Normally I love living in San Francisco, even braving our notorious chilly grey summers, but after spending last week in sunny Maui, checking out the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua’s multi-million dollar makeover, I have to say that I’m already down for a repeat visit! (Maybe I can say that the dog ate my camera and I need to take new photos?)
As promised in last month’s preview tickler, here’s my review of what a $180 million transformation offers.
The 23,000-acre award-winning Kapalua Resort is located on an incredible ahu’puaa, which means a plot of land that runs from the top of the mountains down to the sea. (Ahu’puaa and Aloha are the sum total of my Hawaiian language skills.) It’s bordered by two championship golf courses: the gorgeous Plantation Course (said to be a seriously tough one, particularly on a windy day) runs through island canyons to turquoise oceanfront plateaus. At the Bay Course, the money-shot hole extends onto an ocean-framed black-lava peninsula.
The property also includes a lush rainforest, wildlife sanctuaries, a Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Program offering “so-much-fun-for-the-whole-family-that- kids-won’t- even-know-it’s –educational,” three unspoiled beaches (the D.T. Fleming Beach was awarded America’s Best Beach by The Travel Channel although I thought the Kapalua Beach, a five minute walk away, was much prettier), a historic pineapple plantation offering tours aboard “The Pineapple Express”, an organic farm, a network of hiking trails to explore, and a 3-tiered pool connected by cascading waterfalls. (My only nitpick would be that if you didn’t want to pay for a private cabana, there was a scarcity of shady spots around the pool. Maybe they could put up an umbrella or two?)
The casual/chic refurbished guest rooms and over 107 newly created one- and two-bedroom residential suites have been decorated with colorful Hawaiian inspired artwork and textiles, rich local woods, marble bathrooms and feature a strong sense of place and history woven throughout. (Plus, the best flat-screen LCD t.v’s I’ve ever watched.)
You have a wide selection of restaurants on property with complimentary shuttle service provided. The seemingly endless buffet breakfast at the Terrace Restaurant is a great way to kick-start your day, and if you’re in the mood for a little romance and a truly memorable meal,The Banyan Tree, the resort’s signature seafood restaurant, will not disappoint. They are currently featuring a new 50-50 Menu: a three-course menu for $50, along with a bottle of wine from a select wine list for $50, exclusive of tax and gratuity.