A MAUI Valentine
Mystical, magical Maui lures lovers with balmy weather, verdant
mountains, pristine beaches, luxurious resorts and sensuous
sweet air perfumed with the ambrosial scents of plummeria.
The second largest island in this enticing archipelago, l Maui is mystical, magical and filled with wonderful experiences for you and your special Valentine.
Romantic Hotel: The Four Seasons Resort. Graciously Hawaiian with sumptuous guest rooms. , ethereal Japanese sand gardens.
Cupid’s Calling: romantic dinners, side-by-side massages in an oceanside thatched roof
hut– where the sounds of the waves lure you into nirvana, room service on your private lanai.
Activities: — a super spa, one of the best stretches of beach in the islands, snorkeling, swimming, rooftop complimentary tennis, use of a fully-equipped gym with steam baths and saunas, a lovely pool flanked by two Jacuzzis. Or simply plotz in cushy chaises by the pool and sip potent Mai Tai’s. Stroll down to the beach and pick up snorkel gear at the actitivity center, after your swim you’ll find large glasses or ice water placed on your fluffy beach town by attendants who will also cool you off with refreshing sprays of Evian water. To enhance the mood book an outrageously romantic dinner for two.
The Four Seasons 3900 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea, Hawaii
800/334.6284 or 808/874.8000.
Beach It: While every beach is beautiful on Maui, Polo and Oneloa (known to locals at Big Beach) provide some of the best swimming and snorkeling in crystal clear waters. Situated a few miles apart at Wailea and Makena both face west offering calm seas, sheltered by the nearby islands of Molokai and Lanai. Big Beach sits in thick kiawe groves that hide it from the road. Polo Beach is best for strolling with soft sand, terrific swimming on a sandy bottom that drops fast and affords super snorkeling. Both offer plenty of privacy if you want to stroll off by yourself.
Sunrise/sunset: l nothing beats watching this magnificent orb rise from the 10,0250 foot high volcanic crater of Haleakala (the house of the rising sun). Bathed by hues of gold, amber, rose and jade the eerie ephemeral phenomenon evokes images of the demigod Maui who it’s believed snared the sun’s rays as they rose above the summit of Haleakala so his mother, the goddess Hina, could have more hours in the day to do her chores. You can drive up on your own or (be sure to pack a picnic basket) or book any of a number of hikes, horseback rides or camping trips (they’ll take care of the details). More than 500,000 people make yearly trips to the top of Haleakala. To go it on your own take Route 37 from Kahului to Route 377, turn onto Route 378 and wind your way up. Before reaching the crater you’ll come to a national park that is open from 7:30 am to 4 pm. There is an entrance fee. 3 pm. For more information call: 808/572.9306.
Love the Drive: the road to Heavenly Hana Maui– a 44 spine-tingling miles-long “lover’s lane.” To enhance the experience rent a jeep, which can handle the zigzagging route. Then set out for the ride of a lifetime that swirls past 617 whirling curves, awesome waterfalls, rain forests, jungles and streams. You’ll pass by tiny Hawaiian villages, each centered by a picturesque church, past taro and banana farms, over one-way bridges, high above steep gullies, through microclimates, and rolling pastures until finally arriving at “Heavenly Hana.” This verdant, tropical paradise served as the setting for fabled lovers Kauiki and Noenoe who according to legend were forever united by the demigod Maui and later changed them into a hill. It was where Queen Kaahu manu, favored wife of Kamehameha was born in 1768. You can spend the night, or simply do a roundtripper. If your budget can handle it, the luxurious Hana Maui hotel is the only place to stay. Nestled on 23 gently sloping acres, 95 exquisite Southwestern/Hawaii style rooms are spread out in a clutch of single story structures, each with marvelous baths with inviting soaking tubs, large courtly sitting rooms, overhead fans, hardwood floors, and lovely lanais (patios) where on Sundays sounds of Hymns filter in from a nearby church built in 1942 from volcanic stone by volunteers directed by a Yankee “kuhu” (shepherd or pastor). There’s a swimming pool, super spa and transportation to a private, secluded beach. For an ultimate experience book in-room “lomi lomi” (Hawaiian style) massages. For additional information call: 800/321.HANA
Buy Them Something Special: Front Street in Lahaina: A shopper’s paradise for more than a century the oceanside shopping street overflows with cute boutiques, jewelry shops, art galleries, bikini shops and cute restaurants. Pick up an antique map or print of Hawaii at Lahaina Printsellers ltd. in the Lahaina Cannery, or a cool Hawaiian shirt at Crazy Shirts 865 Front St., or some nifty scrimshaw at Lahaina scrimshaw Factory at 845 Front Street.
Spice it up with: whale watching from January to March, call the Pacific Whale Foundation at 808/879.8811); *Windsurfing at Ho’okipa Beach, call: 808/879.4485; * hiking into the rainforest, contact: Ken Schmitt, 808/879.5270; * helicopter rides through awesome rainbows, over Haleakala, and into hidden valleys.
Getting There: splurge on First Class on Hawaiian Airlines www.hawaiian.air.com . You’ll feel like you’ve already arrived in the islands with the onboard Aloha spirit and gourmet food created by Island chefs like Beverly Gannon.