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Maui has perfected the art of innovation. Year in, year out, it successfully holds its own against global destinations by dreaming up engaging attractions, excursions and dining opportunities found nowhere else.
The following new lures are keeping the Valley Isle compelling for first-time visitors as well as clients who think they know Maui inside out.
Adventuring by Land, Air and Sea (Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa)When travelers book Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa’s latest package, they can try three activities during one vacation, all while calling the resort their home base.
The deal — dubbed Maui by Land, Air & Sea — includes an eight-line zipline tour with Skyline Eco-Adventures, providing views of native landscapes and valleys; a Blue Hawaiian Helicopters air tour that soars over coastlines, waterfalls and sea cliffs of west Maui and the island of Molokai; and a sunset cruise off Kaanapali with Teralani Sailing Adventures complete with drinks and appetizers.
Priced from $459 per night for two people, the initiative also comes with accommodations and a welcome amenity. Clients can book it for trips through Dec. 15.
Celebrating Gay Pride (Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui)Fairmont Kea Lani is embodying Maui’s trademark aloha spirit with its Rainbow State of Mind package, offering LGBTQ couples a kaleidoscope of extras during their stay.
Guests who book the package get accommodations in a one-bedroom suite or private two-story villa; a 60-minute massage for two; and a poolside, four-course dinner with wine. In addition, they enjoy a keepsake Fairmont robe set and use of a rental Jeep for one day. Clients might want to time their trip with Maui’s Pride Festival, slated this year for Oct. 6-13.
Good through Dec. 20, the package starts at $859 per night. The hotel will make a nightly $10 donation to Aloha Maui Pride.
Giving Back to Maui (Destination Residences Hawaii)Destination Residences Hawaii (DRH) is known for giving travelers a home-away-from-home feeling with its fully furnished condos and vacation rentals. Now it’s encouraging its guests to treat Maui like their own by spending a morning of voluntourism with the nonprofit Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.
Participants head to the 227-acre Waihee Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge, a significant wildlife habitat and cultural site. Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon, they lend a hand by rehabilitating and cleaning up the area, which is already seeing a resurgence of native birds and plants thanks to these efforts.
Guests eager to give back to the island can sign up through DRH’s concierge or via email ([email protected]).
Making Like a Mermaid (Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa)Clients are wagging their tails over Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa’s new mermaid experience, offered in partnership with Hawaii Mermaid Adventures. Open to men, women and children alike, the splashy session starts with a chat about myths and legends connected to the magical creatures of the sea. Then, after donning their personal mermaid tails, guests slip into a Hyatt Maui pool and channel their inner Ariel.
Great for families and small groups, the mermaid activity doubles as a teachable moment, as enthusiastic staffers discuss the importance of protecting the marine environment.
The 90-minute lessons take place on Thursday mornings and cost $129 per person. Instructors take photos and videos to keep the Maui mermaid memories afloat.
Rediscovering Banyan Tree Restaurant (The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua)International culinary influences mingle with Hawaiian food traditions at Banyan Tree, the reinvented signature restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. In its new incarnation, the menu puts a Mediterranean spin on classic island recipes and ingredients, with French and Filipino touches reflecting the chef’s upbringing.
Banyan Tree even urges guests to embrace certain dishes — literally — by eating with their hands. This concept works particularly well with the Kona lobster lumpia (spring rolls), seafood tower and fresh catch ceviche with sweet potato crisps.
Banyan Tree’s decor also has been updated, with a handsome, modern bar as its focal point. The expanded outdoor dining area adds to the allure with its firepits and views straight down to the sea.