Explore Maui the right way —
with a guide.
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Harvest Time on the Brome-Missisquoi Wine Tour Ripe grapes in sunny vineyards, sipping champagne under trellised vines, discovering cider that tastes like fine wine. It's all there on Quebec's Brome-Missisquoi Wine Tour. Read the article and learn more about the area's attractions on our new website at www.route-des-vins.ca
Winnipeg - Shall We Dance?
Surprise, surprise! Winnipeg, the capital of
Manitoba, turns out to be a mecca for social dancing!
in St. John’s.
Nothing gets you closer to the Irish culture in
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|Southern Charm is Alive and Well in the New South|
Doug & Morri
“Get down,” I hiss to Doug, who has scrambled up a grapefruit tree and loaded his arms with huge, pink fruit. We have just completed a two-hour guided tour of the award-winning grounds of the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa. The landscape manager has invited our group to pick fruit from the hotel’s orchard, where coffee and cacao flourish among citrus, carambola and other tropical fruits. I’m mortified that Doug has taken our guide so literally but the fruit is exquisite, as is everything in this veritable Garden of Eden.
Surprisingly, this tour is free. Just call the Concierge Desk to reserve a spot. Setting off Thursdays at 10 a.m., the tour is an excellent introduction to the lush flora on Maui. Dubbed the Valley Isle, Maui straddles the Tropic of Cancer and is the second largest Hawaiian island.
The Grand Wailea Landscape Tour is just one of the “freebies” offered by this world-class luxury resort. A free guided Art Tour, on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m., leads you through the resorts $30-million collection of paintings, sculptures, murals and artifacts. Picasso, Léger and Warhol rub shoulders with Hawaiian and Pacific-region artists like Satoru Abe and Shiga Yamada.
We like to enjoy the art over a drink in the Botero Gallery Bar, surrounded by the sensuous, oversize bronze figures by Fernando Botero, one of the world’s most popular contemporary sculptors. As we sip Lava Flows and Mai Tais, a parade of gowned and bedizened brides head to the Wailea Seaside Chapel, set amidst its own lagoon. This picture-perfect wedding spot is so popular that even we were married there!
The elegant, “Gold Coast” community of Wailea is our favorite corner of Maui. Voted "best island in the world" by Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice poll every year from 1994 to 2002, Maui boasts lots of "bests," many of them in Wailea — and many of them free or reasonably priced for visitors in the know.
Even if you don’t stay in one of Wailea’s pricey resorts — and we don’t — you can stroll through their lush tropical gardens, sip aperitifs in their bars, dine in their world-class restaurants and bask on their well-groomed beaches. Just stay off the lounge chairs put out for paying guests! All beaches on Maui are public and free. Most have good public access, with free parking, clean showers and washrooms.
Every morning, we walk the beachfront path, from the Kea Lani Hotel at Polo Beach to the Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort on Mokapu Beach. This four-km walking and jogging route is a favourite of residents and tourists. It offers spectacular vistas of the West Maui Mountains, the neighbouring islands of Lanai and Kahoolawe, and the almost submerged crater of Molokini. This offshore marine and bird sanctuary is billed as one of the top 10 dive spots in North America.
You can avoid the expense of an expedition to Molokini by exploring the many reefs that jut out from most of Wailea’s white sand beaches. At Ulua Beach, for example, you can see dozens of varieties of tropical fish only a few metres from shore. But beware: the fish are so tame that snorkelers get swarmed when they feed them. You may spot the stately humuhumunukunukuapua’a, or triggerfish, which adorns many a tourist t-shirt along with its challenging Hawaiian name. While underwater, listen for whales singing in the bay. Cetacean concerts are one of the best cheap thrills on Maui’s Gold Coast.
Other snorkeling “secrets”: look for sea turtles off the reef just south of the Maui Prince Hotel; dinner-plate-size, yellow-and-blue ulua fish hang out near shore behind the Wailea Four Seasons Hotel. Each winter, I dependably encounter a school of them as I swim the half-mile length of Wailea Beach.
A highlight of our morning walks is the Fairmount Kea Lani Hotel, a play of white curves, arches and domes, courtyards and fountains, set on 22 tranquil acres of tropical landscaping. Harrison Ford, Goldie Hawn, Jack Nicholson and the Dallas Cowboys’ star quarterback, Troy Aikman, are a few of the famous who have slept here. The marble bathrooms in its suits are so large and luxurious you could throw a party in them.
Fine dining is a Kea Lani obsession. Throughout the year, the resort runs “Grand Chefs on Tour,” a three-day culinary camp for guests, where the finest chefs from Hawaii and “the mainland” lead cooking classes and host wine tastings, luncheons and signature dinners. For a fresh seafood dinner, try Nick’s Fishmarket at the Kea Lani. For lighter, cheaper fare, we like gourmet pizza fresh from an outdoor brick oven on the shady terrace of Caffe Ciao, where orchid-like blossoms drift down from the trees.
While our favourite Maui restaurant is far from cheap, it’s always a thrill to dine at the Hali’Imaile General Store. A 20-minute scenic drive away through swaying sugar cane fields, this award-winning “up-country” restaurant offers an eclectic mix of Hawaiian, American and international cuisine. Celebrity chef Beverly Gannon is famous for her brie & grape quesadilla, rack of lamb Hunan style and chocolate macadamia nut fudge pie!
Maui, with five major golf destinations, is “golf heaven”. Wailea alone has three-award winning courses. A few miles south, the 36-hole Makena course has taken the Silver Award for best in America. If you’re willing to settle for slightly less than “award-winning,” you can golf for reasonable prices at public courses in nearby Kihei and Wailuku Heights.
From Wailea, you can take day trips to the historic whaling village of Lahaina, to “Heavenly Hana” and its seven waterfall pools, or up to the crater park on Mount Haleakala, a dormant volcano.
Maui boasts more activities than any other destination in the world. While that may be hyperbole, the list is impressive: whale watching, cycling down the steep twisting slopes of Haleakala, surfing, sail boarding, boogie boarding, paragliding, snuba (a snorkeling-scuba cross), sailing; tours by bus, boat, helicopter or submarine, and even “up-country” horseback riding. Even here, the thrills are cheaper if you use the discount coupons and special offers advertised in the free tourist magazines found in local shopping malls.
Getting to Maui
From Eastern Canada, the quickest, most convenient route is Air Canada to Calgary, then Air Canada non-stop to Maui, which gets you there by dinnertime. You can also fly non-stop on Air Canada from Vancouver. Wailea is a 20-minutes drive from Maui’s Kahului airport. Air Canada reservations: 1-888-247-2262 or www.aircanada.ca
Where to stay
Accommodation in Wailea ranges from reasonable condominium rentals to expensive five-star luxury hotels.
If you want to check out the possibilities before contacting your travel agent, the Maui Visitors Bureau at www.visitmaui.com is an excellent place to start.
The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui at www.fairmont.com or call (808)-875-4100.
The Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa at www.grandwailea.com or call toll-free 1-800-888-6100.
Wailea Point Reality at www.waileapoint.com or call toll-free 1-800-853-3518.
When you fly Air Canada Business Class, pampering begins at the airport. Arrive early to relax in the Maple Leaf Lounge and enjoy such amenities as snacks, an open bar, and office cubicles with phones and Internet connections. Once on board, you can stretch out in your roomy seat (an impossibility in economy class!) and sleep, when you’re not sipping complimentary champagne or dining in style. Priority luggage tags ensure that your gear arrives fast, usually on a separate carrousel, so you can be first out of the airport and onto the beach.
© 2003 Doug & Morri Productions.
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Last updated 14-Mar-2015 © 2015 Doug&Morri Productions