Story by Sharon Spence Lieb
Photography courtesy of The Fairmont Kea Lani

Fairmont Kea Lani Exterior

The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui
4100 Wailea Alanui, Wailea Maui Hawaii
1-808-875-2227
fairmont.com/kealani
 

MAUI HEAVEN

Heavenly Adventure!

Gundy looks like a musician from my fav bad boy band, ZZ Top. Long curly  beard, wild wavy blonde hair, a charming Julia Roberts smile.

“Welcome to Maui, Sharon”, he grins. “Ready for the best zip ride of your life”?€ Who could resist that smile?

We strap on our harnesses, clip on our army style helmets and climb into  Gundy’s All Terrain Jeep. We swerve and skid straight up a heart  stopping narrow muddy mountain trail.

At the top, we admire lush valleys decorated with red ginger and purple  orchids. Serene cows nap on peaceful sugarcane farms. The sapphire  Pacific teems with humpback whales, flipping their v shaped tails.

On the wooden platforms, Gundy and his team give us our final training:  “Sit upright in your harness, legs straight out... step slowly off the  platform and don’t worry... we’re gonna catch you at the other end”.

Gundy clips me securely to the zipline and gives me his optimistic  “Everything’s going to be all right Sharon” smile. I swing off the  platform. Swoosh, I’m airborne. Planet Earth is a Kodachrome blur.  Delight erases terror. Clouds move in and out, shaping into Angels and  parrot fish. Getting to Heaven is easy. Just say yes to zip lining on Maui.

Fairmont Kea Lani Outrigger

Heavenly Luxury

“Quick, Sharon! Come out here”, calls my fiancée Ken, early one glorious  morning. “I found you more whales”. Elegant humpback whales glide  through the turquoise Pacific, spraying water plumes like giant  fountains. We’ve seen them faraway from our zip lines, but from our  balcony we see how massive they truly are. We envy the kayakers and  paddle boarders, close enough to touch the whales, which seem to slow  down for their admirers. What a morning wake up call: Whales off our  balcony, rainbows glowing over fragrant gardens.  Just another perfect  day at The Fairmont Kea Lani.

Fairmont Kea Lani Bamboo Grove

By 9 am, the Fairmont bursts with life. Bikini babes work on their tans,  while fitness buffs huff through pool aerobics. Hikers stroll the beach; snorkelers ogle sea turtles and pink parrot fish darting among the coral reef offshore. Yoga lovers balance in tree pose on the lawn, kids  swoosh down the waterslide into mom’s waiting arms, and adventurer  lovers paddle out in longboat canoes.

In Hawaiian, Kea Lani means “Heavenly White”, an apt description of this  exquisite open-air resort along the deep blue ocean on Maui’s southern  shoreline. The staff genuinely cares about your happiness, there’s no  request too large. Discover secret spots... like a shady bamboo garden in the lobby, a wish upon a star koi pond, the hammock between two perfect palms framing a cobalt sky, a paved walkway along the Pacific.

Fairmont Kea Lani Restaurant

Every morning we enjoyed a fantastic buffet, which offered treats like apple  crepes, buttery smoked salmon, succulent fresh pineapple, yogurt  parfait, chicken sausage, and made to order omelets. Muffins are  irresistible- blueberry, cranberry, bran and macadamia nut. Forget  about dieting, you’ll work it off surfing, snorkeling, and zip lining.

At night, we savored mojitos at the open- air Luana Lounge, watching  sunset turn the Pacific deep blue. At KO restaurant, we savored  delicious Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese and Hawaiian appetizers. The  hotel is magical, lit by fire torches, and the scent of jasmine is  seductive.

Fairmont Kea Lani Suite

Guestrooms are elegant, spacious suites, with two flat screen TVs, double closets, two sinks, comfy King beds, a lounging couch, writing desk, and sliding glass doors onto balconies with superb ocean views. Sip your coffee and watch for whales.

One of the most popular resort activities is the “Hawaiian Cultural  Program” led by Cultural Coach Jonelle Kamai. “We teach guests about  local cuisine”, she enthuses, “as well as Hawaiian music, celebrations, and language. Come experience the true spirit of Aloha, which embodies  friendship, trust, and welcome”.

Fairmont Kea Lani Exec Chef

Heavenly Cuisine

Maui’s international cuisine features Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, American, not to mention island style Hawaiian treats like  just picked pineapple and chew it now sugarcane. At a Luau, we enjoyed  grilled yellowfin tuna, pork steamed in a pit, barbecued chicken, poi,  and passion fruit.

All the food was fresh and fabulous. But our favorite restaurant was Mama’s Fish House.

Fairmont Kea Lani Lobstertails

Tables face the turquoise Pacific, waves crashing on the ivory beach. Wild  ginger flowers are artfully arranged in blue ceramic vases, monkey pod  trees grow through the roof; romantic jazz plays softly as waitresses  glide by in floral gowns. Walk around and enjoy sculptures of fertility  gods, nautilus shells, and murals of Hawaiian surfers and sunsets.

On a Friday at lunch, every blue batik covered table is taken, as guests  dine blissfully on Maui’s freshest seafood. When was the last time you  were treated to a menu like this?

“Ono, caught by Kurtis Chong Kee off his Jet Ski, grilled in a ti leaf with mango, chili pepper and coconut rice”.€

Or how about “Mahi-mahi, caught by Ryan Thomas on the ‘Kai Akua’ from Lahaina Harbor, stuffed with lobster and crab, baked in a macadamia nut  crust”.

Fairmont Kea Lani Seafood Dish

We ordered Island Prawns with vanilla, and little neck clams, both  bursting with flavor. Then green salads with palm hearts, cranberries,  goat cheese and candied macadamia nuts.

None of us could resist the mahimahi from Ryan Thomas, absolutely one of the best dishes of our lives.

We were too full for dessert until the chef sent out his signature  “Polynesian Black Pearl”. A huge pastry arrived, shaped like a giant  pearl, filled with a soft pillow of Liliko’I fruit flavored chocolate  mousse. Stunning. There are times when a dessert intensifies the joy of  being alive. Today was that day.

That’s Heaven on Maui. Maybe it’s like the real Heaven: something you wait for and know will be absolutely Divine.

An excellent guidebook for your trip: “Backroads & Byways of Hawaii” by Michele Bigley.
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© April 2014 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.

 

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