The Plantation Inn conjures up a bygone
When clients heading to Maui think of a romantic getaway, they may
imagine the tropical waterfalls of Hana or the mountainous
Upcountry region, but couples may be surprised to learn they can
enjoy their own private paradise in the heart of West Maui’s
tourist town of Lahaina. There, two boutique bed and breakfasts
offer intimate, charming accommodations for a single night or
Two blocks from the town’s bustling Front Street waterfront, The
Plantation Inn provides an oasis of tropical landscaping. Its 19
rooms overlook a poolside courtyard from private lanais and
While the setting may not conjure the oceanfront vista of some
Hawaii travelers’ dreams, the seclusion and prime location of the
inn satisfy the desires of many repeat guests. The Plantation Inn
manager Herb Coyle recalled the experience of one couple who spent
their days poolside in the lounge chairs following breakfast and
did not venture off the property until each evening. When he asked
what they planned to do each day, they would simply answer, “We’re
Built in 1987, the inn’s turn-of-the-century plantation-era look
adheres to the architectural codes of the National Historic
Landmark town of Lahaina. The Kaanapali Beach Hotel a 430-room
oceanfront property three miles away purchased the inn in 1997.
“Our guests get the best of both worlds,” said Luana Paahana,
sales and marketing director for the hotel and inn.
The Plantation Inn offers full guest privileges at the Kaanapali
Beach Hotel, including beach and swimming pool access, daily
Hawaiian program activities and a sunset hula show.
An added perk for guests is the daily complimentary breakfast
prepared by the adjoining fine-dining French restaurant Gerard’s.
Guests of the inn are seated at the poolside courtyard and can
select from four menu items, including the famed French toast
baguette. Guests also receive a $50 dining credit toward the cost
of a three-course dinner at the restaurant.
The Plantation Inn rooms are customized with wicker and
antique-style furnishings, stained-glass windows and hardwood
floors, and they are modernized with air conditioning,
mini-refrigerators, soundproofing, televisions and wireless
Internet access. This year’s upgrades include new wall treatments,
double glass-doored tile showers with his-and-hers rainfall
showerheads, new furniture and bed upsizing from queen to king.
Given the antique decor, hardwood floors, tile showers,
12-foot-deep pool and intimate layout of the property, it’s not
recommended for children.
The Lahaina Inn
The Lahaina Inn is at the heart of the
Down the street and around the corner from Front Street, another
12-room boutique hotel, the Lahaina Inn, appeals with Victorian-era
antiques and furnishings. Originally operated as a store in the
1930s, the building was converted to a hotel in the 1980s.
From the grandfather clock hanging at the entrance to the mail
cubbies at the front desk, the inn enthralls with its
turn-of-the-century furnishings and decor. Upstairs, the long
wood-paneled hallway displays a collection of antique bottles as
part of a satellite museum exhibit of the Lahaina Restoration
Foundation. Vintage Hawaiian wallpaper, lace curtains and a varied
antique collection adorn the rooms in great variety.
Owner Toni Johnson said many clients prefer to stay at the inn
rather than in the cookie-cutter resorts, appreciative of the more
personal service and experience. “People love the location,”
Johnson said. “They don’t have to have a car. They are right in the
heart of town.”
The rooms have no televisions and the property has no pool, but
each room has its own lanai with rocking chairs. Guests get
complimentary coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the morning. Next
door, guests receive preferred reservations at the fine-dining
establishment Lahaina Grill.
Around every corner, Lahaina is imbued with its history as a
former capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom; a whaling and a missionary
center; a sugar and pineapple plantation town; and now a top Maui
tourist destination. Couples can sit under the giant banyan tree,
stroll the boat harbor, book a cruise, browse art galleries and
shops, select from a multitude of restaurants and enjoy live
entertainment. Instead of driving back to large resorts, they can
linger into the evening and enjoy a bottle of wine or
Unfortunately, the activity in town can contribute some noise at
the inn. A parking lot along the backside of the property can also
disturb the tranquility inside at times. “People stay here for the
charm and ambience,” Johnson said. “Being in town, I never promise
At the same time, both inns provide a romantic reprieve from the
surrounding hustle and bustle, leaving a unique memory of Maui to