There are many places to choose from when visiting Hawaii. But if you’re looking for pure relaxation, beautiful scenery, serenity and amazing food, then Maui is your place to truly experience heaven on earth.
Just a five and a half hour flight from Los Angeles and you’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to immerse yourself in Island life.
Driving through cane fields, enjoying all the exotic vegetation, the warm and friendly people of Hawaii will make you want to call your boss and resign on the spot so you never have to leave the place tourists from around the world flock to.
BellaLAMag.com has your travel guide to best experience Maui
HOW TO GET THERE:
Summer is here and that means it’s time to plan your trip to paradise! Who doesn’t want to soak up the sun and romp around on a Hawaiian beach? Well Virgin America has made it that much easier to book your dream vacation to the Aloha state, especially if you live in Los Angeles.
Known for its mood-lit cabins, three beautifully designed classes of service and innovative fleetwide amenities — like touch-screen personal entertainment, WiFi and power outlets at every seat, the airline recently expanded its Hawaii schedule with the launch of daily nonstop flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and connecting flights from most Virgin America markets, offering Los Angeles travelers a fresh and upscale new travel option to Hawaii.
On June 14th, the airline had its inaugural flight to Maui and Bella Magazine was on board to help Virgin America celebrate, but we weren’t the only ones excited for the new route.
Ellen Pompeo joined in on the fun and took a girl’s trip with her six-year-old daughter Stella, who enjoyed the first class amenities while on break from shooting ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’
And Riley Keough, who stars on the hit show, ‘The Girlfriend Experience,’ and is the eldest grandchild of Elvis Presley, was also on the flight. She told us, “Virgin is just the coolest airline and I love flying Virgin. It’s exciting that they’re now going to Hawaii because I actually grew up on the big island.”
She added, “It’s funny because even though I grew up between LA and Hawaii I didn’t go to Maui much—I just mostly stayed on my island so I’m looking forward to exploring a new area and relaxing at the Four Seasons Hotel, which I hear is amazing.”
Founded by Richard Branson, Virgin America was launched in 2007 and instantly appealed to travelers with its high-end customer service, cool flight attendants who make you feel like you’re on vacation from the moment you step onto the plane, and comfy plush leather seats.
Although the boutique carrier was established just under a decade ago, Virgin America has racked up an impressive amount of awards and honors including:
- #1 U.S. airline in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Airline Quality Rating report
- Consumer Reports 2013 Best U.S, Airline
- Best Domestic Airline in Condé Nast Traveler 2008-2015 Readers’ Choice Awards
- Best Domestic Airline in Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards for 2008-2015
Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards — Best Domestic Airline for Food in 2009, 2014 and 2015
There’s a reason why customers and industry insiders love Virgin America so see for yourself why the airline has such a loyal and widespread fan base.
WHERE TO STAY:
With many beautiful places to choose from on this idyllic island you really are spoilt for choice. But Hotel Wailea is one of the best. An intimate, beautiful sanctuary that is perfect for couples or traveling alone.
Voted ‘Best Hotel in Maui’ two years in a row by Conde Nast Traveler and #1 Hotel in Wailea by Trip Advisor in 2015, this Relais & Chateaux property will spoil you with its charm, incredible service, gorgeous suites and amazing garden and ocean views.
Tucked away in the hills of Wailea set back about a mile from the beach, you will enjoy a spacious suite with 720 square-feet of living quarters, comprising of separate bedroom and living areas, kitchenette, deep soaking tub, flat screen TVs, and the icing on the cake – a private lanai with chaise lounge and chairs to while away your days while enjoying the epic sunsets that you’ll be sure to witness.
This private, quiet retreat is surrounding by amazing vegetation including avocado, lime, mango and other fruit trees that you can walk around the property and pick to your heart’s content.
And some of the fresh produce from the property is used in the restaurant at Hotel Wailea, providing guests with the freshest of ingredients. Nestled in the garden in the grounds of the hotel, you can delight in the Maui-fresh fare while surrounding by beautiful flowers and plants.
The cuisine is an eclectic ensemble rooted in the respect for fresh and pure ingredients, using the best Hawaii has to offer.
With a secluded feel, you can enjoy the intimate setting of the property but when you’re ready to experience the local town, their house vehicles – Mercedes SUVs – are at the disposal of guests to ferry you around Wailea to nearby restaurants, bars, beaches and activities.
Hotel Wailea is truly a dream property that is absolute perfection in all that it has to offer. Magnificent!
WHERE TO LU’AU:
The hotel is nestled in Lahaina which is at the north of the island with the lu’au taking place right by the ocean so you can hear the lapping of the waves while you get settled in for the spectacular entertainment experience.
Greeted at the lu’au with a lei and a fresh mai tai or fruit punch to get you in the mood, you’re then directed to your seats to enjoy your cocktail before the event begins. Or you can take in the local arts and crafts and buy a memento to remind you of your fabulous stay.
A delightful performance of Hawaiian music then commences with an impressive torch lighting custom before the imu ceremony proceeds. This is the traditional and authentic ritual of unveiling the main dish, Kalua Pua’a, a suckling pig, from the earth where it has been roasting underground for hours.
After feasting on an all-you-can-eat generous buffet including Kalua Pork, Huli Huli Chicken, Grilled Fish, Polynesian Rice, Vegetables Makamaka, Tropical Fruits Anuenue, Soba Noodles, Lomi Lomi Salmon, Pacific Ahi Poke, Tossed Green Salad, and Poi (taro), you will then enjoy the main attraction.
Hula dancers fire throwers, Hawaiian dancing and story telling about the history of Maui – with the opportunity to get up on stage and dance yourself under tutelage from the experts – makes for a wonderful evening!
WHERE TO DINE:
With its fresh fruits and vegetables, amazing seafood and delicious meat dishes, you will never go hungry on this island.
From the banana macadamia pancakes with coconut syrup to the array of poke dishes available at nearly every eatery to mai tai cocktails galore – eating out in Maui is one of the best aspects of visiting this Hawaiian paradise.
A favorite dining experience was at Spago restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel in Wailea, which provides an oceanside dining experience that will have you reminiscing about it long after you’ve savored the final morsel.
This Wolfgang Puck restaurant embraces the traditional culinary techniques of Hawaii while ensuring you still get some of the famed chef’s classic flair.
A must-try appetizer is the Spicy Ahi Tuna Poke in Sesame-Miso Cones. You may want to get two orders of those. The Thai Coconut Soup with Keahole Lobster, Keffir, Chili and Galangal speaks for itself – yum!
Another crowd pleaser is the grilled mahi mahi with pineapple-ginger bbq or the Chinois Lamb Chops Grilled with Hunan Eggplant and Chili-Mint Vinaigrette.
And to round out what I promise will be a phenomenal meal is the Warm Chocolate Truffle Purse with Big Island Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, the Baked Maui Mango Upside-Down Cake with Passion Fruit Sorbet. Or a Puck favorite of “Kaiserschmarren” Crème Fraîche Soufflé Pancake with Sautéed Apple Bananas with influences from his native Austria. What’s not to love about Spago Maui – delish!
WHAT TO EXPERIENCE:
To really enhance your time at Four Seasons, the five star hotel has a unique service called extraordinary experiences, available to Four Seasons Maui hotel guests only, where select locations can create an unforgettable moment. And the Four Seasons Resort in Maui offers guests the opportunity to travel in style by Paradise Helicopters to Hana Ranch for an afternoon customized to your liking.
Adventure Quinn is a the premier luxury customizable tour company on island. If a request comes in from a guest for the A Taste of Island Life tour, the hotel works with them to take the lead in coordinating all the moving parts and partners.
You can choose to explore the Ranch and Hana town in a number of different ways with a cultural guide. You can do guided UTV tour of the Ranch, coastal horseback ride, mountain bike through trails on the ranch or choose to take a car service to different places in Hana.
The overall cost is $16,500 for one to six people, but it can be adjusted depending on the customizations.