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 the Ritz-Carlton. 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. Wailea Beach Resort Marriott does not have a club lounge.
If you don’t have time to read this article in detail, the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott is the best, in our opinion. It’s more modern with a fantastic children’s pool complete with curly slides in a tropical pirate island setting. We also prefer the location of the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott in the sunniest part of the island, and the beach here is usually better and calmer too. The Ritz-Carlton is better if you are not bothered about the beach and want golf or a club lounge.
You can earn and spend Marriott Bonvoy points at both hotels. If you choose the Wailea Beach Marriott, you must walk up the idyllic beachside pathway which leads from the Marriott to the Four Seasons and spend at least one evening in the bar and restaurant at the Four Seasons.
Wherever you travel to, if you want to book a hotel, use our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, free hotel credit, and VIP gifts at luxury hotels. We offer free benefits at both the Four Seasons and Wailea Beach Resort Marriott, as well as the Fairmont, Ritz-Calton, Hyatt, and more…
1. Best Beach: Ritz-Carlton Maui Vs. Wailea Beach Marriott
The Wailea Beach Resort Marriott shares the same beach as Four Seasons Maui at Wailea. While the beach is the same for the two hotels, the accessibility and setup at the Four Seasons is much better, but both have access to the calm, warm waters in Wailea.
The Wailea Beach Resort Marriott’s beach is right on the other side of this bay. The ocean in front of the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott is rocky, so if you book an ocean-front room, you will have fabulous views, but if you walk towards the water, you will reach craggy black rocks rather than a beach. This is because the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott is built on a rocky headland and the beach it shares with the Four Seasons is to the left of the resort when facing out to sea, rather than in front of the resort.
Why does the position of the beach matter? Because the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott is an enormous resort built up a steep hill. If you book one of the base rooms by the check-in desk, you are a fairly long walk from the beach, so much so that you may prefer to use the pools over the beach as you might not be bothered to walk the distance to the beach in the heat every time you want a dip. That said, the beach is fantastic and better than the beach at the Ritz-Carlton.
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 five-minute walk from the pool, but there is no decent lounger set up 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.
2. Best Pool
At the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott, there is a great children’s pool with multiple long curvy slides which deliver you into a tropical paradise-themed pool. The slides at the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott are brilliant for children and arguably offer a better children’s pool experience than the pools at Four Seasons, although your kids may hate the lengthy and steep walk from their room to and from the pools and beach.
The pools at the Ritz-Carlton are also excellent for children’s fun (or the young at heart); the Wailea Beach Marriott is the best.
3. Best Style
I prefer the style of the Wailea Beach Marriott, being modern but spread out. The Ritz-Carlton feels more traditional.
4. Best Best Bar
The Wailea Beach Resort Marriott does have a bar which is OK, but wherever you stay, the bar at the Four Seasons is the place to watch the sun go down. You can walk to the Four Seasons from the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott. You cant from the Ritz-Carlton.
5. Best Rooms
This is a tough one. I prefer the style of the rooms at Wailea Beach Resort Marriott, but they are very spread out, and if you get a room at the back of the resort, everything can be quite a walk downhill and, worse, a walk back from the beach or pool uphill.
At Wailea Beach Resort Marriott, the rooms are layered in mainly two-floor buildings arranged on terraces down to the sea. While the views can be excellent at the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott, you do need to book a decent room to get these views. We recommend the rooms right by the waterfront. The base rooms at the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott are pleasant with traditional balconies, but they are set a long way from the sea and the beach.
At the Ritz-Carlton Maui, the smallest room offering is 440 square feet of space. The views are very green over the forest and golf course rather than of the beach.
6. Club Lounge
Crucially, the Marriott does not have a club floor, nor does it have a club lounge, so if you are looking for an exclusive club lounge experience, the Ritz-Carlton Maui has got to be your top pick.
You can only get access to the Ritz-Carlton Maui 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 take place 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 the staff makes 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. 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 if you don’t go above the $200 USD additional charge on top of the ordinary rooms.
The Kapalua location of the Ritz-Carlton is on the windy side of the island. We prefer sunny Wailea, where the Marriott can be found.
Both the Ritz-Carlton and the Marriott have extensive grounds. There is little to choose between the hotels in this respect.
9. Resort Fee
Wailea Beach Resort charges a resort fee like most of the hotels in Hawaii, as does the Ritz-Carlton.
Photo © c13studio / Adobe Stock.
Note: 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.