Why the Andaz is My Favorite Hotel on Maui

The Andaz Maui is certainly an upscale resort, but it can still be a value for what you get.

And most importantly for me, it’s much smaller than most of the big chain resorts. It’s not the sort of place where you have to head down to the beach at 8 a.m. to place a book on a beach chair if you hope to use one later in the day.

It’s a nice hotel, that offers a lot, and while it is part of a chain it doesn’t exude that ‘resort factory’ feel.

It’s still in a resort area, to be sure. It’s just down the street from Hilton’s Grand Wailea Waldorf property (itself a behemoth, albeit a nice behemoth). But once on property you get a much more boutique-y experience.

In that way it’s a contrast to the last two properties I stayed at on Maui, the Westin Maui and the Hyatt Regency Maui both in Lahaina, on the opposite end of the island from Wailea where the Andaz is located.

Here’s why the Andaz Maui is my favorite hotel on the island, the things I like best about it, and also the drawbacks you should watch out for in deciding to stay there.

Value for the Rooms

Room rates can vary a lot but in general I don’t find the property to be much more expensive (and sometimes less expensive) than the Hyatt Regency Maui. Rates hovering around $400 a night are not cheap, but when the Sheraton gets that much this can still be a relative value.

What I think is a terrific value is Cash and Points, which – when available – runs 12,500 points and $150 per night.

Of course always compare this to a paid room rate — I would say this ‘breaks even’ at $300 per night so if there are any big sales (e.g. “3rd night free”) a paid rate could come out less.

In either case, cash and points or paid rate including 20% off ‘My Elite Rate’, Hyatt’s Diamond members can use a confirmed suite upgrade.

A suite which books into the partial ocean view category for $150 plus 12,500 points per night is a fantastic value for sure.

After all, a cash upgrade just to a partial ocean view room (not suite) off of a standard paid booking would run $75 a night.

The Room Itself

I was fortunate that as a Diamond they upgraded me a category higher than the partial ocean view suite to one with a better view of the ocean.

This could have been luck as a Diamond (I’ve seen plenty of reports of lucking out this way), or it could be because I was originally booked to stay at the hotel when it first opened, but when opening was pushed back twice I wound up unable to visit. They didn’t offer an explanation, but I’ll definitely take the better view.

The room itself didn’t impress in terms of design or size. It was roughly the size of two regular rooms, which isn’t usually the sort of suite I prefer to burn upgrade certificates for. But it was 3 nights on Maui and I got my ocean view, so I was definitely pleased.

The bed faces out to the ocean.

The bathroom lets you look out as well, or you can draw the shades.

The shower is gorgeous, it’s one of the longest showers I’ve seen though not especially wide. Overall the bathroom is huge and was probably my favorite feature of the room. The only strange thing was that there seemed like there was a setup for an adjustable shower head on the wall of the shower, but there was only the rain shower above actually there.

The bathroom did feature a Japanese-style toilet, Hawaii is a fairly popular beach getaway for Japanese tourists.

The living room features a ‘picnic bench’ style dining room table, and a small couch as well as a desk.

Off of the living room is a small half bath, almost hidden.

Interestingly, the minibar was pretty sparse (internet and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks from the minibar are free at Andaz properties).

There was also no bottled water. There’s actually no plastic bottled waters on property, so they give you a plastic refillable bottle at check-in. I let the bellman deliver my luggage and he brought two bottles with him.

At turndown the hotel would deliver reusable glass bottles with filtered water.

The plastic bottles and glass bottles weren’t enough for me, so feel free to criticize my environmental ethic but I brought my own plastic bottles purchased at a nearby grocery onto the property to drink.

The lanai spanned the length of the suite but was narrow, not much room to move about or have a meal outside. The furniture on the balcony wasn’t especially comfortable.

Good service

Everyone was remarkably friendly… at check-in, valet stand, breakfast, and on the beach.

The check-in experience was seated, out by the ocean, while they bring you a cool drink.

The real standouts were:

  • the cheery greeting and above and beyond attitude, giving a ‘tour’ of breakfast and the offer to make anything we wished
  • being able to have a beach chair set up at 2 o’clock in the afternoon with no wait on request and for free
  • the valet bringing a bag out front for me after I had left the hotel, realized I forgot something in the room, and turned around — by the time I got back they had it out of the room and waiting for me.

Everything I asked for was no problem at all, getting housekeeping when I wanted it for instance. At times staff could be confused. There’s a 24 hour convenience store and coffee shop on the lobby level and they would often make the wrong coffee for me. But then they would happily re-make it to spec. So it just took a little longer. (There’s in-room coffee as well.)

And it wasn’t just the beach, either, I found service at the pool to be quite good (some have felt they had to wait too long for service but that was not my experience). And getting a chair down there just wasn’t a problem… both at the main pool and the adult’s only pool that is quieter and more secluded.

A Really Amazing Breakfast

The Andaz Maui clearly offers one of the very best hotel breakfasts. They call it their ‘breakfast experience’ and what makes it unique isn’t the high quality offerings (an easy way to tell the quality is by the bacon — in this case thick, meaty, not too much fat and very flavorful).

The first morning when I went to breakfast I was asked if I had visited before and when I said I had not I was given a tour of the buffet. I don’t think I’ve had a tour of breakfast before.

What made it unique was the attitude that they would get you anything at all that you wished, entirely apart from what they had out or on the menu. If they had it in the restaurant you could have it.
This was what we were told at check-in. “Just ask for what you wish.”

I don’t know how far you can push this really. This is a $44++ buffet, but it was free to me as a Gold Passport Diamond member. And when I I mentioned that since I was on Maui I would love some fresh fish, they just asked ‘Did I have any particular fish in mind?’

I offered that I was happy with whatever the chef thought was the best that he had that morning, however he wanted to prepare it. She left to discuss, came back and reassured that this would be taken care of. And so it was:

The restaurant does get busy at times. The servers really varied in quality. So it might be tougher or a wait when they’re super busy.

My only knock on breakfast is that it can get busy, busy less so sitting outside even when the restaurant is full. Overall the experience isn’t as low key as I prefer.

In general later in the morning is busier but I never had a problem sitting outside. Although I found seating to the left when I walked outside to be far more pleasant, as sitting to the right I had a view right above the roof of the pool bar.

My final suggestion on breakfast is to ask for the ‘pourover’ coffee that they make at the juice bar. It’s actually pretty good for hotel buffet coffee.

Some have been told that breakfast is available to Diamonds via room service but I was told that’s not the case when I asked.

Here’s the breakfast menu for those interested:


    (Click to enlarge)

Downsides

If you have a room looking out over the main pool there is no privacy. Anyone at the pool can see up onto your lanai. Anyone at breakfast can see onto your lanai.

And there are several spots, especially with 4th floor rooms, where people walking alongside one of the resort’s paths can see not just onto your lanai but also into your room.

On the other hand, I was in the Akau wing which is angled away from the resort, and provided substantially greater privacy. You didn’t have people walking by there often, and the 5th floor (lobby level) where my room was situated was hard to see into).

There’s no resort fee at the property, so that’s really an upside. But there’s no self parking. While the hotel does offer transportation into Wailea, most people will have a car. You won’t want to stay on property, it’s an efficient way to get to and from the airport, and you’re much more independent and able to explore the island. Valet parking is $30 per day. Apparently they only log cars overnight, so some have been known to use valet parking during the day and then park off property at night about a 10-15 minute walk away although I did not choose to explore that option.

Additional Detail

For those curious here’s the room services menus. I did not order any room service during my stay (I had breakfast on property and also dinner my first night at Morimoto’s which I will cover in a subsequent post).


    (Click to enlarge)

I’ll also give an enthusiastic two thumbs up to Surf Yoga Maui in nearby Kihei for their outstanding surf lessons.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Not sure you can compare the Andaz to the Four Seasons but at roughly half the price it is a nice choice.

  2. Gary, I have to ask–why weren’t the provided bottles enough? Are you drinking bottled water only when at the hotel, or are you carting around several bottles when you go out? Not trying to be critical, I just am curious. Staying hydrated is highly important to me as well, especially in Hawaii where I’m likely to be out doing a hike. Have you looked into Vapur foldable bottles? I got one for about $12 online and I take it everywhere I travel (that has water I’d want to drink from the tap). It’s 0.7 liters, so it’s not huge, but it’s usually enough.

  3. Here’s where the higher view actually hurts you — the suites on the ground floor actually have a shared lanai that is far more spacious and walkable (without sacrificing any privacy, since there really isn’t any). 24-hour shop was a ripoff, especially when there’s an ABC in the mall that’s two minutes away.

  4. Gary, next time try the spa. Best treatments & experience I ever had. Going for our 2nd stay in Jan….and now a Diamond!

  5. @Alan K – i tend to drink a lot of water, i’d be running out to filling stations every single hour if i was only using the bottle they gave me. I take the water to the pool. I take a bottle with me when i leave the resort. I drink the water in the room.

  6. @Bill to be sure I am not saying it is the BEST hotel on Maui, just that it is my favorite, and I see it as matching my preferences and also offering all-around value within that band.

  7. Great post! My husband and I go once or twice a year to Maui (lucky us) and this is my new fave hotel. We just got back from our second stay there last week. We enjoyed a partial ocean view room with an upgrade certificate and I wanted to mention that room #318 was great. On the 3rd floor, it has 4 comfortable loungers on grass instead of a concrete lanai. There is no barrier between the chairs so it’s important to lock up since someone could walk right up to your sliding door. Loved our breakfast at Kahana Kitchen. Both our servers, Nic and Luke, were great and I highly recommend asking for either when dining there.

  8. Most “regulars” to Maui elect for a condo. Most of the best places on the beach in Maui are condo-front. No disrespect to the Andaz, but the distance from your room to the beach is not that close (unless you are in one of the villas near the beach) compared to many great condos you can rent. Granted, the beach near the Andaz is nice.

    I have toured around the Andaz Maui. It is nice. It just seems…a bit soulless to me. Cold. I am not sure if it is the lack of people around when I was there, or the modern design. But I felt that it lacked that Hawaiian warmth. Just my two cents.

  9. Status and points seem to be a reason to choose this hotel. I prefer the Kapalua Villas, a fantastic experience for a similar price. Our last trip to Maui a few months ago we celebrated an anniversary and mentioned it to the resort, we received a fantastic condo with ocean views from living and bedrooms. A stop at Costco for water and a few other things made this a fantastic trip. Breakfast out at small places gave us variety. They charge a daily resort fee and a cleaning fee but parking is free as is daily use of the spa. The spa was amazing, now run by the Montage company, and the saline pool was pleasant after a day at the beach. Overall I enjoy a less crowded experience and Kapalua is only minutes from busier resort areas. And I prefer Lahaina over Kihei, but again these are all personal preferences. It’s hard to be disappointed on Maui 🙂

  10. @SICE
    I totally agree that Kapalua/Lahaina are totally different then Wailea. Each have their appeal

  11. In addition to the breakfast buffet being included for diamond members, you are also allowed to order a half sized entree from the menu. I had the Kalua Pork Benedict and it was just fantastic. I highly recommend trying it.

  12. This is such a great hotel for you because of Diamond status. What if you are basic gold or platinum? You will be staying in a tiny room and have no free breakfast.

  13. Gary, nice trip report, but this statement seems inaccurate: “I was fortunate that as a Diamond they upgraded me a category higher than the partial ocean view suite to one with a better view of the ocean.”

    While your view was nice, a good number of partial ocean view suites actually have significantly better views of the ocean than those photographed from your room.

    The suites ending in 39 or 40 in the Makai wing have the best views (full ocean view).

  14. Loved the breakfast idea where you can ask what you want. Had the same at the Trump in Waikiki. However, when we stayed at the St Regis in Kauai we had one of the worst breakfast buffets of top hotels we ever stayed and we were charged an arm and a leg for a cappuccino and a fruit juice that we ordered because they have a breakfast buffet in Hawaii with no fruit juices. Go figure!!! Hope St Regis learns from Andaz.

  15. @Vince – it’s a better view that I lucked into that some that I’ve seen photos of online, I sure didn’t mean so suggest it was the best possible view..!

  16. nice review. one point of information

    ‘It’s not the sort of place where you have to head down to the beach at 8 a.m. to place a book on a beach chair’

    oh yes it is, I was there last week. 0800-0830, they are all gone. lots of space round the pool though, if not all under shade, although not like the fairmont where they try to charge you for shade.

    as for the comment ‘No disrespect to the Andaz, but the distance from your room to the beach is not that close’

    seriously? it’s 50 yards…

  17. Rooms look pretty plain, even the hotel itself, not much Pizzaz to it, would have expected more from the property. If diamond of course a good value on cash and points + suite upgrade/breakfast as you point out, though as a Plat I’d likely look elsewhere. $44++ buffet, $30 parking + tips leads to an expensive stay.

  18. Recently did a Diamond challenge just to get the Vendome breakfast and the Maui upgrades…..7 nights at Regency and 2 at the Andaz both points and cash and both suite upgrades so I’ll report back…….Andaz got the 2 nights because the photos look so “sterile”………..Thank you Hyatt Place for your 12 nights………..

  19. I don’t get the water comment. The thing I liked best about the Andaz in Maui was the water. Every even numbered floor had filtered water machines to fill up the water bottle that they provided. I rarely have had it so easy keeping hydrated with water than at the Andaz in Maui.

  20. Gary,
    Just checked out of the Andaz and have to agree with nearly everything you said. Absolutely loved the property, the people and service. I think we had the same view as you which was amazing. Was able to sit out on the balcony and enjoy wine while watching the sunset. Hard to beat that. And had to go to the gym each morning before breakfast because I knew we’d over indulge. And we did. Freshly squeezed juices were a highlight.

    Toward the end of our week it was hard to get a lounger in the shade. Found out that you can “reserve” certain loungers for the day for $10. No one mentioned this until we asked how all the spots in the shade were taken. So we had to snag a few seats early in the AM. I think they mentioned they were getting more umbrellas. If so, that would solve the only small issue we had.

    Again…it’s a beautiful property and we loved the extra space in the suite. We rented a car one day to check out some snorkeling sights a few miles south which was worth it. And dinner in Kihei at Sansei which was good as well. Perfect weather too!

    Overall loved our stay. Was it cheap? No. But we had an amazing week and hope to return.

  21. The hotel is nice, not grand. And it’s stylish and new. I like the restaurants. But, there’s no value to be had (except maybe the cash and points, which seems to have dictated this article). And little Hawaiian culture.

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