During a conversation with Travel Agent, Jack E. Richards, president & CEO of Pleasant Holidays, commented, “The first question travel agents ask us about Hawaii is, ‘What’s new?’”


The Piiholo Ranch Zipline crosses nearly three miles.

The next time Richards hears this question, he can tell them about the Piiholo Ranch Zipline, now operating on the 800-acre historic Piiholo Ranch above Makawao, Maui. At nearly three miles, the ride is one of the longest and most ecologically sensitive ziplines in the U.S.

The zipline’s owner/operators are Jeff, Duke and Chris Baldwin, descendants of the seven-generation Baldwin ranching family on Maui. The boys’ father, Peter Baldwin, is a competitive team roper, polo champion and member of the Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) Hall of Fame.

The longest of the ziplines measures 2,800 feet, with heights from 42 to 600 feet, and reaches speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. The course includes a zipline of four lines side-by-side (the only one in Hawaii) and five ziplines of two lines side-by-side; a suspension bridge; and seven-station, 42-foot-tall climbing tower and ropes course (Tango Tower), which covers approximately 100 acres. Guests are outfitted with the latest ziplining equipment, including the top state-of-the-art zipline harness available, safety helmet and tethered trolley. Knowledgeable guides lead the zipline experience.


A Deluxe Oceanfront Room in the secluded Hale Moana building at the Sheraton Maui Resort.

Four Adventure Tours are available: Five-Line Adventure, $190 per person, plus tax (three hours); Four-Line Adventure, $140 per person, plus tax (two hours); Tango Tower, $95 per person, plus tax with a minimum of two people (1.5 hours); and Walk Along Adventure, $25 per person, plus tax (two to three hours). You can combine a zipline adventure with the Tango Tower and receive a $20 discount.


Hotel Developments

The Islands are blessed with a high repeat visitor rate, especially from the West Coast, and new attractions and hotel developments keep the interest level high. The Spa at Black Rock recently opened at Sheraton Maui Resort. Guests can expect an ocean theme to the spa’s signature treatments, which utilize ocean plants, minerals and water. The spa has 11 treatment rooms for massages, body treatments, facials, skin enhancements, manicures and pedicures. Because the spa is brand new, they’re advising clients to contact the spa directly to make appointments. Agents can reach out to Rose Hiro, the spa director ([email protected], 808-667-9577).

An ample 83 percent of Sheraton Maui Resort’s 508 rooms have ocean views. We like the Deluxe Ocean Front rooms for their private lanais, where you have views of Molokai and Lanai and a chance to glimpse ocean wildlife, including whales, turtles and dolphins. Deluxe Ocean Front rooms are in Building Six, or Hale Moana (House of the Ocean). The secluded Hale Moana is situated at the back of the resort’s 23 acres, giving it plenty of privacy.

If you’re looking to stretch out, the Deluxe Ocean Front Suites are a good choice. There are eight of these suites throughout the resort and they feature one bedroom, a living area, two flat-screen TVs and a wet bar. For an additional fee, you can book an adjoining bedroom.

The Ali’i Suite, or Presidential Suite, is the top pick at the resort. The 1,600-square-foot suite has a 180-degree, wrap-around lanai, as well as a full kitchen, dining room and a private lawn area—all perched on the top of Black Rock.

Direct your questions to Ryan Kirby, leisure sales manager and the travel agent contact for the resort ([email protected], 808-662-8027).

Maui recently saw the opening of the new all-suite Honua Kai Resort & Spa, whose first 318 units debuted last January on Kaanapali’s North Beach. Teak and travertine finishes create a cool, tropical ambiance throughout the resort.

Spring 2010 will see the completion of the Konea building and its 310 guest suites, beachfront restaurant and two pools. Guests will have to wait to enjoy the resort’s 7,000-square-foot spa, which is still in the design stage. Only a few hints have leaked out, but one thing is certain: Treatments will utilize fresh ingredients from Maui and incorporate Hawaii’s unique healing traditions.

Meanwhile, there’s much to enjoy at the new resort. A nice feature at Honua Kai Resort & Spa is its aqua network of pools, hot tubs, natural pond bridges, waterslide, waterfalls and fountains.

The accommodations are situated in two U-shaped buildings with ocean and mountain views. Room amenities are top-notch and include Blu-ray DVD players and Bosch kitchen appliances. All of the living areas have a NanaWall system of sliding glass walls that provide seamless access to the outdoors. The system makes it easy to arrange outdoor dining directly off of the living area, where six people can be accommodated at a dining table on the lanai.


A Suite at teh Hanua Kai Resort & Spa includes Bosch kitchen appliances.

If clients want accommodations close to the beach, opt for a Deluxe Ocean View Suite. The Penthouse, Alii and Kamehameha Suites provide the property’s finest panoramic views of Maui’s coastline and the islands of Molokai and Lanai.

The resort’s Café Aina Marketplace restaurant is the brainchild of Maui celebrity chef James McDonald of Pacific O and I’o in Lahaina. McDonald wins raves for his contemporary Pacific cuisine. We hear he’s especially adept with seafood and appetizers, such as fresh oysters in lobster butter with a touch of tarragon and garnishes of shrimp and kimchee.

Agents can feel free to reach out to General Manager Ed Sowers ([email protected], 808-662-2810) with questions. The travel agent contact is Brian DiMartino ([email protected], 808-875-6920) of the 21st Century Group, the company overseeing sales and marketing for the resort.  

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