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Four Seasons Maui

Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
Alec Baldwin, May/June 2004

My favorite corner table tells me everything I want to know about the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, in Hawaii. Outdoors, on the lanai of the Spago restaurant, there is a table at the intersection of the good life that overlooks the bay, the West Maui mountains, the beach, the pool, the gardens, and the comings and goings of the well-heeled (who are unlikely to be wearing heels).

There's a light breeze at dinner, bringing with it sweet and salty air. The spicy ahi poke and the pan-roasted mahi mahi bring their own sweet sense of satisfaction, yet they are just another in a series of satisfactions with this sweet place. From a gloriously appointed room to a massage by the beach to a Mai Tai by the pool to a smile from the bellman, the Four Seasons Maui is about the sweet satisfaction of island life.

The cocooning effect here is significant. It's easy to wrap yourself up in the indulgences of the resort, which at 380 rooms on 15 acres is pleasantly small. It's easy to get to know the staff, and it's clear they take the time to know you. The service here is never stiff or formal, never overbearing, but someone is always there when you need them.

The little touches are everywhere—the art in the lobby, the Bose stereo system in your room with CDs, the whole Kona beans you can grind for your morning coffee. The executive suites are a good value with two separate balconies, one off the living area for drinks or dining, the other off the bedroom with padded loungers that are fine for sleeping al fresco.

The recently upgraded spa has all the usual treatments, though the best is the simplest: a massage in a hale (hut) by the beach with the sound of the waves and the birds. You can ride an exercise cycle on an outdoor walkway, or lift weights inside if you wish. So much of the resort is about the melding of the outdoors and the indoors, and that includes a lobby bar where you can smoke a cigar.

Besides Wolfgang Puck's Spago, the resort operates two other very good restaurants, the outdoor Ferraro's and the indoor-outdoor Pacific Grill. The Ferraro's menu has recently been overhauled and the wine list is filled with Italian selections.

For golf, you have little more than to go across the street to the three courses of the Wailea Golf Club, where two layouts by Robert Trent Jones Jr. offer both challenge and lovely views. Just down the street is the Wailea Tennis Center and the Shops at Wailea.

Everything is neatly packaged for you at the Four Seasons Maui, including a room program that comes with a convertible car. But the sweet sensation you get from one moment to the next just comes naturally.

Visit www.fourseasons.com.

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