Travel Thursday: Rediscovering Maui And Its Hidden Gem, Hana

We were very excited when our plane finally touched the tarmac late in the afternoon on the island of Maui, Hawaii, one of the top vacation destinations in the world.  From the moment you land, there’s a sense that you know you have arrived at someplace very special.

After grabbing our bags and picking up the rental car, we headed over to our first destination, an overnight stay at the ultra-hip and modern Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort.  Having not visited any Andaz properties before, we found the introduction to the property uplifting.  From the moment we entered the lobby, the stunning views and contemporary vibe left us awestruck.  After an easy check-in, we headed to our room which we would describe as being both trendy and chic.  Our view encompassed both the property and ocean, reminding us exactly how lucky we were.

After unpacking and resting a bit, we decided to explore the beautiful hotel as we were only staying for just a single night.  Andaz Maui is truly a beautiful resort. You can’t go wrong with four cascading infinity pools with poolside cocktail lounge. We checked out the resort’s several restaurants, but since it was late, we could not get a table at the famous Morimoto (tip – reservations are a must) so we decided to check out the 24-hour market which serves great quick options of hot and cold food. Flat bread pizza was our choice and it was delicious.

The next morning, we enjoyed breakfast at Ka’ana Kitchen, known for serving Maui’s best dishes family style.  The restaurant was bustling and full of smiling people.  We chose to do the breakfast buffet, because that’s what you do when you visit Hawaii, and we were not disappointed.  The food and the fresh juice bar were exceptional and the service very friendly.

Reflecting on our stay as we checking out, it was clear why Andaz was so busy during our visit.  With top-caliber restaurants, modern and sophisticated premises, and a great proximity to the beach, Andaz has an amazing appeal.

Unfortunately for us this portion of our trip was too short (isn’t it always?), but we were still very excited as we had our main destination to enjoy - the hidden remote gem of a town called Hana.

There are 3 main ways to get to Hana.  The long road, which can take up your whole day, the shorter road (aka the terrifying, but gorgeous road), a winding single-lane, two-way road at cliff edges with long sheer drops, or the third option, a short 20 minute plane ride from Maui Airport.  Having taken both roads in the past, this time we opted for the flight with Mokulele Airlines.  The plane ride itself should not be discounted as just a quicker commuting option, for it is an experience in itself.  We enjoyed the short flight with our female pilots.  Tip - keep your camera handy for the planes from Mokulele Airlines fly low over the coast, giving you spectacular views of waterfalls and more.

Arriving by plane at the tiny Hana Airport is a beautiful adventure as it is a small strip located in a lush sea of vegetation.  With the exception of the occasional flight, it is pristine and quiet.  We were transported to our destination property, the historic Travaasa Hana, by its free shuttle service to and from the airport.  The Travaasa is a beautiful retreat that’s deeply rooted in Hawaiian tradition.  This renowned spa resort is spread out over 70 plush acres of East Maui coastline at the edge of Hana Bay, a truly ideal spot for honeymooners as there are rooms, bungalows, and suites overlooking the ocean and gardens.  We partook in the all-inclusive package at the Travaasa Hana, which includes three meals per day, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages and resort spa credit.

Our ocean bungalows had truly breathtaking and endless views.  We found ourselves spending a great amount of time on our private lanai overlooking Hana Bay.  Be warned, there are no tvs in the bungalows , which is perfect for us as we didn’t come all this way to watch television!  Instead, we marveled at the beauty and culture of the town and ventured out to check out the rest of the resort grounds.  It’s an amazing property where you can feel the essence of Hana, with its tropical surroundings and fresh ocean air.  And especially unusual for a destination resort, we noticed that the property layout made it feel very spacious and we never felt crowded or rushed.  It’s pure relaxation and dare I say it – heaven.

For our first lunch, we headed to the resort’s main restaurant, Preserve Kitchen + Bar.  Not being too hungry at the time, we just had small and quick bites.  But by the time dinner time arrived, we were ready and the Chef did not disappoint.  Both the food and service were amazing, especially the fresh fish.

After dinner, we took a romantic stroll around the grounds to gaze at the beautiful night sky bursting with stars that came to life because of the very little light pollution in the area. It was just magical and blissful.

The next morning, after our included breakfast, we headed to the spa for a couple’s massage.  Given that we were already feeling mellow because of where we were, the massage just put us over the top.  After the spa experience, we explored some of the many activity options they offer.  From yoga, to mixology, to horseback riding, there are activities for all to enjoy.  Most are free, but some do have an additional charge.

For lunch, we headed into town to explore and to enjoy our surroundings.  With a population of only about 2000 residents, Hana is a small and remote town that feels like you’ve stepped back in time.  Traffic violations are about as bad as the “crime” gets around here.  And with everyone knowing everyone else in town, little kids can go out safely at night on their own, knowing that the community will keep an eye on them.  Experiencing this kind of an environment in 2017 is enough of a reason to visit!

After lunch, we decided to spend some time on the property and just appreciate the pool and the views and read our books – the ultimate Hawaii trifecta!  After a relaxing and wonderful lazy day, we met up with the hotel General Manager for our final dinner.  Once again, the food was amazing, but this time we were blessed with tremendous company so it made it even better!

The next morning sadly came and it was time to say bye to Travaasa Hana, an amazing property in an amazing location that is no like other - a place we can honestly say, one of our favorite destinations in the world which we cannot wait to enjoy again.  If not on your regular to-do list, Hana is a must for your bucket list.

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Aloha-  Thanks for choosing Mokulele for your travel to Hana!  Glad you enjoyed your visit!

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Doesn't it rain frequently in Hana?  When is the drier season?

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We were there during the first week of September and only experienced the occasional short burst of rain.  The rest of the time, it was picture perfect weather just like in the pictures above.

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