My girlfriend and I are going to Maui for a week over Thanksgiving. I actually don't even know what part we want to stay in since we've never been there--we'd love some opinions. We'd like something romantic and preferrably with a spa.
I am a HUGE spa goer as well as a big fan of Hawaii, so I think I can help you here! The Marriott is a serious stunner. I was here while it was undergoing renovations. Even then, was impressed with the birthing of the decor. Favorite spot -- the rocking chairs at valet. Hope they're still there! The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui Hotel is one of my favorites, too. A perfect day at The Fairmont involved ukulele lessons in the lobby followed by cuisine from Executive Chef Tylun Pang served up at Ko. And I love the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea! My favorite two spots at the Four Seasons -- in a cabana having a spa treatment or on a seacliff treatment hale doing the same. Not into spa bliss? Go high-brow with the resort's art collection. Divine! The The Westin Maui Resort & Spa is another fave of mine. I also love the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele. It's a bit of a surprise when it comes to decor on this Hawaii island. The Victorian, 102-room lodge is reminiscent of the English countryside with croquet games at play and guests strolling through the gardens past a reflecting pond, gazebo, pagoda and Orchid House. Afternoon tea is conducted in the Great Hall. Also great is the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay. This gorgeous 236-room resort is perched on red lava cliffs overlooking Hulopo`e Bay. Reflective of Hawaii’s multi-cultural population is the Four Seasons' mix of Mediterranean-style architecture and Asian décor. Gracing the lobby walls is a series of murals. One set tells the story of Ka`ululaau, the rascal son of Maui’s King Kakaalaneo, who drove man-eating spirits off the island. In sharp contrast are Chinese wedding scenes commissioned from John Wullbrandt for the Lāna‘i nuptials of Bill and Melinda Gates. Scrutinize the murals closely to find hidden initials of guests staying at the hotel during the months Wullbrandt worked on the project. Another surprise -- Bill Gates’ face depicted as one of the characters. If you really want to splurge, try the The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. I consider this resort my home away from home. They do, after all, say "Welcome Home" every time I arrive. Kapalua is said to be where heaven meets the earth. I must concur. There's lot of intimacy to be had when connecting with this resort and its surrounds. Visit the spa. Go an adventure with Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment. Go for fine dining at the Banyan Tree or a plate lunch at the general store. Listen for Clifford Naoele, the property's cultural advisor, performing a chant. You'll get "chicken skin" for sure. I fell in love with Napili Kai Beach Resort as well during my last visit to Maui. Proximity to the beach is prime. Weekly slack key concerts are a definite draw. Idea accommodations for families. Also have a look at Hotel Hana Maui and Honua Spa. Haven't been back since the resort changed hands and became Travaasa Hana. My memories of its days as Hotel Hana Maui are more than fond. Nothing like watching the ocean crash against lava rocks from a shoreline cottage. As for Honua Spa, had one of my most memorable spa treatments from Jaqui Waters here. Finally, the Kaanapali Beach Hotel really lives up to its reputation as "the most Hawaiian Hotel." There's so much aloha at this family-oriented hotel and tons of cultural activities to get you in touch with the islands. Don't leave without their special lyrics to the 12 Days of Christmas. Manele Harbor is home to Hulopo`e Bay Marine Preserve and a prime spot for snorkeling and swimming with spinner dolphins who frequent the bay.
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