Maui Destination Guide
Maui has something for everyone with dozens of world-class beaches along 80 miles of pristine coastline, a majestic volcano crater, top-end resorts, gourmet restaurants and great snorkeling and surfing. The 728-mile island located between the islands of Hawaii and Oahu is diverse, featuring tropical rain forests with waterfalls, deserts with prickly pear cactus, fields of sugarcane, pasture lands, mountains and unspoiled beaches.
The 548-room AAA Five Diamond Ritz Carlton Resort is about as remote as you can get on west Maui. Located 10 miles from the historic town of Lahaina in the Kapalua resort area, the resort houses a 10,000 square foot swimming pool, 10 tennis courts, a full fitness center, spa and a nine hole putting green. Guest rooms feature full private lanais, marble bathrooms and double vanities in rich wood tones and warm color schemes. The resort offers an on-site “Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment” program where kids and adults can learn about sea creatures and go on hikes.
Makena Surf Condos
Staying in a condo can make Maui a paradise at half the price. At Makena Surf, furnished rentals with full kitchens including microwaves and dishwashers, private lanais with barbeques, and washers and dryers are located on a meandering coastline steps away from the Pacific Ocean. The south Maui condos also feature two pools and Jacuzzis, four tennis courts and free aerobic classes.
The original Roy’s Restaurant opened in 1988 in Honolulu. This is his second restaurant in a long chain of haute-cuisine eateries that stretch from Atlanta to Tokyo. Renowned for upscale exotic Euro-Asian fusion cooking, the restaurant features a large exhibition copper kitchen, elegant floral arrangements, and local faves such as grilled Szechwan style ribs, smoked and peppered duck and misoyaki butterfish. They also offer an extensive sushi menu and individual pizzas.
The Pineapple Grill
Overlooking the ocean and golf greens on the Kapalua Bay Resort, this upscale Hawaiian steak and seafood restaurant also has a large wine selection and features an exhibition kitchen, black marble bar and outdoor dining on the lanai. The menu has an Asian twist, offering items such as Asian braised short ribs and sake-soy grilled mahi-mahi.
The Banyan Tree Restaurant
The remote and romantic Banyan Tree Restaurant is perfect for an intimate gourmet dinner. Tables are in tiered levels to provide each diner with an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean and Molokai. Enjoy favorites that incorporate local ingredients including the special dukkah bread, Maui onion and white bean soup, Kona lobster with ginger-carrot risotto and lavender sorbet.
Mama’s Fish House
Mama’s Fish House, a north coast Maui landmark, is everything you’d expect from a fantasy version of a Hawaiian restaurant. Its décor is retro-Polynesian, it sits in semi-isolation on a scenic stretch of beach, and the tropical drinks are strong and fruity. The menu, which changes daily based on who caught the fish, where, and how it is prepared, includes local faves such as mahi-mahi, ono, and opakapaka.
Try a different way to explore the 50th state at Mendes Ranch in west Maui. Horseback excursions include riding through lush mountains, exotic valleys, bamboo forests, pineapple fields and waterfalls. The two-hour rides with a barbecue lunch are offered in the morning and at sunset.
Haleakala National Park
The Haleakala National Park offers the opportunity for wonderful views of a rain forest along the Pacific coastline or an amazing drive to the volcano crater summit, where visitors have a chance to see over 180 varieties of endangered plants and birds. The park also houses the Seven Sacred Pools, a string of picture perfect swimming pools fed by a freshwater spring.
All of upcountry Maui seems to be a botanical garden at times. To examine tropical flora in a more controlled environment, head to the Kula Botanical Garden. This six-acre garden, established in 1968, is located at 3,300 feet on the dry side of Maui. It features 1,700 plant species including proteas, orchids, gingers and succulents.
Head to the Old Lahaina Luau where you can feast on the requisite roast pig, guava chicken, lots of side dishes and poi while watching Hawaiian dances and listen to Tahitian and Hawaiian music and folklore.
Old Lahaina Luau image via kabsandiego
Mama’s Fishhouse image via jshyun