Even those who have never touched down on the picture perfect islands of Hawaii can conjure up an iconic image of what an Hawaiian holiday must be like. Stunning scenery from volcanoes to rainforests, hiking trails and world-class resorts sitting front row to aquamarine sets hitting soft-sand beaches, like the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui. If you need a little inspiration for where to stay in Maui, step on to this beautiful property with us.
Pat Bailey | Cover © Pacific Dream Photography
Where to Stay in Maui
Fairmont Kea Lani
The welcome at Fairmont Kea Lani is grand. When you arrive you walk into an expansive open-air lobby that is grandiose in every way. From the first step you can look straight through the lobby and beyond and almost see the ocean. The horizon beckons you, and the sounds beyond the lobby pull you in the direction of the two pools, the property’s beach, coy pond, lounge areas, meandering paths, garden, and all that the property is. It is a big welcome that comes quickly. It feels so good to be there.
My Ocean View Suite was a luxurious space with a cozy seating area and desk in one half of the room, and a beautiful king-sized bed with generous bathroom on the other side. The balcony overlooking the pool and with a perfect view of the ocean spanned the full length of the suite and provided plenty of space to sunbathe and enjoy morning yoga as well as in-room dining. It was the perfect spot to enjoy a nightcap in the fresh air before bed too.
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A “Fairmont Fit” Membership meant I was given extra fitness goodies to use during my stay, including a workout outfit, running shoes, and in-room fitness equipment such as a yoga mat, props, resistance training equipment, rollers and other fun gadgets for stretching and moving on your own. The Reebok clothes and shoes are both on loan, hoping to inspire guests to maintain their fit lifestyle while travelling. Of course, if you fall in love with the gear, you can purchase your own on check out. It was brilliant not to have to bring workout clothes and shoes and to have that extra space in my luggage for other things like gifts to bring back to friends and family.
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Exploring this property you will find two pools; one adult-only pool which is more secluded, and a family pool which is centrally located and surrounded by gardens. Further wandering will bring you to cabanas, restaurants, bars, a gourmet bakery, pool slide and beach beyond. In addition, the property also hosts the Willow Stream Spa, a luxury spa with traditional Hawaiian treatments as well as a small market with an ice cream shop.
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Feasting at Fairmont Kea Lani
With four unique restaurants, four bars, a gourmet bakery and small market on the Fairmont Kea Lani property I found plenty to appease my appetite and enough variety to feel no need to venture beyond the hotel for dining options.
Begin your mornings feasting on the enormous buffet at the Kea Lani Restaurant, enjoy an open-air lunch or happy hour at AMA Bar & Grill which offers a taste of traditional Hawaiian dishes with a modern influence. Dishes range from poke bowls, to seared ahi and many others with fresh and local ingredients. You can order freshly squeezed juices here in the morning and do a swim-up lunch too! If a quick coffee, lunch on the go or an afternoon treat is on your list, Caffe Ciao Bakery and Market is perfect. I found healthy snacks here, and also treated myself to an ice cream one afternoon. The market is a great place to grab local Hawaiian gifts to take back to friends and family.
I enjoyed a welcome happy hour at Luana, the beautiful open-air area located directly off the lobby which included a glass of bubbles and an incredible assortment of fresh, healthy and delicious tapas. It was the perfect way to surrender into the island vibe.
Book a beautiful dinner at Kõ, named Maui’s Restaurant of the Year, where you will find a unique global menu influenced by Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese flavours. 90% of the ingredients that Chef Pang uses to create each dish is locally sourced from the island and you can taste this in each dish. You will have a hard time deciding, the menu is incredible and everything is delicious. Be sure to ask for a table on the terrace for the perfect sunset view.
The second mouth-watering experience can be had at Nick’s Fishmarket, awarded “Best Service,” and Best Wine List” by the Maui ‘Aipono Awards. Nick’s is Maui’s premiere seafood restaurant and a dining experience you will remember for a long time. Choose between the freshly caught fish of the day, prime cuts of meat, or delicious homemade pasta; everything is delicious. The wine list and cocktail menu is something to get happily lost in, and be sure to order the Strawberry Dessert which is more of an experience than a dessert and the highlight of the dinner. Nick and his staff are indeed the best, and you will have an unforgettable time.
Willow Steam Spa
The treatment at Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Kea Lani was one of the best spa experiences of my life. I enjoyed a traditional Hawaiian Pa’akai which was a beautiful, natural and full sensory body scrub and shower treatment. Traditionally Pa’akai, meaning “sea salt” in Hawaiian was gathered from dry pools along the island’s coastlines. Hawaiian sea salt contains more than 80 different minerals, and is considered to be one of the three most mineral-rich salts in the world.
This treatment takes place on a floating table, the table with floating mattress of water is warmed and creates a sensation of floating or weightlessness. The body scrub with healing sea salt is applied with a mixture of organic coconut oil and locally grown green papaya and lemongrass – it smelled and felt incredible. Once the scrub is applied, the body is wrapped and given a dose of infra-red light therapy which feels like a mini sauna. The rinse comes in the way of a full body shower using a state-of-the-art Vichy shower. The treatment is finished with one final application of rich Hawaiian coconut oil and the bliss that ensues lasts for hours, not to mention how smooth and hydrated my skin felt. I highly recommend this treatment, it is not only a big splurge, but it is also a beautifully authentic Hawaiian healing.
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Activities to Do in Maui
Take a Gourmet Farm Tour
One of my very favourite things about this trip was the visit to O’o Farm and our “Seed to Cup” Gourmet Breakfast Tour. This was a unique and authentic Maui experience that I cannot recommend highly enough. You have two choices for visiting tours to this farm, the breakfast tour and the lunch tour. Both tours end with a meal that you actually witness being made from the items you learn about on the tour. O’o Farm is located in the forest of Waipoli in Upcountry Maui, its location provides the perfect terroir for growing artesian coffee and for an incredible panoramic view of the island of Maui. Lean on the Fairmont Kea Lani concierge for help organising and booking this tour.
Our tour was led by Ancil Clancey, the farm’s General Manager, coffee grower and impressive all-around farm and coffee expert. Ancil has been a member of the O’o Farm for a decade and he has spent his life learning. He holds a unique and rare distinction in the coffee world called “Q,” from CQI, which is significant and akin to being a sommelier in the wine world. He graduated with a degree in agriculture when he was 17, he is full of knowledge and a great guide and asset to the farm and this experience.
We toured the acres of coffee grown here along with all of the fruits and vegetables grown on the farm, everything is harvested and shared with la few local restaurants that they help to source these items to. The coffee tasting was a highlight of the tour and something you can do independently from breakfast or lunch. We learned the proper way to taste coffee from Ancil, along with the process he manages with O’o Farm Coffee.
There is a gift shop on the farm where you can purchase this high-quality and limited production Maui-grown coffee, and the tour ends with a beautiful farm-to-table breakfast. The breakfast, cooked in an open wood oven is made by the farm’s chef and highlights all of the farm’s most seasonal offerings on the day of your tour. I suggest you wear comfortable walking shoes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty for this experience.
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Lei Po’o Making Class
A Lei Po’o in a traditional Hawaiian adornment that is worn around the head like a crown. These crowns are often worn by hula dancers, and they are made from tropical flowers and other island foliage. This class was led by a local Hawaiian woman with an expertise in making the special lei. I enjoyed a Lei Po’o making class at Fairmont Kea Lani during my stay.
Hike the King’s Coastal Trail
Maui is a hiker’s dream. We hiked the King’s Coastal Trail which is a short drive from the hotel. It is a beautiful morning activity to do before breakfast and the heat of the day. The hike meanders along the coast providing views of contrasting lava juxtaposed with the lush green of the hills in the distance, all set to the backdrop of the ocean and sister islands in the distance. The hike is an easy out-and-back hike, and you might encounter surprise goats and other island wildlife along the way. Bring your camera if you can, there are great opportunities to capture the varying landscape.
Kiakahi Functional Fitness, a Polynesian strength training using ancient movements, techniques and traditions is a must-try while at the hotel too and there are ocean activities aplenty available for guests too.
The Fit Traveller was a guest of Fairmont Hotels for this trip to Hawaii. As always, our words, opinions and images are authentically our own.
Fairmont Kea Lani
Pat Bailey is a certified Bhakti Yoga Teacher, published poet, writer and entrepreneur with a passion for exploring the globe. Pat is also the founder of The Hell Yes Life, where she has created her own branding academy helping to elevate brands and students through authentic and intuitive coaching.