Westin Maui’s Heavenly Spa features treatments using island ingredients.// © 2012 Westin Maui Resort and Spa
“Maui no ka oi” is a phrase meaning “Maui is the best,” and when it comes to girlfriend getaways, it certainly seems to ring true. With its great balance of culture and nature, highly swimmable beaches and easily accessible sister islands, Maui offers girlfriends plenty of ways to relax, adventure and explore.
“Maui has many things that girlfriends love to do, such as going to spas, golfing and shopping, from local style to upscale boutiques,” said Terryl Vencl, executive director of the Maui Visitors Bureau. “There are also many choices for outdoor activities, so, no matter what the interest, Maui can probably fit the bill.”
Shopping options range from quaint retail hubs, such as the town of Paia, to more upscale draws including the Shops at Wailea. Garden lovers can visit Alii Kula Lavender Farm in the upcountry region for garden tours and tea. And, for spa seekers, Vencl recommends a day filled with unique treatments that emphasize a sense of place.
“Many types of treatments are unique to Maui because they call on island products,” said Vencl. “They are enriching because of their cultural connection, and many of the products are locally grown.”
Locally minded spa services include salt rubs and other beauty treatments that use island oils, herbs and botanical ingredients and techniques such as the popular Hawaiian lomi lomi massage. Two of the most renowned places to take advantage of these offerings are Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea in southwest Maui and the Heavenly Spa at the Westin Maui Resort and Spa to the north, both of which offer specialized treatments infused with island ingredients. For particularly active spa-goers, Heavenly Spa even has the Rip It and Relax It package, which includes a surfing lesson and a 50-minute massage.
For women interested in experiencing Spa Grande and more, Grand Wailea offers a special Girlfriend Getaway package. According to Christina Yumul, public relations director at Grand Wailea, the resort put together the package — which includes spa pampering and shopping discounts — to make it easier for busy women to find ways to spend time together.
Yumul has been going on trips with her girlfriends for the past 10 years and stressed how important it has become to her to maintain those relationships.
“We’ve all moved to other areas of the world, and it’s the one time we try and get together,” she said.
Yumul recommends that girlfriends should also explore the natural wonders of Maui, particularly Haleakala volcano at sunrise or sunset.
“Being up at the summit of Haleakala is such a surreal experience,” said Yumul. “It really forces you to reflect on the positive things in your life, especially with your best friends around, and the power of reconnection is quite inspiring.”
Adventure takes many forms on the island, such as ziplining, scuba, windsurfing, helicopter tours, hiking and horseback riding. Eco-exploration is offered in many varieties around the island and can be customized to fit the needs of specific groups. Hike Maui, for example, offers guided eco-adventures through the island’s rainforests and to Haleakala crater and rural Hana. Groups can plan personal trips with the company, including options for private helicopter tours, horseback riding and kayaking.
For more daring girlfriends, Skyline Eco-Adventures offers two Maui zipline courses, one in Haleakala and the other in Kaanapali. Yumul also noted that Maui’s sister islands are easily accessible by boat.
“Girlfriends can take a boat to Lanai or Molokai from Lahaina in the early morning, spend the day exploring either island and come back on a sunset ride,” suggested Yumul.
With all of these options, plus opportunities for biking, stand-up paddleboarding, golfing, tranquil beach days and more, girlfriends will find themselves agreeing that “Maui no ka oi” by the end of their special trip together.