There are so many alternatives at Fairmont Kea Lani, the luxury hotel at the most southerly end of Maui’s Wailea strip (the public coast path, for biking, running, jogging or walking, weaves its way from Andaz Wailea right down here, separating the resorts’ private lands from their section of beach). Take this shot through one of the open windows at Fairmont Kea Lani. You think, says the gal, you could be in the Middle East instead of looking out at a sprawling village of buildings put up in 1991 but still looking incredibly modern.
The main rooms are in blocks in an open-W formation, with most corridors open on the sides. There are also, down by the beach, 37 highly popular private villas, two floors with plunge pools and outside barbeques. These are ideal if you are travelling with an extended family, or a group of girl friends, or guys. Actually I love the basic rooms, with so much space and masses of comfy lounging areas. Room 606, a one-room suite, even had a microwave, just in case I had felt like cooking a little something. No, I was much more excited by, say, the breakfast menus in Kea Lani. How about a Pipikaula hash (Hawaiian cured beef, Maui onions and red bliss potatoes with two poached eggs)?
Or, since this is health place, what with the pools and running that coast path and all that, how about a sugar-balanced toasted macadamia nut waffle, or perhaps go raw, breakfasting on avocado-apple mash with almonds? What is it that makes one think about food so often? Working out makes one hungry of course, and Fairmont Kea Lani has a jolly good Technogym, open 24/7. It also has 14 tennis courts, and is close to three 18-hole courses. But despite all that many are just here to play around the pool, and have a good time. Average length of stay here is 5.5 nights, and 30% of guests are repeats, which shows that GM Charles Head and his team are doing lots of things right.
I did enjoy my coastal path walk – do not miss it – and especially dining in KO, an outdoor plantation-themed restaurant that celebrates the culinary traditions of the nations that created Hawaii. Remember James Michener’s tome? Well, you have Chinese dishes, Japanese dishes and Filipino dishes and, of course, American. We started with an amazing appetizer, ahi on the rock. Cubes of tuna, spiced with orange-ginger miso sauce, come with a hot-hot stone. Cook the tuna, to your liking, on the stone. Do it yourself with a difference.
The sushi, the oishi (meaning ‘very-good’, apparently) sushi was different, too. Tuna, more tuna, was rolled as sushi and then fried as tempura. I went on to a local fish of the day, opah. Choose how you want it, in my case crusted in crushed macadamia nut and black Molokai sweet potato mash. I considered one of the specialty martinis, a Sakejito, Ty Ku Silver sake with mint, fresh lime and pure cane sugar, but was glad I stuck with Wild Thing Zinfandel, from Mendocino. This restaurant, by the way, was initially dreamed up by its chef, Tylun Pang, and is entirely run by the hotel, unlike the other main dinner venue, Nick’s Fishmarket, which is leased out to Tri-Star Restaurant Group.