Fortunately, I was invited on a different kind of wellness weekend. A weekend full of rejuvenating workouts, no almond diet, and spa treatments that would make even the most pampered human jealous. The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua wellness itinerary was packed full of endurance classes, yoga sessions, snorkeling excursions, Hawaiian spa rituals and health discussions by registered dietitians such as ‘How to rid of sugar cravings.’ As you can imagine, that was a popular one.
Since I live out of an overweight suitcase full-time, I’ve been able to somewhat create a routine around exercise and eating healthy while on the road. That “routine” basically consists of doing something active every day while trying to keep the sugar and carbs I stuff in and around my mouth to a bare minimum. For the record, I did say “try…” This was the first time where I didn’t have to really think about it. A routine, that is. The schedule was already done for me, and I could participate in whatever I chose. A sunrise yoga class on the beach lawn? Twist my arm.
The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua is about a 45 minute drive from the airport, supposedly along a beautiful coastal drive. We were the unfortunate souls to land around 9pm, so no views for us until the next morning.
With a three-tired pool, beach access and Club Lounge refreshments, my five days in Maui were spent eating, sun worshiping, exercising or under the sea. It was a rough getaway but somebody’s gotta do it. If you’re looking for peace, quiet and privacy, then Kapalua is your spot. Spring breakers and bar hoppers, come back when you’re engaged/married/with children.
Highlights included the melt-in-your-mouth sushi at the on-property restaurant Kai Sushi and oceanside lunch at the Burger Shack. I had the pleasure of ordering the Bikini Burger (created by talented Chef April Matsumoto) while sitting down with local resident and Ritz-Carlton Kapalua extraordinaire, Clifford Na’eole. Clifford knows everything there is to know about Hawaii and this property, so it seemed fitting to sit down with him for some one-on-one tropical discussions.
After driving through Maui during my five days on the island, I noticed some hostility in signage, placards, conversation and yes – movies. Gotta love Hollywood, but I wanted an explanation from a local about Hawaii’s past, present and future. Insert Clifford Na’eole.
Way back when during the 1800s, Hawaii was doing just fine on its own. Cut to 1898 when Hawaii became a U.S. territory. Locals say that’s when their monarchy was overthrown, their language was banned, their land had been seized, and it was the end of their culture as they knew it. Since then, tourism has made it nearly impossible for average people to live in Hawaii. Tourism dollars spent on hotels, cuisine and activities push the cost of living so high that the people who actually live in Hawaii can’t afford to live in Hawaii. Many locals are being driven out of their homes to the mainland where it’s more affordable to live.
I asked Clifford how he felt about this. He said, “I’m optimistic, and I don’t get angry. I always tell people, you weren’t here in 1898. If you were, congrats! You look pretty good. Now that you see this and we’ve talked, I expect you to be responsible for what happens. Help us in terms of education or legislation reform.”
So, this is me trying to educate. I fully realize I’m aiding in those tourism dollars by visiting an island that is not my home, but this is why I travel. To meet new people, to experience different cultures, to gain a deeper understanding of the needs and wants of others and then do the most important part – to share it. Knowing these things on a higher level will ultimately make society stronger, better and at peace.
I don’t think I stand alone with this curiosity, and if you’d like to shed any more light on the situation, type away in the comment section below.
Many thanks to you, Clifford, for the explanation. I believe you possess very strong mana. Hawaii’s past and present state make a bit more sense to an outsider.
Air Maui: I love a good heli ride, and there’s no better place to get stunning aerial views than Hawaii where the waterfalls and jagged cliffs are more prevalent than the weddings and honeymoons happening on the ground. May I suggest the West Maui and Molokai ride? Great. You’re welcome. Afterwards, the super popular Mama’s Fish House is nearby alongside the cute town of Pai.
Lahaina: This quaint area of Maui offers nice beaches, clear waters, tempting boutiques and great restaurants. For breakfast/brunch/lunch, hit up Longhi’s and order the eggs Benedict or pancakes with coconut syrup.
Dinner at Merriman’s – Close to Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, this eatery is where you want to be at sunset.
Snorkeling – Kapalua Bay is a very short walk from the Ritz-Carlton property (resort offers free shuttle rides throughout the day) and you’ll see loads of turtles!
Hiking – Hike Maui has some great options with their East Maui Waterfalls and Rainforest Hike being their most popular. Some photos have accidentally surfaced below from our family Maui hike back in ’07. Talk about Christmas card gold…
Road to Hana – I did not partake in this drive. Yet. Hopefully on my subsequent adventure I can carve out a (very) long day for this activity. Everyone seems to have the same sentiment towards it: they are glad they did it, but they are also glad it’s over. It’s a long, winding road!
If none of that was hard-core enough for you, there’s always surfing and the Maui marathon, which was happening the weekend we were visiting. Please remember to eat more than 5 almonds if you partake.