired.
Still, Andaz’ perks more than make up for tech issues, starting with the welcome beverage upon arrival and informal check-in performed by employees holding iPad minis. Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi access and minibar contents, save for alcoholic beverages. It’s fun that each Andaz property stocks different products; clients won’t find regular Coke, but instead, Virgil’s Real Cola, Honest Aid Orange Mango Juice, Pop Chips and Kind Fruit & Nut Bars — all free and replaced daily. Maui is a pretty pricey island, so freebies are most welcome.
The question is, will guests under the age of 12 truly be at home at Andaz? It’s clearly a modern and sexy hotel that’s geared toward couples and adults. Beautiful people lounge around the adults-only pool and infinity pool, but there is another pool shallow enough for tiny tots. The Lehua Lounge and Bumbye Beach Bar stay hopping, and a DJ plays most nights. We saw young children around the fire pit at the Lehua Lounge after 9 p.m. and, somehow, it didn’t feel appropriate as adults sipped tiki-themed tropical drinks.
On the other hand, Andaz does feature a kids' camp, complimentary for guests ages 5-12. Called Hub 808, it invites children to take part in a variety of activities such as throw net fishing, kite making and flying, Hawaiian games and coconut leaf weaving. Families can also try snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding and outrigger rides together at the resort.
Andaz Maui is the 10th hotel to join the Andaz brand, and more Andaz properties are opening in Costa Rica, Riviera Maya, Mexico and Tokyo.