I’m going to start by singing the Andaz’s praises in general. The hotel is located right on the stunning Mokapu Beach at Wailea. Despite it being a relatively big resort by my standards, it’s beautifully designed and five swimming pools mean you can always find a quiet spot to relax there.
Being able to access the beach directly from the hotel was a real perk, with bodyboards, snorkels, and sunloungers included in the resort fee.
Speaking of the resort fee, it was pretty high. While traveling in Europe, Asia, and Australasia, I’ve never had to pay resort fees, so the first time I stayed on a resort in the US, I got a shock seeing this fee on the bill. Now I come to expect it but if, like at the Andaz, the resort fee includes activities I’ll go out of my way to make sure I take full advantage!
This is what led me to discover the amazing cocktails and mixologists at the Andaz. With a cocktail making class included in the resort fee, we headed to the Ka’ana Kitchen at the Andaz to learn from the best.
The cocktail class was great, and we learned that a package called ‘Bitters & Bites’ is available at the Ka’ana Kitchen as an informal alternative to a full-on tasting menu with wine pairings.
With the tasting menu at Chef’s Table, Ka’ana Kitchen starting at $125 to $250 including wine (that’s per person), Bitters & Bites at $95 – including three cocktails – sounded like a bargain in comparison!
The premise is that you get three courses (rather than the seven included at the chef’s table) paired with cocktails made using a spirit of your choice. We embraced being on an island and chose rum!
Upon arrival, we were greeted with our first concoction, a delightful Lavender Daiquiri! I would never normally have ordered this, but it was a really interesting start to the evening!
From there on in, each cocktail was visually stunning, presented to us with bright, flowery spherical ice cubes and botanicals from Archer’s own garden.
Who is Archer? He’s the head barman at the Andaz, a master mixologist and wonderful company for the evening. Despite being busy making cocktails for the packed out restaurant, he not only crafted delicious cocktails tailored to our tastes but provided endless knowledge about the island and locals-only tips for what to see in Maui.
The detail on the cocktails was exquisite, and they tasted just as good as they looked.
Thankfully plenty of food was served too, which helped to soak up the booze. One of the best things about the ‘Bitters & Bites’ menu for me was that we still got to try six of the seven dishes that end up on the main chef’s table menu. For each course my husband and I ordered a dish each and shared, so we got to try a range of dishes. There was more than enough food and I left thinking the chef’s table tasting menu would have been way too much food for me.
The food at Ka’ana Kitchen is really special. Pairing octopus with goats cheese sounded odd but, like many unusual food combinations across Hawaii, it turned out to be an inspired combination!
After dinner, we couldn’t resist an extra cocktail, our favorite Espresso Martini.
As we had saved Bitters & Bites until our last night, we sadly weren’t able to take any of Archer’s insider tips for Maui or local restaurant advice. I guess this means we will have to go back to Maui at some point! We couldn’t resist one last Espresso Martini by the pool before heading home to San Francisco.
Hear more about the foods you should try when visiting Hawaii, or check out my guide to which island you should visit.