Maliko Retreat

This short-term rental is long on history.

Maliko Retreat bathroom
Set on a ridge surrounded by jungle, the cottage offers both privacy and views from every angle — including the bathroom’s claw-footed tub. A local builder salvaged the lighting fixture over the tub from a hotel in Salt Lake City. “He hauled it around for years, and then gave it to me,” Sydney says.

The Smiths didn’t replace everything — the wavy glass in the kitchen windows is original, as is the claw-footed bathtub, now enclosed to protect bathers from the wind but still allowing a view of Haleakalā. The deck is original but needed railings and reinforcement to make it safe, and to keep rain from leaking into downstairs rooms. Now, glass railings allow guests staying at the Retreat to see the ocean without getting out of bed. Elsewhere, the railing is a decorative lattice Sydney made with posts from her own house; the ends had rotted, but she couldn’t stand to let the still-solid sections go to waste. The lattice has become a signature style she offers her interior-design clients.

New items in the décor include pineapple-shaped moldings made from napkin holders found in an ABC Store; and pineapple-shaped corbels, cut from scrap, topping posts on the dining room lānai. (The theme honors the pineapple fields that once surrounded the area.) The old redwood walls, once blackened by the smoke of candles and kerosene, now are light and bright. “I sanded every surface” before painting, Sydney says, even smoothing the rough-sawn wood on the ceilings. Here and there, she decorated a post by painting a delicate golden maile lei.

Sydney’s innovative eye and affinity for elbow grease have brought the past into the present at Maliko Retreat, through storied details and collectibles that highlight its graceful design. It’s a great place to relax, to watch for birds, and perhaps to hear the song of a hwamei whose ancestors found a home in this flourishing forest.


edward bailey painting
Missionary Edward Bailey’s painting of Maliko hangs in the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku.


Architects Maui
Thomas Cannon, principal architect
808-572-4644 |

Fonseca Roofing Inc.
(upper lānai waterproof-system installation)

Habitat for Humanity Restore
970 Lower Main St., Wailuku
808-986-8050 |

Maui Specialty Lighting
Mark Speilberg, lighting designer
808-444-0921 |

Steve Proffer (carpenter)




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