When Four Seasons Wailea opened in 1990, it was one of those rare places Maui residents rarely glimpsed unless you worked there. Now, for the first time, they’ve opened their doors with what they call a Kama`aina Season.
“So many of our fellow kama`aina spend their days providing service for our island’s visitors, and we are excited to turn the tables, to open our doors to our extended ‘ohana so that we can pamper them,” said General Manager Jean Claude Weitzel. “The Golden Rule, to treat people as you would like to be treated, has always been at the core of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and our employees live and breathe this philosophy. The combination of the Four Seasons service culture and the spirit of aloha promise many memorable moments for our guests. We are simply delighted to be able to welcome kama’aina to experience the resort.”
They make pushing the pamper button at Four Seasons easy. As soon as you step foot on the resort, the staff immediately sets about making everything as comfortable as possible. When you first arrive, for instance, rather than stand in a queue, you’re asked to have a seat on the lobby couches and refresh with ginger lemonade and cold towels while they get you checked in. Then escorts take you to your room. It’s like they don’t want you to lift a finger. The rooms are some of the largest on the island–a minimum 600 square feet, with sprawling verandas that overlook the ocean and spacious closets and bathrooms.
As far as I’m concerned, a staycation could be spent entirely in their beautiful rooms, but my nine-year-old disagrees. Luckily the resort has plenty of complimentary activities for travelers of all sizes and passions. The morning outrigger canoe paddling is just one of their adventures that I’d put on the must-try list. After a quick briefing with the steersman, you paddle out for a little jaunt around the Wailea coastline in the Four Seasons canoe while the ocean is still crystalline. They even bring masks so you can do a little snorkeling and fish-spotting. You can reserve a seat on any of the boats leaving from 7am to 10am, and there are five trips every morning.
Other free Four Seasons resort activities include fitness, scuba diving, tennis and Hawaiian crafts. If fitness is your thing, daily ocean view exercise classes start at 7:45am daily, with yoga, meditation, pilates, zumba, SUP yoga and spin. You can also take advantage of their 24-hour fitness machines that include cybex, elliptical, stairmaster, and treadmills and bikes. The beach walk fronting the resort is also one of my favorite places to run or walk, and it runs from the Marriott to Polo Beach.
Beach time is really cushy when you do it Four Seasons-style. Free snorkel gear is available to check out the reef. Four Seasons attendants will also set up a beach-side camp for you with an umbrella, chairs and table (then they come around with ice water and mini muffins). While they do not have cocktails and food service on the beach, they have a little stand nearby for snacks like bagels and ice cream.
If the sand isn’t your thing, you can always relax under one of their 58 cabanas? They are also complimentary, and poolside attendants can get you set up with chair covers, towels and spritzes from the fountain pool to the waterfall pool. Up at the Serenity adult pool, cabanas are decked out and designed in Missoni. The upside of staying by the pool is taking advantage of their gourmet menu available from the resort chefs as well as cocktail, beer and wine service.
Families staycationing will love the Kids for All Seasons program, which runs daily for guests ages five to 12. Even though my daughter could have stayed with me, she opted to hang out in their cool headquarters with a rock climbing wall, air hockey, movies and crafts. They went on a scavenger hunt around the property and she reported it was a blast. The staff at Kids for All Seasons were really helpful, sending me on my way with a full schedule of where they would be at any given time and the camp counselors’ cell phone numbers.
While your kids are enjoying scavenger hunts, it’s prime time for shopping. The Four Seasons has different local artists selling their items everyday in the lobby from 9am to 1pm. I perused Mika McCann’s beautiful handcrafted baskets made from materials she grows on the slopes of Haleakala. The lobby also has an incredible museum quality collection of art to peruse with a self-guided tour. The 22 Knots and Cabana boutiques are setting up special kama`aina sales for up to 40 to 60 percent off merchandise. You will see hard-to-find-on-Maui brands like Jimmy Choo, Valentino and Lanvin at 22 Knots, while Cabana has the perfect resort wear and beach bohemia mix of local and designer goods like James Perse and Alice + Olivia. Ports has candy, gifts and some cool Tom’s sunglasses which, similar to their shoe line, give the gift of sight to someone in need when you buy them.
Four Seasons is also home to one of the top rated spas in the nation. The spa is offering kama`aina $129 massages or anti-aging facials. They’re also known for their wellness treatments, hydra facials and i-lipo body shaping treatments, but now botox and juvederm are available, too. In 2015, Four Seasons took over management of the Salon, and they’re now offering $55 signature pedicures or blowouts for Kama`aina Season.
The three restaurants at the Four Seasons are also catering to kama`aina with Wolfgang Puck’s Spago and Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante offering two-for-one entrees, while Duo Steak and Seafood will take 20 percent off your entire bill. Other evening entertainment, food and drinks can be enjoyed at the Lobby Bar. Also fun in the evening is their Games Room, where we enjoyed video games, big screen TVs, foosball, ping-pong, pool tables, shuffle board and board games until the wee hours.
“For many who live here in Hawaii, the holidays represent the busiest time of the year,” Weitzel said. “Almost all residents are inundated with work responsibilities. It gives us great pleasure to open our doors to our extended ‘ohana during the pre-holiday rush, so they can remember exactly why they live here.”
Kama`aina Season is available at the Four Seasons Wailea through Dec. 19, with prices starting at $299 with no resort fees. To make a reservation, call 808-874-8000 (Hawaii state ID required).