He motions to the golf cart driver parked outside the reception area, who conveys us to our accommodations: a windswept clapboard cottage perched on a grassy slope that tumbles toward Kaihalulu Bay. Devoid of what’s typically defined as glitz and glamour, the accommodations afford an alternate view of luxury. More “haute hippy” than “Hollywood,” a recent renovation has transformed the former Hotel Hāna-Maui Sea Ranch cottages into quarters fashionably decked out in warm wood, bright colors, platform beds and kitchenettes that are stocked with bottled waters, tropical fruits and Hāna’s ubiquitous banana bread. There are still no radios, air conditioning or TV allowed at the resort, a long-held tradition that encourages guests to get back to what’s important—taking the time for soul-searching sans digital-age distractions.
We settle into our cottage, nibble on tropical fruits, including a few we’ve never tried before, then stroll the grounds back to the lobby, where dinner awaits at the Kaʻuiki Dining Room.
Travaasa management has enlisted second-generation Maui restaurateur Peter Longhi to oversee the dining operations at the hotel and the results are admirable. Executive Chef Barry Villiarimo serves what he calls “Hāna fusion,” which makes best use of the most plentiful local produce and ingredients, including pohole ferns, lilikoʻi (passion fruit) and locally sourced beef and fish. (I would not hesitate to book one of the three-day, all-inclusive meal packages offered at the resort.)
Back at the cottage, the hot tub on the lānai turns into the perfect spot for gazing up at the darkened sky, where a million stars twinkle overhead, and for being lulled into a dreamy state by the sound of the waves lapping the nearby beach.
In fact, we’re so relaxed that we sleep past breakfast. (It’s served in the dining room from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.) Had we arranged it the night before, breakfast would have been waiting at our doorstep, delivered by courteously quiet team members, nearly of them longtime Hāna residents. But with fresh banana bread and fruit, and the cottage’s personal-sized espresso maker, we lack for nothing.