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The beautiful, family-friendly, super-foodie Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui

MAUI, HAWAII – I’ve spent more time on the Lahaina-Kaanapali side of Maui over the years. But the Fairmont Kea Lani resort in Wailea might convince me to try that side of Maui more often.

I spent a couple of nights at the property last month and came away hugely impressed. Not to sound all uppity or anything, but I see a lot of gorgeous hotels in my line of work and a lot of places with four or five or supposedly six stars leave me a little flat. Not this place. Not by a long shot.

It’s beautiful, sure. You’d expect that for rooms that start for October start around $500 US a night. But it feels very Hawaiian in terms of its design and attitude, right down to the elevator mats that read “Aloha Kakahiaka” in the morning and then change to afternoon or evening later in the day. The hotel is fancy enough to be attractive to high rollers but you can still wear your bathing suit in the lobby on the way to the pool or the crazy pretty Willow Stream Spa. And that’s a big bonus for me when I travel, being a guy who’s long-term goal in life is to wear no shoes but flip-flops for an entire year.

I also love the size of the rooms. They’re all suites, with generous living quarters in a separate room from the sleeping quarters. That makes a huge difference to me psychologically, as well as the benefit of having a place to leave extra gear without looking at it when you go to bed. The bathrooms are similarly generous in size, with luxurious bath products and lots of marble and sink space.

I could go on and on about the food and the setting and the beach. But I think sometimes photos (these all were taken by me) and a few words tell a better story, so here’s a large handful of pictures from my recent stay. Which I hope won’t be my last.

There are several pools to choose from at the Fairmont Kea Lani, including an adults-only area and a cool waterslide for kids, and kids at heart like me.

There are several pools to choose from at the Fairmont Kea Lani, including an adults-only area and a cool waterslide for kids, and kids at heart like me.

The beach at the Fairmont Kea Lani is one of the best on Maui, with awesome views and sunsets.

The beach at the Fairmont Kea Lani is one of the best on Maui, with awesome views and sunsets.

The grounds and gardens at the Fairmont Kea Lani are among the prettiest on Maui.

The grounds and gardens at the Fairmont Kea Lani are among the prettiest on Maui.

The Fairmont Kea Lani is great for young couples as well as families and older travellers.

The Fairmont Kea Lani is great for young couples as well as families and older travellers.

Ko, a beautiful restaurarant at the Fairmont Kea Lani, serves some of the best sushi you'll ever try.

Ko, a beautiful restaurarant at the Fairmont Kea Lani, serves some of the best sushi you’ll ever try.

Rooms at the Fairmont Kea Lani feature generous patios with killer views of the Pacific.

Rooms at the Fairmont Kea Lani feature generous patios with killer views of the Pacific.

Fairmont's Willow Stream spas are among the best hotel spas in the world, and the Kea Lani's facility measures up nicely.

Fairmont’s Willow Stream spas are among the best hotel spas in the world, and the Kea Lani’s facility measures up nicely.

In addition to regular rooms, the Fairmont Kea Lani has suites near the ocean where you can arrange several rooms. They'll even have a chef come in and barbeque a meal for you.

In addition to regular rooms, the Fairmont Kea Lani has suites near the ocean where you can arrange several rooms. They’ll even have a chef come in and barbeque a meal for you.

The grounds at the Fairmont Kea Lani are super romantic. It's a popular spot for weddings.

The grounds at the Fairmont Kea Lani are super romantic. It’s a popular spot for weddings.

You might get a fabulous view of the Molokini crater and the island of Kahoolawe from your patio or lanai at the Fairmont Kea Lani.

You might get a fabulous view of the Molokini crater and the island of Kahoolawe from your patio or lanai at the Fairmont Kea Lani.

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