By Chad Chisholm, Contributing Writer
“Heavenly Hana” is appropriately nicknamed. Situated on the northern coast of Maui, this gem of a town is remote and quiet, the ocean breezes swaying the pines and palms alike. Located on the rainy side of the island, the lush surroundings are in-tune with Travaasa Hana’s luxury accommodations and amenities for this glamping experience.
An all-inclusive property and no-tipping zone other than in the dining areas, guests are invited to truly relax and reconnect. The individual cottages overlooking the ocean meet the Maui sunrise at Travaasa, formerly the Hana Hotel. Rooms are without the usual mind-distracting electronics, so the sound of the ocean far outweighs the lack of a glowing TV or even a clock. Hot tubs set into the lanai’s of the cottages are a wonderful way to relax and take in the scenery, almost forcing guests to take a deep breath and let their minds unwind.
Upon arriving at Travaasa Hana, I was greeted with a friendly “Aloha” from several of the staff. The check in service included a chilled towel and hot tea, while my luggage was whisked away via cart to my cottage. A tour of the property revealed two pools, a fitness facility, spa, and on-site dining. A yoga platform spread out below the wide branches of a tree as well as a facility overlooking the infinity pool begged to be utilized—incorporating inner peace with outer tranquility. The numerous hammocks, lounge areas, and lush grounds almost immediately begin to soothe the soul while on property.
A good book is a must while at Traavasa Hana. The sleepy town is wonderful for a low-key island getaway. Guests can grab the banana bread amenity found in their room and head to the pool or stroll the manicured lawns overlooking the Pacific. Outside the property, nearby Red Sand Beach is a quiet hideaway hidden amongst the rocks. A perilous pathway is well worth the exploration, as the crashing Pacific waves break upon a natural lava barrier, creating a deep pool primed for swimming.
My seaside cottage is expansive- the large living spaces and lanai overlooking the ocean with ample space to really take in the sea air. Lounge chairs, comfortable sofas, and a king-sized bed made for my own slice of Hana Heaven, leaving the rolling screen doors open to listen to the sounds of crashing surf throughout the night. Up the gently sloping hill, the infinity pool trickles with a water feature and several outfitted pool chez chairs- sliding tray pull outs from below the chair a perfect spot for my Mai Tai and fresh local catch ceviche as I leaf through the pages of my novel.
On property, the poolside menu is not the only culinary option. The Ka’uiki Dining Room and Paniolo Lounge on property herald local fare and fresh catches on their menus. On the cocktail menu, locally produced USDA organic Ocean Vodka is a definite contender for your favorite drink. Forgoing the dining room, I opted for the Paniolo Lounge, which has an abbreviated menu, casual atmosphere and live music. Paniolos are the Hawaiian Upcountry Cowboys, and the smaller lounge has an outdoor space overlooking the property. With the relaxed atmosphere of Hana, everything does seem to be on “island time” including the service, so take time to enjoy the ukulele music, as a dinner on the run is not on the menu.
Upon my departure, a warm hug from a friendly Hawaiian woman left me feeling warm and fuzzy for the rest of my drive around the island. The relaxed atmosphere, attention to detail in the accommodations and remote feel of the property all contribute to this luxury stay in Hana. A far cry from roughing it on Maui, it is a wonderful glamping option with a seaside cottage perfectly suited for some R&R.
I suggest a convertible for the winding road to Hana. Lush, vibrant scenery meets the eye and rocky, craggy lava contrast with the brilliant greens of the vegetation and deep blue of the Pacific waters. With the top down, the warm air and fresh, unspoiled scent of the rainforest make for a truly exceptional experience for the senses. Many guidebooks tell visitors to leave early in the morning for the Hana Highway—having done the road several times at various times of the day, I find traffic is really a flexible variable. Leaving late morning on this particular trip, I came across very little traffic and it afforded me the opportunity to stop along the way to take photos of waterfalls, enjoy a scenic vista, and sample coconut candy along the way. Staying at Travaasa Hana is another benefit to the Hana Highway, breaking up the trip and allowing for even further enjoyment and opportunity to explore along the way.
Before the “Welcome to Hana” sign, the Hana Farms stand is a must-stop on the way to Travaasa Hana. Known for their 6 varieties of banana breads, my favorite is the Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, and other organically grown and produced products, make sure to grab a few pieces of fresh fruit and a couple of loaves of banana bread for your cottage, which comes with a refrigerator. Auntie Donna tends to the roadside stall and her warm smile and vivacious countenance will have you telling story long into the afternoon.
Far from the days of old, Hana Highway has been re-paved and made accessible around the island. Previously, the rutted, winding road was a no-drive for tourists and even rental car agencies had a clause prohibiting drivers from attempting the road. Now, the freshly paved highway is all but smooth (a small stretch past Travaasa Hana still a bit bumpy but completely drivable, even in a zippy convertible). A word to the wise: let locals pass and keep the speeds slow, many areas are one-lane and drivers need to pay attention to yield signs and blind corners.
Learn more: www.travaasa.com/hana
Photos provided by Travaasa Hana, all rights reserved.
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