The Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort in the popular and picturesque Wailea area of Maui, has long been THE place to go with kids, largely because of its dynamic pool scene. Indeed, I went there once upon a time in 1996 with my own family and aside from being wowed by the island vibes of Hawaii (this was the furthest I had ever traveled from my home is New Jersey), I must have done the Tarzan rope swing at least five times a day.
Twenty-two years later, the pool scene at Grand Wailea is still the bomb thanks to a $4 million dollar renovation that was completed last year. The Tarzan rope swing remains as does the lazy river, the water elevator (soo cool), and several water slides. Here's us going down the second-biggest one!
��W A T E R S L I D E. ��Just one of the many waterslides at the @grandwailea pool. There is a height restriction for two of them (48”) but plenty for the younger ones to enjoy. Along with the lazy river, the water elevator and the Tarzan swing. #grandwailea #seawag #familytravel #maui
The Wailea Canyon Activity pools, as the poolscape is officially called, also introduced a new three-story waterslide, called the Lava Tube which has a 360-degree exterior loop and a funky LED light show to look at, if you can keep your eyes open on the slide!
For families with small children, there's a Baby Beach with a gradual entry into the wading pool that features a sandy bottom. And for adults seeking respite from the madness, there's an adults-only Hibiscus pool to lounge at. (We stared longingly at this but never got to try it. Saddies.) Of course, just beyond the pool is the actual ocean where you can go kayaking, stand-up paddling, and snorkeling. But good luck getting your kids to do any of that when there are water slides to try!
Elsewhere in the water-logged canyon is a swim-up bar, which is a delight, but obviously only those 21 and older are allowed. (Our kids waited in the pool just beyond the bar while we enjoyed a pina colada.) There's also a poolside cafe and another restaurant just above the pool area which blissfully allows you to dine while in swimsuits and cover-ups.
Some tips to know before you go:
1. Book a Cabana: This place can be crowded in peak season which is summer and over holidays. Booking a cabana will save you the scramble for enough chairs in the morning. If you have toddlers, book one of the lawn cabanas that way your little one can toddle around without your fear of them slipping on wet pool deck or worse, into the water. Best of all, they will even set up a pack n' play here.
2. There is a Height Requirement: Our 7-year-old just missed the height requirement that's needed for two of the more "wilder" water slides by probably 1/8 of an inch and we had to hear her be sad about this every single day. But to her credit, she asked to be measured twice a day and on the final day, she was able to score an "approved" wristband. Not sure if she grew or if someone felt bad for her.
3. Bring Water Shoes or Flip-Flops: The pool deck can get very hot in the summer which makes moving around from water slide to Tarzan swing to lazy river, sometimes painful. Definitely bring your flip-flops or water shoes for the little ones' feets.
4. Be Prepared to Pay for Water Toys: The hotel's pool shop has a great abundance of swim gear that you need (goggles, suntan lotion, floaties, etc.) and some swim gear you don't need like a dolphin floatie. But it's vacation so whatever, go ahead and splurge for it anyways.
5. The Fun Stops at 3pm: The pool's lazy river and water slides and other activities close at 3pm. You can still swim around but all the fun things will end around then. Which is totally fine because, we all need a break.
Want to stay at the Grand Wailea for your next family vacation? Let me know and I'll help you plan your trip. With some added goodies too.
*Disclosure: We stayed in the Ho'olei Villas as a guest of Grand Wailea but rest assured, we'd never recommend anything we didn't think was perfect for families. (Indeed, we ran into two families that have been coming to this resort year after year since their kids were in elementary school. Those kids are in college now! Kinda cool.)
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