Executive Group Travel Blog

Where to host your next MICE trip: Maui

[fa icon="clock-o"] May 10, 2018 10:53:00 AM [fa icon="user"] Marci McCormack [fa icon="folder-open'] Travel Recommendations, MICE Travel

With the increase in number of flights and the price drop on airline tickets, Hawaii continues to be a busy destination for incentive travel.  For those with travelers' attending from Europe, the flight distance is still a challenge but for those with offices in Australia it could be a great middle meeting grounds.  We will explore the hotel products on the islands of Maui, Big Island, and Kauai over the next month of blogs.

Maui Sunset

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa  - 805 Sleeping Rooms, ~26,500 Sq Ft Indoor Meeting Space

This property is in desperate need of renovation from the lobby all the way to the guest rooms.  The bathrooms are extremely outdated and the rooms and balconies are in need of a major overhaul. As a seasoned traveler who visits many Hyatt Regency properties, I know they would be disappointed by their overall product at this resort. On the positive side the lobby is completely open air which is nice, however the décor is old, outdated, and does not reflect the beach feel to be expected in this location.

There are a few great options at this property for food and beverage including a high-end restaurant and a pool bar.

The pool areas are large for the size of the property. This is a great addition for families to keep their kids occupied. There are also resident penguins located on the property in the lobby which is a great feature for kids to enjoy.

For groups looking to host outdoor events in the evenings, this resort has added an outdoor terrace that overlooks the pool and is perfect for a small group event. In addition to this space there are also a few outdoor areas that would be ideal for welcome receptions or farewell dinners.

The designated meeting space is everything a group would need for a mid-sized to large company event. The space is located right near the sleeping rooms which is a huge bonus for attendees. There is no need to trek 10 minutes to get to their next sessions. In addition, this property has a large number of sleeping rooms that can accommodate a large group. However, keep in mind with a large group the breakout space would be limited.

One of the highlights of this property is the Luau area, which can host a large group event in the evenings. Unfortunately, the hotel's nightly Luau is very popular for outside guests so this rental comes at a high price.

The beach area at this property is small but the snorkeling off-shore is outstanding. I encountered many large turtles just a few feet from the sand!

Overall, this property would not be the best option until the hotel completes a major renovation, unless you are looking for a lower budget option.

Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali - 758 Sleeping Rooms, ~22,000 Sq Ft Indoor Meeting Space

This property recently underwent a smaller renovation and overall the product is a step or two above its neighbors, the Hyatt and Sheraton.

The room product at this property is exactly what you would expect from a Westin resort. Most rooms having great ocean-view balconies. The pool area is expansive and impressive with numerous water features throughout.

The meeting space is located close to guest rooms which is convenient, as it is a quick commute from bed to meetings. There is a unique outdoor covered terrace located outside the meeting space which is a great option for daily breakfast, lunch, or even evening receptions.  This area is set back from the beach with no view but there are a few water features next to the space.

There are plenty of F&B outlets throughout the property for guests to enjoy at their leisure. The F&B team has done a great job of providing creative reception menus.  You will not be disappointed with the F&B team at this property. Be sure to work with them to embrace the Hawaiian culture in your event menus!

There is also additional outdoor oceanside, for a small to medium-sized group, a welcome reception, or farewell party.

Overall, if you are looking for a space specifically in this area of Maui then the Westin would be a top choice. It outdoes it’s competitors, the Hyatt and the Sheraton. If you are looking for a more high-end incentive then the Ritz or Montage may be a better fit.

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa - 500 Sleeping Rooms, ~12,000 Sq Ft Traditional Indoor Meeting Space

This property also recently underwent a major renovation. They updated everything from sleeping rooms, to the lobby, pool area, and meeting space. The biggest advantage of this property is the beach, as it surpasses any other property in Maui in terms of size, cleanliness and ocean accessibility.

The traditional indoor meeting space is limited but the upcoming renovations are expected to brighten up the décor.

There is great outdoor space located oceanfront and plenty of different options for groups to host multiple evening events.

Post renovation this property would be a good option for a group looking for a 4 star option in Hawaii on a lower budget. Once the renovations are complete then a better reference can be provided.

Montage Kapalua Bay  - This is a 5-star property but just limited for corporate travel given the lack of sleeping rooms. The property only has 56 total rooms.


Left Out:

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua - 455 Sleeping Rooms, ~26,000 Sq Feet Indoor Meeting Space

Unfortunately, this property has not been personally reviewed since the major renovations in 2017. We have only included details versus personal opinions.


Wailea Area

Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort - 300 Sleeping Rooms, ~9,000 Sq Ft Meeting Space

As one of the newer players in the Maui 5-star market, this property is a great fit for the Millennial traveler/attendee.  The pool area is remarkable and one of the better ones in Maui. The rooms are simplistic yet impressive with natural décor. One nice perk of an Andaz is the complimentary mini bar (non-alcoholic) that is replenished daily.  

The spa and fitness center is everything you would expect from a resort of this size.

Another great benefit of this resort is the “grab and go shop” which is open 24 hours; perfect for those having difficulty adjusting to the time change. They have a limited number of food and beverage outlets on site but the ones they have are highly recommended. Many guests will venture out a few of the evenings anyways so this should not pose a problem. The pool-side options for lunch are notable and the service and food quality are top notch.

This resort also has a great outdoor space on the center lawn. A negative for a larger group staying in this resort would be the backup event space. They can make it work, however it is just not the traditional full ballroom space you might expect. Compared to other hotels in the area, the Andaz lacks traditional meeting space for mid-sized groups.

Nonetheless, for incentive travel this should not pose a problem.

The location is also great as the complimentary shuttle can provide you access to the mall area, neighbor hotels, and additional restaurants.

Overall for a US technology company looking to host a mid-size or small incentive trip, this is the perfect property!

Wailea Beach Resort / Marriott - 490 Sleeping Rooms, ~30,000 Sq Feet Meeting Space

This property underwent a major renovation back in 2016 with over $100 Million spent. The final product is very impactful. The adults-only infinity pool is one of the better places to watch the sunset or whale watch in the winter. Each of the three pools provide a different experience on the property. One is targeted towards younger families, one for adults-only, and one for groups.  The family pool area is towards the back of the hotel and it features the longest water slide in Hawaii.

The rooms have been nicely updated and the décor matches most Marriott beach resorts. The bathrooms are clean and contemporary with a separate sink area from that of the toilet/shower.  The only negative is that the water from the showers appears to the flood the toilet/shower area after each use. This is common among most recently renovated hotels. The design looks good but it is not very practical.

The meeting space features fresh and light décor. The foyer outside the ballroom is an open-air, covered terrace. The rooftop terrace is a memorable space for a large reception or  a formal dinner. Plus, the weather backup space is located right below for guests’ convenience.

Similar to the rest of the properties in the area, this location also has a complimentary shuttle that provides access to the mall area, neighboring hotels, and additional restaurants. For the Marriott specifically, the shops and restaurants (such as Tommy Bahama) are only a 3-4 minute walk from the lobby.

This property was the most surprising of all. The renovated product is truly impressive. For certain groups I would choose this hotel over the neighboring Four Seasons and Fairmont.  The service was exceptional, the sales team was more than accommodating, and the conference team was extremely creative.

For a millennial targeted event, (either a meeting or larger incentive trip) this would be the perfect fit. The room product is contemporary, the service is top-notch, the location is perfect, and the hotel provides daily/evening entertainment.


Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea - 383 Sleeping Rooms, ~ 14,000 Sq Ft Indoor Meeting Space.

Similar to most Four Seasons, the service at this resort is top outstanding. You can't go wrong for incentive and leisure travel at the Four Seasons Resort Maui.

The bathrooms are phenomenal and the rooms are large in size (minimum 600 sq feet) with each room boasting a private lanai complete with outdoor furniture.

The main pool area is located in the center of the property and is vast with plenty of room for families and couples. There is also an adults-only infinity pool complete with a bar located on the main floor of the hotel with great ocean views. The hotel has 64 cabanas on the property that are open to customers at no additional charge and offered first come, first serve. This is a huge perk for incentive guests.

This property has plenty of meeting space to host both an incentive trip and also a small company meeting. Due to the number of rooms and size of the property this hotel is not a great fit for a mid-sized meeting/conference event but can work for a mid-sized incentive trip.

As far as outdoor events space the hotel has a great set up. There are cabana structures along the pool, a lovely front lawn and an elevated terrace with an ocean view.

Similar to the rest of the properties in the area, this location also includes complimentary shuttle that can provide access to the mall area, neighboring hotels, and additional restaurants.

Overall, this is a great option for a high-budget incentive group for any market. Also, keep in mind this is one of the only hotels in the Maui region that does not charge a resort fee.

Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui - 450 Sleeping Rooms, ~9,000 Sq Ft Meeting space

A popular hotel option for incentive travel in Maui, this property targets the Baby Boomer generation.

This property has limited traditional indoor meeting space besides the main ballroom setup.  The indoor meeting space is traditional in layout and on the darker side with décor but has great outdoor terrace spaces throughout. The sleeping rooms are decorated with a more traditional feel but the size is what differentiates these rooms from the rest of the island. Every room on the property is a suite with separate bedrooms and living room with a minimum size of 860 square feet. The room also includes a compact chiller, microwave, and a large, private, and furnished lanai. The guest rooms are a highlight of this property.

The F&B team does an amazing job with their catering menu in both quality and creativity. This is another highlight of this property for many event planners.

The layout of the property is unique in that the hotel is set back slightly and the "villas" are located in the center. Unfortunately, this leads to many guests having a view of the villa roofs versus a beach and ocean view.  There are two pools on property with one being the activities pool and the other being the more quiet, relaxation pool. Again similar to the rooms, the pools are setup back closer to the hotel versus right on the oceanfront.

To get around this property for a conference or event there is more walking involved from place to place compared to that of its competitors.

The spa and gym are everything you would expect from a Fairmont property and will leave guests impressed.

Similar to the rest of the properties in the area, the location is also great as the complimentary shuttle can provide you access to the mall area, neighbor hotels, and additional restaurants.

Grand Wailea | A Waldorf Astoria Resort - 787 Sleeping Rooms, ~38,000 Sq Ft Indoor Meeting Space

This is  another large property with plenty to do for everyone. Similar to the rest of the Maui properties, this resort underwent a major renovation including all pools and outdoor spaces in 2017. If space is your focus then look no further. This property has one of the largest traditional meeting space options, both indoor and outdoor, for larger conferences.

The outdoor area is spacious for evening events and the F&B team does a great job with creative menus and unique setups.

The rooms are more on the traditional side and lack any real “wow factor” but guests usually will not be spending much time in sleeping rooms while in Maui.

The pools and amenities are are real highlight of this property. There is truly something for everyone and plenty to do for not just families but also conference attendees. There are 7 dining options and 5 bars located on the property.  The big “wow factor” of this property is the 50,000 Square Foot spa.

For a small incentive trip (under 100 rooms) you might feel like you are getting lost on this property but for a larger incentive trip or a meeting/conference this could be the perfect fit.


Maui Wailea Marriott


Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any entity mentioned herein. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.  

As is standard practice, our group of talented and experienced travel agents will often accept hosted stay invitations and hosted dinners and activities within destination in order to facilitate more detailed reviews.  

All images by the author.