This is Katherine Satrom for Travel Explorations. I recently returned from Hawaii and the sound of the surf!
Maui is a delightful island – with a much slower pace than Oahu. With 120 miles of coastline, Maui offers plenty of opportunity to sit on the beach and listen to the surf.
From November through May, humpback whales migrate from Alaska to Maui, and whale watching is a prime activity. We even saw whales from the beach, although they were a long way from shore. It’s best to view them from a tour vessel.
It’s also fun to watch people surf boarding and wind surfing, demonstrating great athletic ability. These sports become a way of life for many people.
Maui is just over 700 square miles – 47 miles long and 26 miles wide. The more important and enjoyable statistics are a temperature range in the winter in the 80s with lows near 70.
Accommodations exist at many levels in Maui. A marvelous upscale property is The Four Seasons Resort at Wailea in South Maui. A beautiful structure, the resort prides itself on attention to detail and top-notch service. The resort recognizes Hawaiian culture in a number of ways. Late afternoon daily, a runner in Hawaiian costume blows on a conch shell to herald the sunset and passes through the outdoor pool and restaurant areas lighting torches. Every day, a variety of Maui Artisans set up their work in the lower lobby. The hotel has an Outrigger Canoe Program. Participants learn to paddle the long canoe and find it a memorable and unique Hawaiian experience. Hundreds of years ago the Polynesians paddled such canoes with only the stars to guide them, traveling over 2000 miles to reach Hawaii.
Upon arrival, guests receive a traditional lei greeting and a chilled towel.
A beautiful pool area with fountains caters to everyone. In addition, a separate serenity pool for adults provides a quiet venue for reading, swimming and soaking up the rays.
The hotel has three restaurants. We greatly enjoyed Ferraros oceanfront dining where guests can watch the sun go down.
A week’s luxury hotel package in the fall including air from Minneapolis or Bismarck starts at just over $2800 per person.
Another upscale property located in West Maui is the Ritz Carlton, Kapalua. Here, guests receive a Hawaiian greeting with a lei of Kukui (que que ee) nuts, traditionally worn by Hawaii’s royal family.
This is another very attractive hotel with excellent service and a lovely pool area. The Ritz Carlton emphasizes cultural activities including presenting a program called “A Sense of Place.” A documentary film discusses the history of the Hawaiian people and the declining numbers of persons of that heritage. To its credit, when the hotel was built 20 years ago, the company spent millions altering building plans when a Hawaiian burial site was discovered on the site. This location overlooking the ocean is respectfully preserved to this day as a restful green space.
Hawaiian arts and crafts are highlighted, a Hawaiian wellness and philosophy program is offered, and guests may learn lei making. The hotel participates in Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program. This features an environmental and cultural education center with excursions led by expert naturalists. Guests can hike through the Hawaiian rainforest, snorkel among Maui’s beautiful coral reefs and participate in underwater photography sessions while exploring nature’s relevance to the Hawaiian culture.
The hotel’s oceanfront Banyan Tree Restaurant is excellent. The hotel has three other restaurants, including a sushi bar.
The Ritz Carlton has an ocean front golf course — the Plantation Golf Course — on site where the Hyundai Tournament of Champions was played January 5-9, 2012.
A week at the Ritz Carlton in January including air and hotel from Minneapolis or Bismarck is in the $2800 range per person.
Although I’ve discussed these spectacular high-end properties on Maui, just a reminder that economical Hawaii air and hotel packages may be found as low as just over $1000 per person.
There is so much to see and do on Maui: more next time on Travel Explorations.