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The Plantation Inn is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, but the Lahaina-based B&B looks and feels like a traditional Maui home from as far back as a century ago. With its welcoming porch and Hawaiian plantation furnishings, the 18-room inn settles into its surroundings like a longtime landmark.
And a recent renovation of the inn’s accommodations has enhanced this timeless aura.
“Each room possesses a theme of its own,” according to Sam Balantac, manager of The Plantation Inn. “The decor was carefully selected to accurately depict life in Lahaina during the plantation era of the 1900s-1950s. The most common compliment we receive is that the inn exudes a tranquil, boutique and vintage feeling.”
Guestrooms feature throwbacks like wood floors, brightly colored fabrics, large lanais, ceiling fans, historic photos of Lahaina and artwork reflecting plantation scenes. At the same time, the property provides the contemporary amenities I normally look for during a stay, such as air-conditioning, a mini-refrigerator, a flat-screen television and complimentary Wi-Fi access.
The inn’s layout helps to create a quiet, peaceful ambiance in the midst of bustling Lahaina. Its two buildings are connected by a tropical garden and secluded courtyard with a pool, Jacuzzi, terrace and pavilion.
The courtyard sets the stage for guest interaction, beginning with a generous complimentary breakfast. Guests start each day with special-blend coffee, fresh fruit, juice and a choice of gourmet French toast, eggs Florentine, croque monsieur, yogurt, muesli and bagels with lox and cream cheese.
Overseeing breakfast is Gerard Reversade, a top Maui chef. Reversade also runs Gerard’s, a highly-touted French restaurant that has been based at the inn for three decades. Come evening, clients sit in its quaint indoor dining room or sip and sup on the inn’s front porch, which turns into a twinkling hub. Hotel guests get a discount on dinners at Gerard’s.
Other perks for visitors staying at The Plantation Inn include free parking and no resort fee. One of the biggest benefits, however, is its side-street location. It’s just a three-minute stroll from Front Street, with its popular restaurants, shops and galleries. Armed with walking maps from the front desk, guests have easy access to Lahaina’s rich history, from sites recalling its royal past to reminders of its whaling and missionary days. They can meander over to Lahaina Harbor, the starting point for a variety of boat tours. And as the sun sets, they can take in the town’s theater shows and live entertainment.
Balantac says the inn — which he calls a “hidden gem” — primarily attracts mature travelers, people who prefer staying away from Maui’s bigger hotels. But when clients want a taste of resort life, they have full guest privileges at the inn’s sister property, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, located 3 miles north of Lahaina. There, they can rent beach and ocean equipment, swim in the pool and take part in free cultural activities, an arts-and-crafts fair each morning, a sunset hula show and torch-lighting ceremonies.
As The Plantation Inn expands its outreach, it’s also planning to tap new markets, including honeymooners and LGBT travelers.
“The B&B guest is looking for a different experience from a traditional hotel,” said John White, director of sales and marketing for The Plantation Inn. “They enjoy meeting like-minded guests at breakfast and at the pool.”
White says he and his team rely on and appreciate the knowledge of travel agents, who help them target clients who are receptive to the inn’s unique points of distinction.
“We trust that our guests will come away with a sense of place while exploring what Lahaina and Maui have to offer,” White said.
The Plantation Innwww.kbhmaui.com