Wailea Beach Resort general manager Thomas Foti could hear the screams from his office. It was a sound he'd been waiting to hear for more than a year an early Christmas present.
On Dec. 19 the two, brand new multi-story waterslides were opened to the public as part of the resort's $100 million renovation that began in fall 2015. Guests and other visitors, including Foti's 12-year-old son, wailed in delight as they zipped down the slides.
Wailea Beach Resort, opened in 1976 as the Maui Inter-Continental, was the first resort in the area. It boasts a spacious 22-acre property, but as the years have gone by and new neighbors have moved in, its amenities lagged behind.
On Dec. 24 the Wailea Beach Resort officially unveiled its renovation, which revamped the resort's pool and entertainment offerings, refreshed the dining options and modernized the rooms and suites.
The size of the property provided what Foti called a "unique opportunity to offer a multitude of experiences." The pool areas were completely redone, including the Nalu Adventure Pool and its epic water slides.
At the center of pool are four slides, catering to all ages and levels of acrophobia, the tallest of which measures 325 feet, or more than five stories. There is a new interactive "splash zone," with water guns, spraying sea mammal sculptures and bubblers.
"Before the children's pool area was a bit antiquated, but now we feel we've created the premier children's pool in the state of Hawaii," Foti said.
The pool is served by the Mo Bettah Food Truck and Nalu Pool Bar, which serve up local treats like poke and shaved ice, and other quick options.
If the noise or energy level at the adventure pool is too much, adults looking for quiet time can head to the serenity pool. The adults-only infinity edge pool features over-water cabanas and comfy, cushioned chaise lounges. Topping it all off are two more oceanfront infinity edge pools that offer views of the surf.
There is also a new gaming area with billiards, foosball, shuffleboard, vintage video games and other activities, and a new 60-seat movie theater.
The new flagship restaurant at the hotel is Roy Yamaguchi's Humble Market Kitchin. The restaurant is an homage to Yamaguchi's grandfather Henry who immigrated to Hawaii. The menu blends together Japanese, Filipino, Chinese and Hawaiian influences in creative and unique dishes. Humble Market Kitchin sits on one of the highest points of the property, providing panoramic ocean views for diners.
"When we started looking for restaurant partners we were seeking authenticity," Foti said. "The local food scene has grown tremendously overall, but is not as highlighted as it could be. Roy is a master of this employing local influences in amazing cuisine."
The Whale's Tale is a new casual oceanfront bar serving morning and afternoon refreshments, including cold pressed juices, fruit smoothies, coffee drinks, breakfast pastries and acai bowls. It is also a choice spot for sipping a cocktail while the sun drops over the horizon in the evening.
The rooms have been redone in a "modern beach vibe," with new furnishings, in-room technology, and soundproof sliding doors leading to outdoor lanais, Foti said.
The changes were not just physical, Foti said, with the staff receiving new training.
"One of the things I'm excited about is that all of the associates got new training and are demonstrating new standards," Foti said. "We've always had that beautiful aloha spirit exhibited in the past, but we want to be known as the warmest resort in the Wailea area. We want to go above and beyond everything we've done before."