On our recent trip to Maui we couldn't decide whether to stay at the Four Seasons or the Ritz so we ended up splitting our time between the two hotels, spending four days at FS Maui and three at the Ritz-Carlton.
First the good news: The setting at Kapalua couldn't be much more stunning. D.T. Fleming beach and the other easily accessible beaches at the Ritz are rugged and beautiful. The hotel's grounds, lobby and rooms are also attractive. The Beach House restaurant has a wonderful setting and slightly better than average food and service.
The bad news: Service was mediocre at best. Granted, we were coming from the Four Seasons, where service was warm, outgoing, and generally flawless, but we expected service to at least be at a four-star level at Kapalua. No such luck. The front desk attendant, whose English was difficult to understand, immediately pulled out a rate sheet when I voiced my displeasure about our room, which was in an unfortunate location and had no view. Despite the availability of better rooms (FS Maui automatically upgraded us to an executive suite), the front desk decided to play Let's Make a Deal and brought out the rate sheet to try to extract more $ for a slightly better room. We did eventually agree to pay more for what they called an Ocean View Suite, but there was hardly any view of the ocean.
Whereas every staff member you pass at FS Maui greets you warmly, we were greeted with indifference at every turn at the Ritz. Maid service was laughably inept, with dirty dishes left in the room and no shampoo or soap in one of the bathrooms. Servers and hosts at the restaurants were generally glum, with one hostess greeting us with an extended yawn. The level of warmth and sophistication in the food and service at FS Maui is miles ahead of the Ritz's.
Other assorted miscues: The dressing room at the gift shop is an office with no mirror; We ordered the same movie twice and had technical difficulties both times (the charges were removed); Concierges were poorly informed (the timeshare salesperson knew the property better); no water was available from the bell desk upon leaving the property. When we made our reservation, the reservation agent asked the name and age of our son and whether we would need a crib (we did). But on arrival, a crib was nowhere to be found. At the Four Seasons, not only was the crib in place, but so was a free stuffed animal, free bath toys, infant bath supplies, and sponges that spelled out our baby's name. What a difference!
While the Four Seasons is not without flaws (the location isn't particularly beautiful), we looked back at our four days there fondly and look forward to returning. We won't be back at the Ritz again and the brand's image has been sullied for me.