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January 10, 2017updated Dec 20, 2023

A Guide to Exploring Maui and Kauai in Hawaii

By Lauren Jade Hill

By Kristen Shirley

This story originally appeared in the January/February 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.

Fly, or take a ferry, to Maui, Lanai’s closest neighbor, then make your way to the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. It’s a tough choice between the two three-bedroom presidential suites, but the 6,800 sq ft Lokelani suite has two living rooms and an incredible 5,000 sq ft garden with fire pits and fitness equipment.

For a dinner you’ll never forget, book the Serenity Pool. You’ll meet the chef to design a menu, and the pool is yours for the night. Midnight dips, massages, champagne under the stars, they can organize anything – and are known to throw in surprise elements; think fire dancers and more.

Hawaii Guide

Maui is a large island with many single-lane roads, which can make getting around time consuming. Helicopters are a great way to see the island, but don’t miss out on the local flavor you get when driving.

Hearing the words “Road to Hāna.”, a windy 65-mile coastal highway, either elicits groans or raves. If you are up for the drive (about a six-hour round trip), rent a 1957 Porsche Speedster from Maui Roadsters and go early. Stop off at the botanical gardens at Garden of Eden, Twin Falls, Waikani Falls, and black sand Pa’iloa Beach.

Before checking out the town, stop by Hāna Ranch for lunch and a tour. After surviving the Road to Hāna, end your journey at Mama’s Fish House in Paia, a local landmark for over 40 years, where you’ll find fish caught daily prepared with a Polynesian twist.

Next up is Kauai, the garden isle of Hawaii. On the North Shore, book
the Royal Suite at the St. Regis Princeville, a 2,400 sq ft one-bedroom suite with living room, dining room, kitchen and media room. While there, visit Hanalei Town, filled with small shops and art galleries or stop by Limahuli Garden and Preserve and book a tour with the director.

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In the winter, have the concierge charter a catamaran and sail to the Nāpali coast. It’s much quicker to get around Kauai than Maui, even if 80 percent of the island is inaccessible by car. To maximize your time, check out of the St. Regis and head to the South Shore.

Hawaii Guide

On your way, stop at Island Helicopters to see the parts of the island only visible by air, as well as landing at Manawaiopuna Falls, aka the Jurassic Park Falls,made famous in the movie. Then head to Kukui’ula
and stay in Club Villa 7, which was one of Elite Traveler’s Top Villas, a 3,200 sq ft four-bedroom home with BBQ, fire pit and plunge pool.

The on-site Island Pursuits team has knowledgeable guides to show you around. Be sure to see the striking red 14-mile long Waimea Canyon, plus the many lookout points and hidden waterfalls. Then end your Hawaiian adventure at Kuku’ila’s spa.

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