Wow! That’s the word that jumps to one’s lips upon pulling up to the new Maui Andaz Hotel, walking down the dramatic colonnade entrance with water flowing on both sides and then entering the “Meeting Room” or what used to be called a Lobby. The place is gorgeous, sexy, adult, glamorous and a HUGE step up from the more normal Hawaii Resort. Then there is the view! Wow, again!! The Meeting Room does not have a check in desk–that is handled professionally but informally while waiting for bags and being briefed about the Resort. Of course, this process is generally waylaid by the many glances of the new guests out over the three levels of pools and spas which culminate in a lawn and beautiful beach. It is definitely a spectacular setting and a great place to grab a drink and watch a sunset or sit and “play” in the adult sandbox which centers the room.
Upon my recent arrival, the hotel was kind enough to upgrade my friend and me into one of their Deluxe Suites. We didn’t quite know what to expect. Wow a third time!! The suite was unparalleled in terms of views, bells and whistles such as a great working kitchen, dining room, computer room, living room, two baths and a shower room with one of the best views in the islands and a bedroom with a similar view. The long suite all faces the ocean and overlooks the Tranquility Pool (with a great, relative to it being a hotel, gym on the pool level but indoors). There are lanai’s (aka balconies) from each of the rooms (dining, living, shower and bedroom) all with jaw dropping views. Each has automatic black out blinds and shears which allow the guest to decide their mood and, relative to the shower, their modesty. The room, like the hotel, has a sexy sizzle to it and is definitely beyond the rattan of colonial style Hawaii. The art is great and complements the rooms well.
But, no hotel or resort is anything without its Staff and amenities and here the Andaz shines brightly. I stay in a lot of hotels (36 nights since Jan 1 so far) and can honestly say that the Staff at the Andaz (from the car service to the “lobby” to the restaurants and room servicing) is all well above the normal standard. The people couldn’t be more helpful and professional but friendly at the same time. The service was unobtrusive and not obsequious as can happen at some “finer” hotels. We actually had conversations and bonded with several of the Staff and got some great suggestions of things to do on the island that mostly would be set up for locals only. That friendly casual professionalism extended to the Bars and Restaurants too.
And this place makes a mean drink, has some great wine lists, has a coffee bar and take out area that is top notch and hosts a Morimoto restaurant that is beyond description. It is sublime at night for a casually formal dinner but then transforms into a poolside bar restaurant for sushi, sashimi and snacks for lunch. It would be hard to tire of the lengthy and creative menu which
lives up to the Iron Chef’s name and pedigree. The fish and food were delicious and the desserts were not afterthoughts. Wow yet again.
In addition to Morimoto (we went four times), there is a very special restaurant, the Ka’Ana Kitchen on the property. This is a breakfast and dinner spot and focuses on locally sourced, island grown entrees and a wide ranging and fun cocktail menu. The abalone risotto may have been one of the most unexpected treats of the whole trip.
The beach, pools, and place are magic and this is definitely Hawaii in the 21st Century–frankly the only successful and should be five star resort–that has this “now” vibe. Think sultry lounge music mixed with gorgeous sunsets and a playful spirit. It is rare that a hotel exceeds expectations but this one does. Go check it out for a stay, food or a drink. You won’t regret it.
And catch the sunset at Little Beach especially on a Sunday for the Drum Circle and Fire Dance though you may see some more skin than at most beaches. Maui is magic (see our editors piece on the Maui food scene from last summer and add Morimoto and Ka’Ana Kitchen to that list and go as soon as you can) and I can’t wait to return! You’ll find me in room 748 at the Andaz! Wow!!!
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