Impressions Of The Andaz Maui

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October 19, 2017
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There are certain points hotels that people flock to for good reason. For many of us, the main reason we participate in hotel loyalty programs is because of the aspirational properties that belong to their portfolios, and we dream of redeeming points there. In the case of the Hyatt portfolio, it sure seems like the top three “aspirational” properties at which people redeem points are the Park Hyatt Paris, Park Hyatt Maldives, and Andaz Maui, which opened a couple of years back.

I’ve stayed at the Park Hyatt Maldives (twice), I’ve never stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris, and I’m just making my first stay at the Andaz Maui. I figured I’d share my initial impressions of the hotel.

I’m simultaneously delighted and a bit disappointed by the property. First let me say that I booked the hotel using the Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free benefit. The rate for our dates (when booking way in advance) was $400 for a base room, or $500 for an ocean view room. I booked the latter, since this trip is for Ford’s birthday, and I knew we’d be disappointed if we didn’t have an ocean view, and I know this hotel isn’t great when it comes to elite recognition due to the number of Globalist members they get. There wasn’t free night availability for our dates, but if there were, the cost would have been 25,000 points per night.

While I’ll have a full review of the property soon, I wanted to first share my initial thoughts. Let’s start with the public facilities. This hotel is gorgeous. Absolutely stunning. So many Hawaii hotels are past their prime, but this hotel legitimately has the most visually stunning facilities of any hotel I’ve seen in Hawaii.

There’s an elevated outdoor area with three infinity pools, all of which have stunning views of the ocean. There’s an open-air lobby with a constant breeze overlooking everything as well. The public spaces are beautiful, and brilliantly designed to make the hotel never feel too crowded.

Furthermore, the service has been friendly across the board. With the exception of one person, everyone else has been over-the-top friendly. Many of the people working here seem to be beachy types from the mainland who have just lived here for a few years, but they’ve provided incredible service.

While the public areas and service at the hotel have been great, I don’t feel the same way about the rooms. Let me start by saying that preferred room aesthetics are inherently subjective, so below I’m sharing my opinions, though I realize other people may come to very different conclusions. I’d also like to acknowledge the challenge of designing rooms at beach destinations. You can’t put in a really nice carpet since people will constantly be coming in the room full of sand, etc. So I get that.

Even taking that into account, I find the rooms both unattractive and impractical in terms of their layout and functionality. We booked an ocean view room and got exactly that (which is fair enough, as I knew this hotel isn’t great about upgrades), but I just can’t get over the room’s design. I find it to be so bland, and to me it sort of feels like a Florida condo in need of a renovation.

But my much bigger issue is with the comfort and practical design of the room:

  • The mattress isn’t comfortable, and the bedding, pillows, and towels feel low quality
  • There are so many minor design issues, like there being a single outlet on top of the desk, rather than multiple, and there’s not another available outlet within a few feet
  • The closet is designed so that you can’t actually open a drawer while you’re in it, since there’s a luggage rack, and there’s nowhere to move it
  • The bathroom design makes no sense to me, as both the bathroom and the shower are long and narrow, so it seems like it would make more sense to make the shower rectangular and then add double sinks
  • The doors to the bathroom, etc., are all hard to open and close, as there’s no real handle
  • There’s no turndown service, even for Globalist members (which isn’t directly related to the design of the hotel, but is worth noting; apparently it’s available on request, though I only found that out by Googling, and when I called down to ask, the operator said “we don’t do that unless people specifically ask”)

I guess my issue is that this hotel is legitimately charging Four Seasons prices. Actually they’re charging more (in looking at many dates over the next month, the Andaz has higher base pricing than the Four Seasons just down the road, and the Four Seasons doesn’t charge a resort fee), yet I feel like the Andaz is missing simple luxury touches.

It’s sad because clearly they’ve spent so much on the the public areas. Even if the room isn’t my preferred aesthetic and I think it looks cheap, it would be nice if they had plush towels, great bedding, turndown service, etc. This should be a given at a hotel that’s charging $800+ per night for a base room including the taxes, resort fee, etc. And that doesn’t even include the $35 per day valet parking fee (there’s no self parking option).

Bottom line

Overall the Andaz Maui is great. The public spaces exceed my expectations and are stunning. The service is excellent as well. However, I personally don’t like the room design (which I can get over), but feel like they’re really cutting corners with some of the soft touches from the towels to the pillows to the lack of turndown service.

If you’ve stayed at the Andaz Maui, what was your experience like?

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