Relais & Châteaux Spotlight - Hotel Wailea

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Charles McDiarmid
By Charles McDiarmid, Managing Director
Newsletters22 February 2024


It’s the unmistakable fragrance of fresh blossoms and clear mountain air that first welcomes you to Hotel Wailea Relais & Châteaux. The only Relais & Châteaux property in Hawai'i, Hotel Wailea is a beacon of luxury and a serene tropical enclave with lush garden paths and cascading waterfalls, and 72 individually designed suites nestled 300 feet above sea level with views of the surrounding Pacific Ocean.

Celebrating Suite by Travis Rowan

From January through March, guests of the Hotel Wailea have a front-row seat to the extraordinary annual migration of humpback whales and can view the spectacular whale activity from their private lanai or almost anywhere with the hotel’s sweeping, unobstructed ocean views. While guests can watch the whales from afar, the hotel offers a unique and immersive traditional Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe paddle that allows guests to join knowledgeable local guides for a personalized journey along the breathtaking coastlines of Maui and treats them to the awe-inspiring spectacle of humpback whales breaching, spouting, and tail-slapping in their natural environment. The delicate and incredible balance of the ecosystem observed in the whale migration is a true inspiration for all those who appreciate the beauty of nature.

Outrigger Tour by Shawn Walters
Outrigger Tour by Shawn Walters

Sustainability and respect for nature are a way of life for Hotel Wailea. The hotel's commitment to preserving the beauty of its surroundings is woven through its fabric and philosophy and in its array of eco-friendly practices and products. From offering complimentary locally-made sunscreen by Project Reef to providing reusable glass bottles for water, Hotel Wailea centres sustainability to minimize its environmental impact wherever possible. This ethos is also deeply incorporated into the culinary experience led by Executive Chef Ryan Cruz, who celebrates sustainability by sourcing local, quality ingredients and building relationships with local farmers and fishers to share the island’s unique and abundant ingredients in creative ways. Chef Cruz draws inspiration from his love of Japanese art and elaborate floral arrangements, using vibrantly coloured elements to replicate a bountiful garden on each delicious plate.

Final Touches

Though separated by nearly 10000 miles of ocean, back in Tofino and on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, we feel a kinship of character with our friends further south. Tofino, too, is fortunate to have a whale-watching season, and though we have to wait a little while yet for the humpback whales to leave their tropical waters behind for our shores and storm-swept seas, we begin to see Pacific Gray Whales in Clayoquot sound from as early as late-February, early-March and celebrate their return as a community during the Pacific Rim Whale Festival.

At the Wickaninnish Inn, we deeply appreciate and share the awe and respect for these incredible rhythms of nature and are fortunate to see them up close and share with our guests and community. We are grateful to our friends at Hotel Wailea in slightly warmer and more southern climes for that shared spirit of providing an exquisite guest experience and shared commitment to stewardship and sustainability.

Sunset Views by Troy Plota

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