POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Mar 27, 2011
Toronto executive Ann Marie Keating checked into Wailea Beach Villas on Jan. 12. She extended her stay at the exclusive residential vacation resort twice — the first time for five days, the second time for a month. She won't be relinquishing her ocean-view penthouse until April 12.
"I love it here!" Keating said. "Three months is the longest consecutive period I've ever been away from my home and office."
She tips her hat to Wailea Beach Villas' staff, whose exemplary service has enabled her to enjoy a stress-free Maui escape while running her companies and working on her Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
"The day I arrived, I got a headache and couldn't think clearly because of the vog," Keating recalled. "When the concierge heard about it, he brought me a homeopathic remedy. A light bulb burned out, and someone from maintenance was here within five minutes to replace it. When outdoor lights were shining into the bedroom at night, disrupting my sleep, workers came to install blackout blinds. Everyone has bent over backwards to ensure I'm happy and comfortable."
IF YOU Go …
Wailea Beach Villas
» Address: 3800 Wailea Alanui, Wailea Resort, Maui
» Phone: 891-4500 or toll free 866-901-5207
» Starting nightly rates: Regular, $1,200; Komo Mai, $900, including a car; Kamaaina, $765 (Komo Mai and Kamaaina rates subject to change). Three-night minimum stay for all bookings. Beach Escape package (prices begin at $795 per night) has a seven-night minimum.
» Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
» Website: www.waileabeachvillas.com
Set on 11 beachfront acres, Wailea Beach Villas caters to a discriminating clientele. Most of the resort's 98 luxurious villas and penthouses open to spectacular views of Lanai, Kahoolawe, Molokini islet, the West Maui Mountains and, this time of year, pods of breaching whales. Accommodations range between 1,900 and 3,100 square feet in size, with two-bedroom units sleeping up to six people and three-bedroom units sleeping up to eight.
Amenities include a soaking tub, full-size washer and dryer, barbecue grill on the lanai, flat-screen televisions in the living room and all bedrooms, and a fully equipped gourmet kitchen. For an additional fee, the refrigerator and pantry can be stocked with breakfast fixings prior to your arrival (special requests can also be accommodated). Even better, a private chef can be retained to prepare all of your meals, some of them or a menu for a special occasion. Jeff Scheer, chef/owner of Maui Executive Catering, created a memorable evening for a couple from San Francisco who were celebrating their first anniversary at Wailea Beach Villas.
"The gentleman wanted it to be a surprise for his wife," Scheer said. "He requested a menu of their favorite dishes with a local twist. His wife loved fresh pasta, so I made Molokai sweet potato agnolotti with sage, brown butter and shaved prosciutto. After hearing him talk about a fish-and-chip pub that they often went to, I got the inspiration for another course: crispy-skin opakapaka served with garlic chips. Pale green and white was the color scheme for their wedding, so that's what we used for the linens and tablecloths. The centerpiece was a beautiful bouquet of white roses and green orchids."
At the resort's state-of-the-art fitness facility, cardio machines are linked to individual entertainment devices that include headsets and access to 60 cable television stations. You can arrange private Pilates and yoga classes, and workouts with a personal trainer who can design a program that fits your goals and lifestyle.
Golf, surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, biking, hiking, helicopter tours, horseback rides and more — the concierge can keep your days as busy as you desire. Charlie Fleck, Wailea Beach Villa's "adventure guide," specializes in customized eco-conscious excursions.
"I do everything at a leisurely pace so participants feel like they're on an outing with friends rather than a tour," Fleck said. "I often bring my dog, Barley Hops, along on hikes. We go to waterfalls visitors wouldn't otherwise see, and I take pictures throughout the day so they can focus on having fun. I later burn the pictures on a CD as a gift for them."
Lunch could be fresh fruit; different cheeses and crackers; and sandwiches Fleck makes with deli meats, Kula tomatoes and focaccia at a pretty picnic site.
"For example, we could eat in a rain forest or atop a hill overlooking the ocean," he said. "That's something visitors don't usually get to do at home. Unlike most other tours, we don't have to keep to a specific schedule. We leave when they're ready."
From arrival to departure, a stay at Wailea Beach Villas is marked by extra services and attention to the smallest details. Would an au pair or butler be helpful? That can be arranged. Do you need a playpen and highchair for your baby? Ask and they'll be delivered to your door. The resort even provides complimentary welcome gifts for keiki, sunblock and chilled water at the pools, and household items right down to the paper towels and laundry detergent.
Businesswoman Keating also appreciates the peace and privacy. "I start my day with meditation and yoga just as I do at home, but on my lanai I have the added benefit of a fantastic ocean view," she said. "I make my own breakfast and lunch, and eat when I want to without having to dress up to go out, think about restaurants' hours or deal with crowds. If I need something, I know the staff will come through with flying colors. All this makes it easy to relax on a deeper level and to enjoy the beauty and aloha around me."
Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi is a Honolulu-based freelance writer whose travel features for the Star-Advertiser have won multiple Society of American Travel Writers awards.