Maui, Hawaii

The fantasy island of Maui recently became GW’s favorite vacation destination. The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui boasts a breathtaking landscape, as well playground of activities and hospitality. As one of the most sought after locations on the planet, and with accommodation to suit almost any traveler, it’s no wonder why we had to visit it!

“The B&B” The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono – Just 10 minutes from Kahului Airport, one can find this hidden gem of a B&B. Boasting a 1930s-1940s Hawaiiana style, stretch you legs on the grand front lānai, overlooking a beautifully landscaped garden. The Hawaiian name “Ulupono” means “to grow and flourish in righteousness.” And although the name was newly bestowed when the property was opened in 1997, the feeling at the lovingly restored Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono is most definitely that of Hawai‘i as it used to be. Close your heavy eyes in cozy rooms, such as “The Bird of Paradise Suite,” and wake each morning to a home made breakfast, as native-born innkeepers Janice and Tom Fairbanks share their knowledge of the Island and culture.

“The Private Cottage” Haiku Cannery Inn – If you are looking for privacy, quaint intimacy and a lush Hawaiian jungle getaway, this is your spot. Situated on three tropical acres in Haiku, Maui, these cottages overlook pastures and the Haleakala volcano to the south and the blue ocean of the North Shore to the north. Originally the Manager’s Residence for the Haiku Pineapple Cannerys in the 1920’s, this fully restored inn, provides the ideal seclusion. Owner, Benni D’Enveau, has seen both the property, and island, change over the last 30+ years. The wisdom and warmth she brings to the Inn is obvious in it’s wooden charm, wild yet beautiful landscaping, and touches such as the breakfast brought to your door every morning. The local town of Paia is also worth checking out, for great boutique shopping and lots of fun ‘surfy’ restaurants.

“The Boutique Hotel” Hooilo House – Ever visited somewhere and thought, “yes I could live here;” well we did on arrival to the Hooilo House. Situated in the West Maui Mountains, this quiet, private Bed & Breakfast offers incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and islands surrounding Maui. Decor is luxurious yet minimalist, combining both Hawaiian tradition, with Asian and Balinese touches. Wooden four poster beds, complimented by white linen and dark marble floors, blend seamlessly into the raw natural landscape. Features such as the sculpted faces, outdoor showers and the open plan of this hotel, make it both unique and incredibly sensual…a perfect couple’s getaway.

Perhaps the best part about this hotel is its location on the popular west side of the island, just minutes from the historic whaling town of Lahaina, which boasts some spectacular restaurants such as Sugarcane. If you do eat at this fantastic spot, overlooking the ocean, be sure to try Chef Chin’s Homemade Focaccia with Hawaiian Sea Salt Butter, as well as his unique Ahi Nachos (seared ahi tuna, sesame spinach salad, won ton chips, trio of aioli.) All of the latter washes down great with Sugarcane’s Signature Mai Tai!

If you do decide to surf on your trip to Maui (or paddleboard) – and you should at least try it once – a little further past Lahaina you will find 808 Boards Inc, who can hook you up with both boards and advice on where to hit the water.

“The Resort” The Fairmont Kea Lani – If you are looking for more of an all inclusive experience in Maui, look no further than the Fairmont Kea Lani. As Hawaii’s only all suite and villa luxury oceanfront resort, this luxurious spot is situated on 22 acres of tropical landscape in sunny Wailea. With the newly-opened 9,000 square-foot Willow Stream Spa, three swimming pools and beachfront location, you get the best of everything. The Award Winning Willow Stream Spa boasts numerous treatment rooms, a Wailele (Waterfall) Suite and various treatments inspired by earth & water, such as the Lomilomi (traditional Hawaiian massage) that provide ultimate island relaxation.

Let the hotel welcome you with a traditional “lei,” before heading to any one of the resorts lookout points with a chilled cocktail. Staff are incredibly friendly and informed of the area, so if you do decide to venture out anywhere, there is always help. However, located on site is the award winning signature restaurant, Kō, known as one of the best places to dine in Maui. Other hotel amenities include a 24-hour fitness center and classes, a year-round kid’s club, boutique shopping, full wedding coordination services and 36,000 square feet of meeting and event function space and a business center.

In the nearby resort of the Hyatt Regency, it’s also worth booking to see The Drums of The Pacific Lu’au (no your trip wouldn’t be complete without some hula dancing!) Sway to the sound of the conch, the beating of the drums, and the echoes of the Hawaiian chant signal the start of Hawaii’s most exciting Lu’au. “Drums of the Pacific” Polynesian Spectacular (a Tihati Production) takes you on a journey through the islands of Polynesia, complete with a traditional imu ceremony and the exotic flavors of native Hawaiian cuisine. We feature authentic dances and music of the old Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga, and Rarotonga in the hottest Lu’au Show in the Islands.

All in all, Maui is a dream island for any vacationer. Choose your spot, and let the island breeze whisk you away!