Found on my favorite part of the island, The Andaz Maui at Wailea, a Hyatt, sits on Mokapu beach along the best stretches of beaches. You can stroll the boardwalk to Wailea, or walk down to Keawakapu and beyond into Kihei. The Andaz caters to those looking for a casual, sophisticated experience that is more low-key and relaxing than at the larger resorts. A high-end experience, it is well worth the treat, as the stay includes lots of amenities and daily activities.
To enter, you walk over a small stone bridge, and a beautiful view of the ocean and the recessed sand-filled lounge area connects you with the beach upon arrival. The simple, luxurious décor incorporates a modern Asian influence—island style. The comfortably sized property opened in 2013, has many green features, and is a LEED Silver-certified property with 297 rooms and a handful of villas, suites, and private residences. The layout flows nicely, and it is easy to get to any part of the property within minutes.
The Andaz caters to those looking for a casual, sophisticated experience that is more low-key and relaxing than at the larger resorts.
LEED standards and other green features include solar hot water, automated systems, e-brochures, less paper use, purchasing for less packaging, recycling, composting, and low-impact landscaping techniques. I was especially happy to discover the commitment to avoid plastic bottled water with the plentiful filtered water stations and reusable water bottles.
All Andaz properties offer a luxury lifestyle experience designed to fit into the local neighborhood culture. A friendly Aloha spirit shines through, as the staff welcomes guests into their “home” as part of an Ohana (family). We are greeted with fresh leis and genuine smiles from the valets who inform the front desk that we have arrived. Instead of the usual check-in, guests are invited to sit in the spacious open-air lobby while enjoying complimentary beverages and gorgeous views of the ocean.
There is stylish seating by the pool bars with loungers designed for conversing. While sitting by the pool, our food is delivered in bamboo boxes with bamboo cutlery, a refreshing change from throwaway plastic. Modern Hawaiian cuisine and a local farm-to-table selection is part of the restaurant menus. The Ka’ana restaurant is designed to feel like coming into a home with a central open kitchen. Morimoto Maui offers Japanese cuisine with a beachfront setting.
The step-down infinity pools and adult tranquility pool are restful. Down at the beach, the staff will set up complimentary chairs and umbrellas for you. (My mom, who loves luxurious accommodations and lounging by pools, was in a state of bliss. She didn’t want to ever leave the resort, but reluctantly came home with us to the mainland.)
The Andaz room décor has interesting features and excellent use of space with a creative layout of the bathroom. The shower opens on the side to the vanity area, and glass walls with shutters open to the room and view beyond. Original touches throughout include the vanity and discreetly hidden water closet. The Maile Hawaiian bath products are wonderful. Additionally, it’s a nice treat to have complimentary snacks, water, and non-alcoholic drinks stocked daily in the refrigerator. Rooms overlooking the bar are convenient if you enjoy sitting on balcony and watching the live music nightly.
Now for the best part: the `Āwili(“avili”) Spa and Salon (`Āwili means to mix or blend).
The signature Omakase spa experience is a Japanese concept that customizes the guest’s individual needs and aromatherapy preferences. Together with an apothecary consultant, you create custom-tailored recipes from a base of grapeseed oils infused with royal jelly/honey, chamomile/white willow, hibiscus/green tea, or kava kava/plantain. Blends of fresh ingredients, coconut oil, herbs, and flowers are made on site. The scrubs, lotions, and oils are hand-made. Yes, you can take home these custom formulas, which are kept on file.
The signature Omakase spa experience is a Japanese concept that customizes the guest’s individual needs and aromatherapy preferences. Together with an apothecary consultant, you create custom-tailored recipes . . . Blends of fresh ingredients, coconut oil, herbs, and flowers are made on site . . .
The lounge in the spa lobby is reminiscent of Asian curio cabinets with an apothecary theme. At the blending bar, choose from stimulating ingredients (ginger, cinnamon, turmeric), local coffee scrubs, Hawaiian clay, mushrooms, tinctures, valerian root, sandalwood, essential oils, fresh fruit purees, and more. Other retail items like Coola sunscreen, Skinceuticals, and boutique products are subtly displayed and include Maile products made from the Kokee plant (supporting the Kauai rainforest preserve) and Lilikoi passion fruit, used for its exfoliating properties.
The understated Zen-like spa interior includes 10 treatment rooms with co-ed and separate lounge areas. The clever design of the glass wall sauna is open to the Jacuzzi plunge pool area and is light, rather than the usual experience that may lead to stumbling around in the dark. Spa treats are macaroons (dangerous calories for those on a diet who love coconut).
The Andaz Maui is attuned to the traveler who wants a new type of experience in a modern atmosphere. With relaxed luxury, the Andaz concept appeals to all ages and suits the seasoned traveler who wants something different. As an avid Green Spa Travel Explorer, I am already looking forward to taking my mom back to indulge in more of what the Andaz has to offer.
Shelley Lotz has over 25 years of experience in the spa industry as an esthetician, educator, and entrepreneur. She is a major contributing author of "Milady's Standard Esthetics Fundamentals," a textbook for estheticians, and wrote "Green Spas and Salons: How to Make Your Business Truly Sustainable" (ViosSpaGroup.com).