4 August 2014 | I must confess, the Lehua Lounge at the Andaz Maui at Wailea (a Hyatt property) on Maui was a last-minute addition for drinks and appetizers on my way to another restaurant in the Wailea resort area. But OMG, am I SO glad I went.
Located at the pool level of the resort, the experience begins with a walk through the kalo (taro) pools at the entrance of the Andaz. I could easily have spent an hour in this long outside hallway looking at the beautiful installation. The Andaz interiors and views are stunning. Modern architecture is accentuated with contemporary large-scale sculptural artwork that requires your mind and body to relax the deeper you go into the property. Elements are contemporary but references to traditional elements of Hawaiian culture are mixed in sensibly so one does still feel that you are on a Hawaiian island (versus some resorts that reference other cultures in their design).
Once at the lounge, the almost spa-like experience continues. The menu design is simple and fresh with excellent details on both the very creative cocktails (by Julie Reiner) and food items. I would call the tableware elegant, artistic Hawaiian and it was quite beautiful in itself (as you can tell by my love for the silverware presentation in the photos below). Service was superb throughout my entire visit to the Lehua Lounge. The mixology by Julie Reiner was absolutely superb and spot-on for celebrating the flavors of Hawaii. I wish I could have tried each of her creations.
I have to say the appetizer plates were the biggest surprise, stunning visually and in their flavor profiles. The dishes started with fresh, local ingredients but they elevated the individual and combined elements completely. I could have eaten six more helpings of the Kula corn. Like the cocktails, I wish I could have tried all of the small plates but alas, I was off to a full dinner after Lehua Lounge. Prices were very reasonable and well matched to the quality of the cocktails and food.
Lehua Lounge is a must for any foodie visiting Maui. I can't wait to go back and try more of the cocktails and small dishes, as well as explore the large plates.