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Wailea-Makena: Maui’s Most Exclusive Vacation Experience
The resort area of Wailea and the secluded community of Makena are ideally located at the foot of the majestic Haleakala volcano on Maui’s sunny southwestern coast. Relaxation and indulgence await in this breathtaking region, with its fabulous beaches and world-class dining, shopping, golf, and spas. Just a quick drive from every possible convenience and activity, this Hawaiian hideaway also provides the perfect setting for unwinding in luxury.
Each of Wailea-Makena’s stunning beaches boasts views of the islands of Kahoolawe and Lanai, the Molokini crater, the West Maui Mountains, and spectacular sunsets. Keawakapu, nearly a mile long, enables visitors to enjoy leisurely walks on golden sands. Wailea Beach offers good swimming conditions, while Palauea/White Rock offers the opportunity to snorkel with honu, or sea turtles. Visitors can also have a uniquely Hawaiian experience at Makena State Park (also known as Big Beach), where a volcanic cinder cone borders a wide expanse of soft sand about a mile and a half long.
One of the best snorkeling spots in the Hawaiian Islands, the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, allows visitors to see a huge variety of fish in a shallow, protected cove or venture out into deeper waters to see beautiful coral formations and more sea turtles. Just a bit farther south, an exceptional hike begins at La Perouse Bay, where lava fields meet the sea and provide glimpses of wild goats and spinner dolphins. For a less rugged stroll, visitors may wish to take the Wailea Coastal Walk, an approximately 1.5-mile path between the ocean and Wailea’s opulent resorts. Wailea is also home to three renowned golf courses and magnificent spas like Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea, The Spa at Four Seasons, and Awili Spa at Andaz Maui.
The Shops at Wailea feature an open-air setting and a full calendar of live music and hula performances. In addition to well-known shopping options like Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Tiffany & Co., the shops contain local gems like Mahina clothing boutique, SoHa home décor, and Sand People gift shop, along with art galleries like Ki’i Gallery. Dining possibilities include Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, The Pint and Cork, and Lappert’s Ice Cream.
Fine dining is also available elsewhere in Wailea, in locations such as Ko and Nick’s Fishmarket in the Fairmont Kea Lani and Humble Market Kitchin (a Roy Yamaguchi restaurant) in the Wailea Beach Resort. In the Wailea Gateway Center, Monkeypod Kitchen serves distinctive dishes and what many consider the best mai tai on the island, while Pita Paradise serves fresh Mediterranean food in a lovely casual setting. Nearby Matteo’s offers excellent Italian cuisine, and Mulligans on the Blue offers authentic Irish pub fare.
Wailea’s restaurants create special prix-fixe menus during Restaurant Week each May and November. The area is also home to the Maui Film Festival every June, as well as a fireworks display every Fourth of July. Each February, the Maui Whale Festival typically takes place in the neighboring town of Kihei. And every fourth Friday of the month, Kihei also hosts a town party featuring live music, food trucks, and local arts and crafts vendors.