Hello Friends and Family,

1981 - Maui, the Valley Isle, Part 4

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Just down the road from Napili and Ka‘anapali is the famous resort, Ka‘anapali Beach. One of the oldest hotels (dating to 1980, which, to me, is not so long ago), is the Hyatt Regency. It is touted as the "first destination resort in the world". I'm not sure what that means but the same online article I found stated that in 2011, the hotel had just completed a $15 million renovation — $5 million for the restaurant and $10 million for the rooms.

Back in 1981 when the hotel was quite new, I found it exotic and unlike any hotel that I had ever visited. What hotel do you know is built around large tropical trees and other exotic vegetation? In what hotel, do you stand in the center of its footprint and when you look up, you see the clear blue sky? Or perhaps a full moon? Now you know the answer — the Hyatt Regency Maui.

I still find it wonderfully exotic and unlike any hotel I have ever visited. In a later visit, I did note that one of the huge trees had fallen. They just moved it so it wasn't blocking any walkways — where it continued to add to the ambiance.

In addition to the trees, tropical plants were growing everywhere — even hanging over the edges of the balconies. Just visually stunning.

In keeping with the tropical vegetation, there are a few animal guests — here is a blue macaw carrying on a conversation with an island visitor.

Another avian friend, this one a great green macaw, seemed to love to talk. I stood and listened to him (or her?) chatter for five or ten minutes.

The vegetation just adds so much ambiance to this "destination resort" — it draws guests staying in other hotels and condos — for dining, shows, and shopping. One of my favorite shops was the Reyn Spooner shop where I would purchase a few authentic aloha shirts every year (my closet now has fifty or so shirts which are not worn as often — I'm retired and they are too). Sadly, no Reyn Spooner shops remain on Maui (try O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, or the Big Island).

Swan Court became my favorite restaurant here — a combination of wonderful food and gorgeous views offering lavishly landscaped areas, pools with real swans (including black swans) with the Pacific Ocean beyond. Sadly (to me), the remodel seems to have downgraded Swan Court to a breakfast spot. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Before or after a lavish meal at Swan Court, I would often just explore the pathways just outside, enjoying the beautiful plants and flowers of every color and description.

Obviously, I was not the only one. Note that small lamps that illuminate the pathways, adding to the nightime ambiance of this wonderful place.

If you look up, you might also notice the island of Lana‘i in the distance — at the time it was still nicknamed "The Pineapple Isle" since it was essentially a pineapple plantation with (as I have mentioned before) the best pineapples grown in the islands.

Oh, how enjoyable it would be to jump aboard a sailboat and cruise across the channel. As a matter of fact, you can (both in 1981 and now), Trilogy Excursions will take you to Lana‘i, provide you snorkel gear (or bring your own), and lead you around Hulopo’e Marine Preserve (with fantastic schools of tropical fish). If snorkeling isn't your thing, you can hike, play volleyball, relax in a tropical hammock or take a tour of Lana‘i City. The crew will prepare a full plantation BBQ lunch, complete with their famous Kiawe-grilled chicken. Additionally, there are drinks and treats going to Lana‘i and on the return to Lahaina.

Note that other tour operators can take you to Lana‘i but only Trilogy can take you to Hulopo‘e. And the last time I checked, even they cannot get you on the beach on the weekends — the beach is reserved for Lana‘i residents. Book your trip for a weekday.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com