They're ready to turn on the AC on Maui

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The AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea, the first property under the AC brand in Hawaii, is scheduled to open April 29.
The AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea, the first property under the AC brand in Hawaii, is scheduled to open April 29.
Tovin Lapan
Tovin Lapan

After a brief delay for pandemic-related preparations, the AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea, Hawaii's first AC, is slated to open in late April.

The four-story, 110-room hotel features a business center, fitness area and infinity-edge pool along with other amenities across three acres. Kaleo Kenui, who serves as the general manager for both AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea and Residence Inn Maui Wailea said the Valley Isle resort area was the ideal spot for the first AC-branded property in the Aloha State for several reasons.

"Location wise, it sits on the very sunny southwestern coastline of Maui, nestled between the slopes of Mount Haleakala and the Pacific Oceanoffering breathtaking views from any vantage point and plenty of activities for visitors," he said. "It's also in great company with premier shopping, dining, spas, golf and the best beaches in the world within walking distance to make exploring and relaxing easier for our guests."

Workers broke ground on the project in April 2019, and prior to the pandemic the grand opening was scheduled for February of this year. Now, the property is scheduled to open April 29.

"We decided to delay the opening of the hotel so our team can take the time to adjust the hotel's public spaces to reflect recent social situations and train our team on new safety cleaning protocols," Kenui said. "Ironically, this is a great time to open the new hotel. Instead of opening at full occupancy, we can really take the time to safely engage with our guests and share with them how to respectfully-enjoy all the wonderful things our beautiful island home has to offer."

The guestrooms include a dozen suites, and the decor features a neutral-palette color scheme, hardwood floors and modern furnishings along with smart features like the ability to adjust temperature and lighting from a smart device. All rooms include a private balcony.

All AC Hotels incorporate two main public spaces, the AC Lounge and AC Kitchen. The lounge offers flexible seating arrangements and is a space for getting work done during the day or relaxing with friends and a cocktail. The AC Kitchen boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and a mixed menu of international and local items, including charcuterie and cheese boards.

"We will have some of the signature AC Kitchen items, such as hand-sliced prosciutto, freshly baked croissants and a lot of tapas," Kenui said. "However, while the AC Kitchens are normally European-inspired, our hotel will be a fusion of European- and Hawaiian-inspired cuisine as a nod to our host destination."

Guest programming at the property is still in development, with plans for cultural activities such as lei-making and lauhala-weaving as social distancing protocols allow in addition to live entertainment at happy hour three times per week.

"Programming is an important part of the experience we want to offer our guests, but we also want to make sure they go out and explore our island, learn about what truly makes our island special and, of course, support local vendors," Kenui said.

The AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea is within walking distance to a handful of beaches and retail centers Wailea Village, Wailea Gateway, and the Shops at Wailea. Also nearby is the Wailea Tennis Club and Wailea Golf's three championship courses.

"Wailea is a neighborhood with local residents mingling with the visitors," Kenui said. "It's not unusual for a guest to run into a resident twice or more during their stay and develop friendships. For example, the center across the street, Wailea Village, most of the shops are locally owned with the owners present every day. When the guests stop by, theyll meet the actual artist of a painting they may purchase or the owner of the coffee shop. Wailea has that great balance."

Kenui said the hotel has embraced the statewide "Malama Hawaii" campaign championed by the Hawaii Tourism Authority that roughly translates to "Take Care of Hawaii" and encouraged visitors to be conscious of their impact on the ecology and communities of the islands and find ways to give back to the destination.

"Upon check-in, well share with them practices they can perform to preserve the fragile ecosystem of our island by using approved reef-safe sunscreen and cleaning up debris in beaches they visit or trails they hike," he said.

The hotel will mark the first AC Hotel by Marriott-branded property in the Islands. A second AC Hotel is expected to open in downtown Honolulu in 2024.

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