‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach
2490 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
When ‘Alohilani opened last winter in Waikiki, it filled a much-needed void in Oahu’s packed hotel scene—a modern, super sophisticated property that feels fresh, light, and without a hint of stuffiness or formality (in other words, a place you’ll feel comfortable wearing shorts and flip-flops everywhere). Its 839 guest rooms are outfitted in a clean, calming palette of white, beige, and natural wood, with zero clutter that might distract from the epic Hawaiian views outside (including, in many cases, the iconic slopes of Diamond Head and the endless Pacific Ocean that’s directly across the street). We love the location, too: It’s in the heart of Waikiki, within walking distance to some of the island’s best restaurants, shopping, and sites. But it also feels removed from it all, positioned at the neighborhood’s southern end, near a large city park, so the feeling is much quieter here than at hotels further up the shore. Even if you aren’t staying here, though, it’s worth a visit for a meal at Morimoto Asia Waikiki, helmed by “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto. Grab a seat on the open-air terrace overlooking Kalakaua Avenue (Waikiki’s main strip)…
The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua
1 Ritz Carlton Dr., Lahaina
Fresh off a resort-wide renovation, this North Shore Maui hotel benefits from its relatively out-of-the-way location. Unlike the string of hotels that cluster around beaches further south, The Ritz-Carlton stands alone on a bluff overlooking the Pacific and the tiny island of Molokai. All 466 guest rooms have been updated with a neutral, subdued color scheme and hints of what’s outside—green accent pillows that echo the color of the palm trees, coral-patterned textiles, conceptual images of surfboards as artwork. Of the five restaurants on-site, our favorite is Ulana—especially for breakfast. The macadamia and banana pancakes are worth the indulgence, though the healthy smoothies (like the Green Goddess, made with spinach, kale, avocado, kiwi, apple, chia seeds, and matcha powder) are a very close second.
Pink by Nature
3663 Baldwin Ave., Makawao
The tiny town of Makawao in central Maui has one main commercial street, Baldwin Avenue, with some charming cafés, restaurants, and stores. It’s here you’ll find the island’s best women’s clothing and accessories shop, Pink by Nature. Aside from swimwear, flowy shirts, and dresses by small, independent brands like Rails, Boys + Arrows, and Indah, owner Desiree Martinez stocks fun keepsakes, like rose quartz crystals. Next door, you’ll find its brother store, Homme by Nature, run by Martinez’s partner, Marco Daniele.
Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
1100 Waipoli Rd., Kula
Miles from the ocean and high in the hills of Maui’s pastoral Upcountry, this lavender farm is a very worthy day trip—even if it means tearing yourself away from the waves for a few hours. It’s an incredibly relaxing experience to stroll among the lavender fields. There are 55,000 lavender plants here, including forty-five different varieties of lavender (and in case you didn’t know that there even were forty-five types of lavender, well, you’re not alone), spread across thirteen well-tended acres. There are also chicken coops, a shop that sells farm-made bath products, and spectacular views everywhere you look.
360 Papa Pl., Kahului
Former Top Chef contestant and local Sheldon Simeon and his wife, Janice, opened Tin Roof in 2016 in Kahului, which is the closest thing you’ll find to a big city on the island (population: 26,000, give or take). It’s an unassuming noodle shack that serves delicious bowls of saimin (a popular island dish made of fresh noodles in broth, topped with green onion, soft-boiled egg, pork belly, and bean sprouts). It became such a hit that the Simeons plan to open a new spot nearby this year. The menu will pay homage to Sheldon’s Filipino heritage, while using only ingredients indigenous to Hawaii.
The Mill House
1670 Honoapiilani Hwy., Waikapu
A relative newcomer to Maui, the Mill House debuted two years ago in the rural Waikapu Valley. The restaurant sources most ingredients (avocados, carrots, fennel, papaya) from its own sixty-acre plantation or from nearby farms, so expect to be blown away by the vibrant flavors. For dinner, you can’t go wrong with the locally caught mahi-mahi or snapper.
Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop
820 Olowalu Village Rd., Lahaina
One of our first stops after landing on Maui is always Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop on the west coast. Everything is fresh and expertly prepared, and there’s a range of lunch options, whether healthy (mixed hydroponic greens with local herbs and tomatoes) or marginally gluttonous (a silky, rich coconut cream pie). The height of lunch hour can get crushingly busy, so come on the later or earlier side to avoid crowds. If you do have to wait in line (which sometimes stretches out the door), we promise that it’ll be well worth it.
Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt Kauai
1571 Poipu Rd., Koloa
It’s soothing just to lie still in one of the outdoor treatment-room cabanas, the smell of tropical blooms permeating the air. Once the treatments get going, they’re utter bliss: brightening peels, stimulating oxygen therapy, LED lights, and an especially pampering hot stone therapy designed to invigorate skin.
The Spa at Ko’a Kea Hotel and Resort at Poipu Beach
2251 Poipu Rd., Koloa
Locally grown coffee, Kauai clay, and essences from wild tropical flowers come together in the treatments at this spa that’s right on the beach. Few things are as relaxing as listening to the rhythm of the waves as you get a circulation-boosting face massage. If you’re sun-scorched, the Sun Comfort Facial feels effing fantastic with soothing layers of aloe, a noni superfruit mask, and a coconut scalp massage.
69-250 Waikoloa Beach Dr., Waikoloa
Chef Roy Yamaguchi is a Hawaiian legend, with a corresponding empire of restaurants scattered across all the islands (Eating House 1849 in Kauai, etc.). This outpost is one of his classics, and is ideal if you're all-in for a tasting menu or have something to celebrate. It's exactly what one would expect from a fancier version of island food: Macadamia nut encrusted fish, baby back ribs done with Szechuan-style sauce, and a famous chocolate soufflé. It can get loud and noisy, so not always the best choice if you want to have an intimate conversation.
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