Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am


What is it? Situated away from the hustle and bustle of Hawaii's popular tourist areas, such as Wailea and Lahaina, the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua is a 463-room luxury resort covering 22 hectares of a former pineapple plantation. Located on the western tip of the island of Maui, on a clifftop overlooking the Pacific Ocean and neighbouring Molokai Island, this picture-perfect destination is a paradise for honeymooners - and golfers. The hotel likes to note that it is the 'annual home of the PGA tour season-opening championship'.

In keeping with its surroundings, rooms feature dark-wood flooring, locally inspired artwork and private lanais (balconies).

Does it have a private beach? No, all beaches in Hawaii are public. However, the Ritz-Carlton has the next best thing; it's less than 100 metres from quiet DT Fleming beach, the TripAdvisor reviews of which must be seen to be believed.

What's on the menu? The hotel's award-winning Banyan Tree restaurant serves Pacific cuisine featuring local ingredients - and offers 50 per cent off all bottles on its wine list on Wednesdays - while Kai Sushi uses fresh local seafood in its Japanese cuisine.

Is there a spa? Indeed there is. Following a US$180 million renovation in 2008, the hotel opened the 17,500 sq ft Waihua spa and boutique, with 15 treatment rooms featuring outdoor garden showers. There is also a relaxation lounge, volcanic stone grottos, steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools. The treatments are inspired by ancient Hawaiian traditions - predictably enough - and feature indigenous ingredients such as pineapple and coconut oil.

Is the hotel eco-sensitive? The hotel runs the Jacques Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment eco-adventure programme, which offers guests activities such as humpback-whale watching, hikes in the rainforest and tours of local ecosystems with trained naturalists. It also boasts a full-time 'cultural adviser', Clifford Naeole, who educates the staff and guests about Hawaiian history and culture while organising activities such as weekly art exhibitions.

Did you say something about golf? The hotel is framed by two 18-hole championship courses - the Bay and the Plantation, which, according to Golf Digest, is the 17th best public course in the United States. It is on this course that the PGA tour's season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions takes place every January.

What if you can't stand golf? How about basketball? Tennis? Bocce (think bowls)? If any of those sports float your boat, you're in luck. If, on the other hand, you want to just chill, the hotel has a 10,000 sq ft, tri-level swimming pool (and children's pool) that features luxury cabanas equipped with flat-screen televisions and iceboxes. There is also a complimentary shuttle for transportation within the Kapalua area.

What's the bottom line? Rates start at US$350 per night. An additional US$20 resort fee covers use of the fitness centre, selected classes and Wi-fi.

The Ritz-Carlton is at 1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, the United States; tel: 1 808 669 6200; www.ritzcarlton.com.