The first thing I notice when I am driving "into" Kapalua is the color green. The hot summer air of Lahaina/Kaanapali softens with the tropical breezes that bless Kapalua. Driving down the pine tree lined road to the entrance of the resort, gives the impression that you "have arrived". The backdrop, as you are driving down, is a wilder version of our tropical seas being tussled about by wind and currents - dancing whitecaps playing ceaselessly. Part of the beauty of Kapalua is it's tame wildness. Out of the hustle and bustle, a hundred shades of green soothe your soul and prepare you for being pampered, as that is how the staff at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua intends to and does treat you.
The Ritz Kapalua presents to you a gentle sophistication and understated elegance. I love the change they made to the lobby. Out with the old and in with the new, which was a divergence from Ritz Carlton's standard overstated elegance. The lobby is a fun place to hang out to relax, socialize, listen to live music, have a libation. Set aside some resort time to enjoy this part of the hotel. We did!
We had a residence suite during this visit. These are AWESOME rooms! They are the newest room/suite upgrade that was completed a few years ago. The hotel closed down for several months and converted a whole wing into these gorgeous esthetically pleasing and highly functional suites. Our one bedroom had a large flat screen TV in the bedroom and living room. The "kitchen" has almost everything you need. Sink, dish washer, refrigerator, microwave, all kitchenware. Absent are a stove or oven. I'm not sure what I was thinking but I bought eggs to make for breakfast!??!! I KNOW there is no stove top as I have stayed in these suites several times. Chock it up to "maturity" :) Have you ever made scrambled eggs in the microwave? Not very good! Don't buy frozen pizza either! Yup, I did that too! Not very good cooked in the microwave. (At this point you may have an idea of my lack of talent for cooking!)
Upon arriving in my room, the first thing I always do is open the big sliding glass doors to allow the fresh air to waft through the room and to take a look outside at the stunning beauty. Kapalua does get a bit more rain then, let's say, Ka'anapali. Hence the green AND rainbows! I prefer to have my room look "out" then look "in" towards the pool/other wing. This suite had no ocean view which was just fine to me. It offered a view of a "sea of green" with a tapestry of color rolling to and fro up the mountainside.
The Ritz Carlton Kapalua has one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in. I am not a world traveler but I have slept in more than my fair share of 5 - 6 star beds. The Kapalua Ritz has been delivering this luxuriating experience longer than most resorts in Hawaii. Going to bed at night and waking up in the morning are both opportunities to let out that sigh of "OMG this bed is sooooooooooooo comfortable"!
My favorite culinary experience at the resort is the Banyan Tree with mouthwatering eclectic offerings. The sushi bar off the lobby is a fun tasty social experience.
I enjoyed a aromatherapy lomi lomi massage in the Spa on this trip. The Spa is extremely well designed with 2 relaxation rooms.
Although I live on Maui, I enjoy a good Mai Tai as much as the next visitor when I am enjoying one of our fabulous island resorts. Let me qualify....... Mai Tais at the pool! One of the reasons I like to go to resorts is to work on my suntan. Slather on Bain de Soilel #4 Red Gel and get semi horizontal with a good Mai Tai and I am in my element. The Ritz has GREAT Mai Tais. There are no bells and whistles at the Kapalua Ritz pool. It IS nicely designed with views of the ocean and great pool side service. If you feel like splurging you might want to rent a cabana. They are huge and extremely well appointed!
The Ritz Carlton Kapalua is an "oceanfront" not a beachfront property. You need to get a little exercise and saunter down to JT Fleming Beach. Early morning and sunset are awesome for walking. The waves/ocean can be a little precarious so get in the water with care. The hotel offers loungers on the grassy area near the beach. And, there is a bar and restaurant with the stunning ocean view for you to enjoy. This area is mostly shaded by swaying palms so be ready to be lulled into a gentle slumber as the fluttering breeze in the palm fronds whispers to you.
We really loved driving the "backside" of the west maui mountains over to Iao Valley. It's a stunning drive although a little "hairy" with some one way/one car wide areas. I highly recommend this drive. Give yourself lots of time to stop and take pictures and enjoy the views. If you plan on also visiting Iao Valley, you should plan this trip in the earlier AM before the clouds engulf the upper part of the Valley and Iao Needle. Although Iao is gorgeous under any circumstance, if you have the opportunity to walk along the stream to the back part of the forested area. If you venture off the beaten path you might also discover ancient hawaiian terrace walls on the right side of the trail.