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Getting reacquainted with the chill button in Maui’s laid-back Kapalua Bay.
The temp is going to creep up to around 24°C today, so even this early it’s warm enough to wear shorts and a tank to this bright-and-early yoga session. It’s out on the Montage Kapalua Bay’s front lawn—your doorstep is ocean cliffs, wind-tousled palm trees and crashing waves. Wiggle your toes in the grass as you move through sun salutations with your Makai yoga instructor and think about how good you have it.
Drive up 4,000 feet to the purple-covered hillsides in the shadow of Western Maui’s national parks and reserves to see the 13-acre Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. There are more than 45 different types of lavender here, but you’ll likely max out your nose after comparing the first seven. Try to spy the ex-pat chameleons hiding in the trees before cooling down at the farm’s café for a warm, lavender-infused scone slathered in thick lavender honey. O’o Farms salad.
Farm to table is becoming a hackneyed phrase, but O’o Farms is doing something special in Maui’s upcountry. Sustainably maintained and naturally cultivated with a no-till approach, this farm has luscious overgrown beds curving around the yard—but they aren’t just for show. You’re part of the working crew now, so file down the rows and pluck only the best looking fresh greens—rainbow chard, kohlrabi, dill and rosemary flowers—they’ll be essential to your lunch. In the middle of this farm you’ll find a long, live-edge wooden slab table. Take a seat and sip wine with your crew over dishes like woodfire-roasted beets with edible borage blossoms and rutabaga, herb-encrusted crispy tofu on black forbidden rice with toasted white quinoa, along with your salad, of course, in a citrus and fennel pollen vinaigrette—all grown and prepared on parts of the farm you can see with your own eyes.
If you’re sand-averse, there’s no shame in staying on-property at the Montage Kapalua Spa (it has its own kid-free pool), but for some ocean action take a ten-minute walk down to Kapalua Beach to check out snorkel gear from the beachfront surf shack. Kapalua Bay is all clear sapphire blue waters and hundreds of feet of shallow stony reef teeming with colourful and curious fish. Also a possible sighting: giant sea turtles!
You might have heard of Merriman’s, but this isn’t your typical chain restaurant. Chef Peter Merriman was one of the founding 12 chefs of Hawaii’s regional cuisine movement, which encouraged the state’s farmers to raise meats locally and to grow local fruit and vegetables. Perched on the edge of Kapalua Bay, the restaurant opens out onto the patio so everyone has a stunning view. And the food? Locally raised Maui steak fillet with garlic whipped potatoes, Otani Farm’s green beans, Maui onion and tomato chimichurri is paired with a macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi—get split orders of two mains if you just can’t decide. And prepare to have the best mai tai of your life: Merriman’s features aged Lahaina rum, triple sec, fresh lime juice and a dollop of honey-lilikoi foam, which tastes like creamy lemon curd ice cream.
Montage Kapalua is a stunner. The resort is wall-less, like a perpetual open patio that spreads out in a horseshoe toward the ocean views. Stepped pools and jungle gardens live in the centre, and the rooms are palatial suites with Calgary-sized kitchens, spa bathrooms with jet tubs and patios that could accommodate seating for a mid-sized restaurant. The Kardashians would stay here, and take full advantage of the deluxe spa, with its hydrotherapy pools and personal massage huts that open up onto bamboo trees and palm fronds. The resort’s Cane and Canoe restaurant is also some of the freshest gourmet cuisine you’ll taste in Maui—we recommend the ahi benedict, with locally caught ahi, sweet soy and scallions drizzled with a wasabi hollandaise and served with fingerling potato. Also orders of the Portuguese sausage and the local specialty, piping hot buttermilk malasadas with Ali’i lavender-lilikoi butter. Everyone is happy to greet you with a smile, a flower for your hair or tips on where to have dinner, and the on-site cultural ambassador, Silla Kaina, is like the resident mom; let her take you under her wing to learn about the history of Hawaii, its people and its threatened language and traditions through a talk story session or ukulele lesson—her earnestness and openness impart a sense of the real Hawaii on even the grinchiest tourist. One-bedroom residence from $725 per night.