Expect the ultimate respite at Travaasa, one of the Islands’ most remarkable resorts.
Travaasa Hana’s plantation-style ocean bungalows provide gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean.
Traveling to Maui’s eastern shore—one of the most isolated communities in the state—is an adventure in itself. Whether you choose to navigate the 50-plus miles of hairpin turns and one-lane bridges through the jungle via car or take another spectacularly scenic route via Mokulele Airlines, getting there is half the fun. This visit, I opted for the 20-minute flight. Hugging the coastline, the tiny nine-seat plane affords unparalleled views of the island’s North and East shores, regardless of where you sit. Lucky for me, it was whale season, and there was no shortage of activity visible from the sky.
Ample trade winds make for breezy accommodations.
Once we landed in Hana, I felt a peace of mind that I’ve only felt a handful of times. Cell service was spotty, which, since I was looking to check out completely, was a welcomed discovery. The dense greenery and fresh air delighted my senses. I pulled up to Travaasa Hana, the only resort option available this side of paradise, and was greeted with warm smiles and the true aloha spirit of the staff (many of whom have been working on-property for generations). After receiving a fresh juice and a cold towel, I’m whisked away through the tranquil grounds, by the wellness center and past the saline infinity pool to my ocean-front bungalow—my own personal sanctuary. An entire wall of panoramic sliding doors open up to my own private lanai and allow for ample views of the Pacific Ocean. There was a large winter swell, so the sound of waves crashing permeated the vast studiolike space and lulled me to sleep each night. No TV, radio or clock ensured I had ample opportunity for reflection, meditation and general me time. There’s also no air conditioning throughout the resort, but ceiling fans and gentle trade winds kept things comfortable.
Relax by one of two saline pools by day
My weekend of wellness of course included delicious and nutritious food. I was in luck because executive chef James Watts recently took the helm of The Preserve Kitchen + Bar. Inspired by seasonal and local ingredients, bold flavors, and contemporary techniques, Watts has created a modern menu that celebrates the island’s bounty. I even got to tour Hana Herbs & Flowers, where pohole (Maui fern shoots)—the star ingredient found in the pohole salad and the Thai coconut curry—are grown.
Enjoy a moonlit swim by night
The fish selections change daily, based on what’s fresh off the boats at Hana Bay. Ribeye and burgers feature beef from Maui Cattle Company. Everything I ate was as tantalizing as it was tasty. The property’s laid-back luxe open-air restaurant offers residents and guests nourishing meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Choose from a plethora of experiences to enjoy each day, such as lei-making.
The next day, after an invigorating yoga class and a guided meditation session, I was ready for brunch on the restaurant’s lanai. The Coconut Chia Lava Flow and Shaka-Shuka (eggs baked in a savory roasted tomato sauce with kale and feta) were my go-tos. Other top picks included Hana shrimp and grits; and the Hana Sunday, a half papaya filled with locally made Coconut Glen’s lilikoi ice cream, topped with granola and more fresh fruit. Fully fueled, I leisurely explored Hana Town Center and nearby attractions like Wai‘anapanapa State Park, strolling along the ancient King’s Trail and sunbathing on Maui’s only black-sand beach.
Ocean bungalows feature high wood-beamed ceilings and private lanais.
On my final day, it was time to experience the spa. I indulged in the rare and luxurious treatment, the Malie Calm Water Therapy, where I was submerged in a warm, private pool and reveled in my sense of weightlessness while gentle stretches and movements released any residual tension. The Maluhia Serenity’s traditional Hawaiian Lomilomi techniques paired with a soothing scalp massage then put me in an even deeper state of relaxation.
Overall, my escape to Hana was unlike any other island excursion I’ve ever been on. The authentic Hawaiian hospitality, the remoteness, the verdant landscape, the calm—I soaked it all in. Plus, with only 75 guest rooms spread over 66 tropical acres, I was truly able to fully connect with myself, and with nature. Rates from $475 per night, 5031 Hana Highway, 359.2401, travaasa.com
Photography by: TravaAsa Hana