February 2015

On the Scene: Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort & Spa

by Maria Lenhart

Even those who have met on Maui many times before will find a new experience awaiting them at Andaz Maui at Wailea, which opened on the island in late 2013. This sleek and modern resort, where playful design elements include a central sandpit in the lobby, puts a contemporary spin on island traditions, something I discovered on a recent fam visit.

Built from the shell of a former Renaissance hotel, which sat shuttered for many years, Andaz is a completely different incarnation, from its stone arrival bridge to the series of infinity-edged pools cascading down to a secluded beach. Its light and airy guest rooms with platform beds and white-oak shutters have a residential feel, as do the Studios, meeting suites where function space is built around open kitchens where chefs can prepare customized meals for attendees.

Andaz, which has 15,000 square feet of meeting space and can accommodate groups of up to 150 people, is a strong draw for corporate meetings in the high-tech sector as well as incentive programs in creative industries, according to Anita Rahman, director of sales and marketing.

“Companies who are forward-thinking like the fact that we offer a comfortable, residential atmosphere that doesn’t feel like a traditional environment,” she says.

As far as events, Andaz puts a creative twist even on the traditional Hawaiian luau, according to Rahman.

“Instead of the usual buffet, we’ll have mini stations for cocktails and foods where you can interact with the chefs and mixologists,” she says.

When it comes to food and beverage, Andaz draws heavily on the bountiful local ingredients that make dining on Maui a singular pleasure. Our small group discovered this during an amazing dinner at the resort’s Ka‘anu Kitchen, where chef Isaac Bancaco presented a series of dishes that included chunks of watermelon paired with cheese from Surfing Goat Dairy, breadfruit gnocchi and abalone risotto.

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