Local Culture and Luxury in MAUI

The beauty of the northwestern coast of Maui is stunning, from the white sand beaches of Ka’anapali to the coral reefs and coves of Kapalua.

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Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui. Credit: Ron Starr.

Nothing says peaceful elegance and serenity like the legendary Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, located on the western edge of Maui near Kapalua Bay. The Polynesian people who previously inhabited this area were drawn to the protected cove’s hospitable shores and immense beauty. Today, visitors can revel in the same natural wonders while enjoying luxurious accommodations and amenities to enhance their stay. The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua proudly maintains a sacred Honokahua Preservation Site, which lies adjacent to the resort and is still used for ceremonies by Native Hawaiians.

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Swimming pool at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Credit: Ron Starr.

Boasting 54 stunning acres, the property has plenty of activities to keep guests busy, including snorkeling among the sea turtles in Honolua Bay, hiking through a rainforest, relaxing at poolside cabanas, getting pampered at the spa or simply walking in the soft golden sand on D.T. Fleming Beach, voted “America’s Best Beach” in 2006.

Rooms and suites have dark wood floors throughout, Hawaiian-inspired artwork, elegant marble bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs and heavenly featherbeds with duvets. Residences offer spacious home-like living accommodations with a partial kitchen and dining table, perfect for families.

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Open air, outdoor couple’s treatment room at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Kapalua.

During your stay, treat yourself to a traditional Lomi Lomi massage at one of Maui’s most luxurious spas. The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Kapalua offers a variety of treatments and therapies based on native Hawaiian healing traditions and the potent plants, flowers, fruits and herbs abundant in Hawaii. Many of the ingredients for the treatments are created from fresh herbs harvested from the resort’s on-site organic garden.

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The Banyan Tree, Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Credit: Ron Starr.

Enjoy an exquisite dinner at The Banyan Tree, the resort’s signature restaurant featuring ocean views, fresh fish and innovative cocktails. A fresh new design and menu features farm-to-fork dining and garden-to-glass cocktails. The next morning, dive into The Terrace’s breakfast buffet, which includes charcuterie, Belgian waffle and omelet stations, fresh fruit (Maui pineapple!), house-made granola and pastries, plus made-to-order dishes.

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Float atop the beautiful blue sea doing SUP at D.T. Fleming Beach.

A wide range of outdoor activities for all ages is offered with trained naturalists through Jean-Michael Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program. The Outrigger Canoe Adventure is fun for families, as guides share their knowledge of the Hawaiian culture aboard a 45-foot long Wa’a (outrigger canoe) and includes snorkeling over coral reefs. Other programs include underwater photography, standup paddling, tide pool exploration, and whale-watching excursions (seasonal).

Swim with sea turtles in Honolua Bay. Credit: Liz Laing.

Swim with sea turtles in Honolua Bay. Credit: Liz Laing.

Sail the high seas on a 65-foot catamaran with Teralani Sailing Adventures, which takes you to the best snorkeling spots on West Maui. One such popular destination is Honolua Bay, which has an abundance of fish, coral formations and sea turtles. Top quality snorkel equipment, floatation devices and lessons are all included in their West Maui Snorkel Adventure. Afterwards, enjoy a deli style lunch on board with drinks (open bar).

Sail the Teralani catamaran for a fun day at sea. Credit: Liz Laing.

Sail the Teralani catamaran for a fun day at sea. Credit: Liz Laing.

Teralani departs from Ka’anapali Beach, directly in front of Leilani’s Restaurant at Whalers Village Shopping Center. After a long day at sea, cool off with a refreshing shaved ice at a vendor stand at Whaler’s Village (located across from Yogurtland).

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Drums of the Pacific Luau at the Hyatt Regency Maui. Credit: Liz Laing

In the evening attend one of the best luaus on Maui, the Drums of the Pacific at the Hyatt Regency Maui, which takes place on the Sunset Terrace of Ka’anapali Beach. This spectacular luau features authentic dances and music from Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga and Rarotonga. The fire dancing at the end of the show is very impressive and entertaining. Guests are greeted with a shell lei and fresh mai tai or fruit punch. After the imu ceremony and unveiling of the main dish, Kalua Pua’a (pork), guests help themselves to the generous buffet that includes the pork, Huli Huli chicken, macadamia nut crust island fish, Polynesian fried rice, Makamaka vegetables, Molokai purple sweet potato, creamed taro with coconut milk, soba noodles, Lomi Lomi salmon, Pacific ahi poke and tropical fruits. An open bar with beer, wine, mixed cocktails, plus a decadent dessert bar are also included in the price of a ticket. Reservations can be booked on-line.

Liz Laing

Liz Laing

Liz has been a freelance travel writer for nearly a decade, writing for multiple outlets such as Mothering, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, CBS Los Angeles, MadeMan and wandermelon, to name a few. Growing up in New Mexico, Liz also traveled to Japan and Europe, including touring with a modern dance troupe throughout France. She’s now also added photography and web design to her talents, but her greatest accomplishment has been raising her four wonderful kids, who have already been bitten by the travel bug.
Liz Laing

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The ultimate traveling companion, wandermelon.com is an informative, entertaining and unbiased resource that combines the latest travel news, inspired articles and visual content all in one easy-to-navigate online destination. Sourcing what you need to know before you go, wandermelon gives avid travelers like you savvy shortcuts to the world’s best experiences and destinations.

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