Escapes: Maui

The Two Sides of Maui

By:Hilary Latos 

Wailea Aerial

In Hawaiian mythology, the elepaio, aka the Hawaiian Flycatcher, was thought to be the incarnation of Lea, the legendary goddess of canoe makers. Through the bird’s flight patterns she guided the canoe makers through the Koa forests to select the right trees to transform into canoes. If the bird would alight into a straight tree and not feed on it, those trees were not infested with insects and seaworthy for creating a canoe. Wai is an ancient Hawaiian word for water, hence the name for the pristine stretch of beach comprising Wailea- The Waters of Lea that encompass 1500 acres of Maui’s premiere southern coastline. One visit to Maui and you will understand the mystical beauty of this revered island that offers sun, sand and verdant hills.

 

Beach 4

Beach 4

Perhaps Maui’s most renowned stretch of beach, Wailea is home to the island’s most luxurious resorts such as The Four Seasons, the sprawling Grand Wailea, and the modern Andaz Hotel. But if you are looking for a home away from home, Destination Residences has a vast range of privately owned condominiums to suit your needs with apartment style living throughout Wailea. Each property is set on lush tropical gardens with private swimming pools, barbecues, and easy access to the beach. Choices range from moderately priced one bedroom apartments that are fully equipped with kitchens, comfortable furnishings and bedding to oceanfront 3-4 bedroom villas with luxurious furnishings. To live in the lap of luxury book a multimillion dollar 2 bedroom villa at the exclusive Wailea Beach Villas which feature gourmet granite kitchens with subzero refrigerators, sumptuous living areas, oversized bathrooms, dressing rooms, well appointed master bedrooms, and spacious private lanais with barbecue grills.

 

Entrance

Entrance

Though Spam is a staple in Hawaiian cuisine and available in 8 different varietals, the island’s local specialties are as delectable as the island. Be sure to try the Hawaiian Poke made with fresh Ahi tuna caught off the coast of Maui mixed with soy, ginger and wasabi that is truly out of this world. Another local favorite is their Asian influenced barbecue that hits the right balance of sweet and salty- from their soy marinated chicken to thinly sliced beef with unforgettable flavors.

 

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Aside from lazing at the beaches or taking a snorkeling excursion to swim with the turtles, another side of Maui is the Road to Hana. Like a rite of passage, this scenic ride will take you along winding curves under the verdant canopy of thousand year old trees with the cool Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. This drive has a transcendent feel as you become one with nature, as you realize this is not as much about reaching the destination as it is the journey. Each attraction is clearly marked by road signs that signify the many waterfalls and hiking trails along the way.

 

Marking the beginning of the road to Hana is the cute bohemian town of Paia filled with beachy chic boutiques and local restaurants, and worth a stop before your great adventure. One of the best ways to navigate is with the Road to Hana CD which gives you a description and highlights of each stop with the must see stops as well as the ones to skip. The most beautiful and exotic attraction is the volcanic black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park. The stark contrast of the black caviar beach against the vibrant blue sky and bright green palm trees will forever be etched in your memory and worth the trip alone. Another highlight is the Haleakala National Park featuring a breathtaking hike through the mystical bamboo forest to reach the majestic Waimoku Falls, and the seven sacred pools. Formed from a crater this collection of cool wading pools is a welcome and picturesque respite as you reflect on the power and beauty of nature.

 

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When you reach Hana take the time to relish in the small town charm where time moves slower and seems to have stood still. The most luxurious place to stay in Hana is at the Travassa Hana that offers its guests authentic Hawaiian experiences ranging from Adventure, Culinary, Culture, Fitness to Spa & Wellness. Long regarded as one of Hawaii’s premiere destinations, this eco friendly resort just completed a $12 Million renovation in all of the bungalows. To experience the sounds and sights of nature, stay in one of the Ocean front bungalows overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean. The light and airy accommodations reflect a chic tropical décor with private lanais, large bathrooms and wet bars that provide a comfortable living environment free of TVs and radios.

 

Relax and rejuvenate by one of the infinity pools and at their world class spa. Indulge in one of their signature treatments in this peaceful sanctuary that will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated. Their 90 minute coconut and mint body treatment starts with a sea salt exfoliation followed by a deep tissue massage, and a hydrating coconut oil mask. Post treatment, enjoy the zen of nature and relax in their aqua therapy pools. The Preserve Kitchen and Bar is their onsite farm to table restaurant that features a seasonally driven menu reflecting the abundance of provisions that Hawaii has to offer in a tranquil setting. After a visit to Hana, it’s easy to understand why so many A listers and celebrities call it their home away from home- from the natural beauty to the low key lifestyle, this is the definition of paradise.

 

Destinationhotels.com
Travassa.com/hana

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