Thursday, November 15, 2012

Maui Musts

Every now and then, in between planning worldwide travels for my jetsetting clientele, I take a break and hop a plane to a favorite destination of my own. And, as with my clients, I often choose my destination based on convenience (one nonstop flight under six hours), warm weather, and a comfortable combination of luxury hotels, amazing food, and gorgeous scenery preferably by a beach. Most recently, I chose Maui for a relaxing birthday weekend getaway. Joined by a longtime friend who was also in need of R&R, we headed to Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea .

A popular choice among my clients for its Wailea Beach location, gracious staff and beautiful setting, I also love this 380-room resort for its amazing spa, adults-only Serenity Pool, terrific dining options and wide array of fitness-related activities (everything from yoga on the beach to water work-outs). While my favorite (and lazy) on-site activities include lounging poolside (preferably in one of the new Missoni-designed cabanas at the Serenity Pool) after a long walk on the Wailea Beach Path, a few days on this magical island inspired me to devise my own personal "short list" of Maui Musts:

In no particular order, here are my recommendations on what to do, see, eat while on Maui:

1) Sign up for Surf Lessons with Al at Maui Wave Riders in Kihei. Standing up on a surfboard was on my bucket list for years. If I could do it, pretty sure anyone can with the proper coaching from Al and his Kihei-based team!

2) Stroll through Paia town and you'll quickly see why it's called Maui's "coolest little town".

3) Dine at Mama's Fish House, one of my favorite dining experiences anywhere in the world. Highly recommend any of the fresh fish dishes, coconut lime refreshers to drink and Kula pie for dessert.

4) While staying at Four Seasons Maui, indulge in their amazing health/fitness offerings. My favorites included aqua aerobics in the fountain pool with Brenna; yoga by the sea with Bob; and a cranio sacral massage in the spa with Patricia.

5) Take a scenic drive across the island and head to the stunning Ritz-Carlton Kapalua for lunch by the property's poolside oceanview cafe . Chances are high you'll also fall in love with this beautiful, authentically Hawaiian-styled hotel, so think about combining your Four Seasons Wailea stay next time with a bit of quality time here in quieter Kapalua. (Note: To me, it's the perfect combo and one we recommend often to our clients wanting a diverse experience without island-hopping).

6) Sushi at San Sei is always fun. The original location, opened in 1996, is walking distance from the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua and the other--a few minutes by car from Wailea in Kihei--attract a mix of locals and visitors for traditional and award-winning "new wave" sushi and Japanese dishes. Every client I've ever sent here always raves. The same is true for Mala's Ocean Tavern, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the heart of Lahaina on Front Street.

7) No trip to Maui is complete without indulging in Shaved Ice. This Hawaiian tradition (think sno-cone but 1000 times better) is the perfect post-surfing or late-night treat. Lots of great spots island-wide but UluLanis original location in the courtyard off Front Street downtown Lahaina is one of the best.

8) Sunset cocktails and live music on the oceanview rooftop deck are two reasons a stop at Mick Fleetwood's on Front Street is a must. Great food, an extensive wine and cocktail list plus incredible views and a fun ambience make this my top choice for Sunday afternoon/evenings in Maui.

As a Preferred Partner of Four Seasons and a STARS agency with Ritz-Carlton, we have exclusive offerings at both properties with best possible rates including breakfast, VIP perks and added amenities ranging from hotel credits to priority upgrades. For more information on planning your own Maui getaway, feel free to email me at