At Fairmont Kea Lani, kids get VIP treatment

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dward Roe, director of rooms and the person in charge of the Keiki Lani Kids Club at the Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui, isn't sure which aspect of his property is more attractive to families.

First he said it was the all- suite aspect, which he said is Kea Lani's hallmark: "Families find our two-room arrangement very attractive."

But then he thought about it.

"Maybe it's our Keiki Lani Kids Club," he said. "Families are always telling us how much their kids love the program, and they especially like the Hawaiian activities we offer."

It's probably both.

The all-suite and villa oceanfront resort on Polo Beach (Wailea) is 22 acres of sculptured, tropical landscape and lagoon-style pools.

And it boasts one of the most successful kids clubs on the island, featuring a program that combines fun with authentic Hawaiian activities.

That luxury and kids mix so successfully here helps explain why Conde Nast (November 2002 Readers' Choice) placed Kea Lani third in its 25 top Pacific Rim Resorts.

More importantly, Rina Anoussi, president of Travel Business in Manhattan, said that when she sends a family to Kea Lani, and she sends many, she never gets a complaint. "In this business," she said, "that's really saying something."

Roe called the family market "critical" to the property's success and pointed out that the Keiki Lani club is often the deciding factor for families who choose to vacation here.

The staff determines the names and ages of the children before they check in so they can be greeted personally.

This "personal greeting" is becoming popular at family-oriented properties and often includes a separate kid's registration card, which asks for the names of the child's favorite cartoon character, color, best food -- whatever it takes to make the child feel like a special person and not just an "add-on" to mom and dad's trip.

The resort has 413 one-bedroom suites. It also has 37 two- and three-bedroom oceanfront villas, each with its own kitchen and private plunge pool. Maximum occupancy is four.

The three pools are a huge attraction -- especially the new, 140-foot-long pool slide that rushes kids (and parents) from the upper lagoon pool to the lower one. There's also a kids or toddlers-only swimming pool.

Amenities include four restaurants; a full range of spa services; golf and tennis facilities; a free fitness center; escorted daily Power walks; a tour and activity desk; and water sports.

Suites include a double-size sofa bed in the living room; an oversize bathroom with a soaking tub, walk-in shower and twin sinks; Japanese-style Yukata robes; a minirefrigerator and wet bar; high-speed Internet access; and DVD players.

For the kids, the Keiki Lani Kids Club is open year-round, seven days a week, for ages 5 to 13. Activities revolve around Hawaiian and ocean themes.

One day kids learn Hawaiian instruments, and the next, all about reptiles. They make hulas and leis, explore tide pools and build sand volcanoes.

The fee is $55 a day for the first child, $40 for each sibling.

Also, for the 4 years and younger set, breakfast buffets, holiday buffets and banquet buffets are free.

There are games and toys available, including family movies.

Worth mentioning is the Nanny Connection, an islandwide child-care referral service with staff trained in First Aid and CPR. It has its own set of activities for children.

The fee is $12 an hour (minimum three hours). For information, call (808) 875-4777 or visit www.thenannyconnection.com.

Book it: Fairmont Kea Lani
Address:
4100 Wailea Alanui, Wailea, Maui, Hawaii 96753
Phone: (808) 875-4100 or (800) 441-1414
Fax: (808) 875-1200
E-mail:[email protected]
Web:www.fairmont.com
Price range: One-bedroom suites, $339 to 729; Villas, $1,400 (two bedrooms, six occupants) to $2,400 (three bedrooms, eight occupants)
Commission: 10%

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