When the massive rainbow was installed on the stained glass backdrop of the Grand Wailea’s chapel, the mastermind behind the plans didn't know that almost 25 years later, the chapel would welcome same-sex couples to marry within its four walls. But that's exactly what the staff at the Waldorf Astoria property now hope for.
As the land of rainbows and endless sunshine, Hawaii has long been a destination for weddings and honeymoons. The tropical beaches, world-class resorts, and easy access to the continental U.S. has always kept Hawaii as a top pick for romantic getaways.
The team behind Maui’s Grand Wailea prides itself on providing amazing wedding or post-wedding experiences — to everyone. There were gay commitment ceremony packages already in play, but now with same-sex marriage legal in the Aloha State, the Grand Wailea prefers to avoid stereotypical "gay" packages and instead, just offer what they offer to all. Of course they will still have a few special offers for gay visitors, as we sometimes require or expect a little extra while vacationing.
The 780-room resort, which has some of the best, if not the best, ocean views in Maui, is overflowing with beautiful and one of a kind art, as well as a plentiful amount of unique stones that serve as the structure and base of the resort.
Every room has a view of the ocean, some better than others, but what they will all have by end of the year is an interior room facelift. The rooms will be gorgeous, but it will be hard for them to top the experience at Grand Wailea’s Spa Grande.
The 50,000 square feet facility is the largest spa in Hawaii and often rated within the top spas in the United States. Besides the unheard of 40 individual treatment/massage rooms, their signature touch is the Termé Wailea Hydrotherapy they offer. Get a load of this: cedar sauna and marble steam room; Roman whirlpool tub (with separate ice plunge attached); cascading waterfall massage; five specialty salt baths; Japanese furo bath; Swiss jet showers; complimentary exfoliating bath scrub.
For research purposes (of course), I tried them all out on two separate occasions. What was just described is provided separately for men and women, by the way. The moment you check in, you are introduced to an attendant who will be your timekeeper and body scrubber. You get a full on body scrub and shower by your personal attendant so you can really enjoy the hydro treatments and or before your massage. Each experience is so unique and truly relaxing. Jumping in freezing water and then into hot water is a great way to raise your heart rate and burn off some calories. I did that about 17 times during the course of one visit and counted it as my workout (satisfying my guilt for all the amazing food I devoured on the trip). The salt baths are the most inviting and have a unique healing element. Going from one bath to another is not only encouraged, but highly recommended. The Swiss jet showers are a bit intimidating for first timers, but just be sure to cover your junk and you'll be fine, as the high-pressure sprays are literally, high-pressure.
For west coasters, Hawaii is such an easy trip, but now, for those of us on the East, who prefer a direct flight, Hawaiian Airlines offers daily nonstop flights to Honolulu from NYC, and from there it’s a quick flight over to Maui. Personally, I prefer stopping in Los Angles for a break and then flying direct to Maui, but to each their own.
The Grand Wailea is truly that, Grand. Beyond their massive resort full of breathtaking views, first-class restaurants, spa for royalty and one of the cutest chapels you will ever see, the heartwarming and welcoming vibe you will receive from the staff is what makes all the rest secondary. Getting hitched or looking for a honeymoon destination, check it out. Or, if you just want to order bottles of Vueve and lay by the pool all day, that works too (I researched that option, as well). Click here for more info on Grand Wailea and click the next pages for more photos.
David Duran in a New York-based writer and frequent contributor to Out Traveler. Read more of his work hereand follow him on Twitter at @Theemuki.