The Hotel Hana Maui (now owned by Travaasa of Austin, Texas) is an extraordinary property that dominates the tiny town, and economy, of Hana, on the isolated eastern (rainforest) side of Maui.
Since its founding in 1947 by San Francisco industrialist Paul Fagan (who also built a baseball field in Hana for his S.F. Seals professional team to practice on, in the days before the Giants came to S.F.), the hotel has had numerous owners, including the local cattle ranch, a group of Japanese businessmen who failed in their attempt to build a golf course, and Caroline Hunt (from the Texas oil family). Travaasa has owned the spread for about 2-3 years.
And what a spread it is, sprawling over some 77 acres (or more?) of lawns and flowering trees and bungalows. The saltwater infinity pool and whirlpool overlooking the Pacific will take your breath away. The hotel also has tennis courts and maintains a stable of horses; guided horseback riding in pastures alongside the ocean is well worth the $75/hr. charge. And the hotel has other activities, some free, some not, including an excellent morning yoga class and lessons in ukulele playing, net fishing, and hula dancing.
The facilities are so lovely, engaging, and restful you may not want to leave.
But leave you should, for nearby Hamoa Beach is one of the best beaches in the world—a silver-black crescent cove with a roiling, yet safe and super fun, surf. (Author James Michener once wrote that Hamoa was one of the most perfect places in the Pacific, and Oprah Winfrey owns the adjacent property. Got the idea?) Hamoa Beach is public, but the hotel owns the only facilities there (with towels, lounges, umbrellas, water and bathrooms) and runs several shuttles there each day. (Shuttle driver Kepa is a real credit to the hotel, by the way, as is the young lady who staffs the hotel’s Hamoa facilities.)
Aside from Hamoa, Haleakala National Park—with its O’heo Gulch, “Seven Sacred Pools” and spectacular waterfalls—is the principal local attraction. It’s about 10 miles from the hotel (which takes about 45-60 hair-raising minutes to drive along one-lane twisting roads and teensy bridges). A little further on is the resting place of aviator Charles Lindbergh, buried in the graveyard of a charming little church. Other attractions (five miles from the hotel in the other direction, closer to the tiny Hana Airport) include the Maui Caves (lava tubes) and a black sand beach.
Want to go yet? You should.
But be aware of a couple of things. First off, the hotel offers no shuttles, or an adequate number of rental cars, to take guests to see the must-see local sites, other than Hamoa.
When I booked the reservation, I told the hotel rep in Texas that I would need to rent a car in Hana to see the O’heo Gulch, etc., and I was told it was no problem. The hotel had cars, I was told, just ask when you get there. Well, no. That’s not how it works, turns out.
The hotel evidently only has TWO rental cars, and they are reserved months in advance by other guests (for a week or two at a stretch, and therefore not available to anyone else). It was difficult, expensive, and frankly a bit stressful to convince the concierge to arrange for a rental car to be “specially” brought in so we could see these places we had flown all the way to Hana to see.
(And don’t expect to find any rentals or other services in the “town” of Hana—it’s just a short street with a gas station, a lovely 1838 Congregationalist church and cemetery, a post office, a Buddhist temple, and the charming Hasegawa General Store founded in 1910). As far as rental cars go, you are completely dependent on the hotel, unless you drive to Hana in your own vehicle (we flew).
There should be more rental cars on property, or an arrangement should be made with tour companies that pass through Hana on their way to some of the above-mentioned sites; these tours might be able to make a stop at Travaasa Hana to pick up hotel guests, etc.
A ball machine for the tennis courts might be a very affordable and worthwhile investment to make them more accessible to guests, like me, who would have liked to hit but didn't have a partner. The courts appeared well maintained, but unused during our three-day stay.
Finally, I think it would be a very good idea for Travaasa to install kitchenettes in at least some of the rooms, as an option. There are not a lot of dining choices in the area, especially at night. We enjoyed the excellent, though expensive, hotel and HRR restaurant (both run by Longhi’s, based out of Lahaina on the other side of Maui). But we would have appreciated more affordable options. It may not be feasible to build full kitchenettes, at least in the short term. But a larger fridge and a microwave in each room shouldn't be that hard to manage. And it would be hugely beneficial to guests, especially those desiring a longer stay. Which would certainly include us.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located at the end of the famous Road to Hāna, Travaasa Hāna sits on 69 acres along Maui's eastern coast, surrounded by lush, rolling grass fields, palm tree groves and the shores of Kaihalulu Bay. The AAA Four-Diamond experiential destination site, voted "#1 Best Boutique Hotel and #1 Best Hotel/Resort for a Romantic Getaway" in Hawaii Magazine's 2013 and 2014 Reader's Choice Awards, takes guests on a joyful journey with distinct offerings - Adventure, Culinary, Culture, Fitness and Spa & Wellness - that define the Travaasa experience, yet engage guests in the spirit of Hawaii. With activities like ukelele and lei making lessons, horseback trail rides, coconut husking, stand-up paddleboarding, outrigger canoe rides, outdoor yoga and traditional throw-net fishing, mo'elolo, or stories, are created as guests harmonize with the healing energy of the island. Our Maui spa treatments go far beyond pampering and indulgence. They reflect Hāna, our passion for, and knowledge of, the human body. We honor the ability of plants and essential oils to naturally treat, heal and revitalize the soul. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Hana Maui And Honua
- Travaasa Hana, Maui