The best luxury resort hotels in Maui, Hawaii that are appropriate for family travel tend to cluster on the southern and western sides of the island, where the surf is more reliably calm and child-friendly.
Those of us who’ve had to console young children after they’d been tossed around by the waves can attest to the importance of calmer waters for the little ones.
So, what do you look for when you’re seeking a luxury family vacation in Maui? Great beach and pool, fantastic service, gorgeous property and wonderful 4-star plus accommodations, of course.
A luxury family vacation in Maui can easily be had (for a pretty penny, needless to say) at several top luxury resorts.
Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea — I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Fairmont Kea Lani resort. It was the first resort in Hawaii in which I spent a best luxury family vacation in Maui, and my kids — 3 and 5 at the time — both learned how to snorkel there.
Seriously, my itty bitty 3-year old was taught how to snorkel in the Fairmont Kea Lani’s pool. She’s still half dolphin, even today. The Fairmont Kea Lani is also one of my top picks because the Fairmont family of hotels is a favorite of mine. But don’t just take my word for it; after a recent major renovation (completed earlier in 2012), the all-suite resort hotel has everything for a luxury family vacation in Maui.
The one-bedroom suites are larger than the first three apartments I lived in, in NYC, and the kids’ club is fun. The Spa Kea Lani has won awards, including being noted as one of the Top Resort Spas by Conde Nast Traveler.
A new restaurant, Ko focuses on island-grown produce for a sustainable menu and guaranteed freshness. While it’s been a long time since I stead at the Fairmont Kea Lani, that I look back at it so fondly points to the terrific family travel memories just waiting to be had there.
Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea — The soft sands and gentle surf of Wailea Beach makes it the best stretch on the entire island, which is why three of the five best resorts on the island are here.
The Four Seasons in likely the non plus ultra of luxury resorts in Maui, it being the only true five-star resort that maintains the integrity of the brand yet offers a family-friendly stay so as to keep children happily at play.
Sure, it’s got room for romantic travel too, there are usually a lot of honeymooners and anniversary trips here. The Four Seasons Resort Maui is one of the best luxury family vacation Maui resorts as well. it’s in between the Fairmont Kea Lani and the Grand Wailea (more on that one in a moment) but with plenty of room between resort properties.
It’s a luxury resort — you know, it’s a Four Seasons, the price tag is what you’d expect — but most of the family-friendly activities are complimentary. Nice to not feel nickel-and-dimed while on vacation.
Here are some of the free things for kids at the Four Seasons Maui: CD an DVD library access, volleyball, tennis, snorkeling, game room access (foosball, ping-pong, Playstation and the like), bocci ball, beach and pool toys, in-room baby-proofing pre-arrival, child-sized bathrobes and children’s toiletries. Children also eat free at Ferraro’s and Duo when a parent is dining with them.
Grand Wailea in Wailea — Okay, kids, fasten your seat belts, because the Grand Wailea is the most kid-friendly and outrageously fun of the three best luxury resorts along the stretch of Wailea Beach. We spent a week there this past Christmas and now – a couple of weeks later — my children finally cut off their resort pass wrist bands. It’s that good.
No mistake; this is the most blatantly kid-oriented of the best luxury family vacation Maui resorts.There’s an adults-only pool, thankfully, because the huge Wailea Canyon Activity Pool is 25,7000 square feet of a riotously good time.
Water slides galore, a winding lazy river, a water elevator (you read that’s right) and six levels of pool from 40 feet to sea level entertain kids and teenagers all day — and this year, they reinstated the Tarzan Pool with rope swing again.
There’s also a jacuzzi and infant pool, and the “Grotto,” a swim-up bar for guests. The property is right on Wailea Beach, and a 5-minute walk from the Shops at Wailea.
Everything is big at Grand Wailea; Spa Grande is 50,000 square feet and considered one of the “Top 10 Spas in the United States.” And, yes, there are spa treatments for kids and teens…but you’ll have to get them out of the pool first.
Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua — The only one of the best luxury family resorts in Maui that isn’t along the Wailea Beach stretch, the Ritz-Carlton is worthy of note despite its often unforgiving coast.
The name speaks for itself; what I most loved during my family stay at this luxury resort beyond the expected top-shelf amenities and accommodations was the Ritz-Carlton’s commitment to preserving Hawaiian culture as much as possible (while not sacrificing the luxuriousness of the property).
A sacred site, the Honokahua Preservation Site, is right next to the Ritz in Kapalua, and two marine sanctuaries are immediately offshore. The resort traded in its old Ritz Kidz Camp for Jean-Michel Couseau’s Ambassadors of the Environment, wherein families are engaged in hands-on learning about the local habitat and its denizens.
Miles of hiking trails, two miles of zip lines, and the Maunalei Arboretum ensure that there are enough tropical outdoor adventures to tire out the most energetic of kids.
Now, there are plenty of resorts and hotel in Maui — it’s considered by many knowledgable sources to be the best tropical vacation island in the world, after all — and their exclusion from this elite list does not mean they’re equivalent to Motel 6’s.
Most, in fact, are much more affordable family resort alternatives. However, for the family vacation of your dreams, when a travel budget is not an issue, these four are the best luxury resorts on the island. A wonderful best luxury family vacation in Maui is practically a guarantee at any of them.
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