The most memorable vacation I’ve taken with my husband and kids was to Maui. This Hawaiian island is an outstanding destination for all ages, thanks to its welcoming people, warm weather, and gorgeous beaches. It also offers a wide variety of cultural and active experiences, including surfing, luaus, snorkeling, ziplining, golfing, hiking, ATVing, and whale watching. Not to be forgotten are the island’s many fine resorts. Here’s a roundup of my favourites.
The Wailea region on Maui’s southwest coast is best known for its stunning beaches, world-class shopping, and culinary scene.
Four Seasons Maui at Wailea
If you’re a fan of the TV series White Lotus, you’ve seen plenty of footage of this contemporary, yet elegant resort. Located on 15 oceanfront acres, overlooking Wailea Beach (a crescent-shaped, white sand beach with excellent swimming and snorkeling). Four Seasons Maui is ideal for couples, friends, and families, too. Revitalize with morning yoga, take a complimentary scuba lesson, swim in one of three saltwater pools, or visit the resort’s award-winning spa. The kid’s club is included with your stay, and my children especially enjoyed the fire dancer who performs several evenings each week.
Dining Recommendations: The Four Seasons Maui has Wailea’s only oceanfront restaurant: Ferraro’s Bar E Ristorante. Not only is its Italian cuisine delicious, but the ambiance can’t be beat. Nearby Monkeypod is a delicious and more casual option serving farm-table Hawaiian fare.
Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
The Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort is sleek and modern with five ocean- facing pools on different levels. Situated on 15 acres of oceanfront along Mokapu Beach, the resort is ideal for couples, but also works for families. Each one of the hotel’s 320 guest rooms, suites, and 30 residential style villas, blends the non-traditional Andaz style with the feel of a luxury resort community. Accommodations are enhanced at every turn, with modern touches like private lanais for admiring magnificent Hawaii sunsets and bathrooms with ocean- and garden-view showers.
Dining Recommendations: We visited with friends who were staying here and enjoyed a poolside lunch at Bumbye Beach Bar. I also heard great things about The Feast at Mokapu, Maui’s newest luxury lu’au experience. Set among the grassy lawn of Andaz Maui, guests enjoy an interactive storytelling experience while indulging an `ohana style, or family style, meal of fifteen locally inspired dishes.
Though not as luxurious as the Four Season and the Andaz, Grand Wailea (a Waldorf Astoria resort) deserves a mention as their waterslides, lazy river and Tarzan rope are a HUGE draw for families. The property is very large and in need of an upgrade (major renovations are currently underway), so I’d combine a few nights here with another property.
Kapalua, loosely translated to “arms embracing the sea,” is one of Maui’s premier resort areas, located at the foot of the Kahālāwai or West Maui mountains. The region’s shoreline is lined with five bays and three white-sand beaches. I found the overall vibe of Kapaula to be more laidback than in Wailea. I especially enjoyed the Kapalua Coastal Trail which runs for approximately 2 kilometres alongside the ocean.
Located at Kapalua Bay (often ranked as one of America’s best beaches), Montage Kapalua features 50 beautiful one to four-bedroom residential-style suites, each with a private lanai, or balcony. This property is perfect for sophisticated travellers who like a little more room to spread out, plus it offers easy access to the southernmost point of the Kapaula Coast Trail. Also, the spa at Montage Kapalua is divine. I had one of the best messages of my life here in an open air hale (hut).
Dining Recommendations: The gorgeous interiors of Montage Kapalua’s Cane & Canoe restaurant are inspired by a traditional Hawaiian canoe house. It features impressive views and a menu focused on top quality meats and seafood. A close, five-minute walk from the resort you’ll discover Merriman’s — widely regarded as Maui’s best restaurant. It features a breathtaking oceanfront setting, excellent service, and farm-to-table Hawaiian cuisine. Be sure to order their signature Mai Tai and don’t forget your camera as the sunsets here are epic. (Note: Reservations are released 30 days prior at 6 a.m. HST and they go quickly!)
Ritz Carlton Kapalua
Deeply rooted in local culture Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua offers 466 fully renovated guestrooms and suites, two championship golf courses (the Bay Course and the Plantation Course), several gorgeous pools and countless onsite activities. Also, Ritz Carlton Kapalua is located at the north end of the Kapalua Coast Trail. We especially enjoyed staying in a Club Level suite, which meant a
dedicated concierge service, and complimentary food and beverage throughout the day.
Dining Recommendations: Banyan Tree serves delicious coastal cuisine in a tasteful, orchid-filled setting. For more casual fare, the Beach Shack serves giant milkshakes and casual meals, which you can enjoy onsite or bring to the beach.