I recently took a much needed holiday to Hawaii, where I relaxed by the beach and pool, ate ridiculously well, and just plain enjoyed myself. I thought I'd share the two places I stayed at and a few other tips for anyone looking to head over to the small American islands of Hawaii.
I felt an inviting sense of relaxation coupled with excitement as I felt the wheels of the plane hit the tarmac at the Kahului Airport in Maui. For this traveler, that feeling was intensified upon arrival at the Four Seasons Maui. A handmade bead Lei, cool refreshing ginger lemonade and fresh pineapple was joined by a greeting I instantly knew spoke attention to detail.
The kind of attention to detail that resulted in a bottle of Taittinger on ice and a handwritten card waiting in our room following a casual conversation during the arrival tour of the premises which revealed myself and my partner had just recently become engaged.
I think we can all agree Four Seasons means luxury, and in Maui this was no exception; they go out of their way to make your stay one that means you simply don't want to leave. The views were amazing, the facilities impeccable, while the service was effortlessly friendly and genuine. Proudly boasting the biggest collection of post-statehood art, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant along with two more top quality eateries, a selection of high end shops and a spa catering to a myriad of wants and needs, one would feel like there was no need to be anywhere else.
During our stay we were fortunate to experience dinner at DUO Steak and Seafood. While I could speak for hours on the food (a favourite past time of mine), I can quite easily sum it up; covering so many bases while nailing everything that came across our table, this was a must-do dining experience. The Lobster special had a lifelong New Zealand crayfish eater mmm-ing and ahhh-ing relentlessly, while the (monster) Butcher's Cut bone in rib-eye made this steak snob melt in my seat. Divine.
Whilst there are many options when it comes to hotels/resorts in this part of the island - Wailea - (having spent time at a nearby resort after our stay and a little research into the other options) if you're going to spend the cash for a holiday to remember, I can safely recommend the Four Seasons above all others. In fact, our single night simply wasn't long enough. Now all I need to work out is how to get back there...
* Special note here to the Spa at Montage Kapalua Bay - unfortunately travel events beyond my control meant I sadly couldn't make their offer of a male-centric treatment, of which there are many on the menu including the aptly named 'Barber & Bourbon' that this author was eager to experience. Next time perhaps...
Facing the prospect of hitting the more commercial and overtly "American" metropolis of Honolulu, we were enthusiastically encouraged to land ourselves at The Modern Honolulu - a "cosmopolitan lifestyle hotel".
We followed this advice and were instantly rewarded for the decision. This was truly a case of 'the clue is in the title' with the term 'modern' intuitively making sense in this picturesque and comfortable setting. From the rooms to the lounge bar and pool side settings, this hotel had the feel of luxury and exclusivity without unreachable pricing.
Housing top Japanese chef Morimoto in his namesake restaurant as well as the poolside eatery Passageway + The Grove, the dining here has your bases well and truly covered. Having navigated American food for close to a week at this point, the breakfast offering from the Passageway was a welcoming gift from the Hawaiian gods.
For those wanting to enjoy drinks, cocktails by the pool here were hard to go past. However, funky lounge bar Study with a rotating wall door that doubles as a bookshelf while being an actual piece of art in itself, was a unique and delightful experience. However, the pièce de résistance is Honolulu's most exclusive and popular nightclub Addiction, housed the legendary Rev Run of Run-DMC unfortunately the night after our stay.
As with the Four Seasons in Maui, one night here just wasn't long enough. Having the kind of rooms that felt a little like home (essentially a living room + bedroom), The Modern felt like a place where a week still wouldn't be long enough. If you're sticking with the international flight landing destination of Honolulu, then I would recommends a stay at this boutique hotel. You'll be forever grateful that you did.