Not just for honeymooners.
By Christine Otsuka
Watch a 50-foot whale breach off the coast of Lahaina or stand amongst the clouds high atop the Haleakala Volcano and you’ll see why Maui was bestowed with the moniker “The Magic Isle” by its people. Maui inspires awe.
A seemingly endless number of waterfalls, enviable sunsets and some of the best beaches in the world are what you can expect on Maui. Although it’s the second largest Hawaiian island, very few people reside there. And as such, airy resorts are spread across the land, and small towns provide charm and local flavour, making Maui a favourite for sophisticated programs or for those who want to escape the hustle-and-bustle of Honolulu.
Ka‘anapali, in West Maui, is where you’ll find the most established resorts, with spectacular views of Lana‘i and Moloka‘i islands. The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, with 806 guestrooms on 40 lush acres of beachfront property, was the first in a chain of high-end incentive properties on the island with ample meeting space. Have a private breakfast facing the ocean at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa, fresh off a $33-million room renovation. The resorts along Ka‘anapali beach are steps from Whaler’s Village’s high-end boutiques and beachside restaurants Hula Grill, Leilani’s On The Beach and Maui Fish & Pasta.
Kapalua is home to The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, a stunning luxury resort with 463 remodelled guestrooms, framed by two championship golf courses atop a hill. While the resort isn’t beachfront, there is beach access as well as a 10,000-sq.-ft. tri-level swimming pool surrounded by extra comforts, such as private cabanas with built-in flat-screen TVs and iPod chargers.
Head South to Wailea and discover the iconic Grand Wailea, a 40-acre property with 780 rooms and 52 suites that became a Waldorf Astoria resort five years ago. The Grand Wailea is home to the largest ballroom in the state (26,700 sq. ft.), acclaimed golf facilities and tennis club and an expansive 50,000-sq.-ft. spa, aptly named Spa Grande, with 40 treatment rooms, capable of handling 400 treatments a day. The nearby Fairmont Kea Lani is Hawaii’s only all-suite and villa oceanfront luxury resort. The property enjoys a relaxed, unassuming vibe suitable for mid-sized groups of up to 300. Clean lines and Spanish design define the resort, which also features two- and three-bedroom villas and 36,000 sq. ft. of newly renovated meeting space.
Maui boasts the best sunsets of all the Hawaiian islands, because the islands of Lana‘i and Moloka‘i provide texture to the blazing sky. Make the most of the natural backdrop with a beachfront event or sunset Pu-Pu (the Hawaiian word for appetizer) cruise. The town of Lahaina, once a thriving whaling port in the 1800s, is now a lively gathering place for dining, art and entertainment and home to Fleetwood’s On Front, a new restaurant opened by celebrity musician Mick Fleetwood, from Fleetwood Mac.
For a night of underwater enchantment, hold a private dinner at the Maui Ocean Centre amidst the majestic kings of the sea, while hammerhead and tiger sharks glide above you and your guests.
No trip to Maui is complete without taking one of the most scenic (and wind-y) drives in the world. The road to Hana provides guests with spectacular views of the ocean, too many waterfalls to count and, of course, more than 600 curves.
People say “Maui no ka ‘oi!” Which means “Maui is the best!” And it’s certainly clear why.
-Christine Otsuka is Assistant Editor of Meetings + Incentive Travel.
The Hawaiian alphabet has only 13 letters; five vowels and eight consonants.
Trade winds in Maui provide relief from the heat, but can wreak havoc on an outdoor event. While you can’t control the weather, you can control your program’s location. Since the island of Maui is shaped like a figure eight, when the trade winds pick up, the centre part of the island experiences a wind-tunnel effect, according to Russell Speck, of Pleasure Island DMC. The trade winds are strongest in the centre of the island between the West Maui Volcano (known to Hawaiians as Maui Komohana) and Haleakala.