To look at the Ritz-Carlton resort in Kapalua, you’d never guess the picture-perfect property has graced the less-traveled north shore of Maui for a quarter of a century. The hotel recently pulled the wraps off a comprehensive $30 million makeover, one that brings an elegant new look from Honolulu-based interior stylists Philpotts, the design firm behind the Four Seasons Oahu, which opened in 2016. The Kapalua’s 463 richly revised guest rooms, suites, and one- and two-bedroom residences feature dark wood floors and sand-color decor with sea-tone accents, brightened by floor-to-ceiling windows and locally sourced artwork.
Naturally, there’s no shortage of dining options, including the sunny, breakfast-only Terrace and the island-kitsch Burger Shack, set in the shade of 40 giant coconut palms. The main restaurant, The Banyan Tree, offers a farm-to-table experience—Hawaiian style—with organic, sustainable ingredients from local suppliers.
The three-level swimming pool and giant sun deck get handsome Cabana Suites, complete with private fridges, big-screen TVs, and butler service. And the whole property has been properly prettified with loads of flowering puakenikeni and leafy hala trees.
The hotel is located just north of the island’s heavenly Ka’anapali Beach, but be sure to explore the grounds long enough to discover the nearby 1.76-mile Kapalua Coastal Trail, which runs from Kapalua Bay Beach to D.T. Fleming Beach in Honokahua Bay. Head out onto Makaluapuna Point (it’s close; you can carry your mai tai) and look for the “Dragon’s Teeth”: jagged sprouts of volcanic rock—some as tall as five feet—formed eons ago by ocean wind sweeping over molten lava. Keep going to find the prayer labyrinth and, of course, keep an eye out for whales passing through the channel between Maui and Molokai.
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