The beginning of May marked the unveiling of the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort's newest addition to its lineup of accommodation options, the vista-blessed, amenity-laden Ilikai Villas.
The very first weekend saw four of 19 new villas booked, but resort management expects the new product to book up quickly based on both pre- and post-pandemic trends.
"We have 11 existing villas that are two-, three-, and four-bedroom that are either oceanfront or oceanview, and they are very popular," said Andrew Sutrisno, property marketing and communications manager. "Typically during the summer season and festive end of the year, they are fully booked with multigenerational families and other large groups, and it appears that demand for that type of accommodation is only growing."
The resort broke ground on the new Ilikai Villas prior to the pandemic, but it did not take long after reopening in October following a temporary halt to operations during the tourism slowdown to see that the more ample accommodations would be in even higher demand than they originally expected.
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"After reopening following the pandemic shutdown, we immediately noticed that travelers coming to Maui were looking for larger accommodations," Sutrisno said. "People were looking for a place where they could stay socially distanced while still enjoying the resort amenities, high level of service and commitment to cleanliness. We decided to add the villas because demand was high, but after the pandemic it has skyrocketed with our current villas consistently sold out."
"Ilikai" is the Hawaiian word for horizon, and the new three-bedroom villas are perched on a high point of the 15-acre property, boasting panoramic ocean views.
The standard 1,900-square-foot villas all come with kitchens equipped with Bosch appliances and a private patio with barbecue grill. Ground floor units have private plunge pools and private grassy areas.
"One of the coolest appliances is a Bosch in-wall coffeemaker that is basically the world's fanciest coffeemaker," Sutrisno said. "You just load in the coffee beans and use a touch screen menu to make any espresso-style drink you want, including a cappuccino or latte. You can also program it to memorize your preferences down to the size of the drink and temperature of the water."
The Ilikai Villas were designed by Honolulu-based firm WCIT Architecture, and the decor was chosen to celebrate key elements of the history and culture of the Wailea area, including a color scheme and design pattern meant to evoke the elepaio bird, a species of monarch flycatcher endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.
The penthouse villa is 3,750 square feet and features a glass-bottom, cantilevered pool.
"It's pretty spectacular, the glass bottom hangs out over the lawn below, and there is a glass wall in front allowing for great views of the ocean," Sutrisno said.
The Ilikai Villas are stacked five across and four floors high, and it is possible to book all of the villas on one floor and use connecting doors to create a fifteen-bedroom super-villa. The resort also has developed special food and beverage programming for villa guests.
"Because of the residential-style accommodations and full-size kitchen, that gives us some more options for cool dining experiences," Sutrisno said.
The culinary team can prepare a meal and deliver to the guests' door, or the resort can also provide a personal chef and wait staff that will come to the villa to prepare and serve the meal for more of a full-service, restaurant-style experience.
"That's a really popular option right now, especially with restaurants on Maui still restricted to 30% capacity," Sutrisno said. "That's led to a huge increase in wait times to get a table on Maui, and party size is restricted to no more than five people. So you can't even do the big eight- or 10-tops at Maui restaurants right now."
In addition to debuting the Ilikai Villas, the Andaz Maui has been updating its luau in recent months. The Feast at Mokapu is held two nights a week and includes a plated, sit-down dinner and choice of cocktails for guests. Now, the resort is using two decks that overlook the luau grounds to create an "opera box-style experience."
"It makes it more of an exclusive experience," Sutrisno said. "Everyone gets a conch shell greeting, and then you are escorted to your area by a hula dancer or luau performer. The guests also have a private server who will cater to them during the show."
The new accommodations bring the resort's total number of villas to 30, and guests in any of the villas also receive access to the resort's VIP concierge team, which can assist with all aspects of planning a Maui visit. Rates for the new Ilikai Villas start at $2,229 per night and include complimentary valet parking for one vehicle, full daily breakfast at Kaana Kitchen for two people per bedroom and resort credit of $150 per day.