One of Maui’s top hotels—Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort—is undergoing a multi-faceted, property-wide renovation and recently unveiled the initial phase of upgrades that will eventually encompass all guest rooms and suites, multiple restaurants and the legendary Spa Grande at the 40-acre resort, which opened in 1991.
First to be completed this spring was Botero Lounge, the social heart of the resort’s open-air lobby known for its collection of nine bronze sculptures featuring renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero’s signature rounded figures. The sculptures have been restored and the design of the lounge has been enhanced with bespoke globe-style lighting that adds drama along with fabrics in rich emerald-green paired with hibiscus pink to reflect Maui’s verdant landscape.
A massive lantern-style chandelier hangs above the oval-shaped bar, where guests can enjoy a menu of sushi offerings by Chef YongHo Mun, a South Korea-born, Matsuhisa-trained chef formerly of Matsuhisa Aspen. He’s more familiarly known as Chef Moony and is committed to using the freshest, locally sourced fish. On the menu? Selections such as Ocean Roll (tuna, salmon, hamachi, avocado in soy paper) and the Negi Hama Roll (hamachi, nori, wasabi and green onion) along with a wide array of Nigiri Sushi and Sashimi. Other menu highlights include the Tako carpaccio with chimichurri, Hawaiian snapper with miso, Albacore Truffle with yuzu dressing, and Spicy tuna with crispy rice.
Complementing the sushi offerings are Japanese-inspired craft cocktails such as Sakura in Bloom (featuring Suntory gin and garnished with sakura powder and dried sakura blssoms) and House of Otemae (featuring Suntory Haku vodka made from Japanese white rice and garnished with a matcha Pocky stick).
Botero Lounge will also be the setting for Grand Wailea’s “The Art of…” series, featuring educational/experiential workshops that include: The Art of Sushi Making (with Chef Moony), the Art of Cocktail Mixing (with bar masters from New York City’s Employees Only), and The Art of Whiskey (small-batch tastings led by certified spirits specialists).
Just below Botero Lounge is Ikena, the resort’s newly reopened, indoor/outdoor breakfast buffet, while Loulu, a nature-based artisanal café/market offering pizza, acai bowls, fresh-brewed coffee and more, will open in late July. And a fun new food concept, Aloha Trick Pony, is a colorful food truck located in the Surf Garden. It features an island-inspired BBQ menu (Hawaiian-style pulled pork sandwiches and avocado tacos, for example) and is open for breakfast and lunch.
Already open and signaling the first phase of a property-wide room renovation, is Napua, Grand Wailea’s exclusive club accommodations located in the Napua Tower. Revealed on June 13, these guest rooms and suites have been reimagined by Nina Chiappa Interiors to reflect a contemporary and abstract Hawaiian theme. Designed around the elemental components of land and water, the revitalized accommodations have a contemporary ambience featuring quietly luxurious finishings to create a tropical retreat.
Napua guests have access to a private concierge and a Napua Lounge with food and beverage offerings three times daily, plus a market-style pantry with a selection of snacks, beverages, coffee and tea. Grand Wailea will phase in renovations throughout its remaining inventory (the property features 776 rooms and suites) in the coming year.
During the pandemic hiatus, the property renovated its 4,850-square-foot, adults-only Hibiscus Pool, which now features new cabanas and Casabellas (clam-shaped shaded daybeds for two) available to rent.
One of Grand Wailea’s signature experiences, Spa Grande, is undergoing a major revitalization and won’t reopen until Fall 2023—but the property has created a soothing stand-in in Mohalu by Spa Grande. Encompassing one wing on the 4th floor adjacent to Café Kula, and accessed via a lantern-lit hallway, these 19 rooms-turned-treatment-sanctuaries offer a spacious and private setting for Hawaiian-inspired treatments for singles and couples, such as Lomi Lomi and Pohaku Stone massages and the Honey Macadamia Nut Indulgence (a relaxing mask and massage combo).