About WaileaOn Maui’s southwest shore, the long, gradual lower slopes of Haleakalā meet the sea. In the late 19th century this coastline was part of the sprawling Makee Ranch, raising sugar cane and cattle. Today, Wailea (meaning “water of Lea,” the Hawaiian goddess of canoe makers) is one of the world’s more exclusive resort enclaves, a planned community cushioned in manicured landscaping.
Wailea’s 2-mile shoreline features five pocket beaches of golden sand framed by dark lava rock. All beaches are open to the public. The Wailea Point Coastal Trail leads north from Polo Beach (off Kaukahi St.) to Mōkapu Beach. Interpretive signs identify the coastal flora. Views extend across the sea to Molokini, Kaho‘olawe and Lāna‘i. Whales are often seen December through April.
Wailea’s three golf courses are legendary, ranking among the best in the country. Tennis is another popular sport. The Wailea Tennis Club boasts a 1,000-seat stadium. Other recreational activities include swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing and kayaking. Wailea’s major resorts also have full spa facilities.
The Maui Film Festival at Wailea, held in June, features film premieres, celebrity appearances and Hawaiian food and dance.
ShoppingThe Shops at Wailea, 3750 Wailea Alanui Dr., offers more than 70 stores, boutiques, galleries and restaurants. The complex, set amid landscaped courtyards, reflects 19th-century territorial architecture. Shops include Banana Republic, Gap, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. Most shops are open daily 9:30-9. Phone (808) 891-6770.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.