The trip to Maui alone is an indulgence with its dream-like beaches, countless waterfalls, lush mountain landscapes, and picturesque small towns. Over two million visitors per year can testify to the beauty of the Magic Isle. But once on the island, what are the best ways for tourists to treat themselves? Here are my favorite Maui indulgences.
1. Exercise your credit cards at the Shops of Wailea.
Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a big shopper when traveling. Unless it’s an awesome market or something unusual, I normally pass. But when I saw the shops of Wailea just a stone’s throw from my hotel, the Wailea Beach Marriott, I knew I had to take a look.
What I discovered is that with over 70 stores, galleries, and restaurants, the Shops of Wailea is the premier shopping destination on Maui. Oh-la-la! Luxury designers such as Bottega Veneta, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton are standouts, as are perennial favorites, Baron & Leeds and Tiffany & Co, for jewelry. For something unique, check out everything from jeweled flip-flops to wedding gowns, at Enchantress Boutique. Finding a swimsuit is a breeze at places like Maui WaterWear or Canyon Beachwear. In the market for art? The Shops have galleries such as Eclectic Image Gallery and The Art of Peter Max Gallery. Basically, if you need it then it can probably be found at the Shops of Wailea.
And in addition to an arm full of bags, you might just have a Steven Tyler sighting. I hear he’s a regular at there.
2. Get your hands sticky with Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice in Lahaina.
I’m not a huge fan of standing in line (Hello, Doughnut Vault) and I almost didn’t when I saw one about 15 deep at Ululani’s. But thanks to a Twitter tip, I sucked it up and stood my ground. It wasn’t ten minutes before I was ordering my very first Hawaiian shave ice.
The first thing to keep in mind when visiting Ululani’s is that the small is really large and the large is really giant. Had I spotted the micro size in time I would have ordered it. C’est la vie, y’all. At $4.25 for a small and $5.25 for a large, it’s still a bargain at twice the price. Step up to the counter and choose your size. Up to three flavors are included with add-ons such as ice cream, sweet cream, coconut, and azuki beans (!) costing extra. Choose from some of the suggested combinations or go with your own.
I picked pineapple, coconut, and lychee. It was pretty darn tasty. Not only was this sweet treat refreshing, but it gave me sticky fingers and turned my tongue a neon shade of yellow. Unnatural colors blended with ice and pure cane sugar… What’s not to like about that? Nothing, I tell you.
3. Zone out with a massage at the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea.
Simply walking into the changing room of the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea Spa will do wonders for those looking to relax. The dim lighting, deafening silence, and soothing surroundings prepare guests for the ultimate in pampering. The plush robe and squishy sandals continue to set the tone. Make sure to get a cup of the warm ginger drink available. It’s divine. Nibble on dried tropical fruit in the waiting room until your name is called. Whether having a skin treatment or a massage, guests are sure to feel revitalized and restored.
For me, after flying over 10,000 miles in less than two weeks, a massage was as essential as air. The spa’s signature Lomi Mohala massage combined the magical hands of Jennifer and an exclusive herbal oil blend. My back, once shaped like a question mark from too many cramped airline seats, was better than normal after the 50-minute treatment. Typical of Four Seasons, the experience, service, and facilities were worth their weight in gold.