New Maui Festivals, Restaurants and Hotels

Maui came to New York this week when several representatives of businesses on the island (and its neighbor islands) visited Travel Agent's Manhattan offices. Julie-Ann Bicoy from the Molokai Visitors Association, Sumithra Balraj from the two Westin properties on Maui (the Westin Maui Resort & Spa and the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas) and Candi Aluli of several properties throughout the islands came in to give us an update.

Hotels in the island are offering some nice perks: A new culinary festival is in the works (details were strictly hush-hush), and the Grand Wailea will be hosting its own wine and food festival in December. The hotel is also offering a unique spa attraction for couples: a 20-hand massage. Five people stand around each guest in a couple's room and soothe tired muscles in tandem. (The therapists for this treatment had to be chosen not just for skill, but to complement each other in style and strength.) It's a great perk for honeymooners, though it will set them back about $2,000. The Hyatt Regency Maui is offering a special stargazing package that includes champagne, chocolate and strawberries. (Again, great for honeymooners.)

Coming up, the island will get an Andaz hotel next year (on the site of the former Wailea Renaissance), and a rare new-build for the upcoming Courtyard by Marriott.

The island also has two new and notable restaurants: Alan Wong’s Amasia at the Grand Wailea, and Roy Yamaguchi's Roy's Kahana Bar and Grill. Because of the distance from mainland farms and shipping routes, Aluli pointed out, Hawaii has a long tradition of using locally sourced produce, and was well ahead of the current trend of farm-to-table cuisine. Balraj noted that the Westin properties use local distillers and serve Maui pineapple rum from Haleakala Distillers, and are also promoting Maui wines. (We are determined to try both as soon as possible!)

Because of the ferries between Maui and its neighboring islands of Molokai and Lanai, more and more visitors are using Maui as a home base and organizing day trips to the smaller islands. And people looking to get around Molokai with ease can book flights on Makani Air to Kalaupapa for half price.

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