The Andaz Maui is certainly an upscale resort, but it can still be a value for what you get.
And most importantly for me, it’s much smaller than most of the big chain resorts. It’s not the sort of place where you have to head down to the beach at 8 a.m. to place a book on a beach chair if you hope to use one later in the day.
It’s a nice hotel, that offers a lot, and while it is part of a chain it doesn’t exude that ‘resort factory’ feel.
It’s still in a resort area, to be sure. It’s just down the street from Hilton’s Grand Wailea Waldorf property (itself a behemoth, albeit a nice behemoth). But once on property you get a much more boutique-y experience.
In that way it’s a contrast to the last two properties I stayed at on Maui, the Westin Maui and the Hyatt Regency Maui both in Lahaina, on the opposite end of the island from Wailea where the Andaz is located.
Here’s why the Andaz Maui is my favorite hotel on the island, the things I like best about it, and also the drawbacks you should watch out for in deciding to stay there.
Value for the Rooms
Room rates can vary a lot but in general I don’t find the property to be much more expensive (and sometimes less expensive) than the Hyatt Regency Maui. Rates hovering around $400 a night are not cheap, but when the Sheraton gets that much this can still be a relative value.
What I think is a terrific value is Cash and Points, which – when available – runs 12,500 points and $150 per night.
Of course always compare this to a paid room rate — I would say this ‘breaks even’ at $300 per night so if there are any big sales (e.g. “3rd night free”) a paid rate could come out less.
In either case, cash and points or paid rate including 20% off ‘My Elite Rate’, Hyatt’s Diamond members can use a confirmed suite upgrade.
A suite which books into the partial ocean view category for $150 plus 12,500 points per night is a fantastic value for sure.
After all, a cash upgrade just to a partial ocean view room (not suite) off of a standard paid booking would run $75 a night.
The Room Itself
I was fortunate that as a Diamond they upgraded me a category higher than the partial ocean view suite to one with a better view of the ocean.
This could have been luck as a Diamond (I’ve seen plenty of reports of lucking out this way), or it could be because I was originally booked to stay at the hotel when it first opened, but when opening was pushed back twice I wound up unable to visit. They didn’t offer an explanation, but I’ll definitely take the better view.
The room itself didn’t impress in terms of design or size. It was roughly the size of two regular rooms, which isn’t usually the sort of suite I prefer to burn upgrade certificates for. But it was 3 nights on Maui and I got my ocean view, so I was definitely pleased.
The bed faces out to the ocean.
The bathroom lets you look out as well, or you can draw the shades.
The shower is gorgeous, it’s one of the longest showers I’ve seen though not especially wide. Overall the bathroom is huge and was probably my favorite feature of the room. The only strange thing was that there seemed like there was a setup for an adjustable shower head on the wall of the shower, but there was only the rain shower above actually there.
The bathroom did feature a Japanese-style toilet, Hawaii is a fairly popular beach getaway for Japanese tourists.
The living room features a ‘picnic bench’ style dining room table, and a small couch as well as a desk.
Off of the living room is a small half bath, almost hidden.
Interestingly, the minibar was pretty sparse (internet and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks from the minibar are free at Andaz properties).
There was also no bottled water. There’s actually no plastic bottled waters on property, so they give you a plastic refillable bottle at check-in. I let the bellman deliver my luggage and he brought two bottles with him.
At turndown the hotel would deliver reusable glass bottles with filtered water.
The plastic bottles and glass bottles weren’t enough for me, so feel free to criticize my environmental ethic but I brought my own plastic bottles purchased at a nearby grocery onto the property to drink.
The lanai spanned the length of the suite but was narrow, not much room to move about or have a meal outside. The furniture on the balcony wasn’t especially comfortable.
Everyone was remarkably friendly… at check-in, valet stand, breakfast, and on the beach.
The check-in experience was seated, out by the ocean, while they bring you a cool drink.
The real standouts were:
- the cheery greeting and above and beyond attitude, giving a ‘tour’ of breakfast and the offer to make anything we wished
- being able to have a beach chair set up at 2 o’clock in the afternoon with no wait on request and for free
- the valet bringing a bag out front for me after I had left the hotel, realized I forgot something in the room, and turned around — by the time I got back they had it out of the room and waiting for me.
Everything I asked for was no problem at all, getting housekeeping when I wanted it for instance. At times staff could be confused. There’s a 24 hour convenience store and coffee shop on the lobby level and they would often make the wrong coffee for me. But then they would happily re-make it to spec. So it just took a little longer. (There’s in-room coffee as well.)
And it wasn’t just the beach, either, I found service at the pool to be quite good (some have felt they had to wait too long for service but that was not my experience). And getting a chair down there just wasn’t a problem… both at the main pool and the adult’s only pool that is quieter and more secluded.
A Really Amazing Breakfast
The Andaz Maui clearly offers one of the very best hotel breakfasts. They call it their ‘breakfast experience’ and what makes it unique isn’t the high quality offerings (an easy way to tell the quality is by the bacon — in this case thick, meaty, not too much fat and very flavorful).
The first morning when I went to breakfast I was asked if I had visited before and when I said I had not I was given a tour of the buffet. I don’t think I’ve had a tour of breakfast before.
What made it unique was the attitude that they would get you anything at all that you wished, entirely apart from what they had out or on the menu. If they had it in the restaurant you could have it.
This was what we were told at check-in. “Just ask for what you wish.”
I don’t know how far you can push this really. This is a $44++ buffet, but it was free to me as a Gold Passport Diamond member. And when I I mentioned that since I was on Maui I would love some fresh fish, they just asked ‘Did I have any particular fish in mind?’
I offered that I was happy with whatever the chef thought was the best that he had that morning, however he wanted to prepare it. She left to discuss, came back and reassured that this would be taken care of. And so it was:
The restaurant does get busy at times. The servers really varied in quality. So it might be tougher or a wait when they’re super busy.
My only knock on breakfast is that it can get busy, busy less so sitting outside even when the restaurant is full. Overall the experience isn’t as low key as I prefer.
In general later in the morning is busier but I never had a problem sitting outside. Although I found seating to the left when I walked outside to be far more pleasant, as sitting to the right I had a view right above the roof of the pool bar.
My final suggestion on breakfast is to ask for the ‘pourover’ coffee that they make at the juice bar. It’s actually pretty good for hotel buffet coffee.
Some have been told that breakfast is available to Diamonds via room service but I was told that’s not the case when I asked.
Here’s the breakfast menu for those interested:
If you have a room looking out over the main pool there is no privacy. Anyone at the pool can see up onto your lanai. Anyone at breakfast can see onto your lanai.
And there are several spots, especially with 4th floor rooms, where people walking alongside one of the resort’s paths can see not just onto your lanai but also into your room.
On the other hand, I was in the Akau wing which is angled away from the resort, and provided substantially greater privacy. You didn’t have people walking by there often, and the 5th floor (lobby level) where my room was situated was hard to see into).
There’s no resort fee at the property, so that’s really an upside. But there’s no self parking. While the hotel does offer transportation into Wailea, most people will have a car. You won’t want to stay on property, it’s an efficient way to get to and from the airport, and you’re much more independent and able to explore the island. Valet parking is $30 per day. Apparently they only log cars overnight, so some have been known to use valet parking during the day and then park off property at night about a 10-15 minute walk away although I did not choose to explore that option.
For those curious here’s the room services menus. I did not order any room service during my stay (I had breakfast on property and also dinner my first night at Morimoto’s which I will cover in a subsequent post).