However you arrive at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, it will be spectacular.
Come from the North and you will traverse a tiny, rugged road clinging in jaw-dropping triumph to the vertiginous mountains that plunge magnificently into crashing Hawaiian waves. From the South, you will first cross a plateau where two extinct volcanoes, shrouded in flowering jungles, rise enormously on either side, until you reach the coastline, where you trace its contours Northward, keeping your eyes eagerly pinned to the horizon to catch the exuberant leaps of humpback whales.
Located on the North Western shores of Maui, Hawaii, the Ritz-Carlton embraces its incomparable surroundings with the same passionate enthusiasm that it embraces its guests. From the laid back, Hawaiian style of its luxury and its individualized guest attention, to its staunch commitment to green practices, preserving Maui’s precious ecology, the thoughtful, unique character of the Ritz-Carlton is apparent in every detail. Though it is much larger than a traditional boutique hotel, there is an undeniable sincerity infused into its atmosphere, lending an intimate, in-depth, and distinctly boutique-like quality to each guest’s individual experience.
Sitting amidst several expansive, top-notch golf courses, golf may seem a predominant theme at first glance, but there is so much more to the depth of the hotel. Undoubtedly, the golfing here is some of the best in the world, but as non-golfers stepping foot into the open air lobby that sweeps out to overlook a palm-speckled, multi-tiered pool area that itself sweeps out to glorious ocean views, it is striking how much of everything that is seductive about Hawaii suddenly seems within arm’s reach.
Adorned with traditional welcome kukui nut leis, guests are escorted to their lusciously appointed rooms, where plush, almost irreverently comfortable beds await their lulling duties after a day spent in the Hawaiian elements.
The graceful, sunlit layout and modern amenities create an at-home, pampered feeling, including fabulous technology hook ups and lightening speed wifi, ensuring one’s abilities to brag to friends back home in real time. Leave the balcony door open to invite the fragrant Maui sea air into your room, while enjoying some wine, or the silky, local dark rum.
Better still: total immersion into the fragrant sea air with a stroll around the beautiful, 54-acre, rolling property, which encompasses artfully landscaped tropical flora and trails leading through untamed natural landscapes. One of the most unique aspects of the Ritz-Carlton property is that it houses an important Hawaiian archeological area – the Honokahua Preservation Site, a recognized sacred grounds, or “wahi pana,” where Native Hawaiians can gather to conduct ceremony and protocol. One more way in which the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua stays connected to the profound and vibrant island it calls home.
Yet, that’s only the beginning. The astounding commitment that the hotel has demonstrated to eco-friendly practices in order to preserve the precious environment so crucial to the island’s harmony, is truly a site to behold (and participate in). The resort’s Environmental Commitment and Family Recreation Initiatives via Jean-Michael Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program, not only contributes to preserving and protecting the Hawaiian ecosystem, it also allows guests to take part in their efforts. Guided hikes and snorkeling expeditions, experiencing botanical euphoria in the impressive garden (which also supplies their top-notch restaurant dining experience, The Terrace Chef-Crafted), and learning how to take underwater photos, are just a few of the impressive roster of activities for all ages.
Inevitably any stroll will lead to the beach—a pleasant little stretch of sugary white sand, where body surfers and boogie boarders will rejoice in the prime waves and prevailing winds.
Of course, there’s no better way to recoup a day of sun and surf (or copious amounts of strolling in the beautiful atmosphere), than a spa treatment in the Ritz-Carlton Spa at Kapalua. Choosing from a menu of treatments inspired by ancient Hawaiian traditions is already a treat rarely attained, but honestly, nothing has ever compared to the unlawful amounts of bliss that the Lomilomi signature massage releases.
Expertly trained therapists combine individual attention with the age old, deep and soothing strokes that embody the style of Lomilomi. Not only is the massage highly therapeutic, seeking out every last knot and dissolving it, but it also leaves one in a state of deep, lucid relaxation. Truly, the experience at the Ritz-Carlton Spa at Kapalua is worth a trip to Maui all its own.
Luckily, however, all these amazing details are wrapped into one complete, harmoniously luxurious package.
And however it was that you arrived at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, you will be glad you stayed.
– Ava Fedorov
Photographs by Jeff Owens for Socially Superlative