If you’re in need of a luxurious, relaxing holiday look no further than Maui. A 10 hour flight from Sydney and then a short 40 minute flight from Honolulu will have you transported to a tropical island paradise of sunsets, cocktails, massages and bike rides on warm sunny days. Throw in a new designer bag or two while the hubby is off playing golf, a snorkel with the local turtles, and dinner at a world famous restaurant and you officially have ‘heaven on earth’. Wailea is the area you want to stay for everything luxury. The Four Seasons, Marriott, Andaz Maui, and the Grand Wailea Resort will all serve you well and the local shops are full of high end labels. A little further West you can pick up plenty of bargains at the Lahaina shopping outlets. For a more relaxed feel head across to Paia, while the more adventurous should check out Little Beach. Go on a Sunday afternoon when, from four o’clock, the beach turns into a dance party powered mostly by bongos, peace, and love. Clothes are optional!
The Grand Wailea Resort is, well... Grand! Set on 40 acres in front of Wailea Beach the stunningly manicured grounds boast nine interconnected pools, a chapel and almost 800 rooms. If money isn’t an option a suite in the exclusive Napua Tower is where you want to book. Sunset drinks and breakfast are served daily and you’ll have the best views in the resort. Most importantly though, the Grand Wailea is home to Spa Grande... the best day spa in the Hawaiian Islands. It’s also constantly rated as one of America’s Top Ten Spas. Staying true to the hotel’s theme, it’s probably one of the biggest spas you’ll ever see. Before each treatment you’re invited to spend an hour in the downstairs section where you’ll soak in a range of Hawaiian salt baths, get massaged by waterfalls, and receive a full body scrub. The treatment rooms are upstairs and the range is extensive. An average 50 minute treatment will set you back around $220. If you really want to indulge try the 6 Hands Lava Stone Massage where you’ll be worked on by three therapists at once.
The Grand Wailea Resort
Morimoto Maui is hands down the best dining experience you’ll have on the island. Masaharu Morimoto, best known for his role as the Iron Chef on Japanese television, has opened a restaurant in the new Andaz Maui Resort. Perfectly positioned on the beach side of the property, diners can watch the sun set over the water with their aperitifs. World renowned for having the freshest sushi and an impeccable style of food presentation this place will exceed your expectations. Seafood is sourced locally and also shipped in fresh from Japan’s famous Tsukiji fish markets. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck also has a restaurant in Wailea at the Four Seasons called Spago. It’s rated one of the best on the Island and is definitely worth a visit as is Muma’s Fish house in Paia.
If you travel to Maui between December and March a whale watching tour is a must. It’s only $49 per person and will be an experience you’ll remember for a lifetime. The beautiful creatures use the calm, warm waters off Maui to mate and calf. They’re so familiar and unfazed with the tour boats they’ll come right up as if to say hello. Their size is simply breathtaking. Trilogy is the pick of the tour operators as it’s the oldest family run sailing business on the Island and it gives a lot back through supporting the local community and preserving the ocean. They make an effort to make it a more intimate experience only taking small groups out at a time. Most tours leave from Lahaina Harbor and you’ll be out amongst the whales within 10 minutes of setting sail.
Like all fabulous locations in the world Maui is busy. Not busy as in you’ll be dodging people on the footpath, but busy because it’s small and all the tourists are cashed up wanting to do all the best things. To ensure you get to experience Maui’s best start planning as soon as you secure your flights - especially if you’re traveling during the American holiday’s. Your best bet is to book a dinner (or two) at Morimotos, a signature massage (or three) at Spa Grande, a round of golf at Kapalua, and make sure you’re there on a Sunday for an afternoon session at Little Beach... Just watch out for Frank! ;)