By Stuart J. Faber
After Maui emerged from the sea, it took more than two million years before Mr. Hemmeter came along with the vision to develop the Hyatt Regency on Maui. Two million years prior to his arrival, a volcano rose from the depths of the ocean and spread its lava above the level of the waves. For centuries, the surface of the new island was perhaps too hot, for it wasn’t until about 450 AD when the first Polynesian explorers from the Marquesas Islands walked across Hawaiian soil. Colonists from Tahiti followed. A secession of Maui kings ruled during the 14th and 15th centuries–none of whom came up with the idea of a mega-resort. In the late 18th century, Captain James Cook of England cruised around the Hawaiian Islands but never ventured onto Maui. A few years later, Captain Jean-Francois de Galaup, Compte de La Perouse is said to be the first European to step ashore on Maui. His name would have been too lengthy to sign in on a hotel register–or obtain financing for a resort.
Down the road to the south is Wailea Beach. In ancient times, Hawaiians lived on the slopes, fished, and grew sweet potatoes. During WWII, the shores served as a training area for the Marines.
In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state. In the early 1970s, the visionary developer, Christopher Hemmeter, took a look at Kaanapali and decided that resorts could generate more revenue than sweet potatoes. He developed a number of hotels, including the venerable Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa.
The primary international airport is Kahului Airport (OGG). It’s located about a 40- minute drive from Lahaina. The tower frequency is 118.7. Fifty-five feet above sea level, the airport has two runways. Runway 2/20 is 6,995 feet long. Runway 5/23 is 4,990 feet long. The airport has ILS, VOR, NDB, RNAV, and GPS approaches. Air Service Hawaii, billed as “Hawaii’s Friendliest FBO since 1948,” 808/871-5572, has the best fuel prices.
At an elevation of 77 feet, Hana Airport (PHNM), on the northeast side of Maui, has one runway, 8/26. This asphalt strip is 3,036 feet long. There is an RNAV (GPS) approach to R-26.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa
200 Nohea Kai Drive, Lahaina, Hawaii, USA, 96761-1985, 808/661-1234.
Situated on 40 spectacular oceanfront acres along the famed Ka’anapali Beach, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa offers unlimited activities and amenities in a setting of tropical luxury. The resort is just three miles north of historic Lahaina town and a short walk from Whaler’s Village–a shopping, dining, art, and nightlife hotspot. With unparalleled panoramic views of the magnificent Pacific Ocean, the resort embraces the waterfront close enough to hear the waves from your guestroom.
The tastefully furnished guestrooms and suites deliver the perfect blend of elegance and relaxed comfort. Each room features sleek, contemporary furniture, a large flat- screen TV, and plush beds with luxury bedding–plus gorgeous views of the beach from your private lanai. You can also pamper yourself in a Regency Club Room or a Deluxe Ocean Suite.
lanai seating with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, the Oriental Gardens, and the Swan Lagoon. The Regency Club Lounge, with abundant natural light, is appointed with comfortable handcrafted furnishings.
Guests staying on the Regency Club level enjoy complimentary continental breakfast, daily local and national newspapers and light refreshments throughout the day. In the evenings, light hors d’oeuvres, and Hawaiian-inspired desserts are served.
I didn’t hang out in the room. I wandered around the atrium lobby. I passed by a shopping area filled with a mini-Macy’s, coffee bars, sunglass outlets, and Hawaiian shops, but I didn’t shop. I headed for the outdoors.
The weather was mild with intermittent misty rain. Folks find it odd, but I prefer frequent variations in weather. I love it when Mother Nature changes her moods and envelops us in seasonal progressions of brisk weather, heat, cold, snow and rain. My communications and bonds with Mother Nature are enhanced by her seasonal mood swings. Plus, I regard weather changes as an opportunity for new thrills and challenges. For example, it’s much more fun to fly in actual IFR weather than it is to wear a hood. Furthermore, a consistent spell of weather with no mood swings is as boring as a quiet, passive person. I crave personality, energy, and unpredictability in both friends and weather.
I devoted my time to the absorption of nature’s treasures. With sprinkles of rain and the wind at my back, I ran along the beach from the hotel for about a mile to Whaler’s Village––another shopping center where I did not shop–then, with a headwind, a slower run back to the hotel. I made frequent visits to the fitness center and swam in the ocean. Thereafter, to replenish the lost calories, I sampled the resort’s excellent cuisine. With one exception, I never left the compound during my entire visit.
Executive Chef Greg Grohowskiis not only a talented culinary artisan; his versatility extends from hearty steaks to delicate sushi. For example, Son’z Steakhouse, with open views of the ocean, serves up a 22-ounce rib eye that is second to none. We started off with a blackened yellowfin tuna with sake-mustard beurre blanc, mango papaya, and avocado relish. Next, a seafood cake made with spiny lobster, blue crab, tiger shrimp, romesco sauce, and fennel-apple slaw–sensational. I devoured the 22-ounce rib eye steak but was able to sweet-talk a generous person next to me into a hunk of New Zealand herb seasoned rack of lamb. Moments later, scraping her plate, she eventually regretted her kind gesture. Another signature entree is spaghetti and Snake River Ranch Kobe meatballs with pomodoro sauce and pecorino-romano cheese.
Japengo is renowned for serving the best sushi in Maui. But it doesn’t stop there. Try the duck sliders, the steamed Manila clams, or the Korean seafood pancake or, my favorite, the duck meatballs. California rolls, blackened ahi rolls or California crab-avocado rolls are extraordinary. For entrees, don’t miss the Vietnamese style pork, sweet potato hash, day boat scallops and crab in oyster sauce, or the wok-fired chicken breast.
Other food choices include Umalu for poolside drinks and contemporary drinks. And be sure to try the magnificent breakfast buffet in the Swan Court.
Of course, since you are visiting Hawaii, you must spend at least one evening at a Lu’au. Beating of the drums, spectacular dances, and an elaborate buffet make Drums of the Pacific Lu’au the best on the island.
There is so much to do at this resort that you can explore the beachfront and grounds without leaving the property during your entire visit. You have a choice of six pools, some with waterfalls, caves, and adjacent bars. There are water slides, whirlpools, and an interactive kids pool. Hang out at the expansive beach, or try a stand-up paddleboard, boogie board, or kayak. You can also rent snorkel or scuba gear.
Cultural activities include hula lessons or lei making. For the more ambitious, there are two adjacent 18-hole golf courses with free shuttle service. Three tennis courts, a basketball court, or a state-of-the-art fitness center are at your disposal.
Take a wildlife tour within the property for a look at the penguins, cranes, swans, and flamingos. On clear nights, scurry up to the roof of the hotel for a Tour of the Stars rooftop astronomy program of planet watching and star gazing
The Marilyn Monroe Spa offers rejuvenating treatments in a lush setting near the waterfront. Try an indulgent lomi lomi massage, a fabulous facial, or a relaxing body treatment. You can also treat yourself to a hairstyle, manicure, or pedicure.
Extraordinary New Meeting Space
New floor-to-ceiling windows feature low-emissivity-coated glass, which helps minimize ultraviolet and infrared light, and indoor air quality was also improved with modern automation controls.
Occupancy lighting sensors and LED lighting have reduced wattage and electricity usage by approximately 65 percent.
The full-service biz center provides secretarial services, word processing, fax, photocopying, 24-hour Internet, printing, and shipping service.
Honu Seafood & Pizza
295 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761, 808/667-9390
After hearing about the incredible seafood and pizza that mainland transplants, Mark and Judy Ellman, were dishing up at Honu, one afternoon, I ventured from the Hyatt compound. The dining room ambiance is attractive and quirky. With a 180-degree view of the ocean, we feasted on dishes of crab Louie salad, shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell, whole roasted fish with Hawaiian salt, lemon, and olive oil, grilled octopus, clam chowder, fried uhu (parrot fish), and Naples-style pizza from their 900 degree brick oven. The Margherita pizza was as close to the original Neapolitan version as one could find in the U.S. The clam chowder was robust and remarkable.
After lunch, why not return for dinner and try the great entrees? For macaroni and cheese like no other, try Mark’s dungeness crab mac with black truffles, garlic, and artisan cheeses. The seafood pasta is chocked full of fresh shellfish in a bolognese sauce. The osso bucco is prepared with pork shanks, slowly braised with demi-glace, fresh veggies, and heirloom grits.
Whether you are participating in a powerhouse corporate meeting or retreat, getting together with a bunch of old pilots, having a wedding or bar mitzvah, bringing the kids for an adventure, or sneaking a getaway without the kids, the ideal place on Maui is the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa.