Working at one of the largest resorts in the state of Hawaii certainly has its benefits. Besides the paycheck and the wonderful coworkers, you are surrounded by a lush, tropical setting. The well maintained grounds and amazing water features always leave the guests in constant awe of the sheer size of the resort.
Then Thanksgiving comes…and the oohs and ahhs become more frequent.
On the night of Thanksgiving, the monkeypod trees lining the driveway are illuminated with over 79,000 white Christmas lights.
On any given day, the Grand Wailea has hundreds of visitors coming and going. Some pull in to do a quick “drive-by” and marvel at the front entry waterfall, while others are lost. Heck, we even have some that meant to turn in because they are staying with us. Some enter through the exit and a select few exit through the entrance (always entertaining and a bit nerve wracking when dealing with one-way streets).
From Thanksgiving until the New Year, the amount of travelers, tourists, oglers, sightseers, visitors, shutter flies, out-of-towners, globetrotters, backpackers, Nosy Parkers, investigators and even a few locals that stop by the main entrance increases tenfold.
Everybody loves to stop by and marvel at the lights. Some make the beautiful and serene night scene more exciting by slamming on the brakes, in fear of missing the turn. Many fail to signal and let the traffic behind them know they are going to make a sharp right turn. A few wonderfully ignorant stop right in the middle of the driveway to take a snapshot, oblivious to the traffic jam they are causing. Nothing says “relaxing vacation” more than the sound of screeching tires, honking horns and the occasional verbal obscenity.
It is a wonderful tradition the Grand has maintained since the resort first opened 21 years ago. Although it takes our skilled landscaping team a long time to take off the old lights and string the new ones, all while in boom lifts maneuvering under the canopies, the result is nothing short of spectacular. I don’t think people realize how much hard work goes into stringing 6.9 miles of lights onto the trees. The added bump in the electric bill seems to be worth the visual treat for our guests.
So come to Maui, drive to Wailea and stop by the Grand Wailea to see the island’s biggest Christmas light display…and bring your camera. Just don’t park in the middle of the driveway, please.