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.
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.
286 Kapuohi St., Lahaina
Chef Seldon Simeon won a season of Top Chef, and (in addition to being an excellent chef) is a bit of a local celebrity, which helps to explain why there are such long lines at his restaurant. That said, if you can make a reservation in advance, Seldon's take on Hawaiian Asian fusion, which includes well-executed ramen, udon, Singapore noodles, pad thai, and more, is widely considered to be one of the best meals on the island. There's also a healthy selection of share plates, like tempura shrimp, Vietnamese crepes, and yakitori, plus a full-service sake bar.
345 Keawe St., Lahaina
Ok, so Foodland is really just a plain old regular grocery store, but locals told us that this is actually where you can get the best poke on the island—we recommend picking up an order of the fresh ahi for a quick pit-stop on your way to the beach. Bonus: There are locations all over the island, and many of them have space devoted to Beard Papas, which specializes in made-to-order cream puffs.
Montage Kapalua Bay
1 Bay Dr., Lahaina
Seeing as this is a Montage and all, this lavish, 24-acre beach-front resort is splashy in the best possible way: there's a huge golf course, camps for both kids and teens, tennis, plenty of pools, hiking, snorkeling, and really good on-site restaurants. It's all suites, with many multi-bedroom options for families, meaning it's the sort of place where you can easily spend an entire holiday vacation—the fully decked-out spa (with plenty of daily fitness classes) certainly helps.
Maui Brewing Co. Brewpub
4405 Honoapiilani Hwy., Lahaina
Indulging in a cold one after hitting the waves is a pretty significant part of Hawaii’s surf culture. Maui Brewing Co.’s pub offshoot has a dozen or so locally brewed varieties on draft (some from its own brewery in Kihei, where you can also get your hands on Maui Cookie Lady cookies) supplemented by international brews, and a gastropub-style menu of shareable dishes like flatbreads, salads, sliders, and truffle oil-spiked "adult" mac and cheese. Keep in mind that you’re going for the booze, not the ambiance, which here skews a little sports-bar with multiple flat screens and lots of noise.
1 Bay Club Pl., Lahaina
Peter Merriman was one of the pioneers of the local food scene in Hawaii—he was at the forefront of efforts to grow vegetables in the local volcanic soils, so they could be eaten fresh (rather than after a lengthy journey on a boat). Today, he partners with local farmers to serve his three restaurants, and there’s one each on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. The dining room and menu are dressed up without being overly stuffy, so it’s ideal for a nicer family or group outing. Try the upcountry salad (made with kale and butter lettuce from local farms), the fresh-caught mahi mahi, and vegetarian taro cake.
Ka’anapali Beach Hotel
2525 Kaanapali Pkwy., Lahaina
If you are looking for the kitschy, camp Hawaiian vibe—leis draped around your neck, hula dancing, a whale-shaped pool, tiki bars, umbrellas in your drinks, snorkeling—this is the place. It’s really well-priced, especially for being on the beach in Maui, with rooms at just $169 a night. There are often more "Swimmies" in the pool than people, so this is definitely more a family place than a romantic getaway.
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