Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The beginning

When I first started researching a possible trip to Hawaii, it took me a long time to decide on an island. To be honest, I ended up choosing Maui because I was flying on Air Canada Aeroplan reward miles, and the connections were kindest. Once I started really getting into my research, though, I determined that Maui was  the perfect choice- natural beauty, posh neighbourhoods, exceptional hotels, good food- all things I like when I am traveling.

A little background about me- I love hotels. In a way that is almost worrisome. I love five stars, four stars, and I'll do the odd three star. Not crazy about bare bones hotels- what's the point? I can camp for that. I spend time daily on sites like TripAdvisor, Hotel Chatter, FlyerTalk, and Oyster. I like looking at hotels in places I may never visit. I like looking at strangers' hotel pictures on blogs and Tripadvisor. I stay in hotels 25-30 nights a year, strictly for pleasure- I don't travel for work. I belong to every hotel loyalty program and collect points aggressively. I consider hotels a hobby. I put up with occasional ribbing from my family and friends, but I always make sure we have a nice place to stay, so I know it is ultimately appreciated. I know that I am not alone- check out a few travel forums and you will find lots of people like me. So I ventured into my trip to Maui with a bit of hotel saavy.

Once I committed to Maui, I had to commit to a location. I found myself completely overwhelmed- Maui is a very popular destination, with diverse towns/neighbourhoods that have loyal fans. After scouring all the forums I could, I decided that the pretty, high end town of Wailea seemed like the best fit- kind of like staying in Beverly Hills when you go to LA.

Wailea is home to a handful of hotels and several groups of condos. For this trip, I was only interested in hotels- but I certainly will consider a condo for the next trip. The hotels in Wailea are The Fairmont Kea Lani, Hotel Wailea, The Grand Wailea (A Waldorf-Astoria Hotel), The Four Seasons and the Marriott Wailea. The Fairmont, Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons are directly on sandy beaches.

All of the hotels in Wailea are top-end, beautiful and expensive. Our trip fell on Canadian March Break (typically high season) and was 10 days in length. I decided on three hotels: The Fairmont Kea Lani, The Grand Wailea, and the Four Seasons. All were within a few minutes of each other- in fact, we did not move more than a few miles during the course of ten days (except, of course, to explore the island!)

Since I read lots and lots of great blogs to prepare for my holiday, I suspect there are others who are considering one or all of these hotels and are looking for an honest opinion, which is why I decided to write this blog. Read on for opinions (which are, of course, very personal! My feelings about a hotel may be very different from yours!) about each of these hotels. I will try to stay away from facts- you can find those on the hotels own website, and I really dislike blogs that sound like travel magazines. To the hotel lovers, travel over-planners, detail addicts- welcome and I hope you find something interesting here!


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