It makes sense that the 72-suite Hotel Wailea turns heads with its inventive food and beverage programs.
After all, it’s Hawaii’s only member of the Relais & Chateaux collection, which prioritizes exceptional cuisine as part of the guest experience.
Hotel Wailea’s novel culinary offerings appeal to Maui visitors who are hungry to learn — and have a good time in the process.
“Since we’re an adults-only property, our clientele is generally divided between millennials and empty-nesters,” said Christy Stesky, director of marketing for Hotel Wailea. “It’s wonderful to see them united by a desire to be active and enjoy life.”
Flavors of Hawaii
In 2018, the hotel launched Flavors of Hawaii, a series of hands-on cooking classes where clients work with ingredients sourced from local farms and fishing boats. Topics change seasonally, which is a plus for repeat guests.
Led by Krista Garcia, chef for Hotel Wailea, the program is presently focused on pasta. Clients can learn how to make and shape the dough, then enhance it with fillings and sauces.
Classes, which take place in a gleaming kitchen, are open to the public and take up to 12 participants. Held twice per month, the classes include wine pairings and culminate in a sit-down dinner, allowing folks to savor the fruits of their labor.
Hotel Wailea just took the wraps off the new Secret Garden dining program, open to guests and non-guests alike. The name refers to a twinkling outdoor garden with eight tucked-away tables.
As diners dig into the chef’s tasting menu, they can peer through large windows to see the action in the kitchen, which has been renovated as an exhibition-style space. If they like, clients can go into the kitchen and meet the chef during the evening.
People can even book a seat in the kitchen for the duration, getting an up-close look at their meal in progress. It’s a truly immersive dining experience.
Open since 2015, private dining perch The Treehouse is hidden away in the hotel’s grove of mango, avocado, starfruit, papaya and banana trees. The alfresco gazebo serves up dramatic views of the ocean, sunset and humpback whales of winter.
An ultra-romantic setting for a proposal or a simple tete-a-tete, it’s the preferred choice for clients who are eager to get away from it all. Ideal for special occasions, it can also hold up to eight guests for dinner or 25 people for a stand-up reception.
Five nights per week, The Treehouse features a seven-course extravaganza that the chef has has curated in advance.
Tropical Mixology 101
Guests have been raising their glasses to toast Hotel Wailea’s wildly creative cocktail menu. During Tropical Mixology 101, however, they can whip up their own exotic potions.
Led by the always-entertaining master bartender James Shoemaker — a comedian and former radio host — the free, hourlong event runs twice weekly, with two different curriculums.
Clients concoct island classics such as mai tais and pina coladas, utilizing fresh local ingredients, many of which have been handpicked from the hotel’s on-property orchard. (Look for it poolside at The Cabanas, with a 10-person limit per class on a first-come, first-serve basis.)
More to Watch
Since the hotel sits on a hillside above the rest of Wailea Resort, it boasts unhindered panoramas of the ocean and neighboring islands.
To capitalize on its vantage point, the hotel plans to transform a portion of its lobby into an aptly named lounge called The Birdcage, with cocktails as compelling as the views. Officials hope to debut the new social hub by summer.
Also coming up: a luxury fishing expedition for two guests, followed by a seven-course Treehouse dinner — with the day’s catch prepared tableside, of course.