Maui residents will soon have the opportunity to live like hotel guests in Wailea, the state’s top luxury market — for a price.
The Fairmont Kea Lani,
a 22-acre luxury oceanfront resort, started marketing its “Inspire Your Energy
program earlier this month. Patterned after resort wellness offerings, it gives
members access to in-house guest benefits.
“We begin with a focus on health and wellness and push it to the next level by providing amenities that have previously been reserved for in-house guests only,” said Christianna Brown, Fairmont Kea Lani spa director.
Want to use the resort’s fitness center, unlimited group fitness classes, personal training, or get some free Willow Stream Spa visits? Would you like hotel perks such as a house charge account, discounts on stays as well as dining and activities, room upgrades, valet parking,
concierge services, and
access to cabanas, the
Keiki Lani club, and other high-end stuff?
It’s yours for a steep monthly enrollment fee and a recurring rate. The three-month program costs $500 to enroll and $565 a month. It’s a $900 enrollment fee and $525 monthly for the six-month program. The yearly program comes with a $1,500 enrollment fee and monthly rates of $495.
While the rates may give some locals pause, they
aren’t likely to dissuade the growing crop of well-heeled residents making their home in the expanding Wailea
Resort. In fact, the Wailea Community Association is hoping that other properties also respond to their request for better amenities, especially fitness and wellness centered ones.
“Our hotel guests, our owners and residents all want to enjoy a certain lifestyle,” said Bud Pikrone,
general manager of the Wailea Community Association and its marketing arm the Wailea Resort Association. “We think wellness is
a direction that we need to take to get to the next level for our guests and residents. It’s also a pretty strong
selling point for an already in-demand real estate
Fairmont Kea Lani started selling club memberships on Nov. 1 and plans to launch the program Jan. 1. Pikrone said the debut complements ongoing expansion of the 1,500-acre Wailea Resort, which since the 1970s has grown to more than
2,000 homes, seven hotels, three shopping centers, the Wailea Tennis Club, and three championship golf courses.
The first residents of Keala o Wailea, a condominium community with 70 units ranging from $980,000 to
upwards of $1.5 million, are moving in next month with construction expected to be completed in spring.
“Sales are moving quickly. They’ve already sold 70 percent or more of the project,” Pikrone said.
Up next is the Makali‘i, a 68-unit mid-century modern Hawaiian-themed condominium project, which is planned for a bluff across the street from the Fairmont Kea Lani.
“It’s in the permitting phase and they are hoping to break ground after the first of the year,” Pikrone said. “With the new construction, we’ll complete about 88 percent of our master plan, but there’s still some land to be had in Wailea.”
Pikrone said Wailea is on an up-cycle driven in part by strong tourism. Year to date through September, STR, a data and analytics specialist, said Wailea occupancy had risen more than 5 percentage points to nearly 86 percent and the average daily rate (ADR) was up nearly 9 percent to $527.50 per night.
During the same period, STR also reported that revenue per available room (RevPAR), the amount that a hotel gets per room regardless of whether its occupied, had climbed just over
14 percent to $452.49.
STR noted that Wailea’s supply was virtually flat through September while demand was up. During the same period, STR reported Wailea hotel revenue rose just over 14 percent to
$271 million. Year to date,
the Wailea luxury and upper upscale sub-market realized the state’s highest ADR and RevPAR in terms of dollars and growth.
With hotel fundamentals like these, its not surprising that more than $600 million in improvements have gone into the Wailea Resort over the last several years. More investment is planned, including at least one other residential condominium project and two commercial projects, Pikrone said.
Elizabeth Churchill, owner of Churchill Group LLC, said Fairmont Kea Lani’s lifestyle club is another good investment for the community, which is comprised by a mix of full-time residents, second home owners and visitors.
“I haven’t seen this kind of club membership in Hawaii for a long time, but it makes sense. There are a lot of large-wallets coming to Wailea that want the things that they have back home,” Churchill said. “It’s also a great way to get community buy-in for resort expansion. Kudos to the Fairmont Kea Lani for gaining a first
Joseph Toy, president and CEO of Hospitality Advisors LLC, agrees the Fairmont Kea Lani will benefit, but he said that it must manage expectations carefully.
Toy said in the past similar arrangements have worked well for Hawaii’s luxury properties and, at times, they haven’t. In 2015, a Hualalai Resort homeowner sued alleging that over use of the club and resort
amenities prompted the resort’s operator to make cutbacks to exclusive Hualalai Club privileges. Plaintiffs were granted class action status last year.
“One of the biggest litigious areas in the past decade is how resort fees are charged to guests, owners and members and what they get in return,” Toy said.
Club memberships can cause conflicts over access to preferred times for dining and activities, at the same time, they can foster community good-will, he said.
“I once belonged to a similar membership club at the Kahala Hotel when it was managed by Mandarin Oriental,” he said. “It was great, and I used it a lot. I would definitely consider buying one again for the quality of the resort experience and
all the amenities.”