Maui, at 48 miles long the second largest Hawaiian island, is world renowned for its golden beaches, forested mountains, endless sunshine, charming small towns and airy resorts. The island lures travelers with its perfect balance of wild nature and beachfront luxury. Whether hiking the volcanic landscape at Haleakala National Park at sunset or strolling down lively Front Street of historic Lahaina town, Maui offers diverse experiences for groups.
Only on Maui
Towering emerald peaks guard the lush valley floor of Iao Valley State Park. Located in central Maui, just west of Wailuku, this peaceful park is home to the 1,200-foot-tall Iao Needle, an iconic green-mantled rock outcropping overlooking Iao stream and an ideal spot for easy hikes and sightseeing.
Island at a Glance
Head west to find the hotels and resorts of Kaanapali, Kapalua and Lahaina, with their luxurious spas and a wide range of dining options close at hand. Among the group properties here are the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa; the Kaanapali Beach Hotel; the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua; the Westin Maui Resort & Spa; the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, and the Royal Lahaina Resort.
Tucked along the crescent-shaped beaches and stellar golf courses in south Maui is Wailea, home to opulent resorts and meeting properties like the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, the Fairmont Kea Lani, the Andaz Maui at Wailea and the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, each offering idea settings for incentive programs.
Getting Here and There
Kahului Airport, approximate transfer cost by taxi: From Kapalua, about 33 miles, $100. From Kaanapali, about 28 miles, $87. From Kahului Town, about 3 miles, $13. From Kihei, about 10 miles, $33-$55. From Lahaina, about 23 miles,$78. From Maalea, about 11 miles, $33. From Makena, about 18 miles, $65. From Wailea, about 16 miles, $57. From Wailuku, about 6 miles, $20. Transfer cost by shuttle: Direct shuttle service is available from Kahului Airport to Honokawai, Kaanapali, Kahana, Kahului, Kapalua, Kihei, Lahaina, Makena, Napili and Wailea. Fares run $10-$45 based on location.
Southwest Airlines service from Oakland and San Jose, Calif., to Maui begins this spring.
Good to Know
Event venue: Maui Arts & Cultural Center; exhibit space, 115,502 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 9
Contact: Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau
• The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa at Puu Kekaa on Kaanapali Beach has unveiled a $26.5 million upgrade of its 508 guest rooms that included modernizing the bathrooms and living spaces. Also on-site, a new signature restaurant, Rocksalt, led by executive chef Lyndon Honda, serves globally inspired dishes that combine fresh local Hawaiian produce with exotic spices and ingredients, available in small and large plates. Now celebrating its 55th anniversary, the resort recently instituted new sustainability measures, banning single-use plastic straws and introducing eco-safe sunscreen, which is complimentary for guests who wish to help preserve the health of the region's coral reef. The resort has 40,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a business center, a fitness center and a spa.
• The Montage Kapalua Bay resort on Maui has completed a redesign of 50 luxury, residential-style accommodations. Overseen by Dallas-based interior- and architectural-design firm Wilson Associates, the new décor draws inspiration from the land and sea around it, using native koawood and natural-color flooring balanced with accents of taupe, beige and whites. The property also offers a full-service Spa Montage and more than 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
•The 463-room Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua recently unveiled a propertywide renovation. The resort has 12 meeting rooms and more than 173,000 square feet of outdoor function space.
• Head out on the water with Maui Eco Tours for kayaking and snorkeling tours or surfside standup paddle-board lessons. From December through April, kayak excursions offer the opportunity to spot humpback whales during their annual migration. Snorkeling promises sightings of turtles, rays and colorful coral.
Things to Do
• Native Hawaiian culture is revered throughout the islands and woven into the fiber of meetings and conferences in Maui’s four major resort areas – Kaanapali, Kapalua, Lahaina and Wailea. Among the many activities offered for families traveling with attendees are learning to hula, stringing a lei, weaving a lauhala fan, enjoying vivid tales of the ancient voyaging peoples of the Pacific Islands and embracing the Hawaiian concept of hooponopono (problem solving).
Lanai and Kauai Updates
• Kona Coffee has long been prized by java junkies the world over. But the island of Hawaii is not the only place where groups can find a great cup of joe. Kauai Coffee will be soon introducing motorized tram tours of its 3,100-acre coffee orchard, one of the largest in the United States. Visitors will learn the origin and history of coffee farming on the island, as well as how the company’s coffee is sustainably grown, harvested and roasted, as the excursion glides past some of the estate’s more than 4 million trees. Post-tour, attendees can relax on Kauai Coffee’s lanai, sample its estate-grown java and take in panoramic views of picturesque fields of coffee trees stretching downslope to the ocean.