Maui’s Best Boutique Hotels

Paia Maui Paia Inn Boutique HotelWe’ve been looking forward to writing this piece for quite some time.  After visiting a few key boutique hotels around the great island of Maui, we had to share our findings on Maui’s best boutique hotels.  Sure to be a hot draw among honeymooners and hip trendsetters, is first on our list… The Paia Inn right in the heart of Paia town.  What can we say? We, along with Owen Wilson and Mick Fleetwood, heart Paia. In addition to our fondness for Cafe Mambo, Jacques, Flatbread, and all things Alice in Wonderland, we had to give a shout out to The Paia Inn, a quaint restored beachside boutique located in the heart of charming Paia Town, just steps from a 3 mile stretch of white sand beach on the stunning Northshore of Maui.

Paia Inn Deluxe Room

The newly renovated hotel, originally established in 1962, offers luxurious and comfortable rooms with modern amenities like complimentary WiFi (yay!), flatscreen TV’s, 500 thread count sheets, a chic lobby lounge, a garden patio, and private beach access. It’s not only one of the most fun spots in Maui, but with staff like beautiful Nina, you truly get some of that Aloha spirit.

Rates from $169/night

http://www.paiainn.com

Another Maui gem, tucked less than two blocks from the ocean, is one of our favorite hidden boutique properties.  The Plantation Inn is one of Maui’s secret retreats, a boutique bed and breakfast and sister property of Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel.

Plantation Inn - Maui

Most people opt for the easy chain resort holiday, but those in the know opt for something a bit more… intimate.  With turn of the century architecture and charm, combined with modern amenities such as air conditioning and soundproofing, this quiet, private, setting feels like a Southern mansion in the heart of Hawaii’s happening Lahaina town. With only 19 rooms and suites, each with its own unique custom interior design, The Plantation Inn is also home to Gerard’s Restaurant, one of the finest French restaurants in North America. Romantic and comfortable, Chef Gerard Reversade’s Contemporary Island French Cuisine consistently earns some of the highest ratings in Hawai‘i.  Daily deluxe continental breakfast is complimentary and includes Chef Reversade’s gourmet French toast, Eggs Basquaise, homemade yogurt and special blend mueslix, bagels, lox and cream cheese, along with fresh fruit, Gerard’s special-blend coffee and tropical juices. Guests also receive a special discount on the set-dinner menu at Gerard’s. Also worth mentioning, guests have complimentary access to all of the hotel amenities offered at its sister property, the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel.

Rates from $179/night

http://www.theplantationinn.com

Honorable ‘Bed and Breakfast’ Mentions

Upcountry Bed and Breakfast

In Kula, otherwise known as ‘The Big Red House”

Rates from $125/night

http://www.upcountrybandb.com

Maui Moonlight Garden

Rates from $130/night

http://www.mauimoonlightgarden.com

The Aloha Pualani

Rated TripAdvisor’s 2008 Traveler’s Choice

Rates from $195/night

http://www.alohapualani.com

For other private cottages and B&B’s, check out the website below. There are a slew of small privately owned homes/cottages/bed and breakfasts around the island, particularly Upcountry (Kula area), as well as on the Road to Hana.

Maui Bed and Breakfasts

http://www.bestbnb.com/Maui.html

Happy Surfing!

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Maui, Hawaii: The Best Luxury Lover’s Getaway

Maui Romantic Escapes Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa

Our Editor-in-Chief calls Maui home so, when it comes to finding new deals and secret retreats, it’s a bit of a challenge. She knows almost every place already. However, in all her years of traveling to and from the island, this winter, she and her husband were surprised to uncover a beauty among the beaches. The Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, nestled right next to the Shops at Wailea, is just a few hundred feet from well-known properties like The Four Seasons and The Grand Wailea, but offers something you won’t find at more popular locations… no screaming kids! That’s why we’ve voted it the ‘Best Luxury Lover’s Getaway on Maui.’ Not to mention the fact that it’s slightly less expensive than her neighbors.

Mala Maui - Kobe BurgerWith an onsite restaurant, Mala Wailea, from world-renowned chef/owner Mark Ellman, it also has one of the best Kobe burgers in town. The resort offers 546 guest rooms and suites with amenities like high-speed Internet, a 27-inch flat screen TV, cable TV, video games, a private lanai (balcony), the Mandara Spa with holistic treatments from the Far East, five swimming pools, including the new Maluhia Serenity Pool with six exclusive over-the-water cabanas reminiscent of over-water bungalows in Bora Bora, and nearby golf, tennis and Shops at Wailea. The rooms, pictured here, were all recently revamped and look more like a sophisticated W Hotel than the usual (and somewhat dated) luxury hotels nearby.  Though it’s not as beach front as the other properties nearby, you will save a few hundred bucks a night and you’re closer to the Shops at Wailea.

The beach is also just a two-minute walk down a paved oceanfront path. Plus, no other property nearby has anything like their over-the-water cabanas and infinity pool. This is property for adults… and celebs who don’t want other guests constantly gawking. To wit, when our EIC stayed here, Lindsay Lohan was taking some much needed down time. So, though we may be young at heart, we really like our quiet sexy time.

From $525-$3,250/night

http://www.waileamarriott.com
Tel: 1-808-879-1922

Honolulu, Oahu: The Best Boutique Hotel in Waikiki

When most of us think of Waikiki, we think of Japanese tourists in matching Bermudas, Reyn Spooner shirts, and that big old statue of Duke. Though not much has changed in Waikiki since the 70’s, it’s one place everyone needs to see at least once in their lives. Far from the relatively tranquil atmosphere of Maui or Kauai, it carries an interesting edge that surprised me. That said, I journeyed around the place to find the best boutique hotel close to all the action, but far enough away from throngs of tourists or bad ‘stuck-in-the-popcorn-ceiling past’ design. That’s when I came upon a little gem called… Hotel Renew.
Priding itself on high design and personalized service, the staff not only helped me navigate a bus route, but they even offered to walk me there. The property, the first designer boutique hotel on Oahu, was designed by Jiun Ho who has certainly created a casually elegant oasis of tranquility – think a more quiet, peaceful W property – a calm contrast to the energy of Waikiki. Of the 72-room hotel with Japanese touches, all rooms offer luxurious, contemporarty amenities like feather beds, bathrobes, eco-friendly bottled water, in-room refrigerators, oversized beach towels, state-of-the-art in-room technology, including complimentary wireless throughout the hotel (we love that!), 80″ inch projection televisions, flat screen HDTVs, dimmable lighting, and iPod docking capabilities.

With close proximity to Diamond Head, Oahu’s most photographed landmark, and just steps from Waikiki Beach, Hotel Renew is poised to become one of Oahu’s most treasured boutique hotel.
This summer, they’re also offering the Sun & Fun package including: a deluxe guestroom, a convertible car or Jeep from Enterprise, an organic Hotel Renew beach bag, a pair of Hotel Renew flip flops, complimentary use of beach gear (based on availability), complimentary continental breakfast each morning, and a complimentary cocktail each evening.

Rates @ $179/night
Sun & Fun Package starts at $199/night

http://www.hotelrenew.com

For those visiting Honolulu, we also wanted to mention a few other great things to do. While strolling the streets near the hotel, we came upon an adorable two-in-one vegetarian restaurant called “Ruffage.” During the day, it serves healthy veggie fare, while at night, the space turns into a reasonably priced (and delicious) sushi joint called “Morio’s.”

Ruffage/Morio’s
2443 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 922-2042
(c) Kathleen Walling Fry

Bar 35 is another two-in-one restaurant/bar that does some amazing beer tastings on Wednesdays where a professional brewer (the owner/founder of Hawaii Nui Beers) walks you through each beer, as well as the brewing process. It’s one of the latest hot spots in the newly energized Downtown-Chinatown area.

Bar 35
35 N Hotel St
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 537-3535
http://www.bar35hawaii.com
Featuring indoor and patio bars, happy hour, DJs and live bands, Bar 35 also has something else sure to please… a pizza place inside the bar, owned and operated by Chef Valentini. His handmade gourmet pizzas are seriously some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Don’t miss the ‘Sweet Bangkok’ with Chinese Sausage, Sweet Chili Sauce, Cilantro, Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese and the ‘French Kiss’ with French Brie Cheese, Cooked Ham, Fresh Pesto Sauce, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese and Fresh Basil. From Bar 35, there are a number of great spots like Indigo with it’s outdoor tiki bar feel and The Loft where DJ’s spin wild music and locals (and a few in-the-know vacationers) eye each other in between moves.

If you’re looking for more nightspots to enjoy, check out this link:

Our Favorite Honolulu Nightclubs

http://www.enjoyhawaiivacations.com/honolulu-nightclubs.html

Maui, Hawaii: An Insider’s Restaurant Guide

Every summer as a child, my family would escape the blistering heat of Arizona to vacation in the Hawaiian Islands. A little R&R and the yearly Western Trial Lawyers Convention brought us to the laid-back tropical paradise of pineapple plantations and sugarcane fields. The summers defined my youth and fostered an island spirit within. Years later, it would do the same to my parents. They picked up and moved to Maui. As a tribute to the islands that I know and love, Jaunt Magazine will be running a special series on where to eat, stay, and shop in Maui and beyond.

First up: Your Restaurant Cheat Sheet, Maui Style.
NICK’S FISHMARKET
Fairmont Kea Lani Resort
4100 Wailea Alanui Dr
Kihei, HI 96753
(808) 879-7224
http://www.tristarrestaurants.com

First and foremost, we love the Fairmont Kea Lani. It just might be our favorite hotel on the island. An all-white Moroccan inspired design, enormous suites, and home to a restaurant with some of the freshest and widest selection of fish on the island, what’s not to love? The food at Nick’s continues to live up to it’s excellent reputation. A perfect spot to dine with couples or your significant other/spouse, you may walk away spending $200 or more for a couple dining with wine, but it’s well worth it. They also have a delicious (and relatively new) organic restaurant called Ko. We highly recommend, if you’ve got the time (and money) to spend.

SANSEI
Kihei Town Center
1881 South Kihei Road #KT-116
Kihei, Hawaii 96753
http://www.sanseihawaii.com
(808) 879-0004

Believe it or not, much to our chagrin, there isn’t much sushi on the island. Sansei is the best, hand’s down. Using unique twists like Ginger Lime Butter and Cilantro Pesto, they’re even on par with some of LA’s more standard sushi spots like Crazy Fish. If you don’t mind waiting in a long ass line for about 45 minutes before they open at 5pm on Mondays, you can even get half-off.

Fish and chips, their famous burger, a giant fish caesar salads… another classic Maui staple right on Lahaina’s waterfront is… KIMO’S! PS. They’ve also got adorable soft cotton tee-shirts on sale right now. Worth feeling like a lame tourist when you slip it on and look like a sexy surfer girl.
KIMO’S
845 Front Street
Lahaina, Maui
(808) 661-4811

BUBBA GUMP’S
889 Front Street
Lahaina, HI 96761
(808) 661-3111

Yes, it’s a chain. We know. The things we love most about Bubba Gump’s in Maui are the following: The buckets of Cajun Shrimp and it’s sweet location on Lahaina’s waterfront. End of story.

CAFE MAMBO
30 Baldwin Avenue
Paia, Maui 96779
(808) 579-8021
http://www.cafemambomaui.com
Three words. Hot Chicken Salad. Two more. Duck Salad. Four more. Maui Burger & Beer Combo!

This is my family’s favorite lunch spot after a nice workout, day of shopping, or windsurfing in Kanaha. You can get two of the best salads on the island (if not two of your favorite salads in the US), and you’ll be waited on by smiling girls from the mainland or Waylon, our favorite cook in the kitchen. Plus, after you eat, you can wander around Paia Town and have some drinks at the two long standing nightspots in Maui, Jacques, where we consistently see Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson , note: NOW CLOSED 😦 or you can drive up to Makawao for some hang time at Casanova’s.

MAMA’S FISH HOUSE
799 Poho Pl
Paia, HI 96779
(808) 579-9764
http://www.mamasfishhouse.com

No, it’s not a steal, but Mama’s Fish House is a classic. My husband and I even shared an appetizer and an entree – it was plenty of food for the likes of our little Euro bellies. So, if you’re not a typical American who eats their entire enormous plate of food, Mama’s might not break the bank. The place for another romantic dining experience.

maui romantic dining banyan tree ritz

THE BANYAN TREE
The Ritz Carlton, Kapalua
One Ritz Carlton Drive, Kapalua

(808)699-6200

This is another favorite, pricey, but delicious fine dining experience on the island. My husband and I think it’s the best restaurant in town.  Everything tastes exceedingly fresh, light, and delicious. Our good friend, who writes for Maui Magazine, also suggests The Lahaina Grill for high-end pricey fare, but we’re loyal to the Ritz. The service and the quality is hard to beat. Regardless, we recommend trying out both and letting us know what you think.

THE LAHAINA GRILL
127 Lahainaluna Rd
Lahaina, HI 96761-1502
(808) 667-5117

SAIGON CAFE
1792 Main St
Wailuku, HI 96793
(808) 243-9560

The best – and most authentic – Vietnamese food on the island is tucked in a small corner of Wailuku. You just might miss it if you’re not a local. This is a great place to stop before you fly home for a quick bite if you’re staying in Wailea or Lahaina. Ask for Wing Wing (or Nguyan Nguyan). Friends (like the Revis’) call him Chicken Wing. He’ll make you laugh, he’ll make you cry. Every dish on the menu is fresh and excellent.
DA KITCHEN
425 Koloa Street
Kahului, Maui
(808) 871-7782

Only five minutes from Kahului Airport, Da Kitchen is in a mini-mall near most of the windsurfing and kiteboarding shops of Kanaha Beach. Serving up traditional Hawaiian food like lomi (salted salmon chopped with tomatoes and onion), lau lau, Kalua pork, chicken long rice, poi and plate lunches with teriyaki chicken, Korean Kobe ribs, hamburger steak cutlets or fish tempura (served with rice and macaroni salad), prices are as low as $6.00-$8.00 and 2-3 people could easily eat one meal. It’s nothing high-brow or haute, but it’s about as local as you can get. Oh, and before we forget (and speaking of local) on Kahului Beach Road next to the harbor is a shrimp truck not to be missed called GESTE’S. If you eat there, you’ve officially achieved cool points from Jaunt Magazine staff.

Also – for quick eats with the kiddies and a dose of some Middle East staple, The Pita Paradise in Wailea/Kihei is your spot.

Aromatic Journeys: Awaken Your Senses

AQUA CANCUN

Stroll past two sparkling white Rolls Royce Phantoms through the sliding glass doors into paradise. Inlakesh. That’s how the staff of this ultra-chic Cancun resort greets you. In Mayan it means, “We are different faces of each other.” And this is what it means to ‘Feel AQUA.’ At peace and one with the environment. From the custom aromatic oils pumped throughout the hotel to Watsu treatments, Ashtanga Yoga, Regional Cooking Classes and your choice of two superb restaurants, Siete and MB, home to James Beard Winner, Michelle Bernstein’s stellar boite…

This certainly ain’t your parents run-of-the-mill Cancun resort. Think the W’s modish elegance meets Ritz-Carlton’s flawless service. Fans include the likes of Paris Hilton, Kim Cattrall, and… me. When they say awaken your senses, they truly mean it. Right down to a nightly choice, delivered straight to your room, of six aromatic oils blended specifically for the hotel.

http://www.feel-aqua.com

Intoxicating, sensual, and unique. Just like you. Sure, anyone who’s anyone knows about the Four Seasons Resort Maui, but do they also know about their brand-spankin’ new demi-blending scent analysis?

FOUR SEASONS RESORT MAUI at WAILEA

Through a discussion with your mélanger, along with an in-depth computerized test, personalized perfume sessions target elements of your personality and aspects of your health that directly affect the scents – and senses – you’re drawn to. Ajne Rare & Precious, the expert all-natural and organic essential oil perfumerie out of Carmel, California, is run by husband and wife duo, Jane Hendler and Rex Rombach, and Handler personally trains each mélanger at the Four Seasons Resort Maui to guide you during your prêt-à-porter fragrance consultation.

Hendler is one of the few accredited Certified Master Essential Oil Therapists in the nation and has been called the ‘Star Perfumer’ by US Weekly. Some of her clients have included Jessica Biel, Reese Witherspoon, Alanis Morrisette and Rob Lowe. In addition to owning their own lavender farm in Carmel Valley, Jane and Rex work with small growers from around the world to obtain the organic and sustainably-harvested fruit, flower, leaf, grass, wood, lichen, fungi and spice oils that Jane transforms into parfum, lotions and skin care preparations in her Carmel laboratory boutique. Hand-blending each formula to a customer’s specific needs, Handler also developed a signature scent for Four Seasons Resort Maui, Palena`ole, available at the Spa’s retail.

Custom blend and consultation from $250

http://www.fourseasons.com/maui/

So bring the sweet smell of vacation home with you.
OJAI VALLEY INN

Feel like a guided aromatic meditation? Might we recommend a personal aromatherapy session with Renate, the on-site Artist-in-Residence, at the Ojai Valley Inn’s Artist Cottage and Apothecary? This German beauty will guide your senses through a holistic journey of self-discovery in a variety of media, whether it’s pottery, painting, drawing, wreath-making, or, my personal favorite, scent. Allow for time alone or share the experience with your family and friends. I had the pleasure of being guided through an afternoon of aromatic self-discovery with my husband – who just happened to develop my current favorite anointment he lovingly called ‘Orchard Floor.’ It was the perfect experience to end a perfect birthday weekend. Each scent is composed of essential therapeutic oils which you can also introduce into lotions, gels and creams that will carry your own name. Also worth mentioning… The Personal Mandala class, another Signature Ojai Experience, recommended at times of transition or when seeking clarity. Quiet and introspective, with insightful feedback from your instructor, these sessions reveal a deeper meaning to what lies on the paper.

From $150

http://www.ojairesort.com