The design of AC Wailea Hotel by Marriott Maui interprets the area’s Hawaiian history, establishing a cultural and natural context and connecting guests and staff to a storied past and island ecosystem. Placed in the heart of Wailea, the hotel enriches the local economy inviting guests to wander through the area’s shops, galleries, and restaurants.
This hotel emerged from the site’s geological, cultural, and historical context, providing a design basis for material, massing, and siting. In ancient times, trees and forests sprouted from lava that flowed from the island’s dominant volcano. From this molten rock grew pioneer fern and ohia species, eventually becoming forests of koa and sandalwood. As forests grew, so did the canoe-building community.
The lobby is clad in warm wood tones, inspired by the trees that grew here and the canoe building culture. Outrigger beams supporting the porte-cochere roof recall the traditional architecture of canoe “hale” or houses. The lobby foor is dark tile with lava outcroppings creating space for waiting areas and restaurant seating.
The lava theme inspired the lobby’s sunken tea lounge and was paired with Asian elements - low, long furniture and handmade clay decor. Local artists created one-of-a-kind lei from wiliwili tree seeds and other indigenous species. These elements bring unique colors and textures, creating a cohesive rainbow of floral elements. Art throughout public areas references local flora and fauna, the ocean, salvaged wood abstractions, and a signature lace coral backdrop behind the guest reception and cast custom glass wave entryway.
Designed in compliance with the 2015 IECC as adopted by Maui County, the building is wood framed, which has the lowest carbon footprint of any conventional structural system, reducing emissions by 69%. Wood is featured prominently as cladding, and basalt, a volcanic rock previously used to make cutting blades for shaping canoes, bowls, and idols, is used for flooring and accent finishes for its high durability and maintainability. Deep lanai and eaves provide passive shading, reducing the heat load from solar heat gain.
The architectural design blends craftsman and Hawaiian styles, with an open lanai, wood screens, and a double-hipped roof topped with green tile, a signature of this community.
Wailea, Maui, HI