Which is the best hotel in Maui? Four Seasons Maui vs. Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua? Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea tends to be the most expensive. The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, tends to be cheaper, and you may be able to book this hotel on points, too. Is it worth spending more on Four Seasons?
The good news is that we have stayed at both of these hotels, and I have outlined the pros and cons of each hotel below. I have also included the club floor and lounge section of both hotels. When you take into account food costs and drink costs across the resort, it may work out better value to book a club room, depending on which room view you want to pay for.
If you don’t have the time to read my article in detail, here’s a quick overview. The Four Seasons Maui is the best hotel, far better than the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, in our opinion. It is more glamorous and more beautifully decorated. It even smells better due to the deliciously scented extravagant flower arrangements dotted all over the hotel.
Its location in Wailea, which is the sunniest part of the island, is a major bonus. Kapalua, where The Ritz-Carlton Maui is located, can be windy and less lively. It has more of a golf resort feel rather than a stylish tropical paradise.
Adding to this, the Four Seasons is beachfront (see photo above). The Ritz-Carlton Maui is not. If you like the beach, the Ritz is not the one to choose!
Rooms at the Four Seasons start larger, with the smallest room offering 600 ft² of space compared to the base rooms at the Ritz-Carlton being just 440 ft² in size. The Four Seasons rooms have a larger lanai, too. The bar is brilliant at the Four Seasons, and the restaurants are amazing.
For me, the only feature that the Ritz-Carlton has over the Four Seasons is that you can book your stay on Marriott Bonvoy points at the Ritz, so your holiday stay can be free except for the resort fee.
Four Seasons Maui vs. Ritz-Carlton Maui: The Best Beach
Four Seasons Maui at Wailea is located directly on the beach. The grounds of the Four Seasons lead directly down to an expansive patch of managed beach, complete with Four Seasons beach loungers. The walk from your room to the beach isn’t far, and the patch of beach is picture-perfect.
The Ritz-Carlton Maui is not directly on the beach. Yes, you read that correctly. For a beachfront idyll, don’t pick the Ritz-Carlton as it isn’t on the beach! The beach is a 5-10 minute walk away and does not feel like it’s part of the resort.
There is a beach with a burger restaurant around a 5-minute walk from the pool, but there is no decent lounger setup as the water can be rough and muddy here as this resort is located on the windy side of the island. The focus here is on golf rather than beach fun.
Four Seasons Maui vs. Ritz-Carlton Maui: Best For Style
Four Seasons Maui at Wailea offers the epitome of luxury and elegance. It’s a fun resort and is popular with A-List Hollywood celebrities. It’s the best hotel as an overall package. This does not mean it can’t be beaten in some aspects, but overall, if your budget will stretch, this is the resort to pick.
The rooms at Four Seasons are larger than those at the Ritz-Carlton Maui, and the setting is more ultra-luxurious. The balconies on the rooms at Ritz-Carlton Maui are more standard hotel balconies, whereas the balconies at the Four Seasons are generous terraces to enjoy.
The grounds are stunning at Four Seasons and highly styled, whereas the gardens of the Ritz-Carlton are spread out and feel random, with lengthy paths and walks between your room, the pools, and the golf course.
The overall feel of Four Seasons Maui reminds me of a beautifully decorated and perfectly formed creamy wedding cake with a frothy fountain in the center, all framed by palm trees. Admittedly, comparing a hotel to a wedding cake is random, but the multi-layer frontage with alfresco terraces, the pinky creamy hues of the building, and the level of Four Seasons perfection remind my warped mind of a wedding cake!
The grounds at the Ritz-Carlton Maui are beautiful too, but in a more Ritz-Carlton style with the lush, lime green hills of the West Maui Forest Reserve in the distance and the Plantation golf course in the forefront. But the views are not of the beach.
Four Seasons Maui vs. Ritz-Carlton Maui: Resort Fee
Unlike the nickel-and-diming resorts across these islands, Four Seasons Maui does not charge a resort fee. It is the only hotel on Maui do not charge a resort fee, and yet it still offers a bunch of complimentary extras, such as the use of cabanas, resort car service (to golf, tennis, shopping, and dining in the Wailea area), free sunscreen, introductory fitness classes, free of snorkel equipment for the first hour, free introductory daily scuba lessons, and Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddling excursions.
Ritz-Carlton Maui charges a resort fee like most of the hotels in Hawaii.
Four Seasons Maui vs. Ritz-Carlton Maui: Best Bar & restaurant
Four Seasons Maui is one of the best Four Seasons hotels in Hawaii and is situated in the exclusive resort area of Wailea. This has to be one of the most wonderful venues to enjoy fine dining al fresco under tropical palms or to sip on a beer or a glass of wine with wasabi nuts as the sun sets.
The Four Seasons sunset bar, which I so dearly love as the sun goes down, overlooks the grounds, and you can watch the day’s activities being cleared up, and the evening is set up over a relaxing beer and listening to a tinkling piano. Sometimes, Hula girls dance here, too. It offers one of my favorite views from any bar in the world.
Spago, Maui by Wolfgang Puck is located in the Four Seasons hotel and offers award-winning dining for a special evening.
The Ritz-Carlton offers good, if un-noteworthy, food. The Ritz-Carlton sits right next to a village of shops and restaurants in Kapalua, so if you get bored with the food within the resort, there is plenty of choice outside the resort.
Four Seasons Maui vs. Ritz-Carlton Maui: Best Rooms
The rooms at Four Seasons Maui are situated in a U-shaped, low-rise building, all with a large Lanai angled towards the sea (except for the mountain view rooms). While you can’t actually see the sea from the garden view rooms, as they are at the base of the U, all rooms are a good size (600 sq feet) with the signature Four Seasons bathroom along with the large balcony.
The cheapest rooms at Four Seasons Maui are the rooms with mountain views (which face the car park). These rooms are the same size and quality as the other rooms. It is the view that varies, and you pay more for a better view. We recommend booking a garden view room as these rooms tend to get more sun than the mountain view rooms. The Four Seasons’ rooms are larger and more glamorous than those at the Ritz-Carlton.
At the Ritz-Carlton Maui, the smallest room offering is 440 ft² of space compared to the 600 ft² offered by Four Seasons Maui. Obviously, there are much larger rooms here, too, but they are more traditional in design than the Four Seasons and feel like a more standard hotel room.
Four Seasons Maui vs. Ritz-Carlton Maui: Best Pool
The Four Seasons Maui has a wonderful garden that stretches down to the beach. The hotel is built in a U shape around numerous pools and fountains, framed by the beautiful Wailea bay. The pools are beautiful; some are for kids and adults, and the stunning infinity with a bar is for adults only.
We used the loungers on the beach and around the pools (spritzer anyone? don’t mind if I do) as well as the free snorkeling equipment. I did notice that although the feel around the pool was very casual, the men, in particular, were wearing a lot of Rolex watches. This is the place to be seen!
There are actually three separate pool areas at Four Seasons. The resort’s central pool is called the fountain pool because of a giant picturesque fountain that emerges from the heated waters of the pool. The pool, which has two whirlpools at both ends, is surrounded by plenty of cabanas. This pool area is open 24/7 and is very popular with kids. and opens up to a more tranquil lawn with plenty of loungers that overlook the beach.
The waterfall pool is a free-form lagoon-style pool that is located next to the fountain pool and draws its inspiration from the ponds of Maui. Two parts of the waterfall pool are linked together with a short slide. This pool mainly attracts families with younger children, and parents can relax in one of the cabanas while keeping an eye out for their kids. Food and drinks are also available poolside, both here and around the fountain pool.
The fountain pool and waterfall pool can be very crowded during the school holidays, so for adults, there is a third pool area, the serenity pool. This pool is located one level above the other two pools at the resort’s southernmost edge and has two hot tubes and four bubble loungers on its side. The pool is an infinity pool offering panoramic views of the ocean and beach and plays underwater music.
At the Ritz-Carlton Maui, there are plenty of pools and hot tubs surrounded by thatched tiki umbrellas, but the resort is not on the beach, and when you are in Hawaii, you want some beach, right? This resort focuses on the golf course and the pools, which are nice, but for us, nice isn’t ideal. You want brilliant if you are to get on a plane for this long.
Four Seasons Maui vs. Ritz-Carlton Maui: Best Club Lounge
One particularly attractive feature of the Four Seasons property is that guests who book into a Club room or Club suite enjoy complimentary access to the hotel’s exclusive Club Floor Lounge. The ‘hotel within the hotel,’ Club Floor, has its own concierge team solely dedicated to the 26 rooms and suites on the top level. Here, guests enjoy complimentary all-day refreshments, a full-service bar, and other appealing extras. Once you have entered the Club Lounge, everything is free, which can actually bring down the cost of your vacation.
Club floors often offer the best possible deal because, although the initial price is higher, you do not need to pay resort rates for food and drinks, which can save you hundreds of dollars every day.
The Ritz-Carlton Maui also has a club lounge. You can only get access to the club level lounge if you book a club level room. The Club Lounge is located near the elevators on the eighth floor of the Napili Wing of the resort.
They call it a hotel within a hotel, with a dedicated concierge and a well-appointed, relaxed lounge environment. Continuous culinary offerings include breakfast, light snacks, hors d’oeuvres, beverages, and sweets – many reflecting the cuisine of the Hawaiian Islands.
The continuous culinary offerings throughout the day (breakfast, light lunch, evening hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and sweets), and in the afternoon and evening, you can drink alcoholic drinks of your choice, and staff will make up great cocktails complete with flowers in, all included of course.
The lounge itself has a dark wood floor and loads of comfy chairs and sofas. It does look slightly less trendy when you compare it to, say, the Andaz in Wailea or the Four Seasons Lanai with its ultra-modern Asian-inspired decor. Then again, this is all taken into account in the price. The Ritz-Carlton is generally less expensive than the Four Seasons properties in Hawaii and appeals to a more traditional and sophisticated golfing crowd.
Club-level rooms offer better views and are on the higher floors of the hotel. Ritz-Carlton values club access at about $100 USD per person per day. The Ritz-Carlton club lounges are so much better than most other club lounges (except for Four Seasons Club lounges), so the price is probably fair, mainly because the food and drinks are enough to negate the need to go anywhere else.
When traveling with kids, the value of the lounge is increased as kids under twelve do not usually cost extra, so it is terribly convenient to have a constant array of food available and not to have to stick to mealtimes, so paying for Club Lounge does seem worth it.
Both club lounges at Four Seasons Maui and Ritz-Carlton Maui are great, but the Four Seasons club lounge is more exclusive.
Copyright Luxury Travel Diary 2014 - 2024. Duplication outside of luxurytraveldiary.com is forbidden.
Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.