If you're looking to travel to Maui and keep a healthy, gluten-free diet, this review is for you!
Scott, my husband (find him online @fullbodyfix) and I recently stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui, HI for a week.
It was a very relaxing stay and we enjoyed ourselves. We definitely recommend staying at this property if you're looking for a healthy way to travel for a week, but read on to learn more.
The Fairmonnt Kea Lani is on the south west coast of Maui, an easy 30 minutes from the airport. This resort is in an area that's a bit quieter and more secluded than some areas of Maui.
Surrounding this resort are a couple of others as well – the Grand Wailea and The 4 Seasons. There is just one other attraction south of the property (Makena Beach / King’s Trail) for those seeking some adventure and outdoor time. For golfers, like my husband, the 3 courses at Wailea Golf Club offer plenty of excellent options and are a two minute drive.
We stayed during the first week of December, for reference. The weather was perfect and the resort had life to it but was not crazy packed – it was a perfect time to getaway.
Our room at the Fairmont Kea Lani
The suite-style room was perfect for our stay. It was spacious and comfortable – and I always enjoy when there's a way to separate the bed/sleeping area from the living area, and this room did exactly that.
Notably, both sides of the room – the bedroom and living room areas – had access to the balcony and full glass doors through which we could look out to the beach. This double-view element made relaxing from the bed or the couch equally soothing.
The room included a mini refrigerator, coffee pot, and a microwave. In the absence of an efficiency-style kitchenette, these basic appliances make a week-long stay so much easier. While I do love having more of a full kitchen set-up for breakfasts on longer stays, the hotel restaurant buffet was way more interesting and exciting than what we'd have made every morning. We always enjoy having a refrigerator for incidentals like snacks, cold brew coffee, easy breakfast items, and for stashing leftovers.
Taking a week off from cooking breakfast is also a nice treat and one that makes mornings more leisurely, too.
Our view overlooking the adults-only pool (request this side of the hotel if you are not traveling with children!) was a plus! We initially were given a room on the other side, and when I asked to be re-accommodated after one look out of the balcony and noticing (ahem, hearing) the kids' pool below, the hotel was happy to oblige.
We're pretty particular about hotel beds, and we both found the bed to be comfortable – firm but with some give. Since Scott is a chiropractor, we're both pretty sensitive to a hotel bed if it's too firm or too soft, and this one was great. Admittedly, I brought my pillow from home on this trip, since I knew we'd be staying a full week, which I'm always glad I did.
The bathroom was huge at the Fairmont Kea Lani. Two sinks with plenty of space and plenty of outlets filled the space. There was an open shower (I do prefer a fully enclosed shower with a door, but in Hawaii, it's not the worst for it to be open, just less private of course), a large bathtub (I think it had jets but we didn't use it), and a separate toilet room. The bathroom was also accessible from both the main living area and the bedroom, which would be convenient if you were using the main room for more guests and didn't want anyone to walk through the bedroom to use it.
Dining at the Fairmont Kea Lani
We stopped in most days at the Kea Lani Restaurant for breakfast. We like a protein-rich first meal of the day, and the breakfast buffet was really good, especially days that they had steak! I also enjoyed the fresh salmon, and finding gluten free options was easy as everything was labeled. The staff was also very willing to help with gluten-free options a la carte as necessary. I did bring my own matcha (and a frother!) to make in our room that I carried to breakfast with me, it's pictured below.
The resort has two more upscale restaurants – Ko and Nick’s Fishmarket – as well as a poolside bar and Ama Bar and Grill featuring fresh poke bowls.
We had a light lunch poolside one day, and other days we mostly took time during the heat of the day to explore more of the island versus staying on the property.
We dined at both Nick's and Ko and enjoyed our meals at each.
It was a bit easier to select from the menu at Nick's for gluten-free since Ko has a fusion menu featuring a fair amount of dishes that used soy sauce. While Ko does offer gluten-free Tamari to be used in the dishes, we prefer to avoid soy along with gluten, so the menu was a little trickier in that regard. If you are fine with soy but only avoid gluten, then this wouldn't be an issue for you!
At Nick's, I opted for a handful of raw seafood items, a hamachi crudo, oysters, and the chef's sashimi of the evening just with lemon juice instead of the gluten-free soy sauce.
At Ko, I chose a coconut curry fish dish, which was delicious, and Scott chose a steak special. The staff was really accommodating about gluten-free, again, so don't hesitate to let them know about your needs.
Across the board, the hotel is happy to accommodate food allergies, though it requires letting them know ahead. A bonus is that info stays without you throughout your stay so staff know if you give your room number.
For more on dining at the Fairmont Kea Lani, click here.
We also dined twice down the road (a lovely walk along the beachside – take it!) for dinners at Duo at The Four Seasons as we had heard great things about their steakhouse. We enjoyed the bone-in rib eye for two so much the first night we had it that we went back there for our last dinner as well. I even started developing a spice rub based on the flavors on the steak, it was that good! It was of course easy to dine gluten-free at Duo in Maui since it's a steak house. If you can enjoy things cooked in a shared fryer, their house-cut fries were amazing. We were also able to text the Kea Lani concierge for pickups from The Four Seasons, which was great.
I realize that this photo is slightly blurry and very poorly lit, but it was too good, and I had to share.
Activities at the Fairmont Kea Lani
The resort has a private beach area with rentable snorkel gear, canoes, surfing, and other beach options. There is also a fitness center that's well-equipped with cardio machines, dumbbells, and other Cybex-style machines, and more. It wasn't too crowded when we worked out a few mornings there and towels and water were provided.
We went on a resort-led hike on King's Trail for sunrise one morning. A word to the wise: DO NOT wear Vibram Five Fingers on this hike – it is very rocky (it is mostly lava rock!) and thick-bottomed shoes would be a good pick for this trip.
This poor decision on my part made the hike a bit of a torture-fest for my feet, and I was mostly just looking forward to it ending, so, sadly, I didn't get to enjoy the experience as much as I'm sure I would have with proper footwear. The views sure were pretty, though.
The hospitality and overall experience at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui
We found the staff and experience overall at this property to be great. Everyone was friendly and gracious. The concierge offered a cooler bag to borrow for the day when we needed it for a picnic we had planned and also for some groceries we wanted to pick up from Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods (Grocery Store) while we were out and about. If you need a ride within a short distance of the hotel, you can text the concierge and they'll pick you up.
More spots where we ate gluten-free on this trip:
Mala Ocean Tavern – Mediterranean Oceanside in Lahaina (45 min north) where we watched sea turtles frolic.
Pita Paradise – 3 minutes from Fairmont, clean Mediterranean souvlaki style salads.
Merriman’s Kapalua – about an hour north up the coast is Kapalua and one of the most incredible ocean side restaurants with an incredible menu. I don't have photos from this meal but the view was phenomenal and it was really easy to eat gluten-free here.
Monkeypod – a short drive from the resort, we had fish tacos here that were good, not great.
Surfing Goat Dairy – do the Grand Tour! This was our favorite activity on the island. We had maybe 20 something samples of goat cheese by the end of it. Pro-tips – go hungry and bring your our own box of gluten-free crackers. We did this and it was the right call. We also grabbed a few containers to take back to our hotel and some of the quark with passionfruit – so delish!
If you're a golfer and want to check out some views from the courses in Maui, here's a video my husband made while reviewing some shoes on the trip!
A portion of our stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani was provided as a promotion but this review is solely our own opinion and no agreement was made about how we'd review or what we'd say about this property.