Authentically Hawaiian - Hana Maui Resort

Authentically Hawaiian - Hana Maui Resort

Denise Tavera May

CURATED BY Denise Tavera May

The saying “getting there is half the fun” most definitely applies to The Road to Hana. This 64-mile stretch of highway is one of the most picturesque you can imagine. At every turn, you are watching the landscape change, gorgeous azure waters glistening, and waterfalls of every size scattered along the way. To say I was a little apprehensive at first is an understatement. But I took the best tip for a rookie, which was to download a great playlist prior to arrival! With my sunglasses on, top-down (on my Jeep rental), and co-captain Roberto, we hit the road from the Maui International Airport to Hana. The sunshine, perfect temperature, and light breeze beckoned us to hit the road. We were warned that normally, this could be up to a 3.5-hour drive on a two-lane road due primarily to tourists making multiple stops along the way to enjoy the views. Fortunately for us, not so much for Maui; tourism has slowed considerably after the horrific fires in Lahaina. The road before us was almost empty, with little traffic behind us, so our journey was just over 2 hours. Picturesque doesn’t do it justice. The beauty is endless, and although it was a little nerve-wracking at first not to be able to see beyond the hair-pinned turns, I grew accustomed and let the road led us to Hana.

There is only one road in and one road out, which makes it very easy with or without GPS. Getting lost really isn’t an option. Once we arrived at Hana Maui Resort, we were each welcomed with a Kukui nut necklace, which I immediately put on. I felt at home; the staff is incredibly welcoming and warm, and I was genuinely happy to see guests arrive. I began my journey in North Carolina. It was a long distance to travel for such a short time, and I was determined to see as much as possible. With 3 days to explore the property and its surroundings, I hit the ground running on Day 1. I was shocked to learn that the average stay is 1 night. I think I could have done it all if I had 3 nights and 4 full days, but 2 nights and 3 days got me pretty close.

These were some of the Highlights:
Wai’anapanapa State ParkGorgeous black sand beach open to the Public but requires reservations. It was easy to jump on my phone and book a 3-hour window for my visit the same day. A $3.00 fee gives you access and a bar code to scan at the entrance. Parking is ample, and the walk down to the beach was easy. There are quite a few stairs, so come prepared; you can also bring lunch, beverages, and a chair to make the most of your visit. Just be sure to take out whatever you take in. Before walking down to the beach, the view is incredible, but walking on this black sand and seeing the black, smooth rocks that seem to shimmer in the light is something else. There are signs to not take the stones; believe me, I was tempted!

Side note: Hana Bay Beach is also a black sand beach within walking distance of the Resort. There is parking, restrooms, and outdoor showers; the hotel can pack a lunch for you and provide golf cart transportation.

Hana Lave Tube
No reservations were needed, but this self-walking tour can get busy. I suggest keeping it for a rainy morning or afternoon; it takes about 30-45 minutes, depending on your pace. The entrance fee was $15.00; if you do not have cash, they have an ATM. The staff was very helpful and informative, and a flashlight was provided. The steep entrance leads you down to the mouth of the lava cave, which is dark and can get slippery. It was thrilling to momentarily turn off the flashlight and just listen to the silence of this magnificent cave formed 960 years ago. A result of molten lava spewing up underground and flowing toward the ocean.

Waioka Pond, AKA Venus Pool
If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you may pass the “entrance path.” Talking with locals is the best way to learn all the hidden gems. This was certainly the most off-the-beaten-path experience. As you drive through residential areas, there is an area where you can park up to 3 vehicles and walk through an overgrown pathway with no sign. I ventured out of the hotel at 7 a.m. and was hiking through tall grass by 720 a.m. Alone on the path, I questioned myself several times for doing this alone, but it was well worth it. Photographs do not do it justice; this is something you need to see for yourself, but make sure you’re wearing sneakers. I had visions of myself sliding off the cliffside, never to be seen or heard from again. Luckily, I didn’t anger any gods and made it to the next stop.

Haleakalā National Park
It was close to 9 a.m. by the time I made it to Haleakalā, and there were already a few hikers on the trails. I begin with a short loop, Kūloa Point Trail, to see the Pools of `Ohèo. There was a small waterfall that led to several small pools of water before leading to the ocean; the trail was wide and well-maintained. Along the walk, there were some archaeological sites and endless views of the coast. Crossing the street towards Pīpīwai Trail, I headed towards Makahiku Falls and the Bamboo Forest. This was a much longer and slightly more strenuous hike, about 2 miles uphill. The reward was worth the effort, and if I had more time, I would have planned it better to have enjoyed it longer. Unfortunately, (not really) I had an 11 a.m. spa appointment, and I needed to get back to the Resort.

Hana Farms (roadside stand, pizza oven & bakery)
This is a Hana staple. Famous for its banana bread, everyone comes to browse the farm stand to take home goodies. The toughest decision is whether you take a plain, chocolate chip, or macadamia nut banana bread; I took all three! We also stayed and enjoyed a delicious made-to-order lunch of oven-fired pizza. The farm fresh fruit soda is out of this world! Luckily, you pass this stand on your way in and out of town, so there is no chance you’ll miss it. Besides the natural beauty you will find throughout Hana, none of these places I explored were more than a 20-minute drive from the property. I encourage at least a 2-night stay, but 3 will allow you to enjoy the Resort and all it has to offer. Besides the infinity pool facing the ocean, oversized hot tub, fire pit, and multiple spots throughout the property to sit in an Adirondack chair and enjoy the spectacular sunrises, there are numerous activities for guests to enjoy. There is a second pool outside the fitness center, which has weight machines, dumbbells, stationary bikes, and a Peloton. Complimentary Activities for Guests on-site Include:

• Mindful Meditation with a gorgeous ocean view
• Morning Yoga
• Lau Kāpala – Leaf printing
• Lei making
• Hula basics class
• Ulana Launiu – coconut leaf weaving
• Kōnane – Hawaiian checkers
• Self-guided botanical walk

Dining options include The Restaurant at Hana Maui Resort, offering the freshest Hana produce, featuring locally grown fruit, fresh fish, and fresh-grown vegetables. Breakfast is served daily from 7 to 10 a.m. A short walk to Hana Town is where you will find Hana Ranch Restaurant with great views to accompany those cold, locally brewed beers. Serving Lunch and Dinner, a table outside is highly recommended.

For those looking for an alternative to the drive from OGG, guests can travel by private 11-passenger Cessna and arrive within 12 minutes or an 8-passenger dual-engine helicopter. Contact the hotel directly for assistance. If you fly, the hotel can arrange a 4X4 Jeep Wrangler rental for you to explore all of these spots on your own and at your own pace.

No experience is more fitting to end your stay than a visit to the Spa. There is no lack of views at Hana Maui Resort, and the Spa is no exception. Treatments can be in one of their indoor or outdoor areas, alone or as a couple. There are 2 outdoor hot tubs to enjoy before or after your treatment. The larger of the two offers ocean views and sounds of waves crashing on the shore.

here are indoor and outdoor showers, a sauna, and a 51-degree cold plunge pool for a refreshing end to your experience.

Hana Maui is offering a 15% Discount for all our travel advisors.  I look forward to returning, taking it slow, and embracing everything Maui offers!

Authentically Hawaiian - Hana Maui Resort
Authentically Hawaiian - Hana Maui Resort
Authentically Hawaiian - Hana Maui Resort