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With lots of Hawaiian beach resorts competing for your business, Maui's southwestern coast offers several luxury choices. So, in these tough economic times . . . Why Wailea?

BACKROADS & BEACHES / HAWAII '93: Second in an occasional series


And dissolves into giggles. She has come from Valdez, Alaska, land of the tan-less, land of 16 words for snow. She is quite sunburned herself. Yet the hue of my flesh deeply amuses her. Clearly, it's time for me to settle a little more deeply into this sun, sea and sand.


The Resorts of Wailea

Getting there: Through July 31, Hawaiian Airlines is offering a limited number of restricted tickets for direct round-trip flights from LAX to Maui for $439. Also through July 31, United is offering nonstop L.A.-Maui flights with restricted, nonrefundable round-trip fares beginning at $499. American and Delta are offering direct flights (stopping in Honolulu) for $499 through July 31.

From Kahului Airport on Maui, Wailea is a 25-minute drive. If you're planning to leave the resort at all, it's a good idea to rent a car.

Where to stay: Wailea includes five hotels and one vacation condo development. Each hotel offers programs for children. At each, various packages are available that may offer substantial savings from the undiscounted "rack rate" prices quoted here. Budget-watcher's reminder: Add a 9.17% Hawaii hotel tax rate to figures below.

Four Seasons Resort Wailea (3900 Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea, Maui, Hawaii 96753, telephone 800-334-6284 or 808-874-8000). Standard double rooms: $325-$400 nightly.

Grand Wailea Resort, Hotel & Spa (3850 Wailea Alanui Drive, tel. 800-888-6100 or 808-875-1234). Standard double rooms: $350-$475.

Kea Lani Hotel (4100 Wailea Alanui Drive, tel. 800-882-4100 or 808-875-4100). Every unit is a suite; double rooms $225-$325.

Maui Inter-Continental Resort (3700 Wailea Alanui Drive, tel. 800-367-2960 or 808-879-1922). Standard double rooms: $169-$239.

Stouffer Wailea Beach Resort (3550 Wailea Alanui Drive, tel. 800-992-4532 or 808-879-4900). Standard double rooms: $245-$325.

I didn't see inside any of Destination Resorts' Villas at Wailea (3750 Wailea Alanui Drive, tel. 800-367- 5246 or 808-879-1595), but there are condominium units available within the resort area. There is usually a three-night or longer minimum. Standard double rooms: $120-$300.

Just south of Wailea is the Maui Prince Hotel (5400 Makena Alanui Drive, Makena, Maui, Hawaii 96753, tel. 800-321-6284 or 808-874-1111). Double rooms: $220-$350, depending on view. With a $189 nightly special now available and a rental car thrown in, it's worth considering.

Where to eat: Maui Onion (at the Stouffer Wailea Beach Resort) offers lunches of American food on a flowery patio for $8-$12.50. Raffles' (also at the Stouffer resort) specializes in Hawaiian regional cuisine, offering main dinner dishes for $24-$33, including Indonesian tiger prawns so large that I had to cut them into five pieces. Bistro Molokini (at the Grand Wailea Resort) offers Italian lunches for $11-$15, pina coladas for $5.50. Pacific Grill (at the Four Seasons) offers Pacific Rim-flavored main courses, including seared white snapper, for $17.50-$31.50.

For more information: Contact the Wailea Destination Assn. (3750 Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea, Maui, Hawaii 96753, tel. 800-782-5642 or 808-879-4258) or the Hawaii Visitors Bureau (3440 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 502, Los Angeles 90010, tel. 213-385-5301).

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